Published on September 20th, 2023 | by Chris O'Connor
Box To The Beat Meta Quest 2 (via App lab) VR Review
Summary: Get your heart rate going with the VR equivalent of shadow boxing... but with a driving beat!
There are plenty of VR rhythm games out now, there are quite a few fitness VR games out now too, so how do you stand out from the crowd? Well combining the two is a good start. There are of course other games that combine fitness and rhythm for various workout options… but Box To The Beat feels a bit more focused in what it is having you do.
Let me clarify that a bit. Other fitness rhythm games often use gimmicky scenarios to have you bob and move about whilst striking on the beat. Box to the beat… well, it does what the name suggests, it has you box to the beat. This may not sound like a big distinction but it kind of feels like it is. It feels far more like you are getting a focused workout… one that is focused around the key movements of boxing.
So the start is as you would expect… you are standing in a virtual environment and as the music plays, prompts come towards you… not surprisingly you need to punch the prompts with your corresponding fist. As you get the hang of that… the game switches it up a little and rather than just a straight jab… you now need to perform a right hook… or an upper cut to hit the prompt. But we aren’t done yet… now you need to duck and weave in between punches… sway to the left, rotate down to the right, come up with a hook, follow with a jab. It’s not long before you feel like you are indeed in a ring (or perhaps more realistically a fitness center) going through the motions to train as a boxer.
Now it’s probably safe that you would be assuming I know very little about the reality of boxing and so my equating this VR experience to actually learning the basics of boxing is pure speculation… and you’d be right… but it’s VR and part of that is providing the sensation of an experience regardless of how close to reality it is… it’s the impression of reality. I would be curious to know what an actual boxer thinks of this though… as a very basic starting point to get people used to some of the core moves, I do suspect it’s not a bad start.
In regards to the music… you have to work to unlock new tracks and once you have you might feel a bit restricted as you only have the music supplied to play with (the PC version apparently allows you to use custom music). But it’s easy enough to get into the zone and not be too focused on the music beyond indicating when your next move is coming up.
Visually it’s similar to other rhythm games, so you have a decent idea of what to expect… some neon lighting, nice (unlockable) boxing gloves and not a lot of extra distractions… it wants you to focus on your boxing and that’s a good thing.
Overall… if you are interested in the idea of boxercise but can’t afford a gym membership or are perhaps a bit self conscious, I think this would be a fantastic option.