Developer / Publisher – Odderslab
Price – US $29.99 / CAN $31.49 / EU €29.99 / UK £24.99 / AU $42.95
Release Date – February 03, 2022
Input – Oculus Touch
Play Area – Standing
Store – Oculus
Reviewed on – Quest 2
Fitness apps have been quite popular with VR and whether it’s more focused efforts like Supernatural and FitXR or sports games like Thrill of the Fight, it can be exhilarating to break a sweat in a headset. Les Mills Bodycombat is the latest title to focus on fitness and those that have played those games I just mentioned will be familiar with the core mechanics in here as the exercise is largely focused on punching with a couple of trainers helping you maximize your sessions.
As soon you start the game, you’ll have to make your profile which just asks for basic information including height, weight, age & gender before you are treated to the brief tutorial explaining how to punch and avoid incoming targets. You’ll be punching targets using standing jabs, uppercuts & hooks and have to dodge incoming walls by ducking or leaning left or right making this feel, initially like many other fitness titles. Where Body Combat differs from others is in said combat which also has you punching straight up in the air, to your sides or below you, using your hands to punch and smash at targets all around you or even chaining together those targets to simulate battle ropes which is really effective. Something I haven’t seen before is knee strikes, which has you grabbing at a target above your head and bringing it down to where your knee should be, adding a movement mechanic that works surprisingly well considering only your hands are tracked. The easier routines are typically focused more on those simple punches with those queues coming in slower form with the medium and hard difficulties chaining together those prompts for some intense action. The 2 coaches, Dan & Rachel will introduce your chosen workout and then talk throughout each mapped song, either motivating you or coaching your form by reminding you how your body should look when reacting to the beats coming at you which is also effective. After your chosen routine is completed, your efforts are summarized and include stats like your score, calories burned, average punching power & accuracy giving plenty of reason to revisit these workouts to see if you can beat your previous efforts. There are currently 30 workouts available across the 3 difficulties and come in lengths from 5 to 20 minutes.
Bodycombat looks like a VR workout game with you standing at the end of a very large Cement structure while those punch prompts head toward you. The room you are in doesn’t change up between each workout though you can see outside of it and will be treated to 5 different looking environments ranging from Rome, a Japanese style one, a cyberpunk city, Mars and tundra settings. The way the building is designed hides much of the background unless you take the time to look all around you and as you’ll be facing forwards for most of the exercises, the dynamic backgrounds become almost irrelevant as you wont really notice them and will be too focused on the action anyways. The prompts are obvious and look like floating drones with blue or green energy expanding from their core which is where you want to connect for max points with clear yellow walls showing your digital shadow, a wonderful little visual carry over from Odderlab’s previous title, Ohshape. Your trainers will show up before each workout as some high definition 2D renderings giving you tips to help maximize your workout and even explain how a particular move should look and while they aren’t in true 3D, they looked pretty good, and their presence is quite welcome. I don’t think anyone is going to be blown away by what’s here, but it’s a workout game and while there isn’t too much to get excited over, everything looks good enough to deliver a solid workout without any annoying distractions.
The soundtrack is mostly of the high intensity electronic, rap and pop tracks and does an excellent job at keeping the pace high as each song is fast paced to help keep you moving. The 2 coaches are charismatic and deliver helpful instructions and some motivational dialogue to keep you focused. What they say is scripted and mapped to each song so if you play the same workouts, you’ll hear the same one-liners, jokes and tips which can get a little old at times but in truth, is typically helpful as they ensure your form stays on point when your arms start to feel heavy and help with some of the timing, even letting you know which activities are coming up next. I really enjoyed the sound design in Bodycombat as I found the soundtrack to be quite enjoyable and upbeat with the coaches to be equally charismatic, entertaining & motivating.
I gotta say that Bodycombat is currently kicking my ass and that’s a great thing when it comes to these titles. I have played a few of them and the design in the workouts here are some of the most satisfying I have ever played in VR which is awesome save for one major issue, and that is that there are only 30 routines. Those routines highly replayable with 10 being assigned to each difficulty level but thanks to my previous experience with these types of apps, the easier difficulty was not satisfying with medium and hard offering more engaging workouts leaving me with 20 workouts that I truly enjoyed and got the blood pumping. That said, those 20 workouts are easily some of the most efficient ways to spend your workout time in a headset and with each being no longer than 20 minutes, you’ll burn a fair bit of calories in a short period of time and feel it the next day. I did think the calorie counter did seem a tad high for these shorter workouts but on that same token, I can’t deny just how tired (and sore) I was after each session and while I think those numbers might be inflated, it’s still a helluva workout.
Bodycombat has currently replaced my other VR fitness titles and I feel it offers some of the most workout for the least amount of time in VR. The simulated battle ropes and knees add some unique flare to the workouts and when you start needing to punch high, squat and hold while punching, come up for an upper cut and dodge walls, the workouts get intense. If you’re looking to shake up your VR workout game or maybe try one out for the 1st time, Bodycombat offers up a fantastic fitness experience with some decent replay factor.
What would I pay? With 30 routines for $30, the content value might seem a little light here when compared to the variety offered up by other subscription-based titles, but given the high replayability, the overall design of the workouts and the charismatic coaches plus the promise of more content to come, this has become my go to VR workout game, and I highly recommend it for those looking to push themselves a little harder in the headset.
Odderslab provided The VR Grid with a press code for this title and, regardless of this review, we thank them for that!