The just-released Les Mills Bodycombat offers a polished, effective and fun workout experience on Quest, and the lack of a subscription plan is a big bonus. Read on for our impressions.
Sensing the potential for VR fitness to one day be just as lucrative as membership gyms, many workout apps have moved to a subscription model of late. Supernatural paved the way with its daily workouts that earned it the attention of a Meta acquisition, and BoxVR completely overhauled its offerings to become the subscription-based FitXR (a move that earned it some backlash).
The benefits of consistently-updated fitness platforms are undeniable, but VR is still finding its feet in the fitness space, and these services don’t offer as versatile and intense a workout as your everyday alternatives. That can make the subscription commitment hard to justify to some. Les Mills Bodycombat’s one-time purchase approach might appeal to those still on the fence about the prospect.
For $29.99, Bodycombat offers 30 workout routines based around boxing. If you’ve played FitXR or most other rhythm-based VR games then you’ll know the basics: targets arrive to the beat of the music and you have to punch them, whilst obstacle zones require you to duck or squat out of the way. You select a playlist that runs anywhere between 5 – 20 minutes and you can even compete with other players’ previous scores to keep you motivated.
This isn’t the most original VR workout experience, then, but Bodycombat gets the basics right and then expands on them with some welcome personality. Instructors Dan Cohen & Rachael Newsham have pre-recorded tutorials and voice work for every workout in the app and talk to you consistently throughout a session. It gives each session a little camaraderie in the spirit of a spin class, and though their encouragement might sometimes be out of sync with your actual performance, their constant reminders on how to properly execute the moves are definitely appreciated.
The app also places a good amount of emphasis on technique and offers a few more motions we haven’t seen elsewhere, like punching high and low or swinging out your arms in a t-pose. In a 20 minute, high-intensity workout I found myself getting pretty out of breath, legs starting to feel heavy from the number of squats. I’m a pretty active person that regularly runs and bikes, so it’s always reassuring when an app can make me sweat in my first session.
Elsewhere there are some issues, like that usual thing with VR apps being over-keen on the calories burned counter, but overall the experience is pretty trouble-free. The music’s also your standard gym fare, though this isn’t as big of a focus as with games like Beat Saber.
Ultimately Les Mills Bodycombat might not be the most inventive VR fitness app out there, and it doesn’t have the novel ideas that developer Odders delivered with OhShape, but it gets the basics right and offers a polished experience and a wide range of effective workouts for a one-time price.
Les Mills Bodycombat is available on Quest now for $29.99.