The HTC Vive offers some mind-blowing virtual reality experiences. Some games like HoloBall can help you work up a huge sweat and take off pounds. One only has to look at the reviews of the game from users on Steam.
“Superbly awesome, I am so freaking sore from this game. Love it!” says Marcpullen.
“Tron raquet ball [sic]… a surprisingly good workout and an excellent use of VR,” claims Trakken.
Then, there are the HoloBall fans on Reddit.
“So I was hesitant to buy HoloBall, since I have always hated breakout type games, and assumed (the first three letters of that word are appropriate) that holoball [sic] was going to be like that. Boy, was I wrong,” says Reddit user Raywalters, who adds that the game is worth every penny of the $9.99 he paid for it.
Indeed, HoloBall certainly feels like you are playing racquetball in a Tron-like setting. You first get to choose your skill, and it appears that you can’t advance to “Medium” or “Difficult” without conquering “Easy” first, which isn’t so easy to do. But once you hit the spherical ball and start playing with the robot, you are hooked, both physically and mentally. The Tron-like music doesn’t add a whole lot to the experience, but it doesn’t scream, “Turn me off!” either. The robotic voice of your alien opponent sounds just as bad as the voice in the 1980’s arcade game Berzerk, but that hardly matters.
With HoloBall, you really get the same type of exercise as you would playing racquetball. As the rounds progress, even on the “Easy” level, things get intense. You have to duck, spin, twist, and do other things to make sure the ball doesn’t get past you or that you don’t hit a “dead ball.” But the game can also be dangerous if you are playing in a room with limited space. If you don’t put the string on the hand controller (which perfectly acts as a racquet), there is a chance you may end up throwing the controller and break something. If you ignore the boundaries that you first set up when tweaking the room scale with the HTC VIVE, you can easily crash into something. And, if you have a weak heart, you may want to stay away from this game.
The only thing that has been an issue is that, at times, the left racquet disappears or floats in an area you can’t reach. This could be happening because the computer HoloBall is being run on has the minimum requirements for virtual reality (8GB RAM, GeForce GTX 970 GPU), but it’s not that big of a deal. Besides, it’s probably better to play racquetball with just one racquet instead of two. You really feel like you are holding a racquet in your hand and are shocked back into reality when you realize it’s just one of the Vive controllers again. It’s hard to explain, but you actually see your controller (as a racquet) in the virtual reality world.
HoloBall has all the requirements for video game addiction — it’s simple, it’s fun, it’s inviting, and losing makes you want to start all over again. However, your addiction will also lead to great cardiovascular exercise, and, if you are like most Americans who are overweight, it will certainly help you shed off some pounds. HoloBall may not be the best or most talked about experience on the HTC Vive, but it certainly offers the most benefits.
[Photo via Daryl Deino]