VR Game 'Supernatural' Tricked Me Into Enjoying Exercise
The Oculus app can convert the most exercise-averse into workout fanatics.
In my 25 years on earth, I have never been particularly fond of physical activity. Growing up, I eschewed team sports in favor of indoor activities. When asked at annual check-ups if I exercise regularly, I usually avoid eye contact with my doctor and squeak out a pathetic “kind of!” My workout regimen is comprised of the odd pilates video or cardio tutorial (low-impact) on YouTube.
Though I am well aware of the physical and mental benefits of regular exercise, I’ve never managed to commit to a thrice of even twice-a-week routine. That all changed when I was introduced to the Oculus Quest 2, Facebook‘s latest virtual reality headset.
Among the gadget’s many games are a bevy of programs specifically designed for at-home exercise (a major plus amidst the pandemic). Some are explicitly advertised as dance or boxing apps, while others “trick” you into working out by disguising physical activity in a game.
As it turns out, it’s possible for me to enjoy exercise if I’m tricked into doing it. After trying out several workout programs for the Oculus, I found that Supernatural — cardio in a Tap Tap Revenge-style format — fooled me into exercising several times a week. In fact, I actually began looking forward to selecting my next workout from the app’s extensive library of gamified sweat sessions.
Keep reading to find out why this week’s Editor’s Pick has a lifelong exercise-phobe hooked on working out.
WHAT IT IS: Supernatural for the Oculus Quest
WHY IT’S WORTH THE HYPE: Supernatural‘s gameplay is fairly simple: you use the Oculus’ two motion controllers to strike cone-shaped targets that fly towards you to the beat of a song. Players also have the option to add squats and lunges to the game via glowing triangles that you must duck into as they pass overhead. Each workout, set to a playlist of popular songs spanning genres including dance, hip-hop, alternative and classical, is placed against a scenic 360-degree VR location — examples include the Galapagos, Machu Picchu and the Great Wall of China.
Though the game features a series of virtual “trainers” who guide you through each workout with words of encouragement (as well as a warm-up and cool-down video at the beginning and end), playing Supernatural does not feel like exercise. The program’s magic lies in its immersive nature: I become so absorbed by smashing targets and dodging triangles that I’m motivated to keep playing, and thereby working out. Unlike traditional workouts, which tend to get boring thanks to endless repetitions and countdown timers that never seem to move fast enough, Supernatural doesn’t feel dull or prescriptive.
In addition, Supernatural‘s music licensing deal means that each workout is set to songs, old and new, that you likely already enjoy grooving along to — some of my favorites include Lizzo‘s “Good As Hell,” The Cranberries’ “Zombie” and Robyn‘s “Dancing On My Own.” Working out to oldies and chart-topping bops is much more fun than moving to the generic EDM tracks that most exercise apps use.
Though you’ll never catch me going for a run or lifting weights at the gym, you will find me in the comfort of my own home, flailing my arms and squatting to the beat of Lizzo’s latest single. I may not look particularly graceful, but I can guarantee you I’m having a good time.
WHERE YOU CAN FIND IT: Supernatural is available on the Oculus Quest Store for $19 USD a month after a 30-day free trial.