Swish! Jump like Jordan and dunk like Durant in the latest virtual reality basketball game Meta mission 2 platform: Gym Class VR. However, don’t think for a second that this game makes it easy for you to imitate the GOATs. One of the most challenging aspects of Gym Class VR—and the game’s best features—is that it mirrors the physics of real basketball match.
In other words, the same efforts and maneuvers you use in the physical realm to dunk that basketball into the net are the same actions you’ll need to use in Gym Class VR. No relaxation here!
At a fancy gym in midtown Manhattan, the Gym Class VR team invited me and fellow Laptop Mag contributor TJ Fink to demo the popular virtual reality basketball game, and man, we did a heck of a lot of work! With a fun, competitive multiplayer element, real-world basketball mechanics, and challenging gameplay, it’s clear to me why Gym Class VR is a breakthrough, amassing over one million downloads and a 4.9-star rating among 17,000 reviews.
While I recommend FitXR and Supernatural for anyone looking for VR workout apps to spice up their fitness routines, Gym Class VR is another fat burner that’s perfect for basketball enthusiasts who don’t mind sweating it out in the metaverse.
Why is Gym Class VR such a great workout?
As I hinted at in the beginning, shooting, grappling, blocking, jumping, and sprinting in Gym Class VR are all based on physical movements in the real world. To give you a picture of how this contrasts with the less realistic gameplay, let me describe what it’s like to play basketball in AltSpaceVR, Microsoft’s metaverse app. This platform features a basketball net in users’ virtual homes, but to make a shot, you can simply throw the ball in the general direction of the net and watch it fall.
Try to do that in Gym Class VR, though, and the ball won’t get very close to the rim — it’ll just hit the bar and bounce off into the ether. As such, in Gym Class VR, you’ll need to exert the same launch power in the metaverse as you would in real life. Even the angles of your shots and the tracking of your wrists must be correct to earn the privilege of shouting, “Nothing but net!”
Naturally, with all that in-game dribbling, shooting, squatting, passing, and more, you’re bound to find yourself getting a workout—even if that wasn’t your original intention. According to the folks at Gym Class VR, users typically lose 300 calories per trial session.
Gym Class VR modes
The base Gym Class VR game is free, but note that you will be limited to multiplayer play. You don’t have to spend a dime if you want to play against strangers all over the world in 1v1, 2v2 and 3v3 modes.
However, you can practice on your own in the training mode and tutorial sections, which allow you to participate in shootouts and traversal exercises with an AI bot. However, if you want to play against an AI opponent in a 1v1 game, you’ll need to pay $12.99 to upgrade the game to General Manager (GM) (opens in new tab) mode.
With GM mode, you’ll also gain the privilege of having your own custom private court where you can shoot some hoops with your friends. The ability to create custom full body avatars is another benefit you will get. You can change everything from your character’s jawline, chin and nose to lips, eyebrow shape and skin tone. With the base game only, your avatar is a faceless character and you can only change his shirt (you only have five options to choose from).
To summarize, you can practice with the free base game giving you access to Shootout, Passoff and Offense training modes, but if you want to test your skills in an actual 1v1 game with an AI bot (with a custom avatar to boot), you need to upgrade to GM mode.
After just five minutes of playing Shootout Mode, a quick training session that lets me practice my shooting skills with an AI bot, I was drenched in sweat. I could feel my core tighten as I reached for the balls lying to my left before standing back up to hit my best shot. Of course, my arm muscles also activated as I struggled to beat the AI and the clock.
If you really want a full-body workout, jump into an instant game, allowing Gym Class VR to match you with other users with similar skill sets for a good old competitive game of b-ball. Depending on how big your space is, you can run around, dodge opponents and dribble your way to victory. If you do not have a spacious play area, no worries; you can just use joystick to move.
With the sudden bursts of running, jumping, shuffling, catching, passing and shooting the ball, I could feel my hamstrings, glutes, calves, core, triceps and forearms getting the workout of a lifetime.
Track your performance and progress
Thanks to Gym Class VR’s performance analysis and in-game statistics, you can track your progress and skill development. For example, within the last 30 days, you can get a report of your earnings. You can also see the number of shots you’ve taken, your shot attempts, game points, and more.
My favorite part of the stats in the game is the fact that there’s a bird’s eye view map of the basketball court that shows the areas where you tried to shoot the ball (and missed); they are represented as red dots. The green dots represent your successful shots. You can scroll through your game history to see this map for every game you’ve played.
With this card you can narrow down your areas of weakness and strength. Using this to your advantage, you can sharpen your skills. It’s also worth noting that you can view the profiles of others in the Gym Class VR community, so you can check and challenge yourself to outdo your rivals.
How Gym Class VR can be improved
The problem with multiplayer games that allow voice chat is that they attract foul-mouthed, rude and tactless players. I tried to see if I could mute other players and/or make them disappear completely, but I couldn’t find the option to do so. If there is a way, it is not immediately obvious.
I would agree that many aspects of Gym Class VR reflect the real mechanics and locomotive action of a basketball game in the physical realm, but the dribbling could be a bit more realistic. As it is now, using the Quest 2 controllers, you have to catch the ball (requiring you to hold down the catch button) and release it. It will feel more realistic to just hit the ball on the ground and let gravity work with my dribbling rhythm. As it turns out, after talking to Gym Class VR co-founder Paul Kasten, a more natural dribbling is in the works for the basketball simulator game. Wow!
If you, like me, get bored extremely quickly and have a hard time sticking to your fitness routine, consider Gym Class VR. In my opinion, the best workouts don’t I feel it like a workout – you’re just having fun and burning calories along the way.
If you’re a basketball fan but don’t have enough friends to play a pickup game, Gym Class VR has you covered by connecting you with players from around the world for a fun, immersive game of b-ball. If you prefer a more solo experience, you can stick to the training mode, and once you’re ready to step up your game, consider upgrading to the GM mode to take on the AI bot for a sweaty, hard-hitting 1v1 game.