Supernatural's VR Fitness App Takes You Around the World

Sweating on Machu Picchu

Key Takeaways

  • Supernatural is the most immersive virtual reality fitness app I’ve ever tried.
  • The destinations you can choose to exercise in the app include the Machu Picchu ruins.
  • The scenery is so stunning that I sometimes wanted to just look around rather than exercise.
Person playing Supernatural's VR fitness game on Oculus in a living room
Supernatural

I’m doing squats on the Great Wall of China. The view is fantastic, and I haven’t even left my house thanks to Supernatural, the most immersive virtual reality fitness app I’ve ever tried.

Supernatural tries to throw everything into a single fitness experience. It has photorealistic landscapes, pounding music, and daily workouts with coaches. For the most part, mixing all these elements works exceptionally well to keep you moving and distracted, to the point where you don’t notice you’re exercising.

I used Supernatural on my Oculus Quest 2 VR headset, and it proved up to the challenge of rendering all the graphics necessary. Whether bouncing around with a substantial plastic gadget strapped to your face is a look you want is up to you, though. 

Cheaper Than a Gym?

With the coronavirus pandemic still in full swing, I haven’t been to the gym in nearly a year. Supernatural is part of my attempts to see if I can get the same workouts I enjoyed without paying a hefty monthly membership fee. Of course, VR fitness isn’t free either. The Oculus is $299, plus Supernatural charges $19/month after a 30-day free trial, or $179 per year.

The graphics in Supernatural are a wonder to behold, though. The scenery is like nothing else I’ve seen in the admittedly limited selection of VR exercise games. The destinations you can choose to exercise in include the Galapagos' Isabela Island, Ethiopia's Erta Ale Volcano, and the Machu Picchu ruins. The scenery is so stunning I sometimes wanted to just look around rather than exercise.

I started with an intro session that showed me how to move around in the game. A straight triangle means you should squat through it. A triangle twisted to the left or right means you should lunge through the corresponding side.

A teacher appeared on a yoga mat floating in space. The same teacher guides you through a warm-up before each session, and their voice will give you tips as you progress through the workout. 

Break the Balloons

Once I entered the game, itself, my Oculus controllers became two batons, one black and one white. I slashed and batted away balloons with the rods of the corresponding color. Futuristic, glowing triangles rushed towards me, a signal that I should squat or lunge through them.

A coach weighed in with tips as I exercised, but I also kept an eye on my metrics. The app calibrates your height, arm span, squat depth, and lunges. I’m not sure every movement was precisely tracked to my efforts in practice, but it was close enough that it didn’t matter.

"For the most part, mixing all these elements works exceptionally well to keep you moving and distracted."

I was excited to be able to pair my heart rate monitor with the app. I got workout summaries showing the accuracy, movements, and power I expended during each session. There’s also a community feature of the Supernatural app that lets you share your workouts and find your mark on the weekly leaderboard.

I enjoyed using the Supernatural app, but I’m not sure it’s something I would stick to as a regular workout routine. This reluctance has nothing to do with the superb design and evident attention to detail the developers lavished on the app.

Breaking workout balloons with a black bat in Supernatural's VR fitness app
Supernatural

The problem is the Oculus headset itself just isn’t comfortable enough to be something I want to have strapped to my face while sweating and lunging. I was continually having to adjust the headset because it was slipping, taking me out of the moment when I was trying to concentrate on exercise. I also used headphones because the Oculus speakers are weak, so I had to manage an extra cord as well as the headphone straps.

Despite my reservations, I found Supernatural to be a worthy pandemic workout companion. If you're on the fence about it, it’s worth trying for the visuals alone.

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