Beat Saber is usually the first game most people play when they get a VR headset. It’s also the first game most people show someone else in VR. It’s a simple enough concept that most people can pick it up and play, while still getting the experience of VR. But is it a good workout game? Let’s get started on this Beat Saber review.
What is Beat Saber?
Beat Saber is a VR rhythm game where you slash cubes as they float towards you in time to the music. Beat Saber is developed by Beat Games, and this is their only title.
Beat Saber is available on Steam VR, PlayStationVR, Oculus Rift, and Oculus Quest 2. There is NO cross-buy between the platforms (You have to buy the game on EACH headset. There is also no Oculus share between accounts)
Beat Saber Gameplay Review
Beat Saber is really easy to play. Hit the right color notes with the right colored saber as they fly towards you. You will be provided with some haptic feedback on the controllers when you hit correctly.
There is a basic tutorial that gets you through the how-tos. Many people don’t even bother with this because the game is that simple.
The songs are pretty short for the most part, giving you just a bit of a workout. You try and progress through the various difficulties easy, normal, hard, expert, and expert +, getting to the “crazy” expert and expert plus levels. That’s where the game starts getting REALLY challenging.
There is a definite dancey flow to the songs. You should try and find the rhythm and patterns that will definitely pop up and repeat through the song. Once you find the beat, everything should flow into place and you can slash those blocks!
How to get better at Beat Saber
I think the best part of Beat Saber is that you are able to play this game successfully and the lower difficulties without issue for most people. You feel accomplished. As you increase in difficulty, you will start to fail, but the game is fun enough that you will likely keep at it. Other fitness games have a very high level of difficulty when starting out. You will frequently fail and feel like you are getting nowhere, which can cause you to give up. Beat Saber has mastered the amount of “success” before the fail better than pretty much any other game out there.
If you want to get better at Beat Saber, I fully recommend playing through the campaign mode to increase your abilities. There will be fun challenges in the campaign like “Move the sabers this distance” during this song. Although sometimes these challenges are difficult and really push you, it helps you learn how to move faster, and increase your score in a gradual way.
I also fully recommend using practice mode. This allows you to fast forward to a part of the song you are having trouble with and then slow the song right down. Doing this a few times over and over will allow you to get the flow of that part of the song, memorize it and then ultimately beat it.
Beat Saber Songs
All the songs included in Beat Saber are likely songs you do not know (aka royalty-free music or music made FOR Beat Saber). There are 8 additional music packs that you can purchase for Beat Saber that include popular artists that you know like Linkin park, Timbaland, Green day, or Imagination Dragon.
There are 36 songs in the base version of the game.
How to get Custom Songs On Beat Saber?
Unlike some of the other fitness games out there, Beat Saber does NOT include the ability to do custom songs as part of the game. If you wish to add custom songs into Beat Saber you will need to modify Beat Saber. This IS against the terms of service of both Beat Saber and Oculus. Many users do this anyway. If you choose to do this option, know that it IS illegal to do it. At this time, no one has been banned for modding Beat Saber.
Once you modify your Beat Saber client, you will no longer be able to play multiplayer or compare your scores to the official Beat Saber leader boards. You may also frequently receive a pop-up from beat saber to tell you that the client has been modified when you start.
If you still wish to get custom songs on Beat Saber, first backup your scores, and then you can install BMBF with Sidequest. If you need to install Sidequest, you can see how to do that here. Just scroll to the section on installing side quest.
This website gives you a detailed walkthrough of the various steps. This is not for the faint of heart and you WILL need a computer/Android Phone to do these steps.
Beat Saber Multiplayer Experience
There is Multiplayer. You can challenge your VR friends in real-time. Oculus can challenge all other oculus players (rift and quest). There is no cross-play between steam and Oculus though or PlayStation and Oculus. You can also challenge random strangers. There is no voice talking during the experience, but you can see them moving in real-time, and if you fail out you can see your friends continuing onward.
There is also a party mode in Beat Saber. You can keep track of the “last few scores” and see who did better in a party mode.
There is a worldwide leader board, a friend-only leader board, and your own personal score. Your headset may also notify you that someone has passed your score in a game via notification, which helps keep the challenge fresh and fun.
Can you workout with Beat Saber? Is Beat Saber a Fitness Game?
Many people have soo much fun during Beat Saber that they do not think of it as a fitness game. But it is, and it is a good one.
You will need to do rapid upper body movements, some sidestepping, as well as some squats to play Beat Saber. There is a DRAMATIC difference of workout intensity between an easy mode and expert level of gameplay in terms of your heart rate. This allows you to get familiar with the game at a gradual pace before reaching levels where you will likely fail.
A fitness problem that Beat Saber has compared to other VR fitness games, is the short song times and failing. If you are trying to maximize your workout, forget about your score and set Beat Saber to “no-fail” mode under settings. This will keep the cardio going. Also, make sure and rapidly select songs back to back to keep your heart rate elevated.
The Virtual Reality Institute of Health and Exercise rate this game as equal to Tennis or 6-8 Kcal/Min. Yur.fit also rates this as Tennis with 7.6 KCal/Min and 12 Squats an hour. That puts it higher than pretty much every other fitness game out there, including Supernatural and FitXR. Again, your mileage may vary depending on the intensity of your workout, but it is DEFINITELY a solid workout game, and not given nearly enough credit.
Does Beat Saber cause motion sickness?
You play Beat Saber in a stationary environment as blocks come towards you. There is no in-game movement.
Beat Saber should not cause any motion sickness issues.