VR and boxing was just meant to be, wasn’t it? We’ve had a few boxing games released for VR over the last few years, with notable releases like Creed: Rise to Glory and Knockout League doing great work in bringing the gentleman’s sport to VR. A new challenger has now entered the right: The Thrill of the Fight.
The Thrill of the Fight is a pure boxing game. There are no meters to show your stamina. The other guy doesn’t have a health-bar for you to steadily chip away at. No, you just get put in a ring and left to scrap it out against your opponent until either one of you is knocked down, or the rounds finish and the result is left to the judges.
I love it. I bloody love it.
I also hate it for putting my back out, but I’ll take the fall on that one. Trust me, before you play this game – or any active VR game, for that matter – do some stretches. The Thrill of the Fight is a very physical game. Even though you’re swinging into thin air, you’ll be putting all of your might into those late-round punches, and if you’re not careful you’ll do yourself some damage.
The first thing you need to know about The Thrill of the Fight is that it is a game that needs a lot of room. If you’re hoping to play this one in your dingey little bedsit, think again. The game recommends a play space of at least 2m x 2m, but you can get away with having a little less. My living room would easily accommodate that space after a few minutes of moving coffee tables and chairs, but I make do with a slightly smaller space and I haven’t suffered because of it. The game uses a system that puts all of the action in the area you’ve defined, meaning your opponent will generally stay within your boundaries.
The first fight is the easiest, and from there it just gets harder. My first opponent was a chubby dude in the training ring, and even though it was a short 2-round bout, I was knackered once the final bell had rung. Surely a sign that at 29 years of age, I’m more than a little unfit. The second fight was better, though, as I found my rhythm and didn’t go nuts on the other guy straight away. Instead, I waited for the openings and let slip a few jabs here and there. A few bruises started to appear over his left eye. I was winning! I didn’t get the knockout, but when the final bell rang I was announced as the winner.
The next fight didn’t go so well. I should have taken a rest, but I didn’t. Instead, I went in football fan style. I swung wildly, landing a few hits here and there, but I was worn down quickly and my opponent took advantage. My guard wasn’t up, and I got battered.
The Thrill of the Fight is the closest thing we’ve got right now to a real fighting simulator. You can block by pulling your hands up in front of your face. You can defend your lower section by bringing your arms across your belly. You can dodge every hit that comes your way if you’re fast enough. I’m not, but maybe you are. Punches land with some satisfying feedback, and I’m really, really thankful there isn’t a way to feel the punches the A.I throws, because some of them boys are just monsters. There’s no gamey gimmick, it’s just you and another fella duking it out with your fists. It helps that the tracking words brilliantly, too, though I did have a few issues when I was swinging my punches too fast. It felt like the tracking was struggling to keep up, so I slowed down a little and things worked perfectly.
For less than a tenner in price, I can’t complain about what The Thrill of the Fight brings to the VR table. It’s cheap, accessible, and most of all, really good fun. It’s a workout, too, as I was left sweating and panting at the end of every round. I ended up bringing my office chair to where my in-game corner is so I could collapse into it between rounds. All I need now is a screaming trainer to tell me how to win, and a friend to splash water into my mouth. Oh, and skills, but whatever.
The Thrill of The Fight makes the transition to Oculus Quest with no problem. The graphics are great and I didn’t notice any glitches or slowdown. Being completely wireless helps a great deal, too, as you’re able to duck and weave, swing and jab, and even run away without fear of pulling a cable from somewhere.
There’s a single-player campaign to work through, as well as some training modes to get your in-form. You can try your hand at the speedball, let out some pent-up aggression on the punching bag, or go absolutely nuts on the mannequin. In fact, I’d highly recommend giving that a go as your first port of call; the mannequin has lights that indicate how hard you’re hitting it and which areas you should be aiming for in the ring.
Some silly, optional fights have been added to celebrate Halloween, so if you want to try your hand at punching a zombie to death, you’re free to give it a go. For me, I didn’t like it. But at least I could run away using the Quest! (Straight into a wall…)
The Thrill of the Fight Oculus Quest Review
Overall - Must Buy - 9/10
The Thrill of the Fight feels less like a game and more like a training exercise. The game’s sole developer has done a great job at stripping away the fat and just keeping a lean, mean, boxing regime. You could lose hours inside your headset, and a few pounds, too.
A great workout!
Tracking works well, so long as you don’t overdo it
Plenty of content and options to tweak the game to your liking
The play space requirement is a little annoying, but manageable
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game bought at the expense of the reviewer. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using Oculus Quest.
Also available on:
Oculus Rift, Windows Mixed Reality, HTC Vive, Vive Index
October 24th, 2019 (Oculus Quest)
July 1st, 2016 (PCVR)