Flowborne is a new meditation app on SideQuest, available now as a pre-release for Oculus Quest users. It takes an ingenious new approach using Touch controllers to accurately monitor your breathing patterns, which guide your movement through a meditative experience.
The app comes from Vunderwelten VR Studio and is described as a an “evidence-based experience that measures the player’s breath and uses it as a game controller, all natively on the Oculus Quest without the need for external devices.”
The way this is achieved is by holding a Touch controller against your abdomen, making sure it hits the perfect sweet spot where the app can accurately tell when you’re breathing through your diaphragm. The Touch controller will vibrate softly to indicate when its in the right position, and I found that moving it away from that sweet spot resulted in the controller being unresponsive until I moved it back.
The experience is set in a tranquil, Where Thoughts Go-esque environment, and sees you follow in the footsteps of Yuna, an ancestor who once roamed the world to discover the secrets of breathing. The world itself is beautiful and the soundtrack is a calming, original composition as well.
In terms of controls, a deep breath in will reveal Yuna’s path, and a deep breath out will move you along it. The deeper you inhale and exhale, the more of the path you reveal and the further you’ll travel. The system is ingenious and really encourages you to take nice, deep breaths.
That being said, it might not be for everyone. My VR legs were strong enough that I didn’t experience any motion sickness, but the nature of the movement system means it’s entirely artificial and so some people might experience motion sickness.
That being said, it’s only a short experience for now — this initial first part in the pre-release is only around five minutes. The second half of the experience will be released in a future update.
UPDATE: The developers let us know that there’s actually six levels available in the game at the moment, however the UI makes this a bit unclear — they are working on an update to provide a clearer UI with better access to all six levels.
While I did capture footage of the experience, it ultimately wouldn’t be very interesting to watch — with no controls beside my breathing, it results in a rather boring video. However, the experience is rather comforting on a personal level and it’s definitely something I would encourage others to try out.