Sequels don’t come much more by-the-numbers than Holopoint Chronicle. But then, for a game so matter-of-fact as ‘shoot arrows, get fit’, you don’t really need much else, do you? The original Holopoint helped people lose weight and the sequel looks like it will do the same.
This is evolution over revolution, with incremental improvements and additions leading to an overall better, more robust experience. The core of the game is the same; holographic projections appear around you and you have to shoot them with a bow and arrow as quickly as possible. When hit, targets fire a projectile back at you and you need to lean out of the way.
It’s a rhythm that keeps you alert, engaged and, most importantly, active. Holopoint is all about keeping on your toes and spinning in circles at all times in search of targets. Enemies will disappear if you don’t shoot them in time so you won’t have much opportunity for a breather. Were it less intense of an exercise it would surely lose its edge.
For context, I’m a regular runner. After my first 20 minute session with Holopoint Chronicle my heart was beating hastily and I was working up a sweat. The next day the muscles around my waist. Clearly it was the first time I’d used them in a while. This was all from some of the game’s earliest missions, where things are introduced at a pretty sturdy pace. If you’re looking for a VR game to keep you fit, this is definitely one to bear in mind, with one caveat.
Intensity comes at the cost of comfort. I’d love to be able to spend an hour or more working out in Holopoint but the constant spinning left me feeling dizzy and nauseous pretty quickly. Again, I’m not someone that suffers from VR sim sickness often, so make of that what you will.
But some of Chronicle’s additions do take some of that strain away. New projector objects give you hints as to the next target’s location, for example. That eases the frustration of suddenly being shot in the back and keeps you from being overwhelmed for just a little longer. You can now also notch up arrows without having to reach into your quill, a somewhat bothersome step in the first game.
But there’s still room for improvement. For starters, there’s still absolutely no introduction to what Holopoint is, how it works and how you progress. You sort of just have to stumble your way through it. I had no idea how to unlock later levels in the campaign, which discouraged me from actually doing so. Holopoint is a game that gets by on the strength of its core mechanics, but with a little spit n’ shine it could really inspire VR gamers to take their fitness to the next level.
Holopoint Chronicle is a fitting follow-up to a VR fitness gem with some welcome additions. This remains one of VR’s most engaging active games even if it requires a strong stomach (in more ways than one). But developer Alzan Studios could definitely push things a step further to encourage more people to keep playing. The Holopoint series has the foundations of active VR gaming down. With a little more structure, it could be one of its most essential experiences.