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- Supernatural is a workout game for Oculus VR headsets.
- It costs $19.99 per month and is similar to Peloton’s platform: great music, inspiring coaches, and an engaged community.
- I enjoy Supernatural so much that my husband forced me to take a break after I did four workouts in one day.
Like many folks who’ve endured the past two years of the pandemic, I’ve contemplated buying a Peloton bike. Not only did it seem like a great way to exercise while socially distanced, but the idea of being a part of a virtual fitness community seemed ideal when any sort of in-person community was hard to come by.
I nearly pulled the trigger a few times but was always put off by its high cost and declining reputation. Plus, where would I even put it? And how would it fare in my upcoming move?
What is Supernatural?
Supernatural is an immersive fitness game that takes place in virtual reality. It offers a whole body workout set in stunning locations around the world. You can play it anywhere and at any time, so long as you have your VR headset on you.
How gameplay works in Supernatural
Supernatural’s signature gameplay is called Flow where you use your controllers to smash oncoming targets to the beat of a song, while simultaneously squatting and lunging to fit your body underneath sets of triangles. If you’ve played other rhythm games like Beat Saber or Audio Trip, you’ll find it very similar.
Each Flow session takes place in a beautiful locale (i.e. the salt flats of Bolivia or a volcano in Iceland) and consists of two to eight songs worth of target-smashing sandwiched between a warm-up and cool-down. A coach joins you for the warm-up and cool-down and offers voiceover support throughout the rhythm work.
Supernatural also offers boxing but with modifications so the hand movements are like jabs and the footwork is more ducking and dodging. You can also partake in meditations and things called Moments where you just relax in your desired location for a few minutes.
Cost and technical requirements
To play Supernatural, you need an Oculus Quest or Oculus Quest 2 VR headset. The game isn’t currently available for other VR devices like HP’s Reverb or Playstation VR. The headset is no doubt the biggest upfront cost, with a Quest 2 currently retailing for $300. That said, you can play many more games than just Supernatural with it.
The game itself is free to download but requires a monthly or annual subscription to use. The monthly option costs $19 per month and comes with a 7-day free trial, while the annual option costs $180 per year and comes with a 14-day free trial.
You can enhance your experience by also pairing the game with a phone app (available for Android and iPhone) and a compatible heart rate monitor, though neither is required to play the game.
What it’s like to play Supernatural
I tried three different rhythm games for my Oculus before I came to Supernatural but none of them held my attention very long. I was glad Supernatural offered a free trial so I could see what it was about before committing.
As it turned out, I needed only a few songs before I was well and truly hooked. Supernatural satisfies exactly what I’ve looked for in a pandemic workout routine: great music, motivating instructors, and a whole lot of fun.
The game delivers a truly great workout (I have the sweat and the sore muscles to prove it). The gameplay feels a lot like dance or lightsaber fighting and there are days when I play until I literally can’t raise my arms. Even when that happens, I’m itching to jump back in.
It’s also stunning to look at. Since international travel is on hiatus, I love the opportunity to feel like I’m somewhere else in the world, even for a few minutes. The choreography feels transporting, too; sometimes it’s like I’m conducting an orchestra or battling a wizard a la Harry Potter, while other times I feel like I’m throwing battle ropes in a CrossFit gym.
Similar to Peloton, Supernatural’s fleet of coaches come with their own personality and style. I love Ranier Pollard’s workouts for some extra pep and Leanne Pedante’s classes when I need a boost of confidence.
The platform licenses music for its workouts, so you’ll find a huge selection of songs plus new ones added every workout. A problem with other rhythm games I’ve tried is that they play the same few songs over and over. Since Supernatural adds two to three workouts per day, there are new songs and choreography keeping everything interesting.
Aside from daily workouts, there’s also a robust library of existing routines that can be filtered by coach, class type, length, music genre, and intensity. My current favorites include a Disney workout where you smash targets to “Under the Sea” and “Let it Go” and the Mood Booster class featuring The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony” led by Supernatural community member turned guest coach, Chesney Mariani.
Supernatural’s community is one of its biggest draws and it has an incredibly active community Facebook page with nearly 43,000 members. It’s filled with people of all ages, abilities, and body sizes offering support, posting videos and workout recaps, and linking with new friends to follow in the game.
Each in-game leaderboard ranks everyone you’re following according to how hard and long they’ve worked out that week. Striving for the top spot is inherently stimulating and since you can customize your leaderboard, community members often follow people of similar age and ability for motivation. The game’s coaches are all very active in the group, too, which is fun to see.
The game sorts its workouts into four categories: low, medium, hard, and pros only. So far I’ve stuck to low and medium and found them plenty intense. I ventured into one hard workout and while I survived, it’s still a category I’m working up to.
I also love that you can invest just a few minutes or a whole afternoon in the game. Some workouts are as short as eight minutes and I’ve found it’s easy to pick up the headset for a quick sweat between meetings.
Cons to consider
Most of my “cons” for Supernatural are simply cons to working out in VR. For one, it’s hard to be aware of your actual surroundings when you’re beating down targets in the virtual world. I’ve hit the wall a few times and once knocked down an overhead light fixture with a particularly vigorous upswing.
Sweating while wearing a VR headset can also get awkward. Sometimes when I’m a few songs into a workout, my headset gets so foggy with sweat I can barely see. Many Supernatural devotees in the Facebook group swear by specialized headsets or bands like the Kiwi Strap or the Elite Strap, though I’ve yet to use either.
Regarding the game itself, I mostly wish you could either skip certain songs in a workout or save your favorites to revisit later. Instead, you have to go through the whole workout for one song you like. I’m sure music licensing is an issue but it’d be nice to make my own curated playlists.
The bottom line
Supernatural is one of the most fun workouts I’ve ever done — VR or otherwise. I love the immersive gameplay and motivating community. If you’ve been looking for an at-home workout with some of the vibe of a group class but with more accessibility, I think Supernatural will scratch that itch.