Supernatural VR review: getting into the flow

Today we are taking a look at the popular Meta Quest fitness app Supernatural. Find out what the workouts are like, how effective they are, and how I feel about the overall program offered in our latest VR fitness review.

Supernatural VR review video

Subscribe to Connect The Watts for more connected fitness news, updates, tips, and guides

Why try Supernatural?

Over the last five years, I’ve played with a variety of different VR games, but until I recently got an Oculus Quest, I had never considered trying a fitness-focused program.  Plenty of games played have left me drenched in sweat, but none of them had fitness as the primary purpose.

The reason I never really considered fitness in VR was because all the headsets I had used were bulky and connected to a ton of cords. This is not so with the Quest’s smaller, lighter, cordless design, which opens up the possibility for a more active experience.

Flow, Supernatural’s flagship category

The primary workout type with by far the most content is Flow.  In Flow, you have two batons that you use to hit targets of each bat’s corresponding color. This is all done to the beat of the music. If you’ve ever played the VR rhythm game Beat Saber, it is very similar to that except for one key difference; Supernatural is designed with the intention to get you moving more and through a wider range of motion.

This means, instead of everything in your visual scope being tight and compact, some targets are high up, others low, and even triangular barriers that require you to squat to stay within them. An instructor will also help you warm up and cool down after each session. Longer workouts can be found in Flow, ranging anywhere from around 10-30 minutes. 

The more I did Flow workouts, the more enjoyable they became. The first few workouts, you are thinking so much about what to do and with which arm to hit the targets, you spend the time just trying to keep up with it all. But as you become familiar with it, you really can enter a flow state, like the name suggests. This is where your body just responds to the cues and you kind of get lost in the music.

Once this clicked for me, and I was able to take on Supernatural’s harder workouts, I really started to enjoy it. The music there is really good, and each workout is designed in unique ways around each song. I found the instructors’ voices to be a good addition to keep me going, especially on some of the longer, tougher workouts. 

Although I found Flow to be really fun, the problem I have with it is that as someone who works out pretty frequently, it doesn’t quite demand enough out of me to qualify as a complete workout. It would occasionally get my heart rate up moderately high, but nowhere near what I would see during a typical non-VR workout. So I would tend to use these Flow sessions as warmups for other workouts, and to that end, they worked great.

Boxing, Supernatural’s newest category

Boxing, on the other hand, gave me what I would absolutely consider a main event workout. These workouts are similar to Flow, but no batons and you are throwing various punches and dodging. I found these to be much more difficult and effective workouts overall. Here, you have to be careful when throwing those uppercuts because you can definitely end up launching your headset. I’m not going to lie, I did that more than once.

There are three things that I don’t like about Supernatural Boxing.  First, very little instruction on form for throwing punches. I’m someone who is newer to shadow boxing instruction and seeing or following along to an instructor is something find really useful. Next, Supernatural should be able to utilize the Oculus controller-free hand tracking mode. Holding onto controllers is not how I would like to take a boxing class.

The tech is there, I wish they were using it. And finally, the number of available boxing workouts is limited. This is a newer category, and I’m guessing a bit less popular, so it’s also not having new workouts released daily like Flow, so the library for boxing is growing at a very slow pace.

Meditate and Stretch

Then there is the Meditate category. I’m not a huge meditation guy, but I do like what they have here. Being in these environments, you’re less distracted, so I found it much easier to focus on the spoken instructions. And because of that, VR just feels like a natural fit for something like guided meditation. You’re taken away and transported somewhere very calm and relaxing. I don’t think Meditate is a reason to get the app, but it is a nice inclusion here. 

Finally, there is the Stretch category. I really liked the classes I took here, and similar to Meditate, I found it useful to have no distractions around while I stretched. That said, Supernatural’s offerings are very slim in this category, with little more than a dozen classes to choose from and most of them being pretty short. I think this is a missed opportunity. If this was expanded to daily sessions, I think I would find myself jumping into Supernatural more often just to take them.

What is Supernatural missing?

After you complete a workout, you can see your scores, your stats, your heart rate info, all of which I found to be pretty well organized. The biggest downside to me: the leaderboard. One of the things that drives and push me in these workouts is the scoring system, but without being able to compare my scores to everyone else, it becomes almost meaningless.

Supernatural has decided to stay away from being seen as a competitive gameplay app by removing everyone from the leaderboard who isn’t your friend. And since none of my friends use Supernatural (it’s relatively new, not available globally, VR still a little niche), that means I have no comparison.  I consider this is a huge mistake and it removes a big incentive that would keep me interested in coming back. 

Another big mistake, in my opinion, is the lack of gamification. I feel crazy saying that because, on the surface, Supernatural seems to be all about gamifying fitness. But in reality, they do this very little.  

There are no daily, weekly, or monthly challenges to complete, and nothing to ultimately earn or work toward. This would be a silly thing to hold against most fitness products, but being a game, I feel there is no excuse to not have simple things that make games so addictive.

Why not have monthly challenges to earn items to keep in the room where you select workouts, multiplayer option to compete head-to-head, rankings, a complete leaderboard… to me it makes no sense and takes away from what could have easily been a much more attractive offer. 

Cost

The price of Supernatural is, honestly, where I have the biggest issue. Supernatural costs $19 a month, or $180 a year, when paid upfront. This price point isn’t absurd for a complete fitness program, but Supernatural doesn’t feel like it is there just yet. The experience is mainly limited to daily Flow workouts and some boxing workouts. Which, to be fair, are really well done, and I’m sure their production and music rights cost quite a bit.

I imagine for a lot of people who would be interested in using Supernatural, it would be as a supplement to other more complete programs. $180 seems too steep for that. I don’t think it’s far from being worth the price, maybe with other types of bodyweight strength classes and more regular stretching sessions, or implementing the gamification functions I mentioned earlier.

Who is Supernatural for?

If you are completely new to fitness and want something fun to get you motivated to just get up and move each day, then I certainly think Supernatural could be worth it. But after a while, once you get into a regular routine or reach your initial fitness goals, you may want to move on to something that can provide a bit more. Or maybe you continue to use Supernatural as a fun supplement to other training, as long as you use it enough to justify the $19 per month price point. 

Final thoughts

Since Supernatural is continually evolving with new updates, I’ll definitely be jumping back in every so often. I’ll want to see for myself what’s new and improved, and, at the end of the day, I have really enjoyed my time with it so far. Supernatural is a lot of fun. I’m hopeful that, at some point, I’ll be able to make an update saying that Supernatural is a great deal and I highly recommend it for most people. But today, it’s not quite there. 

Buy Meta Quest Here


Subscribe on YouTube for more Connected Fitness Tech News, Updates, Tips and Guides:

Load more...
Show More Comments