- Compatible Products From The Icaros Range Of VR Exercise Equipment
- Pros and Cons
- Overall Verdict:
- What I Liked About This VR Software
- Things That Could Have Been Better
Core stability training made fun with virtual reality, creatively designed exercise program
Yet another entry in the ICAROS series, CORE establishes the exergame series further. ICAROS is known for its innovative hardware, but is its software just as good?
While we’ll answer that question in part today, let’s think a little about the word gamification. Simply, to gamify something means to add challenging mechanics, a game-like design, and enhance motivation means through multi-tiered reward systems. This process is brilliantly revered. Whether it’s designed from the ground up or altered in some way along its development, gamification of systems is what’s pushing the entertainment industry forward, so what of fitness aspects, how do they benefit from gamification?
Well, from motivation streams to unique muscle targeting, using a game-like approach to bot equipment and machinery dawns a whole new light on the world of exercise. Having a reward system and game-like design will undoubtedly help to enhance your fitness, but more specifically, by getting you more excited to work out. Post that, you get to use your body in non-standardised fitness styles. In short, whether you’re using the ICAROS pro or Cloud 360, you’re making use of your body in a way that you wouldn’t on a bike, a leg press or a rowing machine.
As for the details of CORE itself, ICAROS writes – ”CORE is a complete exercise software that trains core stability, functionality and reactivity in various difficulty levels and intensities.” From my experience, CORE capitalises on mechanics already used by ICAROS in other games. For example, flying through circles, balancing to match up your pointing to a small dot and other balance to accuracy-based exercises. While it’s wrapped differently, CORE uses many of the classic balance-based techniques to help improve your core strength. And because we sit down a hell of a lot, every single one of us could use some core stability training.
In order to see whether CORE is still resonating for me post-test, I’m going to have to break down all that was involved in order to understand why it is I may or may not like it. Thankfully, you’re here for the ride, and get a free review while I do so.
Let the challenge begin.
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- HD Graphics
- Dynamic object shaping
- On-screen action
- Interlinked menu and feedback
Reactivity is a mode that allows you to fly through the air, taking control of a digital craft, in order to fly through checkpoints. Naturally, this level of body reactivity, demanding you control the ICAROS machine to draw you up, down or left and right, targets your core muscles with every turn. The classic mode is greatly welcomed as the lovely aesthetics of a high sky scene makes this exergame/software a tranquil experience.
The functionality will see you flying through the air in a similar vein to reactivity. However, this challenge will make sure that you complete a much longer sequence of fly-throughs (rectangular checkpoints), targeting a different kind of core focus. Making sure that you harness your ability to endure, functionality challenges you in terms of strength over time, and time under tension is a massive factor in building muscle and improving muscular infrastructure.
Another classic feeling mode, stability, demands that you balance your body in one place for a specific amount of time. In doing so, you’re again utilising time under tension to support different muscle areas and take advantage of supportive areas of your body. With a good few types of position, you’ll be sure to target every part of your core muscles, as well as upper legs, shoulders, and back too. A great game mode with a satisfying UX.
Difficulty levels are, of course, a great thing. If you had a control group without difficulty levels, you might find that they viewed the experience as being too easy or not challenging enough. As anyone who wants anything to do with the fitness industry will know, the ability to have an intense workout if wanted is essential. That’s why you’d see significant differences in the control group without the levels of difficulty – if you only have one difficulty, you have no gauge of what could be harder.
Pros and Cons
To conclude, this exergame is one of my favourites out of the entire ICAROS library so far. There’s something about the mature feel. Maybe it’s the sky aesthetics, that classic ICAROS white look, or maybe it’s because the challenges were a little more fitness-focused. Either way, I had a great time using CORE, and my abs seem to be hurting as a result – not bad! Virtual worlds can often feel a little too young, so with strength training being the sole focus of this game, clues in the name, then you’ll find a far more adult world here.
While I feel that some of the modes are a little too familiar i.e. flying through checkpoints and so forth, the new wrapping or repackage does feel different. It’s because of the combination of all three (Functionality, Reactivity and Stability) that I feel this exergame presents itself as new, and that’s no bad thing. Forget a spectacular vertical free fall for a moment, this exergame, built to be used with the ICAROS pro combines fitness solutions with a modern and forward-thinking feel and strays more into the realms of physical education than arcade fun. Love it.
No matter your ICAROS device, you will enjoy this experience just as much, if not more, than others on the list. From swimming efficiency to upper body strengthening, CORE really makes you feel like you’re making considerable progress, an area that doesn’t always hit with some of the other exergames.
In short, I love this experience and implore anyone to give it a go.
What I Liked About This VR Software
One of my favourite aspects of this exergame was the user feedback. With options and ratings, you get to decide how you play, or engage, in the future. Through ICAROS giving you feedback, i.e. a score and some other metrics, you get to closely analyse what and how you’re doing. And through giving ICAROS details, ICAROS is able to give you an experience based on your feedback, all be it in a few months when things get released and updated. ICAROS combines fitness with modern technology in a way that very few do, and it’s this forward-thinking approach to engaging fitness routines that really makes games like CORE feel like the future. And to even call this exergame a game is a bit of an injustice – CORE is a suite, a central hub for your core strength training, and with a professional and mature finish to it, you’ll be feeling like the grown trainer you’ve always wanted to be.
Another thing I liked was the approach to endurance. Specifically, the fact that the ICAROS Pro and Home can allow you so much in the way of body control and movement. From lower and upper limbs to abdominal muscles and back muscles, you really are challenged to target your entire body with these movements. For example, matching up your position with an on-screen shape that slowly gets filled, provided you stay on target, is a great and rewarding way of enduring a certain body movement – this is gamification, so if you’re unsure of what that meant to begin with then you shouldn’t be worried now.
Things That Could Have Been Better
I do think some more variation within these games would have been welcomed. The difficulty settings are great, and they do feel like they enhance them somewhat, but in reality, I’m still doing similar stuff to fighting pirates or racing sharks. Those games are a lot less core-centric in a design sense, but it’s still mainly using the same ethos. The only mode that isn’t really like this is stability, testing the long-term maintenance of specific muscle group strain via one single position is brilliant. Other than that, I’d love to be able to write the word brilliant a little more over this exergame.
But don’t let my words here put you off. It’s an experience, after all. And just like a hotel isn’t only a bed in a room, CORE isn’t just ‘move body to feel good’. The whole experience has great aesthetics, but I would have loved to see some more in the way of dynamic scenery or objects. Some setting would have been cool, maybe a mountaintop spa or a tranquil lake to help bolster the sense of calmness would have been ace.
Why is core muscle training a good thing?
Core muscle training is an obvious plus benefit for those wanting to work out and grow their bodies. Core strength is brilliant for a number of reasons. offering support in your workouts, letting you endure cardio better, and helping you to manoeuvre in general makes core strength training a go-to exercise type.
Is physical fitness really worth it on the ICAROS?
Absolutely it is. ICAROS machines target muscles and let your train in unique ways, but in no way does that mean a limitation. Okay, you’ll want to get yourself a cable machine or leg press if you want to lift weights or gain serious muscle, but if you want to train for fitness and endurance, then it’s a great way to go about it.
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