Boxing experience Thrill of the Fight is the toughest game I played, it got my heart rate the highest, and even though the graphics were a bit cheesy I ended up totally immersed. Between rounds of one fight, I nearly sat down on the virtual stool in my corner of the ring.
The hands-on experience begins when you start the app and see the menus explaining how the game works. Instead of pointing your controllers at buttons on the menus (most games have you aim them like laser guns), you walk directly up to the menu screens and touch them with your virtual hands, which are already wearing boxing gloves.
You’re in a small gym with a garage-like feel. A coach stands off to the side, watching you but not speaking. There’s a locker room area, a dummy you can practice punches on, and an elevated boxing ring. Choose an opponent to fight, and suddenly you’re in one corner of the ring with a small crowd gathered around. You throw punches, and try not to get punched. If you do take a hit, the world fades a bit, goes black and white, and you (if you are like me) back away from your opponent for a minute while you try to get your bearings.
I won three rounds against my opponent, but it was exhausting. I hit him when I could, and kept moving toward him, trying to keep the pressure on. I found myself constantly pushing into the far corner of my Guardian, which the game helpfully draws as a red rectangle on the virtual ring’s floor. I needed to punch and punch again and not get punched myself. The audience was watching, my coach judging silently. I didn’t want to fuck this up. I didn’t want to get punched. If you want to get your heart rate up, or just be a little bit terrified for a short interval workout, play Thrill of the Fight.