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Saber Dance: Getting The Most Out Of Beat Saber On Oculus Quest

The rhythm of the night

Beat Saber is one of the inaugural titles on the brand new, wireless Oculus Quest, and no doubt one of the best titles on the platform. It is, however, definitely one of the most involved and intricate titles. It's half rhythm game, half swordfight, and everyone should know by now you don't just go around trying to slice stuff up--even little virtual reality blocks--without discipline and training. Luckily, we're here to help with a few tips to help you get the most out of your experience.

The Trick Is To Keep Breathing

Many players are too excited about the prospect of playing Beat Saber, without really considering what they're getting themselves into. Make no mistake, the game is definitely an exercise, and you should prepare yourself to treat it as such. Starting out with stretching, knowing your physical limits, and taking full advantage of the non-campaign options to slow songs down to get good and loosened up are all smart moves. Beat Saber isn't a game you should expect to binge. If you're getting tired, rest, get water, maybe even slide down to a slower/less difficult song. Your body will thank you for it.

Roam If You Want To

Of course, the big advantage of playing Beat Saber on the Quest in particular is the freedom of movement that comes from having no wires in the way. That's great in terms of not being shackled to the place where your TV or monitor is. But for Beat Saber in particular, it brings a slew of other advantages.

See, the scoring system for the game is very much predicated on the strength and angle of your sabers. Not just minute cuts, but huge swings, and their follow-through. The further away you can slice before hitting your block, the more points you can, and there's a bonus for how far away your slice ends, with 110 points per block the ideal goal. Those swings need plenty of space to happen, and its worth figuring out beforehand not just the ideal place for that, but the ideal placement. Explore your space. You can twist and turn and move with a wireless headset, and if turning your whole body is the best way to make a tricky slice, so be it.

Saturday Night Wrist

Your instinct when first starting out in Beat Saber will be swinging your arms like baseball bats to hit every block. While the game's certainly doable this way, it's also a easy way to exhaust yourself before you even really get started.

What you really want are effective swings, using the least amount of effort. And for many of those strikes, you want to use your wrist more than your arms. That's a tricky balance to strike, especially when you hit your first plateau of skill. But more often than not, if you can conserve your strength for when it really matters, you'll have a much easier time for those stretches of songs where it's mostly those kinds of notes.

I Will Be Heard

The audio straps for the Quest are surprisingly robust for being so small, and offer great spatial sound. But if you're looking for a bit of extra oomph while swinging away, headphones are still very much an option. Especially for Beat Saber, where the rhythm of each song is so crucial for timing your next swing, the most vital tools for success in the game are still your own ears.

However, keep in mind, you're still going to be more active here than your average run-through on a treadmill. If you do go with the headphone option, just make sure they're secure enough to stand up to a lot of extra movement.

Hold On, Hold On

When you first get ahold of Beat Saber, your instinct is going to be holding the controllers the same way you hold them for every other game you play, finger still wrapped around the trigger, despite never needing to use it for this game. And certainly, you can still play it that way, but you run the risk of tiring your hands and arms out easier than usual. You might want to consider getting a little more ambitious.

The Quest's controllers are designed in such a way that there are actually a few ways to hold them for a game like this. As long as they're in view of the headset, they'll still register. With your hands not needing to keep such a vice grip on the handle of your sabers, you're more likely to play a little more loosely and comfortably for longer periods.

That doesn't mean take the wrist strap off, though. Safety first, kids.

Hit The Lights

The Oculus Quest has a few different calibration options in terms of defining the play area in VR, and you can use the calibration to make things a bit easier on yourself.

After playing the game a bit, you might find that certain blocks may be harder to hit than others, especially once you starting getting into the higher difficulties and you start seeing those curveball diagonal blocks. They're never impossible to hit, but they can be difficult, depending on how the game's set up, and where the upper boundary of the screen is. The solution? When calibrating the screen, set the floor level a little higher or lower than your normal, and the playing field in-game will follow suit. High blocks in particular can be hit with a little bit less effort, low blocks can require less effort to hit a full 110pts. It's just an all around smart move.