When it comes to football in virtual reality (VR), British studio Rezzil is very well acquainted with the subject as its core software is used by some of the biggest clubs in the world to help train their players. This knowledge has already been brought into the home for PC VR with Rezzil Index and soon Oculus Quest players will get a foot (head) in with Rezzil Player 22, a title that’s part trainer, part fitness app.
Due to hardware limitations, Rezzil Player 22 is a very different beast from its forebears. Mainly because the Oculus Quest can’t track your feet, instead the videogame concentrates on all the upper body fitness and skills footballers need. That means lots of headers, improving reaction times, and upping that fitness level to hopefully enhance your stamina.
While you might not be able to kick a virtual football in your living room being able to head a ball into the back of a net is still a vital skill. Easily proven when trying the two heading modes Rezzil Player 22 has available, Control and Shooting. These provide the core training functionality whereby you’re given instruction on how to properly head a ball – there is a science to this – using a number of factors including using those arms of yours.
Both are fairly self-explanatory, Control tasking you with knocking the balls back through rings. These start off large and are fairly easy to hit, racking up enough points to move on. Subsequent levels adding smaller and more abundant rings. Whereas the Shooting mode actually puts you in front of a goal to try and score, designating areas like those tricky top corners to score more points. Shooting is by far the most enjoyable of the two modes as you’re on a pitch, thus making it feel far more realistic even if the models have that air of Subbuteo about them.
And that’s when the fun really starts, trying to head a ball not just past a goalie but actual moving players. Ok, so it’s not exactly VR FIFA but when it’s simulating a corner kick and you’re trying to head the ball into the top left corner of the goal those concentration levels certainly shoot up! And you know what, an hour into playing Rezzil Player 22 there was a noticeable difference in accuracy. Not pro football levels mind you but enough that getting through some of the training levels became easier with higher points, for an old fat bloke that was quite something.
There are two other areas within the training area, Reaction Wall and Hoops Vision. Reaction Wall is a feature becoming popular in fitness apps, appearing in the likes of FitXR and REAKT Performance Trainer. Like a kitten chasing a laser, the Reaction Wall is all about speed, hitting those red lights as fast as possible to get through as many as possible. Not too unusual for this type of videogame, completely unexpected was Hoops Vision, a rhythm action segment.
Styled around basketball, Hoops Vision is energetic yet feels more laid back than the rest as it doesn’t need the sheer speed or accuracy found elsewhere. Don’t expect some Beat Saber killer either as there are just five tracks where you have to match the ball in your hands to the hoops coming at you. It’s more of a nice add-on – a mini-game if you will – to Rezzil Player 22’s core training modes.
But that’s not all, as Rezzil has one final mode to keep you busy in a section simply labelled “Games”. Called Bloks, this is a pseudo tennis/squash mashup where you have to use a racket to smash balls into towers of blocks. Not out of place on a TV gameshow, like all the gameplay modes Bloks challenges you to get onto the global leaderboards for that sense of competition, vital in a sporting tile such as this.
Rezzil Player 22 may lean on its footballing heritage to give it a sense of place in VR but it most definitely wants to be seen as an all-encompassing fitness app at the moment. However, this being a pre-release play through there are a lot more football-related additions coming to the final release which should interest fans of the sport. Clearing and Passing DLC packs are already planned and because Rezzil has official ties to brands such as Adidas, there’s going to be plenty of football/glove customisation options available. If you love the beautiful game then keep an eye out for Rezzil Player 22 when it arrives this summer for Oculus Quest.