What’s a Beat Saber?

Beat Saber is an endurance/strength game. You’re going to be moving your arms around very fast in front of you for a long time.

It’s a competitive game. You’ll be fighting for high scores against some athletic people from all around the world.

It’s the kind of game you’ll keep coming back to, with many more hours than any other VR title.

It looks like this after you’ve been playing for a year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mku9xegGVUM

Best VR hardware?

I’d recommend playing on the Oculus Quest 2. It’s easy to get in and out, has better pixels per degree than all the other headsets so you can see the notes more clearly.

Quest 2

It cannot be overstated how important it is to be able to jump in and out of this game. It’s a really intense physical game, and you’ll want to take a rest, take the headset off, and then quickly get back in again later after you cool down.

Upgrades: The Quest 2 Elite Strap helps a lot when things get intense. The default face plate it fine and can be washed with non-scented laundry detergent, if you decide to push yourself hard to get a high score. I used to appreciate earbuds on the Quest 1 for better audio cues, but haven’t tried any earbud upgrades for the Quest 2 yet.

Video recording tips

Oculus provides a built-in screen recording feature. You can plug your headset into your PC (and awkwardly hit “allow” in VR lol) to get access to the videos. I’ve been using Adobe Premiere to fix up the videos off the headset since the audio/video aren’t in sync from the recording. You can Unlink the audio/video tracks and shift them into place.

The easiest way to record in green screen mode is with an iPhone 11+ and this tool: https://github.com/fabio914/OculusQuestMixedRealityForiOS

You’ll need a phone holder tripod to use it, where the phone can be put in landscape (horizontal) orientation. To record videos, you’ll use the built-in iPhone screen video recorder. It’s a bit tricky to set up but it works most of the time. If you put the headset down for a while it might hang so make sure to check the phone before starting again.

Good progression strategy

Start slow, enjoy the music. Try to be a completionist rather than a perfectionist.

Buy the extra tracks and find music you enjoy listening to. The basic tracks are mostly boring. I put recommendations at the end so you can save some $$.

Recommended goal progression:

  • Complete all songs on Hard
  • Complete all songs on Expert
  • Get rank SS on some songs
  • Get Max Combo on some songs
  • Complete your favorite song on Faster mode
  • Complete a whole album on Faster mode
  • Complete all albums on Faster mode
  • Complete your favorite song on Faster mode with Disappearing Arrows

At this point you’ll be able to get scores in the top 100 on most of the albums.

Some specific tips to reach different goals:

How to get Rank SS

It’s not about swinging your arms, it’s about rotating your wrists. It saves a ton of energy can you can go longer. You want to maximize the speed of the blade, since you get higher scores for being more “on target” swinging through the middle of the block in the exact right angle, and for swinging faster through the block. Being on target is usually obvious, but getting very high speed is impossible without swishing your wrists not just your arms.

How to do rapid sequences

Rapid drumming seems impossible at first but becomes easier with lots of practice. The two main tricks are to:

  • (1) Identify whether you should be swinging up or down at the start of the sequence, because if you mess this up it will be game over :)
  • (2) Listen to the music more than watching the notes, and swing to the beat.

How to get Faster score bonus

Start by playing the song on Expert without the Faster upgrade. Once you get SS/MaxCombo excellent scores on it, flip on Fast mode.

Fast mode is fantastic because the songs are shorter so you can get in more reps faster, and the speed makes you learn automatic reflexes rather than thinking as much about the notes.

Get a good amount of sleep, because Faster and Expert+ require you to train. In your sleep your brain is playing through the games in a loop training yourself to get better. So get 8+ hours of sleep each night after playing for 30 minutes or more. Sleep also helps with Disappearing Arrows.

How to get Disappearing Arrows score bonus

I’d recommend picking a song initially where the blocks appear fairly close to you and the BPM is higher. For these types of songs you will have automatic reflexes for the most part. Also pick songs where there is a lot of repetition in the pattern and it mostly goes up then down and repeats, so there are fewer surprises.

I usually play on Faster without Disappearing Arrows to prime my reflexes, and then play the song again immediately without the arrows to check my recall. By alternating like this 4+ times in a set, you’ll learn the song faster and start to feel your arms swinging without really looking at the notes.

How to get to Expert+

Some Expert+ songs are harder than others, but they’re all pretty fast. I’d recommend starting with Expert mode with Faster enabled. Once you’ve completed most of the songs this way, Expert+ should be within reach.

Best Song Beatmaps Worth Buying

  • Extras : POP/STARS AWW YISS. You want a dose of this.
  • Extras : FitBeat This one is really unique in that it feels like a full body fitness routine. The only other one close is BTS - MIC Drop.

Downvote: Camellia can go to hell. Seriously fuck that album’s sandbagging nonsense. I’d recommend skipping it unless you want to be good at the multiplayer games where asshats keep picking songs from this album and robot away by themselves for 5 minutes after everyone else has left.

  • Monstercat Vol. 1 - Epic : Tok-yo Machine. Once you master the toy soldier you’ll love doing it every time.
  • Monstercat Vol. 1 - Overkill : Feels more epic than Epic. It’s a rapid-fire bad-ass machine gun ride. This is the song to play over and over if you’re having trouble with rapid sequences. And it just feels awesome to master.
  • Imagine Dragons - Digital : Has its own style that really stands out.
  • Imagine Dragons - Machine : Is tough but you’ll keep coming back for the lyrics to drill more blocks.
  • Green Day - American Idiot : Has an excellent drummer boy break in the middle and some cool patterns to master.
  • Monstercat X Rocket League : Literally every song on this album is fire. You’ll be dancing like a disco maniac to ROCK IT. Test Me feels epic.
  • BTS - MIC Drop : Totally awesome beatmap for whole body motion. Funky and fluid.
  • BTS - UGH! : Probably the hardest song in Beat Saber on Expert. This requires a lot of practice to get through. But it’s worth it and feels like doing some kind of sword-fu routine.