Virtual reality can be an amazing escape, a workout or both. Over the last year at home, VR gaming has become an even bigger part of my life than it was before. If you’re looking for the closest thing to a self-contained VR gaming console, the Oculus Quest 2 is your choice. The compact headset replaces Facebook’s 18-month-old Oculus Quest, but it reminds me more than ever that there are some really excellent games on the VR platform.
Despite existing in a company-controlled walled garden (and increasingly Facebook-oriented login and data policies), the Quest has turned into quite a destination for the best VR games. (Note that to access top PC VR games like Star Wars: Squadrons or Half-Life: Alyx, you’ll need to plug into a gaming PC with a USB cable.) The rate of good games arriving has been accelerating over the past year.
The Under Presents is one of my favorite, weird, endless games in VR.
All of these games work with the year-old Oculus Quest and the new Quest 2, but many apps are receiving extra updates and graphic boosts for Quest 2 owners. We’ll continue to periodically update this list of the best Oculus Quest games as new options become available.
Oculus Quest 2 is better and cheaper… with one Facebook…
I missed my chance to go to Disney and see Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, but ILMxLab’s Batuu-themed game is the next best thing. It’s not exactly a tour of Black Spire Outpost, but the incredible character acting, world design and intense blaster battles are an impressive feat. It’s over too soon, but this Quest game still costs less than most Disney souvenirs. (Also check out Vader Immortal, ILMxLab’s previous lightsaber-wielding adventure involving Darth Vader.)
Read our hands-on experience and interview.
Big Box VR
The multiplayer battle royale experience of Population One is very Fortnite-like. In fact, it’s extremely Fortnite-like. That’s a good thing. There are few large-scale multiplayer VR games right now, and this is one of the best. Dropping down from above, navigating the shrinking map, climbing and hunting for supplies, and excellent controls make this a must-play team shooter.
It’s expensive, and the file size can get up to 8GB on the Quest 2, but this is console-quality VR shrunken down into a portable headset. Saints & Sinners was already an acclaimed PC VR game, and the transition to the Quest keeps its polish and RPG-like feel. It’s freaky, but it’s also deep. There’s a lot more going on than simple shooting.
A lot of Quest games are expensive, but a surprising number are free. Rec Room is a social hub that’s also a doorway to tons of social games, with a seemingly limitless set of possibilities. Sometimes it feels a bit like Wii Sports or VR Roblox. There are mini-adventures, paintball games and more. I just want there to be improved parental-control features (there seem to be a lot of parents letting kids into Rec Room lately).
Read our original impressions of Rec Room, pre-Quest.
This is Oculus Quest’s killer app, and if you want to get moving, love lightsabers, or just want a fun dance challenge, this is it. There are plenty of tracks to keep you busy, the lightsaber tracking is fantastic, and there are extra music packs to buy if you feel compelled. I’m currently exhausting myself trying to beat my nephew’s high scores.
Bullet time, grab the gun, wait — the faster you move, the faster everything else moves. Get it now? Superhot was one of the first games that hit the Quest, and it’s still amazing. Runner-up pick: Pistol Whip. (Sorry, I still like Superhot more.)
For Fun Labs
Seriously, ping-pong in VR is so good. The table physics, the size of the play area, the way VR matches what you need perfectly — who knows? You can play online with real people, and the gameplay is shockingly unforgiving.
If you’re up for a creepy dive into mysterious puzzle boxes, this all-new VR game from the makers of the hit game series called The Room is a fantastic and spooky mental challenge (it’s not great for kids, though). There are lots of other escape room games on Quest, including the excellent I Expect You To Die, and a ticketed live multiplayer escape-room experience from Adventure Labs, too.
Read our review of The Room VR: A Dark Matter.
The synesthetic Tetris Effect was one of the best games of 2018, and the Quest version is mostly as good. It’s intense, the music is amazing, and even though the levels are frantic, it’s also weirdly zen. This is a perfect way to unwind.
Read our review of Tetris Effect.
Oculus’ zero-gravity ultimate frisbee game is a relentless three-on-three VR experience that gave me vibes of Rocket League, but in VR. The controls, which rely on your hands to catapult around, are brilliant. The open beta is free right now, and it’s great. But expect to lose.
Moss is about a small mouse with a sword who goes on a quest. You’ll follow him through levels that feel like dioramas you can peer down at. Walking around and exploring the beautiful worlds is half the fun, but the game itself is also great and plays like a console platformer, but in 3D.
With other people in your home, VR can be a solitary disconnect. Keep Talking involves others by having people not in VR handle a bomb-defusing manual while the person in VR tries to communicate and stop the bomb in time. It feels like a weird board game, which is something most VR games never succeed at.
An endless and randomly generated set of castle enemies meet you every time you play, and this roguelike game uses a bow and arrow as your only method of navigation and attack. The mechanics feel great, and being surrounded by enemies you’re firing arrows at can be incredibly intense.
If you miss miniature golf (or real golf), Pro Putt’s courses feel like a pretty great stand-in. The courses are cartoonish, but not mini-golf crazy. The putting realism is surprisingly good. I find the whole thing a little meditative.
Talk about a game that never seems to get old. While Space Pirate Trainer has been around since the launch days of the HTC Vive, the simple arcade design is perfect. You stand still, shoot at aliens and shield yourself. Survive as long as you can. It’s perfect.
Want to revisit ’90s games, including the experience of sitting on the floor with a controller playing games on a TV? You can do that already with a little retro 16-bit console, but Pixel Ripped pulls it off uncannily in VR. You’re a kid in a home, playing games that don’t exist. Then you enter the pixel world, and it gets stranger. The original 80s-set Pixel Ripped 1989 is now inside as add-on DLC, too.
VR can turn your sense of reality inside out, and A Fisherman’s Tale is the best type of out-of-body experience. A room with puzzles to solve also has a dollhouse, which is a perfect model of the room you’re in. You can reach into your own space and as you do, a larger hand from above enters your room. It’s like living in your own weird puzzle dollhouse universe, and it’s fantastic.
Red Matter was one of the best-looking Oculus Quest games, and an update for Quest 2 pushes the graphics even further. The puzzle-solving, atmospheric, brooding adventure is set in an alternate-timeline Cold War in space. Your tool-filled space suit glides around and grapples with the brilliantly evoked world, which often has Half-Life vibes.
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