VR gaming is moving its way into the mainstream more and more every day.
This is thanks, in large part, to Meta’s Oculus VR devices. Some amazing VR games have been made possible due to the Oculus platform.
But, not all games are equal, and some definitely stand out from the crowd. So, we’ve put together a list of the top 10 VR games to come out for Oculus.
Best Game for Everybody: Beat Saber
Remember Dance Dance Revolution? That game where you flailed around wildly trying to hit all the beats to a popular song? Beat Saber is like a more precise and fun version of that in VR, but with your arms instead of your legs.
Using the Oculus Touch motion controllers, you wield a pair of sabers with the goal of smashing the beats as they come your way. This is set to a variety of techno, dubstep, and pop songs with different BPMs for each difficulty level.
Beat Saber is the go-to game when showing off the Oculus Quest. It is crazy fun and easy to understand and get into. Motion sickness is, of course, a risk with any VR game, but Beat Saber is a lot more forgiving. Instead of moving around in space, you are looking straightforward as you hack and slash at the beats. This alleviates a lot of the factors that cause motion sickness in other games. That isn’t to say you’ll never get motion sickness playing it. But, comparatively, Beat Saber is a pretty safe choice.
Best Game in VR: Superhot
Superhot is awesome, plain, and simple.
The game puts you in the role of an incredibly capable fighter in the vein of the Matrix or John Wick (it’s basically a Keanu Reeves simulator).
You are confronted with multiple polygonal enemies in each level. Some have guns, others knives, others just their fists, and all are trying to kill you. Sounds like a normal beat ‘em up right? Well, Superhot has a mechanic that sets it apart: bullet time.
The enemies only move when you move and, even then, only at the speed that you move. This gives the player the chance to think about how to address the barrage of enemies headed their way. And it feels amazing.
We don’t think that this is literally the best game you are going to play on VR, that would be a matter of opinion and there is some heavy competition. But, Superhot is best as a VR game, and it is best for showing off, in very simple terms, what VR is capable of.
Best Arcade Shooter: Pistol Whip
An on-rails arcade shooter to the core, Pistol Whip breathes life into the retro genre.
The player is represented by a disembodied gun that moves through psychedelic levels shooting down enemies. It is almost a mix of the first two entries in this list. It has the fast-paced, electronica vibes of Beat Saber, fused with the bullet time shooting mechanics of Superhot, although time doesn’t slow down for the player in Pistol Whip.
For fans of old arcade shooters, this game is as close to nostalgia as it gets. It is a trip and, honestly, a great workout to boot. That said, it can give some players some pretty bad motion sickness, so proceed with caution.
Best Action Adventure: Resident Evil 4 VR
Resident Evil 4 is a classic. Until 4, Resident Evil had mostly been a survival horror game that saw the player navigate claustrophobic hallways and strategize how to use precious ammo.
While RE 4 kept a lot of this architecture, it was also a definitive shift into the action-adventure genre. The game blended these genres very well and was an instant hit with fans of the series and action games in general.
It has had several rereleases, like the highly praised Nintendo Wii port, which has improved on the form. But, the addition of VR support has added a new dimension to the game. The controls are as tight as ever. Not to mention the reintroduction of horror into the game. There is a palpable difference between playing with a controller on the couch and navigating the frightening landscapes in VR.
While the gameplay is near perfect, there is some dissonance with the cutscenes. When a cutscene is triggered, you are pulled out of full VR and the scene plays on a flat projection. This can break the tension buildup of several key scenes and pull players out of the action. Still, this is a game well worth experiencing.
Best Space Sim: Lone Echo
It was lauded at the time for giving the players a real sense of weightlessness and smooth tactile controls. The game still holds up today. It does an incredible job of immersing the player into its space setting. It also has a solid story and some beautiful visuals.
You inhabit Jack, a robot tasked with aiding astronaut, Liv, during her time aboard a mining station off the rings of Saturn. The relationship between the two characters feels genuine and emotional, which is helped by the performance and gorgeous graphics. Things aboard the ship begin to break down for unknown reasons, and you are tasked with helping Liv fix the problems and uncover the root cause.
This is a great game for anyone looking to explore an outer space setting in VR. The controls are fluid, and it is easy to navigate as your character. It might be a little difficult to get a copy for Quest 2, but if you are able to play it, don’t miss the chance.
Best Puzzle/Escape Game: I Expect You To Die 2
VR escape room games are nothing new, but I Expect You To Die 2 is a high watermark for the genre.
You assume the role of an international superspy, hence the Bond nod in the title. On each level, you will take on different escape room challenges that are as cerebral as they are silly. The humor in this game softens the blow of how often you will be dying as you make your way through the evil machinations of your villainous enemies.
This is a great game for anyone who loves puzzles or escape room experiences. The controls are intuitive, and the gameplay is fluid and straightforward. The story doesn’t overstay its welcome, but only because it is brief.
While each level is satisfying and there is some decent replay value, it would have been great to have a little more meat on this bone.
Best Experience Game: The Climb
The Climb is a VR mountain climbing sim made by Crytek, the studio behind Crysis and Far Cry.
For anyone who has ever been interested in rock climbing but unable to do it for one reason or another, this is the game for you. It offers a realistic vision of rock climbing, with all the thrills that come with that territory.
The controls are fluid and give you a realistic sense of climbing. The game was made in CRYENGINE, and it shows. The graphics are nothing short of stunning and they add to the experience of traversing a high cliff or rock face. The Climb also has a sequel that lets you climb skyscrapers and other urban settings. For a VR experience, The Climb is hard to beat.
Best Throwback VR Game: MYST VR
This one is definitely a nostalgia pick. Some of our team remembers playing Myst on our PCs years after it came out in 1993. Don’t you just wish you could inhabit that strange world and explore the island up close and personal? It seems the VR gods heard these prayers because MYST VR was released in 2020.
This rerelease of the PC classic puts the game in a completely new perspective. Players are able to revisit locations and puzzles from a new point of view. We got a little emotional the first time we played MYST VR, to be honest. It is drenched in vibes just like the original. For fans of puzzle games or the original PC game, you’ve got to give this a try.
Most Impressive: Half-Life: Alyx
It may not be the Half-Life game fans wanted, but it is still a hell of a game. Half-Life: Alyx is a prequel to Half-Life 2, set five years before Gordon Freeman wakes up from stasis.
You take control of a younger Aylx in the fictional Eastern European city, 17. What is amazing about Half-Life: Alyx isn’t the story or gameplay, both of which are great, it is the environment itself.
Like Half-Life 2, anything can be used as a weapon. This is a game made by Valve so, naturally, there are some amazing physics at play. The biggest example of this is the Liquid Shaders added in a patch to the game. This makes the liquid in bottles look incredibly real. The liquid in the bottle acts and reacts just like liquid would in real life. So what, right? Well, this may not seem like a big deal, but it just goes to show how far VR can go. It might just be a bottle with some realistic-looking liquid physics, but that’s something new and an achievement in its own right.
We’re thrilled to see Valve still pushing the envelope to this day. Half-Life: Alyx is also just a fun game that is well worth playing.
Best Fitness Game: Supernatural
Ok, so maybe this isn’t a game in the traditional sense, but it does gamify exercise in a way that we think is very important. Supernatural has been compared to the VR version of Pelton’s program. You pay a monthly fee of $19.99 and you get access to coaches, routines, and a thriving community of players.
The gameplay is intense and immersive. You can either play supernatural’s core gameplay which is called flow or boxing. But, because you’re in VR, you can do these things in stunning locations like Iceland, Bolivia, and even Mt. Everest. Supernatural is an evolution in fitness and a must-play for anyone with access to Oculus.