There are over 200 games and apps on the Oculus Quest storefront, and while some are free, the majority of them cost at least $20 while only offering about 3–5 hours of gameplay on average. Some find ways to pad their runtime, but the fact is, most Quest and Quest 2 games are short and sweet. How sweet is what matters, and there's no feeling worse than wasting your gaming budget for the month on a bad game that you finish in an afternoon.
Android Central has a disproportionate number of VR fanatics who spend their leisure time blocking out reality with the Oculus Quest 2 — which does run on an Android OS, believe it or not. We've spent a lot of time testing out games, good and bad, to figure out which are the best Oculus Quest 2 games that we'd actually recommend.
Here are our top recommendations and personal favorites, whether you want to be scared to death, keep your kids entertained, play with friends and family online or locally, or keep yourself fit while stuck indoors. We've broken them down into specific categories and genres, which you can access directly via our jumplist.
Whether you just bought your new Quest 2 and want to build your library, or are getting bored of the ones you own, these are the best Oculus Quest 2 games that you should try right now! If one of your favorites isn't there, feel free to shout them out in the comments, and we'll give them a spin and see if they're worth including!
We update this list whenever a new game comes out that's worthy of being added to this list, so you'll always know about the latest and greatest games. Also, all of these games can be played on the Oculus Quest as well; they just won't have the graphical enhancements.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Michael Hicks has dealt with motion sickness since he starting trying out VR in 2016, but likes it too much to stop. When he's not rocking his Quest 2, Michael covers everything from laptops to soundbars, home security to fitness watches.
Nick Sutrich started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011.
James Bricknell fell in love with VR back when the Lawnmower Man first arrived. Since then he has used as many headsets as possible and now rocks the Quest 2 as his most used console.
The Best VR Shooters
Shooters in VR can be different from the usual FPS and tactical shooters you see on consoles. You may be a soldier, powerful cyborg, or deadly spy, but using motion controls makes each shot more deliberate and trickier to pull off than with a controller or mouse. These make VR shooters uniquely challenging, and satisfying once you become skilled enough to pull off major victories. Here are the best Oculus Quest 2 shooting games.
Hunt down robots, then hunt down secrets
When Apex Construct — a post-apocalyptic bow-and-arrow shooter where you fight off robots while searching the remains of civilization for answers — first launched on PSVR, our review said it looked and played well but the motion controls left much to be desired. Then it came to the Quest, where the developers had to significantly devolve the peripheral graphics, audio, and other features to make it portable. Thanks to the Quest 2's enhanced power, Goldilocks would say that its Apex Construct port is just right.
While this isn't a traditional gun-based shooter, the bow motion controls with Touch controllers works excellently, and the lack of headset wires means you can spin to hunt and shoot the robots charging at you from every angle. That being said, this is definitely a single-player, story-driven game. There is a fun survival challenge where you compete against endless enemies and take on the leaderboard, but otherwise there's no social element to Apex Construct.
You'll spend hours exploring and re-exploring visually rich environments, looking for clues to solve the game's mysteries. If you're relatively new to VR and want a game that will challenge you without overwhelming you against online opponents, Apex Construct is a great place to start. It'll also scratch that robot-hunting itch until Horizon: Forbidden West comes out. —Michael Hicks
Espire 1: VR Operative
Step into the shoes of your favorite secret agent or assassin
Whether your stealth shooter game of choice is Splinter Cell, Hitman, or something else, this FPS stealth shooter will scratch that VR itch. Using various gadgets and weapons, you'll climb up walls to avoid security cameras, tranquilize guards, tell them to "Freeze!" using the Quest 2's integrated mic, hide bodies before they're spotted, or go nuts with your weapons once an alert is called.
Espire 1: VR Operative has six single-player missions and no multiplayer or challenge modes — and the devs have said they have no plans for new content modes. Considering the fairly high price tag, you'll only get your money's worth, so to speak, if you like playing and replaying levels, finding new ways to take out or sneak past enemies and competing to beat other players' high scores. Thankfully, there's a ton of gadgets and weapons that'll add enough variety for fans of the stealth genre.
On the Quest 2, the game has some graphical enhancements to bring it closer to the PSVR port in visuals, and we appreciate the comfort settings that help moving around in VR feel less nauseating. But there remain some bugs and issues with the AI detection that can lead to frustrating moments where you'll say, "How the heck was I spotted?!" If you're not a stealth fan in particular, Espire 1 may be more miss than hit for you. —Michael Hicks
Phantom: Covert Ops
A more stationary, but also more polished, stealth shooter
The boat portions of video games are generally the worst (hi there, Half-Life 2), so nDreams making an entire game out of stealth kayaking through enemy territory was a bold choice. Thankfully, it mostly pays off. You must strategically paddle through maps, keep an eye out for enemies, and choose whether to sneak past them, shoot objects to distract and blind them, or take them out and potentially bring more enemies into play.
The campaign mode is fun but short at around five hours, as you infiltrate the region of an ex-Soviet general's forces to take out high-value targets without getting spotted. The graphics look great, especially optimized for the Quest 2, though people prone to nausea may struggle when you use the "sharp turn" button. You'll also appreciate the excellent voice acting in what would otherwise be a silent trek. You can revisit levels to find hidden Easter eggs or go for speedrun leaderboard times.
The Challenge Packs add Game Shark-like effects to the core gameplay, adding some zany replayability to the more serious campaign. Since headshots are so key to gameplay, enemies are given tiny, giant, or exploding heads, for example. It's a stealth game that you'll want to keep revisiting! —Michael Hicks
Robo Recall: Unplugged
Epic Games' other 2017 game isn't quite Fortnite-quality, but it's pretty damn fun
Robo Recall: Unplugged shares a premise with Apex Construct but very little else. It's a fast-paced, violent, comical shooter made by Epic Games that is less about story (though it does have one) and more about destroying robots and having a blast doing it. The game has so many varied attack options that you'll feel super powerful and right in the action.
Armed with a pistol, a revolver, a shotgun, and plasma rifle, you can easily blast apart baddies however you choose — and sometimes it's more fun to ignore your guns altogether. You can tear robots apart, deflect bullets, grab enemies and point their weapons at other enemies, and other creative destructive techniques. Certain levels have bonus objectives that give you higher scores if you kill robots in certain ways, so you have an incentive to replay levels and top your past performance.
There are positives and negatives to the Unplugged version of Robo Recall. Epic Games had to severely limit the graphics to port the game to the Quest, but aggressively fighting robots is more fun when you're untethered from your PC. While the game may look slightly better on the Quest 2, we don't have any news on an enhanced patch to the game, which still runs on version 1.0 for now. —Michael Hicks
Space Pirate Trainer
The most fun arcadey VR shooter available, even if you're not really a pirate.
Space Pirate Trainer is a fast-paced arena shooter styled after an 80s arcade cabinet, and it'll give you a serious workout without ever feeling like work. Colorful enemies swarm in the sky around you, so pick up a gun and shoot them as fast as you can. Dual-wield pistols and switch between attack types to wreck enemies that much faster, or use a shield in your off-hand and reflect lasers back at them while shooting from behind cover.
There's no story to be found here, only more and more enemies that appear from a wide arc to your front, sides, or top, plus the occasional mini-boss. While there are different modes, these only add or remove perks, such as healing you between rounds or removing the auto-slow motion that triggers when a laser gets close. The latter perk temporarily turns Space Pirate Trainer into the Matrix meets SUPERHOT, encouraging you to contort your body to avoid damage. Some players ignore the shield and rely entirely on their reflexes to improve their scores.
SPT is more affordable than a lot of Quest games and is endlessly replayable, feeling just as exciting after hours of play — and it recently got a big graphical boost for the newest Oculus headset. You'll take time to master different gun modes, like one that lets you catch and slam enemies to the ground, and eventually feel like a real space pirate (whatever that is). We just hope a sequel is on the way that either adds a story or pays homage to other classic arcade games. —Michael Hicks
It's like the first time you saw The Matrix, but you're Neo
Chances are if you're a gamer who loves first-person shooters, you've probably played one of the two SUPERHOT games. Our SUPERHOT: Mind Control Delete review conveyed just how much better the SUPERHOT formula is with the replayability of a roguelike, but if you thought that was amazing, you won't believe what SUPERHOT is like in VR. This isn't just some ordinary shooter in VR; it's a game that's been redesigned from the ground up with VR in mind, all while utilizing a concept that's wholly unique to SUPERHOT.
SUPERHOT VR takes place in the dungeon-like computer room of a hacker — you — who utilizes floppies and a VR headset to hack into some obfuscated system. While it's not directly explained, the story looks to be a direct extension of what you'll experience in other SUPERHOT games, and, indeed, the developers consider this game the second in the SUPERHOT series (and the fourth may be in VR, as well).
When you play it, you immediately understand what physical presence can lend to a concept like SUPERHOT. Sure, the base mechanics are the same — time moves when you move, so choose your movements wisely — but extending this concept to your actual body is what makes all the difference. When an enemy shoots at you, you can completely freeze time to make your next strategic move by simply not moving your arms. This doesn't just make you feel like Neo from The Matrix; it makes you feel utterly invincible.
There's nothing quite like mastering the ability to toss weapons to the next story area, only to catch them mid-air and take out enemies in an unexpected way. It's truly super hot — and super required to play if you've got an Oculus Quest 2. —Nick Sutrich
The Best Music and Rhythm VR Games
Music and rhythm VR games are probably the best for both virtual beginners and VR experts. They're often bright, flashy games with catchy music and simple gameplay. You often just have to point or swipe your controllers at bright objects flying towards you, quickly and accurately. As you improve your personal rhythm and up the difficulty, you'll slowly get more and more of a tough workout while you're distracted by the fun time you're having! Here are the best music and rhythm VR games for the Oculus Quest 2.
Giving target practice a whole new name (and a theme song)
When Audica was first announced in early 2019, my first thought was "Sweet! Beat Saber with guns!" Turns out that's not a really accurate description, as it stands wholly on its own as a game that defines the "rhythm shooter" genre. After all, developer Harmonix is responsible for creating Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Dance Central, and many, many more music games.
So what makes Audica so good? Think of it as the ultimate target practice game, but one where the targets appear to the beat of dozens of killer songs. Watching the trailer above will give you a cursory glance at just how badass playing Audica will make you feel. That's particularly true of the hardest two difficulty levels, which will challenge not just your speed and your aim, but also your rhythm and your ability to multitask like never before.
The one downside is that Audica hasn't gotten any new official songs in over a year. Luckily, it's similar enough to Osu!, a rhythm game on PC, that somebody made a mod that converts Osu songs to Audica with no need to modify anything. —Nick Sutrich
It's a VR icon for a reason
Beat Saber hardly needs an introduction. It's become a pop culture icon the way no other VR game can even claim, boasting sales numbers and user install bases that most VR developers can only dream of. The game receives regular updates and new songs, including free song updates and tons of DLC packs from the likes of Imagine Dragons and BTS, as well as plenty of original music.
The addictive block-slicing gameplay will have you coming back again and again until you, quite literally, can't move your arms. There's even a way to add custom songs to Beat Saber if you're willing to do a little bit of legwork — something that will pay off when you've all of a sudden unlocked the path to thousands upon thousands of new songs for the game.
I remember the first time I saw the original Beat Saber trailer over three years ago. Holding
lightsabers laser swords and slicing blocks to the beat of a song, all in VR? Talk about a dream come true. Little did I know what simply looked like a ton of fun would become the defining reason that so many people would jump into VR. Beat Saber is for anyone and everyone, with skill levels and songs to please all sorts. If this one isn't already in your library, fix that mistake this instant. —Nick Sutrich
For all the John Wicks out there
From the moment the first trailer dropped for Pistol Whip I was fully on-board. John Wick in VR? What's not to love about that?
It's a simple concept really; pull the trigger in time to the beat. Problems arise when the bad guys shoot back and pillars block your way, so the game fast becomes an aerobic exercise of side lunges, squats, and other shenanigans as you fight to stay alive. When you first start playing, the rhythm part of the game is hard to get into, but as you get used to the movement of the enemies you will start to hit some big scores.
The latest update has added a surprisingly good campaign mode that I hope gets a bigger expansion as time goes on. The premise is you are a human and have crashed onto a planet taken over by mechanicals. You have to find out what happened and escape with your life. The campaign also brings some new guns that fire a different spread of bullets that I hope make their way into the main game. Some fully-automatic pistols would change the game a lot, and add a massive amount of variety. Currently, you only get the same pistol with different skins in the main game.
All-in-all, Pistol Whip is a fantastic game that truly shines on the Oculus Quest 2. The freedom to duck and weave without the constant concern for wires is very freeing, and the art style suits the power limitations of the Quest perfectly. I never feel sick playing, and there is never any frame rate slowdown, no matter how hectic it gets. I think, if I could only play one game on the Quest 2 for the rest of time, it would be Pistol Whip. —James Bricknell
A 20-year-old game that turned out to be perfect for VR
Android Central's team has been a fan of this game for so long that our original Rez Infinite review was for the Google Daydream. Originally a 2001 Dreamcast game, this game has been refreshed for new consoles again and again before finding its true calling in VR. This port reuses the same five levels from the original with updated graphics, while adding a new Area X level that lets you freely explore the world, built specifically for VR.
This musical rail shooter is more of a relaxing, atmospheric game than most of our other rhythm picks, but that doesn't make experiencing it any less powerful. Over the course of a few hours, the electronic soundtrack gets increasingly intense and the screen gets filled with color and explosions as you shoot more and more enemies — with the music reacting to your shots.
Launching on the same day as the Quest 2 itself, Rez Infinite takes full advantage of the headset's power and looks marvelous despite being an "old" game. Just make sure you understand this this game isn't like Beat Saber and its imitators: It's a transformative VR experience that will last you a few hours in the main campaign, plus more time in Area X, but it doesn't necessarily have replay value. —Michael Hicks
Beat Saber's rhythm rival gives you a different kind of workout
Your can't help but compare Synth Riders to Beat Saber. Both games have you swipe the Touch controllers at colorful objects to the beat of a large original soundtrack, plus new DLC packs from famous bands. Each song has different difficulty levels so you can challenge yourself once you master the basics. You must not only move your controllers to the right spots, but also move your whole body to dodge obstacles, giving yourself a whole-body workout.
Don't think of Synth Riders as just a Beat Saber clone. BS is all about swiping your controllers like sabers, faster and faster on harder difficulties. Synth Riders' gameplay is more of a dance, with the game guiding your arms into constant circular motions that make you bob, weave, and turn in circles. It lets you get into a more natural rhythm and lose yourself in the music instead of violently slicing to the beat.
Synth Riders has a dedicated community, thanks in part to its cross-platform multiplayer and its active dev team. You can regularly find other people to compete against in real time for different songs, or join the weekly Saturday Synth Fever dance party. Where other Quest 2 games feel like their devs have already moved on to other things, Synth Riders is one you can count on to get constant improvements and new songs. —Michael Hicks
Powerful rhythm action you can enjoy while seated
Most rhythm games punish you for missing the beat, shaming you into trying to do better. Thumper takes a different approach, offering lethal consequences if you can't keep up. You are a tiny beetle rushing towards a series of colorful eldritch abominations intent on destroying you. Save yourself with well-timed button presses and stick movements.
Thumper's graphics are dauntingly beautiful, especially on the Quest 2. You can play Thumper on non-VR platforms, but the "rhythm violence" gameplay is more fun while wearing a headset and feeling just as small and vulnerable as the beetle. You'll press buttons at key points to send attacks at your massive foes, dodge obstacles, survive sharp turns, and so on. The rhythm controls make sense within the context of the game, as opposed to just being magical floating blocks.
The original soundtrack is seriously catchy and will make you want to replay levels — as will trying to get S rank on all levels and beat the game on Play+ mode, in which just two mistakes will kill you. This game still doesn't have quite the replay value of something like Beat Saber, but it's a powerful and challenging experience that doesn't overstay its welcome. —Michael Hicks
The Best VR Exercise Games
According to the Virtual Reality Institute of Health and Exercise, Beat Saber players have burned over 4.6 billion calories since the game launched, probably without even noticing. VR games have a real scientific advantage to exercise, because the total visual distraction and spatial audio combine to keep your mind too occupied to notice how hard it's working. While any random VR game can get you sweating, these are the best Oculus Quest 2 games that give you a real workout, for people that want to stay fit without stepping outdoors.
Creed: Rise to Glory
Super Punch Out meets Rocky in VR
Creed: Rise to Glory strikes the sweet spot between the more realistic Thrill of the Fight and the cartoonish Knockout League. As the eponymous boxing phenom played by Michael B. Jordan, you'll enjoy a short campaign where you take on opponents with different skillsets and techniques as you rise to the top. The campaign is relatively short at just a few hours of hard punching, but you can follow it up with freeplay bouts or PvP matches against online opponents.
We tested our original Creed: Rise to Glory review on the PSVR and Oculus Rift, but the core mechanics that we loved remain unchanged for the portable version. You're guided by Rocky Balboa himself as you learn boxing techniques and wear out your arms on a punching bag, then step into the ring. Unlike games where you just swipe your controllers wildly, this game has a stamina meter that will tire out your character if you throw too many punches — so you need to be strategic. Don't worry, you'll still be incredibly sore after a few matches.
Though we wish the story mode was much longer, it at least succeeds in making you feel like a bonafide boxing star. And when it comes to fighting online opponents, you can choose or play against Rocky franchise boxers like young Balboa, Apollo Creed, and Ivan Drago. These cameos make your fights feel more dramatic, like you've stepped into the classic films. —Michael Hicks
Come for the licensed soundtrack, stay for the multiplayer
Dance Central is a music rhythm series originally designed for the Kinect, but it achieved a second life on the Quest. It can only track your head and hands instead of your entire body, but at least the tracking for those body parts is much more accurate than it used to be. After you design your personal dancing avatar, you dive into nightclubs and try to match your body to the choreography of the character in front of you. As someone with very little dancing skill, I found this intimidating at first, but eventually forgot myself and managed to have a good time.
The game has 32 licensed songs, a couple of which are older rock songs but mostly come from modern artists and bands like Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, and more from a variety of genres. Each song has two difficulty levels and different dance routines, so you can replay songs to master your moves without it feeling too repetitive. The big disappointment is that this game has only had one six-song DLC since launch and isn't likely to get any more updates. You can't add custom songs, either, though modding custom dance routines wouldn't be easy.
Dance Central can be perfectly fun as a solitary experience, but if you're friends with other Quest 2 headset owners, you can enter a personal dance lounge with chat and multiplayer dancing modes. You'll all groove to match the avatar on stage and watch each others' scores in real time, competing to see who is the best or just having casual fun. —Michael Hicks
Boxing and dancing workouts combined into one app
FitXR (the developers) took its former game BoxVR — a challenging boxing workout simulator that we loved — and turned it into FitXR, which added dance workouts and more detailed workout metrics for a more complete app experience. Whether you prefer straightforward punching and weaving or a more natural rhythm experience, FitXR will absolutely get you sweating.
In our FitXR for Oculus Quest 2 review, we had tons of praise for the game's "immersive, futuristic, psychedelic experience"; the mix of motivational rock, dance, hip-hop and electronic music that'll keep you in the zone; and the detailed statistics. Just keep in mind that if you want to actually track burned calories, invest in one of the best fitness trackers since the in-game calorie counter generally overestimates how many calories you actually burn per workout.
Like any workout program, you'll find various difficulty levels and lots of paid DLC to access new content. But the game has also added some free updates that made the game much more accessible for people who aren't already in shape, such as a training mode that doesn't punish you if you miss a punch (or if the game doesn't track your punch properly, which can frustratingly kill your combos), plus some new environments besides the default, boring black void.
A dedicated workout app that's simultaneously fun and good for your body, FitXR is the app to buy and stick with if you're serious about indoor fitness in 2021. —Michael Hicks
The best sports game for effortless exercise
For me, dedicated workout or boxing apps can sometimes feel too much like work. Even putting on the Quest 2 can feel like a time commitment. If you're like me, you should find an active sports app that prioritizes fun, with burned calories and sweat as a neat side effect.
In Racket: Nx, you stand in the center of a giant dome and use your racket to bounce a ball against different hexagonal tiles, some of which give you extra points when you hit them. You can ricochet balls across multiple hexes for combo scores if you aim properly, but until you master the controls (or if it's a younger kid playing), you can just have fun hitting the ball over and over and watching the resulting light show. You don't need to be as accurate as in something like a table tennis VR game, and in fact, this is the rare game that'll have you spinning in full circles as you track the ball until you fully lose track of your real-world surroundings.
The main gameplay is single-player, with a campaign and endless mode, but you can also play co-op or versus modes with other Oculus players. While I love the original soundtrack, I also appreciate the option to add my own custom music, which makes me want to spend more time swinging my racket and enjoying my favorite playlists. Simple but endlessly replayable with very accurate controls, Racket: Nx is a must-buy whether you care about VR exercise or not. —Michael Hicks
Your personal at-home gym membership for a monthly fee
The biggest question most people have (once they realize Supernatural isn't a horror game) is if Supernatural VR is worth the subscription cost? After you finish the 30-day free trial, the game costs $19/month or $179/year, which will be an immediate turn-off for plenty of Quest 2 owners. That's essentially the cost of a cheap gym membership!
What are you paying for? For starters, you get access to actual coaches that give you tips and encouragement during new, daily workouts, where most VR exercise apps rely on tracking software alone to encourage hard work. You can find different workouts meant to target specific body parts. Instead of original electronica soundtracks that never change, you'll listen to new licensed music. The gameplay is extremely similar to Beat Saber, but the app tracks specific metrics, like the force and extension of your arm thrusts or the depth of your squats, as a way to track your progress. And you can connect your fitness tracker so your heart rate is associated with the workout.
If you're serious about your health in 2021 and have enough space in your home to stretch out and strike the air without hitting something, seriously consider starting a free trial. Even if you stop after 30 days, you'll at least see whether or not you like VR fitness or prefer to go outside for your calorie burning. —Michael Hicks
The Best Multiplayer VR Games
Virtual reality may allow you to explore fantastic worlds or real places on Earth, but you'll usually be all alone doing it. Thankfully, there are a growing number of multiplayer experiences, either with fellow Quest 2 owners or with your friends and loved ones in the room with you. Here are some of the best multiplayer games for the Oculus Quest 2 to start your social VR experience.
Acron: Attack of the Squirrels!
Fend off your frenemies in this rare, superb local multiplayer VR game
Acron: Attack of the Squirrels! is one of the rare local multiplayer VR games. It's a frenetically fast-paced, well-balanced if everyone knows what they're doing, and perfect for families or parties. You, the Quest 2 wearer, are an angry tree furiously defending its acorns from invading squirrels while your friends use the free iOS or Android app to become acorn-hungry squirrels and try to get past your attacks and steal your treasures.
Acron is a tower defense game played from both the attackers' and defenders' perspectives. The tree player can snag and toss enemies that get too close, or throw projectiles like boulders knock out or ensnare opponents. The squirrels, meanwhile, take on different roles like the fast one, the tank with a shield, or the strategic squirrel that digs through the Earth. Since the tree is so overpowered, you'll need to use strategy to get past them, including building past traps Fortnite-style or taunting to distract them.
You can have up to seven squirrels playing at once, but since people can't meet in person at the moment, you can play with just a couple others and fill the gap with AI bots. The Sulky Swamp Halloween update on the Quest 2 added some bot fixes and made it possible to play against just one real squirrel opponent, so you can technically play this 1v1. People with families will probably get the most out of this genuinely fun game. —Michael Hicks
Zero gravity conditions make for the perfect VR sport
Have you ever read the novel Ender's Game (or, God forbid, seen the movie)? Remember how zero-g combat worked? That's Echo VR. For the time being, the Oculus Quest version only has access to Echo Arena — a free-to-play zero-gravity sports game where players must make their way from one end of the arena to the other trying to toss a disc into the goal on the other end. Like any good sports title, the opposing team is there to make sure you never score (with a well-landed punch, in some cases). Players will find themselves floating around an arena littered with floating cubes to grab, flinging themselves around and zooming towards the goal with wrist-mounted boosters.
Echo VR is built upon the same zero-gravity tech found in Lone Echo, the acclaimed Oculus Rift game that has you roaming an advanced mining facility in the rings of Saturn. The developers' love for all things zero-gravity nailed them a special spot in Facebook's first-party Oculus VR development studios, and that pedigree continues on in some of the most authentic gameplay you'll experience in VR. After all, how many times are you going to get the chance to play in space? This might be your best shot.
Developer Ready at Dawn has started prepping season passes, called Echo Pass, to entice players into putting even more time into the game in order to unlock content. Each season is designed to last a few months at a time and will feature unique items to unlock that can't be had any other way. Since this is a free-to-play title, Echo Pass offers ways for players to purchase additional content to customize their in-game avatars. Don't worry though, this isn't a pay-to-play thing. —Nick Sutrich
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
You'll explode from happiness at how fun this game
You're alone in a room with an elaborately armed bomb. Your colleagues off-site have acquired the codes used by the bomb-maker, but there's a ticking clock and no time for them to reach you and disarm it themselves. You have no choice: you must relay the complex mechanics of the bomb to them exactly, so they can tell you how to dismantle it in time. Make too many mistakes, or take too long to find the solution, and it's game over!
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is a local couch co-op game. It's been around since the original Oculus Rift, and since then has ported to Android, iOS, PC, Switch, Playstation, Xbox, PSVR, and Quest. The core gameplay hasn't changed, and you don't need to play this in VR; all you need is the free bomb manual, and to make sure that the one disarming the bomb can't see it from where they play. But this is a case where VR's natural isolation works in your favor: it makes you feel trapped with no escape, making the bomb's countdown that much more stressful.
Gameplay is fairly straightforward. Each bomb has different modules with traps that can't be solved without the manual. One example: you see a module with five wires and tell your friends. They check the manual and ask you questions. Depending on the color and number of the wires, you'll need to cut a specific wire. Get it wrong, and you get a strike (three strikes equals BOOM).
The Quest 2 version has enhanced graphics that make this dated game feel slightly less old. One thing we really hope the developers add is hand tracking support, but we haven't heard of any plans to add it. Despite that, it's still a really fun experience that'll help get your reluctant family members or roommates to try VR. —Michael Hicks
CS:GO-style military simulator focuses on tactics and teamworks
Most shooters today turn you into a one-man army and are generally fast-paced and cartoonish. Old-school games where you rely on your squad and call out your opponents' tactics at a more deliberate pace aren't as popular anymore. But VR sometimes gives new life to older genres, and Onward is one of the more popular multiplayer games on the Quest 2 because it makes you feel like a soldier in real tactical situations.
Onward has single-player, co-op, and multiplayer modes, with different game types that keep things varied. In standard multiplayer, you'll play on one of two sides, each with different weapons you'll need to master. You actually have to hold your gun up to look through the scope, crouch down in real life to hide behind cover, or check your magazines to see how much ammo you have left. You can equip different loadouts with specific weapons or tools like colorful smoke grenades or a recon drone, and there are a decent number of maps, including night variants.
The Quest 2 version is a great way to play Onward. You can enjoy cross-play with Rift and SteamVR players, and you get to duck and move around without worrying about wires, so you have a competitive advantage. You'll want to talk to your squad using proximity chat, so like any multiplayer game, the experience is only as exhilirating or as toxic as the people around you. I recommend starting out against bots so you don't feel the pressure of needing to perform well for strangers. But there isn't a campaign here: the crux of the game is multiplayer, so get this if tactical VR shooting against real opponents is what you want. —Michael Hicks
Turning battle royale on its head... literally
When Population: One first got announced in late summer 2020, I'm pretty sure I heard a collective sigh from the VR community. "Do we really need another battle royale game?" was heard across forums far and wide, but developer Big Box VR proved most everyone wrong a few months later. Not only is the game one of the single-best battle royale games on any platform, but its mechanics are so well-tailored to VR that it doesn't make sense to play Population: One any other way.
If you're a fan of games like Fortnite, Apex Legends, or Call of Duty: Warzone, you'll feel immediately at home in the standard gameplay mode. Fly into a map and make sure you're the last one standing to win. The unique setup becomes apparent immediately since it doesn't take place on one floor. VR's unique level of freedom is fully explored in this game because it lets you climb anywhere — and I mean anywhere — and glide off said structures by simply extending your arms like you're wearing a wingsuit. It's doing to the battle royale formula what Breath of the Wild did for third-person adventure games when it comes to traversal.
Big Box VR has also supported the game in a way that's making players come back for more. Population: One Season One began a 10-week season full of new content that promises to make way for more events just like it, and plenty of reasons to play regularly. —Nick Sutrich
The most consistently popular game on the Quest 2
Facebook wants to make Oculus more social by adding Messenger, but for now, most Quest 2 owners get their social fix in VR by playing Rec Room. Over one million gamers play Rec Room in VR every month, half of them using the Quest 2. There are also plenty of non-VR users playing on PC, iOS, Xbox, or PS4, making it a great, free way to hang out with friends that aren't into VR as much as you!
Rec Room has a ton of activities, some officially created by the devs but mostly created by fellow players. The most popular is Rec Royale, a battle royale mode that the original Quest couldn't handle but the Quest 2 fully supports. There are also official quests where you team up with up to three other players to defeat killer robots, find pirate booty, vanquish Dracula, and other tasks, many of which are Quest 2 exclusive as well. But the player-built modes are where you'll find knock-offs of popular games like Among Us and Fall Guys, unofficial maps from popular properties like Star Wars, or just little clubhouses where you can hang out with friends or meet new people.
If you're tight on cash and want content that will last for hours, Rec Room is the game for you. Just keep in mind that some people's experiences with Rec Room can be poisoned by rude trolls, so you may have more fun if you play in private sessions with people you trust. —Michael Hicks
Star Trek: Bridge Crew
Trekkies everywhere need this game in their lives
From the tender age of eight I have lived and breathed the Star Trek universe. The first time I donned a VR headset and sat in the captain's chair in Star Trek: Bridge Crew, I knew this was a game I would be playing for years to come. This is not a game of energetic action but one that fully immerses you into the Trek universe. The main missions of Bridge Crew are set in the Kelvin Timeline and you get to captain the newest ship of the line the USS Aegis, searching for a new home for the Vulcans that survived the 2009 movie.
Bridge Crew is a co-op game in the truest sense of the word. Each of you holds a different position on the bridge, from the captain to the engineer, and has different tasks to make the ship run efficiently. Whether it's diverting power to the warp core to give you more speed or completing evasive maneuvers against Klingons, the game has a sense of urgency to every process that makes it incredibly compelling. If you are a Next Generation fan, then the DLC is also a must have. Sitting in Picard's chair or standing at tactical as the Borg attack you has been a defining moment for me and cemented my love for VR.
Do yourself a favour; take three of your friends and try the Kobayashi Maru level. It is as close to being in an episode of Star Trek as you will ever come. —James Bricknell
The Best Action VR Games
Most VR games tend to keep their gameplay slow and methodical because anything fast-paced can cause motion sickness. But that doesn't mean your VR game library should only contain the equivalent of arthouse films. You want action, adventure, and excitement! These VR action games deliver these in bucketloads.
In Death: Unchained
This roguelite is a heavenly romp through the gates of Hell
When it launched on the PC as In Death in 2018, many players proclaimed it to be their favorite VR game yet. Unfortunately, developer Sulfar Studios wasn't able to keep it updated and later transferred the rights to Superbright, which now runs the Oculus Quest version of the title. The subtitle of In Death: Unchained is a duality in itself, referring both to the freeing nature of untethered VR that's brought about on the Quest platform and the never-ending quest in the game to top the leaderboards with ever-improving skills.
Like most roguelites, In Death: Unchained features a procedurally-generated world that's never quite the same round after round. Set in three main areas of a godless afterlife, players will find themselves fighting through levels with a bow as their main weapon and the ability to fight melee if the need arises. The bow isn't just used to kill enemies though; it's also an excellent means of traversal thanks to a special arrow works as a teleportation device. Skilled players will use this movement in tandem with free-moving joystick controls to outsmart enemies and bosses alike, all with gorgeous visuals and compelling boss fights.
In Death: Unchained, unlike its predecessor, has been updated and even overhauled several times now to change things up and keep the action fresh for veteran players. The move to seasonal content has also proven quite successful for the game and its players. In fact, it was among the first batch of games that was heavily updated to support the Oculus Quest 2's significantly enhanced processing power; a testament to Superbright's dedication to the game. —Nick Sutrich
An intense melee dueling arena where skillful technique trumps speed
Step into the ring against AI or human opponents and use your brain as much as your arms to strike down foes in a game that has some of the best combat and multiplayer we've seen on the Quest. In Ironlights, you challenge your enemies as a variety of classes, each of which uses a different weapon combination. To prevent you from just wildly swiping at enemies as fast as possible, your weapon breaks every time you use it, so you have to strategically strike without leaving yourself vulnerable.
In our Ironlights review, we praised the game for its balanced classes and stressful combat. You'll start with single-player matches against AI to master your techniques, but once you start playing multiplayer, the difficulty level spikes. People are much harder to trick, while the AI is more prone to falling for feints. Still, we appreciate that the game lets you fight AI opponents to stay fresh while you wait for PvP duels, the true meat and potatoes of the game.
As someone who grew up trying to master different fictional lightsaber fighting techniques, Ironlights gives me the one-on-one dueling that I wish Vader Immortal had. I'm sure I look ridiculous swiping and posing while trying to outsmart my arena rival, but successful hits and blocks make me feel like a medieval swordsman, which is really what matters.
Before buying, make sure that you have plenty of space to move around the virtual arena. If you stand in one place, certain classes can exploit this and attack with longer range weapons, making it hard for you to counter-attack. Our other recommendation is to get active on the Ironlights Discord server, where players like to put together tournaments and compare techniques. —Michael Hicks
Pixel Ripped 1995
A nostalgia-filled love letter to SNES games for 90s kids
Whatever your childhood-era video game console or favorite arcade was — I'm an N64 and Nickel City child myself — you'll probably remember long weekends spent gaming non-stop until a parent made you turn off the console or you ran out of tokens. Pixel Ripped 1995 (and Pixel Ripped 1989, available as DLC) hearken back to those childhoods in the best possible way.
You play a young boy trying to squeeze out as much gaming time as possible, while NPCs like your disapproving mother get in the way. Similarly, 1989 has you, an elementary-age girl, playing games in class while keeping your teacher distracted. Most levels start out with you playing a game-within-a-game, with gameplay modeled after famous classics like Super Metroid, Sonic the Hedgehog, and others. But you'll have to let go of your controller to interact with your surroundings. Then, without spoiling too much, you'll often find that the game world has begun to blend with the real world.
At about five hours, the campaign doesn't spend too long with any one "game". And while the in-game graphics look sufficiently 90s, the NPCs' faces can look a bit wooden. However, the overall experience is genuinely fun and nostalgia-inducing, and the developers added incentives to replay levels like hidden golden cartridges, a hardcore mode, unlockable collectibles, and alternative routes. —Michael Hicks
Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy's Edge
Nothing happens on the outer-rim of the known galaxy, right?
Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy's Edge is an action-adventure game that takes place on the planet Batuu, right within the very same Blackspire Outpost featured at Disney theme parks. While the theme parks let patrons walk the halls of a mythical Star Wars location, Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy's Edge takes a more story-based approach to the namesake. You play the role of a droid repair technician who ended up on the wrong end of a Gauvian Death Gang leader's gun and have to shoot your way out of the little ordeal.
While the game takes place between the events of Star Wars movies Episodes 8 and 9, the stories themselves span the annals of time, including all the way back to The High Republic some 400 years before the original Star Wars trilogy. During some stories, you'll find yourself wielding a blaster and a multi-tool, capable of solving some intricate puzzles, while other stories will have you wielding The Force and a Lightsaber.
In our Tales from the Galaxy's Edge review, we noted the game stretches well into the five-hour mark with all of its content, despite being $5 less than the entirety of the Vader Immortal trilogy and much longer, but it also doesn't have the arcade-style lightsaber dojo like that series did. Still, this is just the first half of the game, as a set of DLC is set to give players a look into the plenty of unexplored content in the Star Wars universe. —Nick Sutrich
Until You Fall
Either you'll fall or your arms will fall off
Until You Fall is a unique take on the hack-and-slash roguelite genre. Taking thematic elements from high-fantasy epics like Lord of the Rings and injecting it with a thick serum of Tron-like neon highlights, Until You Fall will have your jaw on the floor with its stylistic beauty, up until the moment the first enemy makes you drop to the floor. As the name implies, you'll battle your way through enemy after enemy until you fall. Then, you respawn back in the hub to upgrade your character and do it all over again.
Until You Fall utilizes seriously realistic physics modeling that make you feel like you're actually swinging the weapons you wield. There's something trippy about feeling like you're fighting with a giant neon-drenched axe, and Until You Fall nails that feeling with every single swing and block. Enemies will ruthlessly attack you in groups and the end of each section brings the choice of one randomized power-up to reward you with.
Players will make their way through dozens of levels, separated by three tiers of difficulty, color, and enemy types, battling bosses at the end and collecting Aether. This ethereal currency is used to make those weapons even more brutal, giving you the edge in battle — once you muster up enough patience, that is. The question is, which part of you will fall first, your mind or your body? Until You Fall will challenge both. —Nick Sutrich
Vader Immortal: Episodes I–III
The Force will be with you, always
So many games over the years have tried to recreate the feeling of being a Jedi, with Kyle Katarn and the Jedi Knight series bringing us closest and motion controls in games like Star Wars Kinect moving us further away. Vader Immortal raises the bar, giving tons of Star Wars fans the experience they've been craving.
If you haven't already experienced Vader Immortal, you're lucky that you'll get to play through all three episodes at once, then dive right into the lightsaber dojos and refine your lightsaber technique. Altogether, the cost and story length is about the same as many other Quest 2 games — a relatively high price for a relatively short campaign. The only thing that made Episodes I and II initially underwhelming for some gamers was their short duration.
Each episode changes your level of Force skill, as you develop from a novice into a legitimate threat to Darth Vader. Because of that, each game encourages you to use different skills to defeat enemies; Episode 1 relies more on your lightsaber, while III gives you more power to fling enemies around and adds blasters. After you finish the story, you'll want to spend hours in the dojo perfecting your Jedi skills.
Keep in mind that you won't be jumping around and fighting like the flashy Jedi of the prequels. You're mostly rooted to a single spot while enemies approach you, which helps avoid any motion sickness but can also feel somewhat limiting. We're also waiting on a Quest 2 graphics update; the Quest 2 has more trouble with deep black colors than the original Quest, so some dark areas in Vader Immortal now look more gray than they should. Otherwise, this is one of the best Oculus Quest 2 games for single-player combat. —Michael Hicks
The Best Horror VR Games
Virtual reality is the perfect medium for horror games. Normally you can turn off the lights and try to make your home as horror-filled as possible, but there's still some objective distance between you and the screen. In VR, the monsters and nightmares are just an inch from your eyes, and there's no way to avert your gaze. The Oculus Quest 2 has some genuinely frightening and fun horror VR games, but these are the first games you should try.
Also could have made our best shooter, multiplayer, or action lists
Arizona Sunshine is no longer the best zombie game on the Quest 2 thanks to the new Walking Dead game, but it's still a VR classic that has received several content updates since it launched in 2019. That lessens the sting of the $40 price tag, which initially felt exhorbitant since the campaign only lasts about four hours. Along with single-player, you can play levels in co-op mode or enjoy multiplayer horde mode against waves of zombies.
This great action horror game gives you tons of firepower, with over 25 different weapons that'll help you mow down enemies. While there are scenes in low-lit areas, many of them take place in bright sunshine so the level of terror isn't as high as in other horror games. Don't worry, there's still the fear of an inexorable horde approaching you too fast to shoot them all.
We're excited for Vertigo Games' new zombie thriller After the Fall to come out sometime this year, but for now it's only a SteamVR and Rift S game, making Arizona Sunshine the best option right now. We loved the The Damned DLC for its tense story and combat situations, as well as the new Trailer Park horde map for shooting endless zombies with friends. It's one of the few Quest 2 games that feels like a full environment to travel through instead of an on-rails or stationary experience. —Michael Hicks
A much scarier experience than the Blair Witch Project movie
Set in 1996 in the same Maryland woods as the original film, you play Ellis, a traumatized ex-cop looking for a missing child in the woods. Accompanied by your dog Bullet, you run into more horrors than you could ever have expected. You must stay near the dog as much as possible to preserve your sanity, while using a camcorder to play tapes that reveal story hints, as well as manipulate the world around you and solve puzzles.
In Windows Central's Blair Witch Xbox One review, they called it a tense atmospheric horror game with some really cool gameplay mechanics, a great story premise, and plenty of scares — though it did suffer from some framerate issues. Now, take that game and add it to the Oculus Quest with its limited mobile chipset. Unsurprisingly, the port had to be rebuilt and downgraded to fit properly.
Thankfully, the VR version only benefits from its new medium, making the jump scares and atmosphere that much more frightening. In fact, the developers who ported the game to VR said in an interview that they chose to "make the combat more intense, adding jumpscares and additional sound effects to increase tensio,", as well as add more interactive objects and make it more fun to allow you to physically pet your dog with the Touch controllers. Plus, the Quest 2 port does improve some environmental textures and 3D models.
As a traditional horror movie-like experience where you can't solve your problems with a gun, Blair Witch delivers as one of the best VR horror experiences on the Quest 2. —Michael Hicks
Five Nights at Freddy's: Help Wanted
Chuck E. Cheese animatronics weren't even close to being this scary
There are two types of Five Nights at Freddy's (FNaF) fans out there: those who obsessively watch theory videos about the Bite of '87 and those who just enjoy watching their favorite YouTuber scream over animatronic jumpscares. This Quest 2 port appeals to both types. You can revisit scenes from old entries and get to interpret obscure lore moments, but it also lets casual fans enjoy jumpscares without worrying about the details.
As someone who saw the original games as kind of cheesy and too repetitive, let me assure you that the gameplay is so much more frightening and tense in VR. Unlike other horror games with stories that ease you into the scary scenarios, FNaF:HW has nearly nonstop moments of tension. Plus, the mix of a ton of different gameplay mechanics from different games ensures that things feel more varied. That being said, you're still just as stuck in one place as in the PC games, so don't expect to explore your surroundings or be allowed to flee from the Freddy Fazbear's gang.
While not as visually crisp as the PSVR or Steam version (which you can access via Oculus Link), Five Nights at Freddy's: Help Wanted doesn't suffer much on the Quest 2 since the games have never been that graphically demanding. You should also invest in the Curse of Dreadbear DLC, which adds Halloween-themed baddies and (more importantly) new minigames to survive. —Michael Hicks
Jurassic World Aftermath
Making dinosaurs scary again
I was still in elementary school when the first Jurassic Park movie came out, and I'll never forget the wonder and horror that ensued. The concept was so fresh and the dinosaurs were absolutely terrifying; the latter, in particular, a concept that none of the many sequels managed to capture. The many tense moments in that kitchen scene alone can be felt throughout the entirety of Jurassic World Aftermath.
You (stupidly) take a job to recover some lost data on good old Isla Nublar — two years after the fall of Jurassic World might I add — and predictably crash land when a group of Pteranodons obliterates your aircraft. Once you make it to the facility, you realize the raptors are still hanging around and are ready to play cat and mouse with you while you are just trying to escape for your life.
Like any good stealth survival horror game, Jurassic World Aftermath makes you feel totally helpless against these creatures. There are no weapons and no real way to defend yourself. You just have a wrist-mounted gadget that can be used to activate old electronics remotely, along with a series of lockers, desks, and other debris to hide yourself in during the adventure. It's an astounding sensation of fear that's primal in nature and nearly flawless in execution. It's also just the first half of the series, which might be even more exciting than running from a hungry carnivore. —Nick Sutrich
Forget survival; this is pure horror
If you're a fan of Japanese horror manga, you've likely heard of names like Junji Ito and Shintaro Kago. If you've not heard of these names, go ahead and Google their work — you'll immediately understand what you're about to undertake in Lies Beneath, a survival horror game inspired by these works. From the comic book style to the onomatopoeia that flies around the screen as you run, shoot, and kill, Lies Beneath will immediately transport you to a world gone wrong and completely upend your sense of reality.
Lies Beneath is a first-person survival horror that'll have you trecking through the woods and deeper into madness as you recover from the ashes of a fiery car crash. The demons you encounter could be real or just a figment of your imagination, but they're no less deadly regardless of their otherworldly appearance. You'll have to be savvy and sneaky on your journey if you're to avoid being overwhelmed, both by enemies and the thoughts that constantly grow louder in your mind.
Few games master the feeling of panic that Lies Beneath delivers. The game was developed with the Oculus Quest in mind and, amazingly enough, all the character models were created completely in VR using Medium by Adobe. That's important since VR can give you an understanding of scale like no other visual medium can and creating the enemies you face solely in VR has allowed the team to make models that are more convincing than what you'll find in other games. —Nick Sutrich
Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners
Post-apocalyptic New Orleans is a veritable hellscape
From the emotional intro to the surprising end, and every encounter in-between, The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners is a modern masterpiece of a game. While it's technically more of an action-adventure title with RPG elements, Saints and Sinners creates a sense of fear that most zombie games fail to deliver. It achieves this through practical methods that feel authentic — a limited set of resources, a set amount of time to spend scavenging each day, finite stamina and hunger meters, and a gripping story that'll keep you returning every single day to find out the truth of what happened.
Post-apocalyptic New Orleans is uniquely horrifying. It's a landscape filled with tightly packed mausoleums, decrepit, pillaged buildings, and plenty of areas flooded by failed levees. Everything about it is memorable, including the characters, side missions, and main quests.
Beneath the story lies a ground-breaking set of gameplay mechanics that'll leave you wondering why every game hasn't adopted them already. Each and every weapon you scavenge and build has a realistic set of physics to go along with it. As a result, combat feels uniquely satisfying in a way that most VR games have a hard time replicating. It all adds up to one of the most satisfying experiences you can have in VR. —Nick Sutrich
The Best Family-Friendly VR Games
You're technically supposed to wait until your child is 14 and up to play games in VR, but it's safe enough in moderation. Some parents will want games specifically for their young'uns, while others will want games that kids and adults can enjoy. Thankfully, most of the best family-friendly games are ones that people of all ages will get a kick out of, even if they don't have the violence or serious storytelling of some of other other favorites.
Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs
It's exactly what you think it is
Does Angry Birds even need an introduction? The game that practically defined quality mobile gaming proved to be a perfect fit for VR puzzle heads. Grab your slingshot, load it with a bird, and fling them at defiant piggies that just won't stop stealing eggs, no matter how many times you defeat them. Clever physics-based puzzles have been the hallmark of the series since its inception, and the translation to 3D space only makes them more compelling.
Developer Resolution Games has been behind over half a dozen VR hits and used that experience to translate Angry Birds to VR. It updated the game several times since the original launch and players can now sling through over 100 official levels of mayhem, with each level topping the last in terms of complexity. There's even a level creator and thousands of community-made levels to play, so you can sift through those in your free time and aim to top the developers in their level-building skills after. —Nick Sutrich
Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets
Remember making dioramas in school? Now you get to play with them
A rather long and seemingly convoluted name makes way for a simple and fun game that's perfect for all ages. Here you'll find a loose story following the stories of childhood memories with your grandfather and the pets you had, which sets the stage for a hide-and-seek game on a diorama scale. Roughly half a dozen levels transport players inside the imagination of a child as they pan, spin, and poke their way around each puzzle-filled world.
The goal is to find all of the lost pets in each world — hidden by some dastardly foe — as well as a smattering of secret coins that can be found by only the most curious of players. You'll have to solve clever puzzles along the way, all of which are incredibly accessible and can be completed by players of any age. Despite my son only being five years old when the game originally debuted, I was able to watch him play and help him through puzzles by sharing the Quest's view to the Chromecast attached to my TV.
At only $15, it's likely you and your kids will get several hours of entertainment out of the package, making it a great deal. If that weren't enough, The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets is one of the best games to use hand tracking on the Oculus Quest family with, making is ultra-simple to pick up and play at any time. —Nick Sutrich
Be the guardian angel you wish you had
Some of my most memorable VR experiences, including Allumette, Arden's Wake, Moss, and others play with the idea of you as a giant in the virtual world, with the power to lean down and peek in on character's lives, or even change them with a single touch. The more interactive control you have over their lives, the greater responsibility you feel to protect the little characters around you and keep them happy. Ghost Giant plays with those same themes, but acknowledges that there are certain things that you can't fix.
Our Ghost Giant reviewer had a similarly powerful and emotional response to this game as I did. You're there to protect and bond with a young boy named Louis, while also taking apart the little houses around you to spy on the other NPCs, solve puzzles, and look for little collectibles. In the midst of exploring the beautiful landscape, you will have several emotional moments as you see first-hand what these characters are going through. It's a family-friendly game, but the emotional beats are not treated with kid gloves.
Like many story-driven VR experiences, Ghost Giant is fairly short for the price, and the puzzles are more little diversions than tough brain teasers. But the wonderful story, soundtrack, and visuals make the game worth experiencing. —Michael Hicks
Half + Half
Hide and seek was never so surreal
Half + Half is a free multiplayer social game experience that's designed for all ages and skill ranges. It's a collection of five mini-games that require players to use their body language to communicate rather than their voice. You certainly can talk in the game, but your voice purposefully gets garbled into unintelligible speak — one of the key tenets to making this a game for all ages.
So what do you actually do in Half + Half? Swim with the fishes in the ocean, dance among the stars, juke around on a paraglider while trying to knock a ball into a goal, and more. It's all done in a colorful and minimalist art style that's packed with character and joy, and it's easy to jump in and play.
It's a super casual experience that takes little time to learn and even less time to get set up. Few games are so intuitive that they require little to no explanation up-front, and Half + Half makes it simple to hop on and play a few quick games without much fuss. The game is available for both Oculus Rift and Oculus Quest platforms, so if you've got a friend that's still on an older Rift headset, they can jump in and play, too. —Nick Sutrich
A VR classic that desperately needs a sequel
If we had made a best-of-the-best Quest 2 games category, Moss would've been one of our first inclusions before we debated the rest. In this game, you help guide Quill, a brave young mouse warrior on a quest to save her uncle from the evil snake Sarffog. You are a spirit floating above that is there to help Quill succeed, and she knows you're there. You can high-five her, if you wave at her she waves back, and if she runs into a puzzle she signs at you in ASL to tell you how to get past it it. She feels like a living partner, not an avatar.
When Quill runs into obstacles she can't get past, you move your head to look around the map and find ways past the obstacles, then guide her to them. When you run into combat moments, you'll control Quill with the controller, but must also use your omnipotent gaze to watch out for enemies that might attack from afar. You'll also need to peek through walls if you want to find all of the hidden scroll collectibles. It's a creative setup that other games have used since, but it works really well here.
In our Moss review, we had tons of praise for the game's environmental design, difficulty spikes for the puzzles and combat, and the exceptional story — but it's another game that's relatively short with no announced sequel to conclude the story. The free Twilight Garden DLC made the wait more bearable with more puzzles and combat to enjoy, but we're not sure if Polyarc has future plans for Moss or not. That's a shame, because Quill deserves more time in the spotlight. —Michael Hicks
Everyone loves trash pandas
Do you like visiting the residents of Animal Crossing? How about farming crops in Stardew Valley? Maybe mining some ore in Minecraft? Racoon Lagoon has elements from all three, as well as plenty of little mechanics of its own to enjoy. Racoon Lagoon puts you on an island filled with friendly animals, all of whom need help with one thing or another. Fishing, mining, and gardening are some of the key activities to take part in on the island, all of which create hours of fun gameplay for all ages.
The game has a multiplayer co-op option that makes it easy to join up with friends — something that makes an already enjoyable game that much more fun. There isn't as much customization here as in a game like Animal Crossing. The game mainly focuses on interaction with the animals on the island and the jobs that can be done, all of which are just more fun with friends.
Farming in a video game can be incredibly cathartic and rewarding, yet strangely relaxing — very much unlike real farming. Kids, in particular, that enjoy playing with their friends will find this one quite fun. Just make sure you restrict their Oculus play to friends only, as the game features full voice chat for convenience; something that can be quite odious in a world filled with anonymous Internet trolls. —Nick Sutrich
Vacation Simulator & Job Simulator
Great humor, tons of varied minigames, and brain-teasing puzzles
We decided to group these two together, not because they didn't deserve their own spots individually but because anyone who enjoys one will immediately want to invest in the other. Both games are set in a near-future dystopia where most of humanity has been replaced by robots who are now trying to recreate "jobs" and "vacations" to make the remaining humans happy — but are pretty bad at figuring out the specifics.
Like a smart Pixar movie, these games have bright, cartoonish visuals and easy-to-grasp tasks that kids will enjoy, while also employing smart jokes that'll get the biggest laughs out of adults. Some games have you complete tasks, solve puzzles, or design silly creations with the tools around you. Kids are encouraged to get creative, while anyone can hunt down secrets or waste hours on minigames. And the writing plays off of real life in truly hilarious ways, especially in the free Vacation Simulator: Back to Job expansion.
If you're looking for a game to start with, Vacation Simulator is a more complete and technically advanced experience. For the kids, Vacation Simulator has multiple saves and a "small human" mode that ensures the gameplay happens at the proper height for them. It also adds hand tracking, where Job Simulator relies on the Touch controllers to be your hands. And while Job Simulator keeps its gameplay focused on the arc directly in front of you, Vacation Simulator takes full advantage of wireless VR and encourages you to look in any direction. Still, Job Simulator is a great introduction to VR and a fun experience in its own right. —Michael Hicks
The Best Puzzles and Relaxation VR Games
As VR games get more advanced, developers are starting to focus more on "realism" and "immersion" to make players live out fantasies and explore worlds. But VR got its start in many ways on puzzle games, with players encouraged to interact with their environment to solve mysteries and get past obstacles. These best Quest 2 puzzle games will challenge and tease your brain in the best way.
Tetris no longer has a monopoly on colored shapes
When you think of puzzlers, your brain almost indelibly goes to Tetris. The catchy tunes and hypnotizing movement of the pieces is only broken by the speed at which you have to keep up in order to win. So what if you took Tetris and made it decidedly more zen? That's maybe a semi-decent description of Cubism, a 3D puzzler that only makes sense in VR space, as it makes you feel like you're picking up physical colorful shapes and trying to fit them into another hollow shape.
What seems like an incredibly simple formula at first makes way for a brain-teasingly good time that's earned the game a nearly flawless score on the Oculus Store — and earned it many awards in the process. There's nothing quite like getting lost in the zone of solving puzzles only to find yourself emerge from VR a few hours later. Later puzzles are deceptively difficult, especially given the ease at which the game pulls you in.
It's truly the perfect example of a pick-up-and-play VR game since you can jump in for a few minutes at a time. Built-in hand-tracking support is fun and lends credence to this feeling, although you may want to stick to using controllers if hand tracking gets wonky, which happen son the Quest. Cubism developer Thomas Van Bouwel has been teasing "hand tracking 2.0" on Twitter lately, which means it might get a second wind as a must-use feature for the game. Either way, pick it up. Your brain will thank me later. —Nick Sutrich
A Fisherman's Tale
A dream within a dream within a dream
There's really just no comparison to how perspective can be used in VR, and A Fisherman's Tale is the perfect example of a game that thrives on the aspect of perspective and scale that VR can bring. What starts out as a tale of a simple fisherman who mans a lighthouse quickly evolves into a tale of psychological wonder.
Players will interact with any and every object in the lighthouse, but beware: you may not be controlling who you think you're controlling. Are you the fisherman himself or the puppet in the model lighthouse? Are these stories real or are they tall tales from a sailor who has seen too many days lost at sea?
Riddles, mind-bending mysteries, tricky puzzles, and bizarre situations await you in one of the most unique puzzle games you'll likely ever play. This one isn't just about matching shapes up to complete a goal. It's also about living through an adventure story and adapting to the realities you begin to uncover. —Nick Sutrich
In space, no one can hear you scream... when you can't solve that puzzle
What could be a more perfect setup for roomscale VR than a giant do-it-yourself Rube Goldberg machine? A giant do-it-yourself Rube Goldberg machine in space with zero-gravity! Gravity Lab was one of the first roomscale games to come out on PC VR platforms back in 2016 and received a marvelous port to the Oculus Quest.
Gravity Lab puts players in a defunct Moonbase that was clearly used for some weird science experiments. Are you supposed to be here? Are you part of the experiment? There's only one way to find out: Get to solving those puzzles so you can move on to the next! Most puzzles involve getting some ball or another item from one point to the next, but the limited number of pieces you can use make it a challenge.
After the first few levels, you'll have to really start thinking out of the (gravity) box as puzzles begin to increasingly evolve into ones that don't rely on gravity. The clever puzzles are injected with bits of humor to spice things up a bit, and the simple narrative helps carry players from one level to the next without getting convoluted. —Nick Sutrich
I Expect You to Die
James Bond meets MacGuyver
As the first VR game that I ever played, 2016's I Expect You to Die will always hold a special place in my heart, even if it is somewhat dated at this point. Whether you are a fan of old point-and-click games, flash escape the room games, or general puzzlers, there's plenty to like from I Expect You to Die, which encourages the same level of creativity and unorthodox solutions.
Named after Goldfinger's famous line to James Bond, the game stars you as a secret agent navigating a series of escape room-like traps and scenarios built by the evil Dr. Zor. You'll find multiple ways to solve puzzles or dispatch foes, as well as a ton of ways to get things wrong, die, and start over. The game is relatively short, but it provides incentives to replay levels to unlock souvenirs by using your nearby tools in funny ways or completing the mission in a short amount of time.
We recently learned that Schell Games is making I Expect You to Die 2 to launch sometime in 2021. Based on the trailer, it looks to have updated graphics but otherwise uses the same style of gameplay. On the one hand, the only flaw of the first game is that it's so short, so we're thrilled to get more levels. —Michael Hicks
Relive the Cold War — but in space!
Red Matter is a puzzle adventure game set on a frozen planet far away from Earth. You find yourself in the shoes of Agent Epsilon, working on behalf of the Atlantic Union and having been dispatched to investigate what's clearly a top-secret research base. Turns out the Volgravians abandoned it and now it's your turn to find out what they were doing there and why they all suddenly left.
Both countries represented here are obviously portrayals of the U.S. and the USSR during the Cold War, but things have been given an obvious sci-fi twist and a big change of scenery. To call Red Matter a puzzle game doesn't do it justice. You won't be matching up colored blobs or creating rows of oddly shaped cubes. Rather, you'll be freely walking around the abandoned base and exploring at your will — not unlike the recently remade classic Myst.
Red Matter feels authentic the entire way through. The visuals are astounding and you'll often be wondering why most VR games don't look this good. The puzzles require clever minds and focused thought to complete, and it feels like there's some battle lurking around any given corner just waiting for you to float around it. It's a no-brainer choice to buy because you'll need all that brain power to finish it. —Nick Sutrich
Do you dream of Tetriminos? This Tetris remake is for you
AC's pick for the best puzzle game on the PS4, and winner of 2018's game of the year on several gaming sites, Tetris Effect took the classic Tetris formula and added some beautiful visuals and gameplay twists to make it even better for modern consoles. Successful block breaking leads to explosions of color across the screen. The Tetriminos descend to match with the music's rhythm and everything combines to make the experience feel magical, and that effect's only compounded in VR.
The newest feature is called Zone, which freezes falling blocks in place. You can use this respite to figure out your next move or place multiple blocks before they take effect, which lets you blow up more than the maximum four lines of blocks if you play your Tetriminos correctly. The game itself has a ton of different modes and over 30 levels, so there's plenty of replay value. It's also fun to join in on the Weekend Rituals and try to unlock new perks with your fellow players.
It's no surprise that a game made by Rez Infinite's developers turned this classic game into something gorgeous in a virtual void. We just hope that the developers patch the game to include a Quest 2 enhancement soon because at the moment Tetris Effect doesn't take full advantage of its graphical or refresh rate capabilities. I'm also excited to crush my fellow Tetris fans when the Connected multiplayer expansion arrives in mid-2021. —Michael Hicks