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Best SideQuest, App Lab, and sideloaded games for Oculus Quest 2 in 2022

Gorilla Tag screenshot
(Image credit: Another Axiom)

You could spend hundreds of hours playing through the best Meta Quest 2 games without looking for new ones, but you shouldn't sleep on the best App Lab games, and best sideloaded titles for the Quest 2. They often provide unique experiences from indie developers, many of which are free or dirt cheap. In contrast, others are mods of classic PC games that'll likely never make the Oculus Store officially. Oculus App Lab opened up a whole new world of experiences for Quest owners, but these games often cost money to play. We gathered a ton of free titles to check out with that in mind, so you can always keep something new on deck without making a monetary commitment. 

Gorilla Tag

In Gorilla Tag, there's no crazy locomotion method for you to adjust to; just use your hands to grab the ground and fling your monkey body around an arena where the only purpose is not to get caught. Several different game modes, arenas, skins, and moves will keep the action fresh, and you'll quickly remember why playing tag as a kid was so much darn fun! Gorilla Tag for Quest has crossplay with the PC VR version, and you can either play in public or private rooms for the best experience. What are you waiting for? Reject humanity. Become gorilla.

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Gorilla Tag 

Run, swing and climb your way to victory as you try not to be the last one who's "it" in this active, physics based multiplayer experience.  You'll run around a virtual jungle with up to three other players in one of two game modes as you try to tag your opponents and avoid being tagged as you swing your arms and walk with your hands just like a real gorilla. 

Get From: SideQuest (opens in new tab)

To The Top

Climb, skate, fly, and fall as a robotic cheetah with jets in your paws in this beautiful, geometric sandbox full of obstacles, challenging puzzles, and hidden treasures. There are 35 maps, with Mirror's Edge-esque time trials encouraging you to improve your movement mechanics and find new, faster paths through levels. To The Top is so popular that it's finally found its way to the App Lab, so you can wait to buy it if you don't want to deal with sideloading and it's absolutely worth the price.

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To The Top

Move like a superhero with superhuman strength and cat-like reflexes in one of 35 virtual, sky-high obstacle courses in this thrilling climb race game. You'll be able to leap from high ledges and heights to get the best time or across the finish line first while testing the limits of your acrophobia. 

Get From: SideQuest (opens in new tab)
Buy From:
Oculus App Lab (opens in new tab)

H.A.X.

H.A.X. is a unique first-person shooter where your clip is more than just something you shove into the bottom end of a gun. Sure, it provides bullets as you'd expect, but it also doubles as a katana, a hatchet that you can throw, and so much more. It's like Smith & Wesson made a Swiss army knife. The full game is still in development and there's only a demo version available on the Oculus App Lab and SideQuest and it's only in single player mode. However, there's a lot of pulse-pounding action packed in such a small demo. 

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H.A.X.

Step into the iron shell of a robot warrior and take out your enemies before they take you out in this fast-paced, high adrenaline, open world shooter. 

Get From: Oculus App Lab (opens in new tab)

Hibow

Archery in the real and the virtual world can be a lot of fun but what if shooting arrows wasn't just for hitting things? What if the arrows pulled you through the air enabling you to move in ways that feel supernatural? That's the aim of Hibow, an archery battle royale title that puts players in an arena and promises to keep you looking everywhere and never stop moving.

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Hibow

This unique, virtual multiplayer experience puts a bow and arrow in your hands instead of the usual shooter weaponry and it can do a lot more than shoot. This archery set can fling you across arenas and over your opponents' heads to give you the edge and make the perfect shot. 

Get From: Oculus App Lab (opens in new tab)

Operation Serpens

Arcade enthusiasts rejoice! Operation Serpens joins Crisis VRigade as a seminal example of how classic arcade shooters made the leap to VR. Each level in Operation Serpens is a slightly different style and sometimes even a different theme altogether. You'll take the role of an elite agent tasked with destroying the evil Snakes Organization, but beware: it's not just bad guys with guns you'll have to worry about. Part Time Crisis, part House of the Dead, and all fun, this wave shooter will have you coming back to beat your high score over and over again.

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Operation Serpens

This military themed, arcade style shooter drops you right into the action in the middle of a series of explosive campaigns. You'll need a sharp aim to use different types of high caliber weapons to take out the enemy before they take you out with the right shot. 

Buy From: Oculus App Lab (opens in new tab)

Rhythm N' Bullets

Take a classic shoot-em-up (shmup) from the golden days of the arcade, combine it with a rhythm shooter, and you'll get Rhythm N' Bullets. Take your ship in hand (literally) and whip it around to shoot the enemies in wave after wave of arcade action. Just remember to keep to the beat. Otherwise, you'll find the levels are nigh impossible to beat.

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Rhythm N' Bullets

The shooter and rhythm game genres collide in this addictive music driven shooting title. A pair of star-flying starfighters will carry you across colorful maps full of targets that you have to shoot to the beat of a song in one of four different stages. 

Buy From: Oculus App Lab (opens in new tab)

Crisis VRigade 2

The first Crisis VRigade used a cartoonish graphics engine, but the developers upped the visual quality in the sequel while keeping the same physical SWAT-shooter gameplay. New difficulty modes, bosses, weapons, and customization options make this game a complete experience. Duck and dodge your way through levels and save the day!

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Crisis VRigade 2

Step in the boots of a SWAT officer and take on a series of bullet dodging shootouts to take down the bad guy. You'll need a sharp eye and sharp reflexes if you wanna make it back to the station house in one piece. 

Buy From: Oculus App Lab (opens in new tab)

QuestZDoom

This truly awesome mod lets you play Doom and Doom II in VR (assuming you've bought them on Steam), plus other games running on the same engine, including Wolfenstein, Heretic, Hexen, Strife, Duke Nukem 3D and a bunch of various fan-made mods that are free and included. It's time to get violent and shoot 8-bit baddies, only with 6DoF motion tracking added.

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QuestZDoom

The classic first-person shooter is now a literal "first-person" shooter in this Meta Quest port of Id Software's most successful game. Navigate through some of the game's classic levels on your VR headset or download and play of other great first-person classics from the 90s and 00s. 

Get From: SideQuest (opens in new tab)

Lambda1VR

Half-Life: Alyx will never come to the Quest 2 (officially), so enjoy the next best thing and dive into Gordon Freeman's HEV Suit in this VR mod of Half-Life 1. Purchase the original game and install the mod via SideQuest, and you'll be crowbarring headcrabs, shooting enemies, and dodging attacks using 6DoF support. Fair warning: running around in old VR worlds can cause serious nausea if you don't have strong VR legs.

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Lambda1VR

This unofficial port of Valve's classic first-person shooter runs just as well and fast as the original. Take on the role of the crowbar flinging scientist Gordon Freeman as you fight your way through an alien invasion that breaks out in the bowels of an underground research facility. 

Get From: SideQuest (opens in new tab)

Tea For God

Using Oculus's Guardian system for mapping your living room, this prototype game procedurally generates a never-ending maze for you to explore. The non-Euclidian (physically impossible) maze goes on forever until you fail to shoot your robotic enemies. Few titles incorporate room-scale VR so well, which makes Tea for God one of the best sideloaded games for Quest 2. It incorporates hand-tracking tech to shoot finger-guns at enemies and interact with your environment.

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Tea For God

Turn your house or apartment in a virtual maze in this virtual shooter/puzzle game. The game uses the Oculus Quest 2's Guardian to create a unique map for you to traverse based on the playing space in your place. 

Get From: Oculus App Lab (opens in new tab)

Deisim

Guide the human race towards prosperity and destroy heretics supporting other gods in this early-access Steam title. You place tiles of land and cast spells to shape the growth of society indirectly. Still, it would help if you occasionally used your omnipotent power to deal with troublemakers and keep humans on the right path with miracles. The one-person dev team added intriguing new features in recent updates, including modern and futuristic societies, warring kingdoms, and even UFO invasions.

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Deisim 

Oversee the development of the human race in this "God-like" management game. You'll help humanity build homes, provide them with sustenance and evolve over time to usher your people into new periods of prosperity and peace. 

Buy From: Oculus App Lab (opens in new tab)

Pavlov: Shack

The stripped-down port of this acclaimed Counter-Strike clone offers some of the best shooting mechanics you can find on the Quest. It offers multiple modes that let you team up with friends to capture objectives and kill zombies or kill friends and strangers alike in Deathmatch. It's the most popular SideQuest app, so you'll never wait long to dive into some violent PvP, and it's somehow free. The devs are working on an App Lab version if you want it in your official library.

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Pavlov: Shack

One of the most accurate gun and firearm simulators on the Oculus Quest 2 is also free. This shooter sim gives you access to a variety of handguns, shotguns, machine guns and rifles that you can test in a virtual shooting range or several, expansive multiplayer maps. 

Get From: SideQuest (opens in new tab)

Ancient Dungeon Beta

This extremely popular beta lets you dive into a Minecraft Dungeons-esque world with a sword, throwing knives, and arrows, facing random enemies and bosses in physics-based combat while rescuing NPCs and discovering secrets. You'll dodge or deflect attacks, take different paths with varied environments, buy items with the loot you find, and generally find ways to survive. There's so much content to enjoy considering it's free.

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Ancient Dungeon Beta

This roguelike dungeon crawler puts you in an underground dungeon made of stone as you fight your way through waves of monsters. Only the bravest explorers, warriors and scholars will find their fortune and freedom. 

Get From: Oculus App Lab (opens in new tab)

Swordsman

If you're one of those weekend warriors who goes to renaissance fairs and engages in "combat" with a foam sword covered in duct tape and a wooden shield, we've got something just for you. This fighting game puts you on the armor of a powerful sword swinger from a variety of time periods and uses real time physics to mimic the look and feel of a real sword fight. You can slice and dice as a samurai, a knight, a Viking, and a member of the Mongol horde using a variety of different swords and shields. The enemies are just as varied and challenging ranging from simple sword swingers to the mighty Kraken. 

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Swordsman

The pen may be mightier than the sword but this VR fighting game only lets you pick up a sword. That's probably for the best since you'll be fighting a series of skilled swordsmen using a sword from your own mighty arsenal of fencing combat weapons that respond to all of your thrusts and parries. 

Buy From: Oculus App Lab (opens in new tab)

Frenzy VR

This always happens during a game of Grand Theft Auto. You've run a few missions for the boss or completed a couple of side hustles in Vice City or San Andreas. Then you start to get bored, so you just start driving your car recklessly or get into a firefight with the NPCs. Frenzy VR is a virtual version of that moment except every goal is about creating destruction. The game puts you in a series of environments where everything can be broken and anything can be used as a weapon. You can break windows, fight friends and enemies with weapons or your bare hands and even step into the Octagon with an MMA fighter and take him out with whatever you can find. The options are limitless. Reducing things to rubble has never been this fun or legal. 

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Frenzy VR

Feeling frustrated or just like breaking something? This virtual sandbox game lets you let out your aggression in a series of breakable environments where anything or anyone you can grab can be turned into a weapon. 

Buy From: Oculus App Lab (opens in new tab)

(Side)load up on indie VR games

App Lab games don't appear officially in the Quest Store unless you have a direct link or type the exact name in the search bar, making them hard to find. This App Lab games list (opens in new tab) helps you find the full list, but there are hundreds to sort through, so we recommend you start without favorites!

As for sideloaded games like QuestZDoom that'll never get an official Quest 2 release for legal reasons, you'll have to follow our guide on how to sideload content on the Quest to enable unofficial titles in your official library. That makes playing App Lab games much easier; but for adventurous gamers, the extra effort will be worth it. Regardless, App Lab games and sideloaded games are just as much worth playing as the best games that Oculus offers on its official store

In general, these indie games spend fewer resources on graphical fidelity and more time on fun gameplay, creating worlds that you'll be able to spend more than a few hours in. Procedural titles like Ancient Dungeon Beta or multiplayer titles like Pavlov Shack will let you sink dozens of hours into them, well beyond the few hours that official, expensive VR games will offer. Even if they don't "immerse" you in the same way as official Quest Store games, the best App Lab titles and the best-sideloaded games for the Oculus Quest 2 have plenty of unique fun to offer.

Michael L Hicks
Senior Editor, VR/AR and fitness

Michael spent years freelancing on every tech topic under the sun before settling down on the real exciting stuff: virtual reality, fitness wearables, gaming, and how tech intersects with our world. He's a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves running, D&D, and Star Wars. Find him on Twitter at @Michael_L_Hicks.

With contributions from