If you've just received an Oculus Quest 2 as a gift or purchased one for yourself, you might be wondering where to start. While we have a rather large list of the best Quest 2 games, it can be difficult to identify even just five games to try first. You may find a game that looks interesting, but the controls or experiences can be daunting, and virtual movement can make new VR players feel a little woozy.
That's where we're hoping we can help. We've chosen five games that feature unique experiences tailor-made for VR. Each of them also makes it easy for first-time VR players to quickly jump in and enjoy the action without needing to get adjusted to virtual movement. We made sure to select a variety of games that will hopefully pique your interest, including different gameplay styles and themes.
But we're not stopping there. Once you've chosen a game and are comfortable with it — or even completed the game — we're giving you a bonus recommendation to move on to next. The second game typically follows a similar gameplay theme but typically requires you to be a bit more comfortable with VR than you might have initially been. So without further ado, here are the 5 Oculus Quest 2 games to play first!
Feel the rhythm
It's impossible to make a definitive list of must-play Quest 2 games without Beat Saber. But, even if you've never played Beat Saber, there's little doubt you've heard of it or maybe even seen it played on YouTube or even on the Jimmy Fallon Show.
The game is synonymous with VR for a reason. You know exactly what you're supposed to do from the moment you put on the headset and jump into the game. It's a game that needs very little explanation or time to get immersed in, yet, takes months (or years) of practice to truly master the game.
In its most basic form, Beat Saber is a game where you slice colored blocks with laser swords (sabers), each slice coinciding with the beat of the music that's playing. Hence, the name. Half a dozen difficulty levels for most songs cover the gamut of skill levels, and players can even play many levels in special 90-degree, 180-degree, or 360-degree rulesets that will have you twirling around the room as you slice to the beat.
Fair warning, it's quite a workout, and your arms will likely be sorer than you can remember more times than you can count. On the other hand, it's addictive, a ton of fun, and is incredibly well-supported thanks to the fact that it's the single best-selling Quest 2 game ever. That means the company constantly pumps out new music packs and regularly hires community members to map out new songs.
It's a game that's going nowhere anytime soon — even though it's actually nearly four years old at this point — and that's great for everyone who loves it and simply cannot get enough.
What to play next: Pistol Whip
Once you get the action rhythm game bug, it's hard to put it aside. While there are plenty of titles to choose from, few are as unique as Pistol Whip. In many ways, Pistol Whip feels like the embodiment of any given action scene out of a John Wick movie. In fact, Pistol Whip doesn't refer to each level as a "song," instead, they are scenes.
That's because most of Pistol Whip's levels are deeply inspired by popular action movies. So whether it's The Matrix or a Clint Eastwood Wild West flick, players will find their character automatically progressing through levels as they duck, dodge, and weave around bullets flying at them from all angles.
It's an adrenaline rush like few other games and a great way to get some exercise for your bottom half after the top half has been decimated by a few Beat Saber songs.
Like Beat Saber, you won't be walking around these levels. Rather, you'll stand in the center of the room as your character progresses through a linear path. You're then freed up to move your body any which way you need to dodge those bullets and send plenty of your own to meet their mark on each and every enemy along the way.
The two latest updates, Pistol Whip: 2089 and Pistol Whip: Smoke & Thunder — both of which have been totally free — feature some light story elements that weave their way through around half a dozen levels apiece. It's a wild ride that keeps getting better with every update.
SUPERHOT is one of those games that translates so well to VR you will wonder why the developers even bother with non-VR versions once you try it. As the second part in the three-part series, SUPERHOT VR puts players in the shoes of some unwitting hacker turned action-hero as you enter the virtual world of SUPERHOT.
In this virtual world, time only moves when you do, giving you the unique opportunity to actually look around and enjoy the sights before getting hit by a volley of bullets.
The game uses a unique art style with tech-stylized humanoids, each of which looks like a rough polygonal human shape. These characters are entirely red, making them easy to spot against the backdrop of an entirely white world. Any object that hits an enemy — be it a stapler, your fists, a knife, or the bullet from any gun you find lying around — shatters an enemy, forcing them to eject their weapon.
If you're cunning enough, you can steal the weapon right from an enemy's hands and use it against them in a split second.
Enemies move at the same pace as the rest of the world, meaning they won't move if you don't. The exception is head movement, as it allows players to look around and formulate a strategy before getting their hands in on the action.
SUPERHOT VR is played in a relatively stationary position. However, you're able to physically walk around your room to avoid enemies, duck behind cover, and use any other parts of the environment necessary to survive. It's incredibly visceral and, again, one of those experiences that just immediately makes sense the moment you enter VR.
When you stop moving, time stops moving. Use that tactic to achieve greatness, the likes of which you could never before have imagined in this unique first-person shooter.
What to play next: Resident Evil 4 VR
The classic title comes to VR in a way that seems almost too good to be true until you start playing. It's hard to believe this nearly 20-year-old game used to be a Gamecube title, but scouring the countryside through the eyes of Leon Kennedy feels as natural in VR as if Resident Evil 4 VR were originally built for the medium.
On top of that, this one is a Quest 2-exclusive title, so you can't play it in VR anywhere else.
Previously, Resident Evil VII made the series debut in VR on the PlayStation VR, but that game still used a standard DualShock 4 controller to control your character, which made it a bit less immersive than actually reaching out with your own hands to grab objects, open doors, and otherwise interact with anything in the game.
As the first title in the series to switch up the camera perspective when it originally launched, it makes sense that Resident Evil 4 would be the first Resident Evil game to make the transition to a full motion-tracked VR experience. Even the menus were completely redesigned to better fit the VR experience.
By nature, Resident Evil 4 is a bit more of an intense experience than SUPERHOT VR because you'll be the one moving your character around virtually in the game. Players who aren't physically comfortable with smooth joystick movement can teleport around, giving you a moment to adjust to your surroundings before moving on to the next space.
A number of other comfort options will also make it easier for players to adjust to virtual movement in VR, which can sometimes make players feel woozy because your brain thinks you should be moving while your physical body is standing still.
Mercenaries mode (and likely others) is making its way to RE4VR in early 2022.
A puzzling reality
A Fisherman's Tale
Sometimes, short and sweet is the way to go. A Fisherman's Tale will only take you a few hours to get through but, if you're someone who loves puzzles, you'll find this game's unique blend of mind-bending puzzles and brilliant storytelling a breath of fresh, salty air.
As the name implies, you'll be playing the role of a seaman of sorts who finds himself waking up day in and day out inside a lighthouse, tending to the important duty of keeping the light on and protecting boats from running aground.
Despite what it may initially seem, however, the story takes a rather trippy turn, and you'll soon be controlling yourself throughout multiple streams of time, defying the laws of physics and finding that this simple fisherman's tale is a lot more involved than you thought.
Levels soon begin stacking themselves inside one another in a sort of Russian nesting doll way, with each world mirroring the events in the others, leading to some fascinating puzzles involving object transformation. It's a game that's a bit hard to discuss without spoiling anything, so I'll leave it here: if you love puzzle games, this is certainly one to try.
What to play next: Demeo
A Fisherman's Tale might have you looking up at a giant version of yourself, but the tables turn — quite literally — in Demeo. It's a strategy game that borrows concepts from Dungeons & Dragons without the need to remember complicated rules or your own set of dice.
After launching to much fanfare — including our own Demeo hands-on at launch in May — the game launched two additional campaigns in 2021 and is expanding into the PC realm in 2022, including many more campaigns and character types to play.
As you might expect from a game that's traditionally played on a tabletop, players will find themselves looking over a virtual table containing the game world. Taking full advantage of the immersion factor of VR, players can tilt the board and zoom in and out as much as they want, getting a birds-eye view of the action or pulling in close so that player characters and enemies alike are nearly life-sized.
Players will begin each round moving their character, attacking enemies, or just playing their hand at special spells and moves found within the deck of cards in their hand. Each game board is completely randomized, and players will never know what they'll find, although the end goal is the same in each campaign.
Between rounds, you can use gold earned in combat or otherwise found throughout levels to upgrade your deck of cards, giving you more special skills and spells to use throughout combat. You'll also earn experience with each level completion, leveling up each of the game's half-dozen character types as you go.
While Demeo's mechanics are brilliant in and of themselves, Demeo's true strength lies in its ability to pull up to four players together in a virtual room and make them feel like they're actually sitting around a table together. It's a design that's optionally social but played best with others, and soon you'll even be able to pull your non-VR friends in on the action, although they certainly won't find it as immersive as it is in VR.
Feel the weight
Until You Fall
Until you Fall was one of the first VR games to utilize a unique physics engine that creates the feel of real weapon weight, delivering a more visceral, realistic combat experience. Despite the fact that your controllers weigh the same as they do any other time, the way Schell Games programmed each weapon's weight into the game's physics engine makes them actually feel heavier or lighter.
It's a sort of magic trick played on your brain, as weapons move faster or slower depending on their weight and can be used to different effects during combat.
The game is structured as a typical roguelite, which means you'll play through the semi-procedurally-generated world and get as far as you can until you die, hence the name of the game. The world includes three tiers of levels, each made up of several areas that contain a mix of standard enemies, mini-bosses, and full-fledged bosses.
Players will earn Aether with each area completion, which can then be used to unlock skills and upgrade weapons to help with your next run through the world. Each time you die, you get stronger, leading to bigger and better weapons and abilities the more you progress.
It's a true battle of attrition with combat that feels like no other game, despite several others implementing similar physics-based combat since its original release.
What to play next: The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners
The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners is in keeping with the theme of physics-based combat, but, unlike Until You Fall, the game doesn't take place in relatively small arenas. Instead, you'll be unleashed upon post-apocalyptic New Orleans to explore to your heart's content, scavenging whatever you can find to craft weapons, armor, and support items, and eventually finding out what the heck happened to the city you used to know and love.
Few expected much from Saints & Sinners, given that most games based on books, movies, or TV tend to fall short of expectations created by the original content. Without a doubt, though, it quickly became one of the most-loved VR games and remains at the top of the must-play list for any VR headset, not just the Quest 2.
In Saints & Sinners, you'll be surviving day-to-day, making your way out only when the Sun is up. Each day is a new adventure as you'll find the remains of whatever is left in the city, battling your way through hordes of zombies and warring gangs trying to take control of the few safe areas left.
But this isn't a zombie game that's focused on throwing tons of dumb zombies at you. Rather, it proves how difficult even one zombie would be to kill if such a scenario were to unfold in real life.
Saints & Sinners is a full-fledged action RPG in every sense of the word, from the intricate dialog and story elements affected by player actions and dialog trees to the gangs who will learn to hate you if you choose to assassinate their members. It's a game that can be played through multiple times over, each time seeing different results than the last.
As the game is heavily physics-based, you can climb objects as you would expect in real life, scaling buildings and using environmental hazards to dispatch your enemies.
It's not a game for the faint of heart, as you'll have to fend off zombies in the most realistic way you've ever conceived. The game's physics engine lends a realistic feel to weapons, with each gun's weight feeling palpably different and knives that need to be driven deep into the skulls of zombies to dispatch them permanently from this world.
It's just you and your squad
After the Fall
Not to be confused with Until you Fall, After the Fall is a game from Arizona Sunshine developers and features some very different types of zombies than you'll find in the company's first zombie foray. After the Fall takes place in a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles where climate change has ravaged the area, now as blizzard-ridden as the North Pole.
While extreme cold might stop most life forms from functioning properly, the Snowbreed — a special breed of zombie that thrives in such a climate — has taken up residence and is wreaking havoc on whatever is left of the former paradise.
Fans of Left 4 Dead or Killing Floor will immediately find themselves at home here. The main mission structure is incredibly similar to Valve's seminal shooter, as players will generally make their way from one safe room to the next, killing hundreds of zombies between each area. The key there is the 'hundreds' part, as you'll find no other VR game that throws more enemies at you in a single whim as After the Fall.
But unlike Left 4 Dead, "harvest" earned from killing each zombie can later be used to purchase weapons and weapon upgrades, including color customizations and the whole nine yards. It takes the currency reward concept from Killing Floor and makes it far more rewarding by allowing players to scale out their arsenal that can be kept between missions.
Right now, the game's story can be completed in about five hours, but that's not the real objective of the game, anyway. Four difficulty levels see significant upticks in the number of and difficulty level of zombies, further encouraging players to farm more harvest and get those weapons upgraded as much as possible. Season One is coming soon, and with it, the promise of more guns, more levels, and plenty of surprises.
The real joy here is the ability to easily join up with three other players at any time, but don't worry if you're not feeling particularly social one day, as characters will automatically be swapped out for AI-driven ones to ensure you're always in a squad of four.
We chose After the Fall as the multiplayer game of choice for newer players because of the many accessibility options presented, including several movement and comfort options to help new players get more comfortable in VR.
What to play next: Population: One
We named Population: One the best Oculus multiplayer game of 2021 for a reason. It might sound like just another battle royale on the surface, but Population: One's FreeMotion locomotion system puts the game on an entirely different level than something like Fortnite or PUBG.
It might seem strange not to recommend our favorite multiplayer game as the number one pick out of the gate, but for new players, the ability to move so freely might be a physical deterrent because it can certainly make some novice VR players feel a bit woozy.
That's because it's built from the ground up for VR and allows players to literally climb anything in the game, even granting the ability to glide anywhere by simply spreading your arms out like a pair of wings.
It's this incredible freedom of movement that really sets the game apart and has kept players coming back time and time again over the year since it launched alongside the Quest 2 at the end of 2020.
Throughout that time, developer BigBox VR has overhauled sections of the map two times, adding in a wild west-themed area and a medieval-themed area, as well as plenty of seasonal updates along the way.
All of these updates have been totally free, and plenty is expected from the game over the next year as it continues to grow.
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