The 9 Best Oculus Rift Games That You Can Play Right Now (Touch Update)
The Oculus Rift is amazing. And this month it got even more amazing. Oculus Touch released on December 6 and boy, oh boy, did it bring some fantastic games along with it. In the face of such an incredible innovation we realized we had to update our top Rift games list to include these new offerings.
We’ve got nine games in particular for you that we think are the absolute best games this system has to offer in the post-Touch era. Before we get started there are just a few caveats. We will not be including the original pack-in titles like Lucky’s Tale and EVE: Valkyrie for consideration — even though both are great games — because they already came with most headsets. We’re also not including simplistic free experiences such as Farlands, First Contact, or Oculus Dreamdeck.
Titles on this list are in no particular order, they’re all recommended equally. Let’s get started!
Windlands is great. No, let me try that again. Windlands is amazing. Still not good enough? Okay, one more try. Windlands is so good that if I didn’t have certain people in my life willing to say “Hey man, we haven’t seen you in a while” or “You do know you need to wash your clothes right?” I would probably still be playing it right now.
Developed by Psytec Games, Windlands is a title that provides everything VR gaming needs right now. Addictive gameplay? Check. Beautiful visuals? Check. Compelling atmosphere? Oh yeah. And to top it all off Windlands now comes with a free Touch update that transitions the already mesmerizing, gaze-based grappling hook gameplay into a hand-controlled experience. This is the closest we can get to being Spider-Man people.
What truly makes Windlands amazing however is that it’s not just an amazing video game, it’s an amazing virtual reality video game. It could only work in VR. A game where you swing around like Spider-Man in first person piecing together the mysteries of an ancient world sounds fun in 2D, but in VR on the Rift it becomes something else entirely: legendary.
Note: This game is also available on the HTC Vive but I prefer to play it on the Rift. You do a lot of quick head movements in this game and the Rift’s lighter headset and ergonomic design make that experience a lot more enjoyable. The Touch controllers also feel more comfortable.
D1RT Rally is officially bumping Project Cars off of this list as our number one racing game for the Rift. Don’t get me wrong, Project Cars is beautiful and impressively immersive but DiRT edges it out with grittier gameplay that feels perfectly suited for the unique benefits of a VR headset.
The white-knuckle turns and moment-by-moment decision making that take place in DiRT Rally‘s off road races translate beautifully into VR. Every last second hairpin turn or horrifying rollout is felt inside that headset. This makes every victory feel satisfying, electrifying, and hard won. Combine this with a steering wheel accessory and you’ve got yourself a recipe for never seeing your children again.
And always remember: don’t cut.
If you read about The Climb on paper it’s not going to do the game much justice. Sentences like: “You look around to place a set of disembodied hands on a mountain and grip handholds by holding down the shoulder buttons,” do little to capture the heart pounding exhilaration that The Climb provides.
The original, gamepad control scheme, despite some finicky moments, brilliantly immerses you in a rock climbing mindset with just two buttons. I held on to those triggers tighter than Rose held onto that floating door in Titanic that could clearly fit two people.
Now The Climb also has a free Oculus Touch update which makes scaling these facades more immersive and engaging than ever. Trust me, if you fall in The Climb, you will definitely remember it. You feel so one with nature in this game as well, which is an odd, but wonderful, thing for a video game to be able to do. So now you can tell your mom you don’t need to go outside. You have The Climb.
Before The Unspoken we were skeptical how real-time, online multiplayer would work for the Oculus Rift. After, The Unspoken we know the answer: it freaking rocks.
The Unspoken is the third game in Insomniac’s trilogy of VR titles for Rift this year. It puts you in the Chuck Taylor’s, scarf, and trench coat of a modern sorcerer trying to evade a shadowy cabal in the dark streets of Chicago. Despite its loose story, The Unspoken is entirely an online multiplayer game (with the exception of a few, limited, offline practice modes).
You’ll spend your time choosing between three unique classes, customizing a load out of spells and artifacts, and perfecting your technique on the battlefield. The Unspoken is addictive and fun with a fantastic use case for the new Touch controllers. Whether you’re hurling a fireball or levitating a police car, it all feels natural and exhilarating on Oculus’ new platform.
Matchmaking also happens within seconds rather than minutes which was a major pre-launch concern for this game. Dive in, master your magic, and see if you’ve got what it takes to be named the greatest VR wizard in the world.
If you’ve ever sat around with your friends and played, “How would we survive the zombie apocalypse?” then Arizona Sunshine is a must play. Developer Vertigo Games transports you directly into the sun bleached deserts of Arizona. The landscapes would be quite beautiful if they weren’t crawling with legions of the undead.
Armed with only a handful of firearms you’ll need to scavenge for food, ammunition, and shelter as you make your way through the infested landscape in search of refuge from the endless hordes. Arizona Sunshine‘s gameplay is visceral and satisfying with a wonderfully voiced protagonist and a story that makes you feel the desperation that comes at the end of the world.
There are also difficulty modes that scale the zombie damage and ammo scarcity. These culminate in the almost impossible to beat “Apocalyptic Mode” which will make you think hard before taking every shot. The online horde mode is a blast with friends and the gunplay and reload mechanics keep you feeling actively involved in your own survival.
In a market flooded with Zombie shooters Arizona Sunshine stands a decapitated head and shoulders above the rest.
Obduction is the game that gave me my new fear of windows. Developed by Cyan, Inc. — the makers of the legendary PC title, Myst — this title brings exploration and storytelling to new heights for VR gaming in general.
In Obduction you find yourself exploring a ghost town that seems plucked straight out of the old west. The only catch? It’s on an alien planet and you have no way to get home. So begins hours of discovery, mystery, and intriguing puzzles.
Obduction is a thinking players game. If you want to blow things up or shoot big guns then this may not be the title for you. But if you’re hungry for an adventure you’ve come to the right place. But don’t forget: nothing is ever as it seems.
Dead and Buried
Let’s move from a metaphorical Ghost Town to a literal one. Dead and Buried, the first full game developed outright by Oculus Studios, is a multiplayer, online shooter with a twist: you’re already dead. You’ve been brought back to life by a mysterious specter to, as he puts it, “take out some bad guys…or some good guys.”
D&B has a wealth of game modes for you to explore including team shootouts, quick draw contests and cops-and-robbers style heists. There’s a variety of weapons and cover strategies to play with in each mode so grab a few friends and settle the ghostly west with your brains, your brawn, and plenty of hot lead.
Edge of Nowhere
Insomniac is one of the most prolific gaming studios operating today with massive hits like Ratchet & Clank, Spyro, and Sunset Overdrive in its catalog. Edge of Nowhere is Insomniac’s first foray into the world of VR gaming and represents one of the few titles for the Rift developed by an established AAA developer.
Edge of Nowhere is a psychological, third person thriller that will take you to the limits of not only the freezing arctic, but of your own sanity as well. Expect a few frights and an unforgettable VR experience when playing this one. It’s not to be missed.
In Damaged Core you play as an artificial intelligence who’s job it is to possess enemy robots and use their unique weapons and skill to defeat the evil “Core” and save the human race. In my opinion, it’s very nearly a masterpiece, and it is the best reviewed game on UploadVR to date. Despite requiring a gamepad to play, the game’s core robot-jumping mechanic (pun intended) creates a deeper sense of freedom and immersion than most “room scale” titles I’ve tried.
Combine that with incredible visuals, an engaging story, and interesting characters and you get one of the most complete and impressive VR titles on this or any platform.
Now stop reading and start playing!
12/26/16 Update: This list has been updated by adding DiRT Rally, Arizona Sunshine, Obduction, The Unspoken, and Dead & Buried. To make room for these games, we’ve removed Technolust, Project CARS, Blaze Rush, Air Mech Command, and Defense Grid 2.
8/30/16 Update: The list has been expanded from 7 games to 9, opening up 2 new spots. Edge of Nowhere and Damaged Core are the two newly added titles.
This article was originally published on 05/03/16.