The Oculus Rift is amazing. And as more and more times passes, it just gets more and more amazing. We do our best to update this list every few months with the best and most amazing VR experiences money can buy for your shiny new Oculus Rift.
We’ve got nine games in particular right here 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 initial headsets. We’re also not including simplistic free experiences such as Farlands, First Contact, or Oculus Dreamdeck, or free art apps like Quill.
Titles on this list are in no particular order, they’re all recommended equally. Let’s get started!
Beat Saber (Our Early Access Review)
What else can be said about this game that hasn’t been said already? It’s amazing. If you for some reason don’t know about this game, it goes like this: you’ve got a red and blue lightsaber, one i neach hand, and you’re tasked with slicing blocks that come cascading towards you to the rhythm of the music. It’s like DDR with lightsabers, basically.
Beat Saber is easily one of the most addictive VR games to date and it’s dead simple to pick up and play by anyone regardless of VR experience. And in the PC VR version you can download amazing custom songs!
Onward (Tips Guide)
This is the hardcore VR shooter for hardcore VR gamers. If you grew up playing games like Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon, SOCOM, and other similar tactical military shooters, then you’ll feel right at home in Onward. It has much more in common with the grueling teamwork of those games than the run-and-gun hip firing found in modern shooters like Call of Duty, and it was all created by one guy.
From holding your rifle with both hands and using your walkie talkie on your shoulder, to pulling out your knife to sneak up on an opponent, Onward is the visceral, realistic VR game many people have been waiting for. It uses full roomscale tracking with motion controllers and artificial locomotion attached to the thumb stick— no teleporting here. The community is healthy and fun, making this one of the clear standout titles for VR gamers thus far.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR (Review: 9/10)
For a game that wasn’t originally designed for VR at all, Skyrim VR is nothing short of impressive. This really is the Skyrim that you know and love, but now you can enjoy it like never before with the immersive presence of a VR headset. With a large variety of control schemes to choose from and hundreds of hours of content, this is a game that all RPG fans should play as long as you can look past the wonky controls, downgraded visuals, and frustrating UI. Not to mention all of the mods for the PC version!
There is just something special about the sensation of walking down the dirt road to Riverwood in VR for the first time, or staring down the throat of a fire-breathing dragon, or even gazing out upon Tamriel from the top of the Throat of the World. Whether you’re a Skyrim-veteran or one of the lucky few that get to see this world for the first time, Skyrim VR is enrapturing.
The Exorcist: Legion VR [Review: 9/10]
The Exorcist: Legion VR is without a doubt one of the best VR horror experiences available. The slow-building tension is expertly paced, each and every scare feels visceral and dangerous, and the sheer sense of terror you feel while methodically exploring the richly detailed environments is staggering. It honestly felt like I could hear the voices inside my own head and I could feel the heat from my crucifix as I stared down the faces of demon and eradicated the evil within.
The Exorcist: Legion VR will turn even the most hardened horror fans into whimpering piles of fear.
Lone Echo (Our Review)
Lone Echo is a landmark achievement in three key areas of the VR experience: locomotion, UI, and interaction. The winning blend of intuitive movement, discovery-based gameplay and character-driven storytelling create a compelling sense of presence that few VR games could hope to match, while the considered pacing gives it a fresh identity — although, it does end a bit prematurely. If there’s a silver lining, it’s that I expect its sequel to be one of VR’s very best.
You absolutely must experience this emotional story that only VR can tell.
Superhot VR (Our Review)
SUPERHOT VR is a pure, distilled, injection of unadulterated adrenaline that will get your blood pumping just as quickly as time stops in the game itself. With every movement you make, time creeps forward ever so slightly, and everything from the level design to the way it feels to dodge a series of bullets in slow-motion is orchestrated to reinforce the core ideals of the experience. From start to finish it plays out like a fantasy ripped from the screen of every action movie; an indulgent cacophony of visual and gameplay excitement.
This is easily one of the best titles available for Rift with Touch and the recent Forever update makes it even better with expanded game modes, more challenges, and an improved sense of replayability.
Echo Arena / Echo Combat (Our Arena Review)
This is the multiplayer spin-off to single player standout title, Lone Echo. You and and your teammates are tasked with throwing a glowing disc into goals in a zero-G game of soccer meets Quidditch. The fast-paced and intense gameplay is unlike anything else we’ve ever seen and the sheer skill required to nail the timing of group coordination is immensely satisfying. Once you’re on a roll with a team you like it’s hard to stop playing.
This is truly the only multiplayer VR game that I find myself continually coming back to over and over. After I play this game I can’t stop thinking about it for days. It’s addictive, exciting, tiring, and downright exhilarating.
A shooter variant to the Echo Games framework also released named Echo Combat, which plays a little bit like a zero-gravity version of Overwatch.
Hellblade VR (Our Review)
This is a VR game that really came out of nowhere and surprised us this year. Ninja Theory went from being hush-hush about projects to announcing and releasing Hellblade in VR within a manner of just a couple of weeks. And oh boy are we glad that they did!
Hellblade may not have been made originally for VR, but it adapts so perfectly. The game tells the story of Senua on her journey to save the soul of a loved on as she slowly descends deeper and deeper into both the bowels of celtic hell and the depths of her own mind. Voices constantly talk to you and pull you in various directions and it all sounds incredible with the 3D spatial audio that VR affords.
Undoubtedly Hellblade VR is an experience like no other.
From Other Suns (Our Review)
In From Other Suns you and up to two other friends fly a spaceship through the galaxy going from node to node looting, trading, and battling your way back to Earth. The game is procedurally generated to ensure that no two playthroughs are the same as there is a seemingly endless amount of gun variety to find across your journey.
From Other Suns is an ambitious VR title that gets a lot right. Fans of sci-fi are going to find a lot to love here and it’s some of the most fun I’ve had playing cooperative VR to date. There is an immense amount of content and enough variety to mostly prevent things from feeling too stale.
11/22/2018 Update: This list has been updated to remove Dirt Rally, The Mage’s Tale, Arizona Sunshine, and Killing Floor: Incursion to make room for Skyrim VR, Beat Saber, Exorcist VR, and Hellblade VR.
11/23/2017 Update: This list has been updated by adding Lone Echo, Echo Arena, From Other Suns, and Killing Floor: Incursion. To make room for the new additions we’ve removed The Unspoken, Robo Recall, Wilson’s Heart, and Star Trek: Bridge Crew.
7/10/17 Update: This list has been updated by adding The Mage’s Tale, Star Trek: Bridge Crew, and Wilson’s Heart. To make room for the new additions, we’ve removed Edge of Nowhere, Damaged Core, and Dead and Buried. The author on this list has been changed to David Jagneaux as well to reflect the majority of the updates being by him.
3/27/17 Update: This list has been updated by adding Superhot VR, Onward, and Robo Recall. To make room for the new additions, we’ve removed Windlands, Obduction, and The Climb.
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.
Original: The first version of this article was originally published on 05/03/16.