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!
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.
DiRT Rally (Our Review)
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.
Star Trek: Bridge Crew (Our Review)
Dreams become reality when you strap on a VR headset and jump into Star Trek: Bridge Crew’s version of the final frontier. You and up to three other people from all around the world with full cross-platform multiplayer on the Rift, Vive, and PSVR can all join in together and go on epic voyages through the stars.
You can play the role of Captain, Helmsman, Tactical Officer, or Engineer, as each role is in charge of various commands and subsystems onboard the ship. When you play with a full crew it’s an exhilarating adventure and easily ranks among the best multiplayer VR games to date.
The Mage’s Tale (Our Review)
For many intrepid dungeon crawlers out there, The Mage’s Tale is a bit of a dream come true. Instead of being forced to sit behind a computer screen, managing a party and slowly drudging through the depths of deep, dark dungeons, you can instead immerse yourself in the dangerous worlds themselves.
The Mage’s Tale is actually developed by inXile Entertainment, the same folks behind the Wasteland and Bard’s Tale franchise, so they know a thing or two about immersive RPGs. With over 10 hours of gameplay, this is one of VR’s beefiest games and has tons of replayability with a smart spellcrafting system and lots of secrets hidden within the world’s nooks and crannies.
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.
The Unspoken (Our Review)
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.
Arizona Sunshine (Our Review)
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.
Robo Recall (Our Review)
Once upon a time Epic Games had a small tech demo called Bullet Train that it was developing for the Oculus Rift and Touch motion controllers. The game studio took that idea and expanded upon it into a full game that’s free for everyone and anyone with Touch controllers. There is a large futuristic city to explore and tons of weapons to modify and enhance as you rack up combos and kills against countless evil robots.
Stepping to the side, plucking a bullet out of the air, and throwing it back at an enemy only to watch their torsos explode and their gun float through the air into your hands to shoot the robot to your side is exhilarating. Few games make you feel as powerful as Robo Recall does and it’s easily one of the most exciting and beautiful VR games to look at.
Wilson’s Heart (Our Review)
When people think about playing a game in VR they probably imagine amazingly detailed worlds full of the most incredible visuals they’ve ever seen. VR has the power to transport us, so why not make it as arresting to our senses as possible? But in the case of Wilson’s Heart, at first glance, you’d think it was a bland black and white world devoid of personality. But that couldn’t be any further from the truth.
The stark contrast of colors brings the world to life like never before as you explore a decrepit hospital full of terror and suspense. It’s like being the star in your very own suspense thriller and the mystery that unravels as you explore the world is second to none in the realm of VR storytelling.
Now stop reading and start playing!
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.