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.
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.
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.
Echo Arena (Our 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.
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.
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.
Killing Floor: Incursion (Our Review)
Take control of a combat-ready soldier in virtual simulations gone awry. You’ll hack off limbs, shoot off heads, and blow up giant creatures over the course of the varied campaign and addictive cooperative multiplayer game modes.
Killing Floor: Incursion isn’t the best zombie game I’ve played in VR (that would still go to Arizona Sunshine) but it does a lot right. The unsettling atmosphere is pervasive through each level and the excellent gameplay mechanics between melee and gun combat feel visceral and satisfying. I absolutely recommend that you grab a buddy for some insane co-op fun and lop off a few zed heads for a good time.
Now stop reading and start playing!
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.