The 9 Best Oculus Rift Games That You Can Play Right Now

by Joe Durbin • March 27th, 2017

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 Contactor Oculus Dreamdeck.

Titles on this list are in no particular order, they’re all recommended equally. Let’s get started!

Onward

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.

2855343-dirt1

DiRT Rally 

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.

Superhot VR

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_4_fireballtrain

The Unspoken

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-highway

Arizona Sunshine

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

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.

screen-shot-2016-10-30-at-11-33-32-pm-1

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.

Damaged Core 

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!


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. 

This article was originally published on 05/03/16.

Tagged with:

  • Andrew Barrett

    No Elite Dangerous or Chronos? Shame on you! 🙂

  • it still bugs me that review sites like to use videos and screenshots that don’t reflect the true quality of what you see with a VR headset – it’s a lot more blurrier and lower res than people realise. The Climb is a prime example of misleading consumers with game quality.

    • Patrick Ding

      I don’t think anyone is trying to mislead consumers on game quality. I’d argue that it’s impossible to properly show a VR experience with videos/pictures. It must be experienced to be understood. There is really nothing that can be done to emulate immersion through picture/video, short of creating a 90Hz 360 degree panoramic video.

      A similar (but less obvious) issue happens with game reviews. Most videos on Youtube are 30fps–the experience is much different when running it on your 120Hz monitor. The purpose of a review is to give a taste of the game and evaluate its pros/cons, not to demo an exact replica of what you’d get.

      • I agree to a point but to me VR games need to have demos more than ever. If I had played a demo of The Climb before purchase I wouldn’t have bought the full version as it looks terrible in VR (and you can’t even enable super sampling). Its rare in reviews that the quality of the graphics (in terms of AA) are even mentioned so to me it’s not giving the consumer a real indication of a VR game.

        • Jona Adams

          The setting make a difference, and The Climb was done in the Cryengine. So, it’s not the game, it’s the headset, and maybe your graphics card.

  • Art Sin

    Chronos is the best overall.

  • Mark Rehm

    alomost agree, but imho Chronos ist missing and one of the best

  • WIllWallace12

    I have had oculus for about a month, I can tell you without a doubt, if you want a knock your socks off experience, get DCS world and buy the lock on Flaming cliffs 3 mod. If you ever wanted to have the experience of flying in a fighter jet, this comes pretty close.

    • Pistol Pete

      Wow!

  • xGryfter

    Yeah, Cronos was a really fun game, the VR was just icing on the cake. I really, really hope we see more couch VR games like Cronos.

    Dirt Rally was okay but it looks soooo bad, even at max settings it’s hard to get into when I can play Forza Horizon 3, Forza Vista (even though they are not in VR) or Project Cars.

    As of now I can’t get enough of Unspoken, I’m praying that we’ll see many updates and additions to the game in the coming year, especially some kind of single player campaign.

    Dead and Buried is pretty cool as well but the lack of any single player game modes (outside of target shooting) really hurts it.

    I’ve heard nothing but bad things about The Climb so unless they release a demo for that won’t be playing it.

    Damaged Core isn’t bad but it’s not all that great either. The levels are way too long without enough variation and your possessed robot dies way too quickly making it difficult to really get into a groove before having to jump again.

    Edge of Nowhere is cool but I’m not really feeling the urge to finish it.

    I’ll try Arizona Sunshine next time it goes on sale.

  • wheeler

    Does this only backup the games/software purchased on the content store? Or can it move an Oculus Home installation too? The latter is what I’m having trouble with.

  • CMcD

    Since you guys at uploadvr have every game on everything can you let’s us know if there is any difference with playing Windlands the steam version vs. the oculus store version or are they exactly the same??

  • Schorsch

    While Chronos (up until just recently) was the ONLY actual full AAA title for VR, I absolutely disagree that it should be in this list.
    Why? Because it is ultimately a VERY old-fashioned game and really doesn’t bring anything new to the table. It’s a very good game nevertheless, but should not be in this list IMO.
    Elite D. is also not exactly “the best Rift game”, most people don’t even play it with Touch. (I am not even sure, I think it doesn’t even SUPPORT touch, so why should it be in this list? I played ED back in the Beta but became utterly bored, it’s ultimately only hauling stuff from A to B and the pseudo “multiplayer” aspect of it is horrible and a total turnoff.

    • Andrew Barrett

      Chronos is absolutely a great game in it’s own right, that could easily be enjoyed without VR. But, in my opinion, playing it in VR adds a whole lot more. The way it plays with scale is amazing. When I got to the cyclops fight, I sat there with a big dumb grin on my face as it played out in front of me. 🙂

      • Schorsch

        Yes, it “adds a whole lot more” but IMHO, these types of games don’t even remotely take advantage what VR really can offer. While being a great game, it’s ultimately an old-fashioned game brought into VR. To see what I mean…do me a favor and check out “The Unspoken”, or any of the “smaller” titles like SuperHot or SpacePirate Trainer. I mention The Unspoken since it’s one of the (still very few) titles which I’d consider AAA titles, and a game which really makes clear what incredible potential there actually is for VR. I mean, you *ARE* that guy in the VR world hurling fireballs etc….you are not an “observer” which sort-of contradicts the entire VR philosophy of immersion etc. As said it’s not a bad game by a long-shot but for me personally those “experiences” are the best which can offer me something which is impossible in normal games. (I don’t think everyone would give a game like The Climb, Eagleflight etc. in 2D a second look, but in VR these games turn into amazing experiences.)

        As for the topic of this blog…yeah thinking about it now I’d personally nominate The Unspoken for the currently “best” Touch title..but of course it’s all a matter of preference 🙂

  • Tim_in_Indiana

    I don’t have children so I’m cool to play Dirt Rally. Besides, I think once you have children you forfeit your right to play video games and especially VR. You have to devote all your time to the heady responsibilities of being a parent. Besides, you’d end up fighting with your kids over who gets to play next and if they played, they’d probably break it anyway.

    • Mike Washburn

      I can’t tell if this is serious or not but the fact that you don’t have children suggests that you don’t actually know how games and VR are affected by parenthood. I would also warn against making such blanket statements. Every family is different, every child is different. In addition to having a new baby, I have an 8 year old and easily the single greatest way we spend time together is sharing our love of games, and VR.

    • JSM21

      rofl

  • iThinkMyCatIsAFlea

    Don’t support Oculus. Google Oculus Trump.

    If you are thinking about buying an Oculus Rift headset, Google Oculus Trump before giving your money to a company whose founder supports the alt-right. Thanks for reading.

    • xGryfter

      Fuck off! Leave your bullshit political propaganda at the door.

      • jlschmugge

        It’s easier to block them, then they can yell in the dark like a crazy person.

        • JSM21

          Well you know basements are rather lonely places I hear…guess he has to vent and get attention somehow. IDK why he doesn’t just use a broom stick to hit the ceiling so his parents will let him out…..

      • iThinkMyCatIsAFlea

        Please read
        http
        ://www
        .wired.co.uk/article/oculus-palmer-luckey-deletes-reddit-account-trump-shitposting-links

  • Rich K

    I have to say I bought Super Hot because of the hype! Wow, what a huge bummer! Only spent $20, got it on sale, but still! I just don’t get the attraction to that game. I guess if you like puzzles, it would be fun. But it is NOT a shooter, which i kinda thought was!

    Guess I’m just getting old, but really people, that game stinks! To each his own!

    • jlschmugge

      Thanks for that. I’ve heard a lot about this game, but I was worried about getting it because I don’t need another point-a-gun-at-something VR game.

      • xGryfter

        Don’t listen to just one guy. There is a reason so many people love this game, it’s not just another point-a-gun-at-something VR game. It’s more puzzler than shooter.

        • Wojciech Kałużny

          I agree, Superhot is one of the best games I played on Oculus. And I play like 30 of them including almost all in this list. I just felt that im NEO in matrix almost all the time.

    • Bundy

      Yeah it’s not a shooter. It’s a puzzle game.

  • Ted Joseph

    I sold my Vive, and kept the Rift once the controllers came out because they felt much more immersive! I also like Oculus home much better, the side speakers, and the lighter feel of the headset. The Vive is an awesome headset as well, but couldn’t justify two. I am having a blast playing Raw Data, Arizona Sunshine, Rock Band VR, VR Sports, Robo Recall, Rec Room, and Poolnation VR. Can’t wait for Star Trek, and the newer shooters to arrive.

    • Haoyang Zhao

      Which game is your favourite so far?