So you’ve just got a brand new Oculus Quest, congratulations! But what are the best Oculus Quest apps to sideload?
The official Quest Store is filled with plenty of excellent games and apps (top 25 list here) but there’s also an expansive library of experimental content available by sideloading and through App Lab (you can read our list of the best App Lab content here).
While many sideloaded apps have now moved over to App Lab out of convenience, some apps can’t be listed through App Lab and still need to be sideloaded onto your Quest.For those unfamiliar with sideloading, it is simply a way of getting apps onto a device by circumventing their dedicated stores. It’s a very common process on Android smartphones, for example. Want to know how to do it on Quest? Be sure to follow our guide right here.
Before we start, a word of caution:
When sideloading, you need to keep in mind that you are putting content onto your device that has not been approved by Facebook and could potentially damage your device or be malicious in nature, even if it doesn’t appear so at first.
It is also important to be aware of the Oculus Content Guidelines when sideloading content, to ensure you’re not violating anything with the content you’re placing on your device. You might want to give our report on Oculus’ Content Guidelines and sideloading a read before you jump into the thick of it.
Half-Life VR (Lambda1VR)
If you own a Quest and a PC copy of Half-Life, then you owe it to yourself to try this. Yes, it is possible to play the entirety of Valve’s celebrated first-person shooter inside your Quest. That includes swinging your crowbar like you were Gordon Freeman himself. You haven’t really experienced VR until you’ve had a headcrab jump in your face.
Better yet, Lambada1VR continues to refine its existing support. In fact, it recently added support for the excellent Blue Shift expansion.
An important note, however, is that this sideloaded app is only for the engine itself, and you will need to own a copy of Half-Life from Steam and place it in the correct folder for installation alongside the engine mod.
Unseen Diplomacy popularized the idea of infinite movement in room-scale VR with randomized rooms. But Tea For God takes that template and applies it to one of the most popular VR genres: shooters.
Though it’s a little scrappy, there’s few experiences as immersive as losing yourself in the winding corridors of this experimental FPS. It is genuinely possible to forget where you’re really standing as your sheepishly step around corners and take cover in elevators. The game was also recently updated to include very experimental (and buggy) support for controller-free hand tracking on Oculus Quest.
Tea For God is available via SideQuest.
Much like LambadaVR, Quake2Quest is a sideloaded app that mods the Quake 2 engine, allowing you to play it on Quest. Similar to Half-Life, you’ll also need to own a version of Quake 2 to be sideloaded alongside the modded engine.
VRWorkout takes advantage of hand tracking to provide you with a much more draining workout than you would be able to complete with controllers in your hands. You’ll need a lot of room for this one, and should expect to get your blood going with exercises like crunches and pushups. The app pushes your further than any other workout app on the official Quest store and while it’s not perfect, it might be worth a try if you’re looking for something more intense.
This fan-made Pokemon VR app is quite buggy, but will still be enjoyed by fans of the franchise. You can explore various towns from the Pokemon universe and also take part in PvP Pokemon battles with friends or other random players online. Initially only available through manual sideloading, the game is now available on SideQuest.
One of the most recent Team Beef ports, Doom3Quest brings the landmark 2004 shooter from id Software to the Oculus Quest. The mod marks the community’s realization of a promise made during the original Oculus Kickstarter campaign, that went unfulfilled thanks to souring relations between Zenimax-owned Id Software and Facebook-owned Oculus at the time.
For some more old-school kicks, your best bet is QuestZDoom. It’s a launcher that collects open source versions of several classic games ported to Quest, including the original Doom, Doom II, Wolfenstein 3D and more. If you own copies of the original games, you can copy the original files over for that authentic touch as well.
The QuestZDoom launcher is available via SideQuest, as is the QuestZDoom engine, both of which need to be installed. You can read our instructions on the whole process, including the original game files, here.
Return to Castle Wolfenstein
Another Team Beef mod, this one brings the well-loved shooter from 2001 to Oculus Quest, with two-handed weapon and smooth locomotion support. The install on SideQuest includes a fully-playable demo, but you can upgrade to the full game with a copy of the original game on Steam, available for $4.99 at the time of writing.
What are your favorite sideloaded apps on Quest? Are there any that we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments.
This article was originally published on January 6th, 2020 and then later edited and republished on February 17th, 2020 to include new games and updated information. It was then updated again on May 22nd, 2020 with more entries, and again on June 1, 2021 to reflect the launch of Oculus App Lab titles.