It was over seven years ago now that a small group of people gathered together to run a Kickstarter campaign for a first-of-its-kind VR headset. They raised nearly $2.5 million and the Oculus Rift was born. Fast forward to 2019 and the Rift has been on the market for three and a half years and amassed an impressive ecosystem of games in that time. We’re here to pick the 25 best Oculus Rift games.
Working out the full list for this was not easy. There are plenty of great VR games out there, many of which released in the last year alone. But we feel this current list of the best Oculus Rift games represents the headset’s best and brightest. It’s got indie gems, sleeper hits, the best ports and top AAA titles. Most of those games will be available on the Oculus Store, though there’s a few you can only get through SteamVR.
With that said, here are UploadVR’s 25 best Oculus Rift games.
The Best Oculus Rift Games
25. Hot Dogs, Horseshoes and Hand Grenades (H3VR)
Hot Dogs, Horseshoes and Hand Grenades (H3VR) first released in 2016 but it remains even in 2020 one of the most regularly updated VR games. The developers at RUST LTD are constantly adding new game modes and weapons to its collection of experiments.
There are simulated shooting ranges with hundreds of weapons already available plus game modes like Take and Hold that, altogether, are keeping some players entertained for hundreds of hours. With each and every update, this cements its place as one of the best Oculus Rift games.
24. Phantom: Covert Ops – Read Our Review
Phantom’s premise mighty sound initially ridiculous because, well, it is. Taking place over the course of a single night, you sabotage a Cold War-era naval facility from the comfort of a kyack. Yes, the entire game is set within the confines of a one-man craft. It’s a little silly, but you should go with it.
Why? Because Phantom’s premise enables one of VR’s most immersive games and best stealth experiences. Paddling through the water, grabbing weapons fitted to your kyack and staying hidden in the reeds puts remarkably few barriers between you and the experience, making Phantom one of those rare games you can get fully lost in.
23. The Room VR: A Dark Matter – Read Our Review
Puzzle masters Fireproof Games knock it out of the park once again with a typically excellent rendition of The Room series, this time for VR headsets. This short, sweet adventure is set in The British Institute of Archaeology, where you’ll solve challenging trials in search of a missing archaeologist.
What makes The Room VR work is its commitment to the platform it’s appearing on. This isn’t just a bunch of puzzles that would work on a traditional screen; each and every one has been thoughtfully invented with VR at its core. That makes it easily one of the best Oculus Rift games, especially if you’re into puzzles.
22. Onward – Read Our Oculus Quest Review
With seemingly overnight success and some of the most solid, realistic shooting mechanics in VR, you wouldn’t have considered Onward to have been developed by just one person who hadn’t even made a game before. But that really is how this excellent multiplayer military simulation game came into existence, paving the way for a new breed of VR games, the kind that people have wanted for ages.
What’s so impressive about Onward is its distinct identity. Whereas Pavlov impressively apes Counter-Strike with its tightly-designed maps, Onward is much more grounded in realism, with its pacing reflecting that. This is a game that demands tight teamwork and measured movements if you’re to survive on the battlefield. It’s still in Early Access — and recent updates have marred the quality to accommodate Oculus Quest — but Onward has easily proven itself to be one of the best Oculus Rift games.
21. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice VR Edition – Read Our Review
Hellblade developer Ninja Theory may have recently been bought by Microsoft but that didn’t stop it from releasing one of 2018’s most surprising, polished and all-around best VR games. You probably already know Hellblade as an intricately woven and unbearably tense exploration of mental health complete with eye-popping visuals and fantastic combat.
Hellblade’s VR edition is all of that… in VR. Ninja Theory pulls off a first-rate VR conversion here, managing to mine fresh gold from the game’s most intimate and effective moments. If you want proof that you can port big games to VR and, with just a little thought, enhance the experience, look no further than Hellblade VR.
20. Star Wars: Vader Immortal – Read Our Review
Vader Immortal isn’t a massive, multi-hour Star Wars epic with upgradable skills and deep combat. It is, by traditional gaming standards, a pretty slim package, lasting a little over 90 minutes. But look below the surface and you’ll find something much more interesting; an episodic series that wants to provide a completely immersive VR experience that anyone can enjoy.
There’s fun lightsaber combat to be had both in the story and the excellent Dojo mode, but Vader Immortal’s best moments come from basking in the presence of the Dark Lord himself and meeting other characters in VR. It’s an exercise in story-living and a pretty good one at that.
19. Gorn – Read Our Review
There’s definitely an argument to be made for keeping VR games from getting too violent but Gorn basically rips any such debate’s jaw off and then beats it to death with its own arms. Before we step into the murky ground of ‘realism’, Free Lives has jumped all the way over to the other side of the canyon and spilled a frankly hilarious amount of gore in the process. Gorn is all about being the last man standing in a gladiator arena, and the game has little in the way of rules to stop you from doing that.
Want to pull a guy’s head off? Bash him in with a rock? Swing a mace into a face and knock some eyeballs out? Gorn lets you do all that and it feels wonderful, not because we have psychotic tendencies but because it’s all so stupidly over the top that you can help but laugh. Beyond the stupidity, though, there is actually a great structure in place here that will keep you coming back to unlock new content and make battles surprisingly tense affairs, too. It’s as stupid as it gets but Gorn’s a game you should take seriously too.
18. Vanishing Realms – Read Our Review
The wait for new Vanishing Realms content seemed to stretch on for an eternity but, when it finally arrived, it delivered on everything we’d hoped for. This fantasy RPG delivers all you need from a VR adventure; sword-slinging melee combat, accurate archery and spell casting.
Mechanically Vanishing Realms is a little simpler than some of its successors, but it’s also wholly accessible and dialed into the moments that really make VR sing. Vanishing Realms has always been one of the best Oculus Rift games.
17. Five Nights At Freddy’s VR: Help Wanted – Read Our Review
Ever wanted to give yourself a heart attack? Firstly, what’s wrong with you? Second, Five Nights At Freddy’s VR is the closest you’ll get to that experience in the comfort of your own home. Most VR horror games try to be at least a little cautious with their jump scares so that people can actually play them. FNAF has no such interest in any consideration.
Across several minigames that include content from past games and new experiences, you’ll try to survive against a haunting army of abandoned animatronics, trying to keep tabs on them as they stalk you and trying to fix things without being eaten (wait, do they eat you?). If you’re looking for the ultimate VR scarefest, you can’t go wrong with this house of horrors, making it one of the best Oculus Rift games.
16. The Persistence – Read Our Review
Firesprite’s VR debut is a tantalizing horror treat. It uses procedural generation to generate a spaceship riddled with horrific enemies that you need to sneak your way through. Think Dead Space in VR. If the very thought of that doesn’t send you running for the hills then this could be for you.
Plus, compatibility with traditional game controllers over VR motion controllers does give The Persistence a mechanical, refined edge compared to a lot of its contemporaries. If you’re looking for a genuinely deep, calculated VR game, this is worth enduring the scares for.
15. The Gallery Episodes 1 & 2 – Read Our Review
The initial entry in Cloudhead Games’ groundbreaking The Gallery series was one of the purest, most exciting explorations of what VR adventure gaming could be for its time. It boasted the childlike fantasy of films like The Dark Crystal and combined that with an entirely new way to solve puzzles and interact with characters. It was a tease of what was to come for VR.
Then Episode 2 came along and successfully turned all of that into a ‘full’ experience. On the hunt for your missing sister, you journey to other worlds and meet an impossible cast of characters across some truly amazing landscapes. The Gallery is all about really making you believe you’ve teleported to another world, and it’s one of VR’s most successful titles in that respect. Paired together, The Gallery series is one of the most complete, thoughtful experiences you can yet find in VR. We can’t wait to find out more about Episode 3, but what’s here is already one of the best Oculus Rift games.
14. Wolves in the Walls
One thing that makes VR so compelling is characters, and interacting with what you believe is a living, breathing human. That’s incredibly tough to capture; we’re unpredictable, expressive creatures with unlimited freedom, and current AI just can’t measure up to that. But one of the strongest early examples of character interaction in VR is Wolves in the Walls.
Fable Studios’ delightful adventure pairs you up with Lucy, a young girl that needs your help. Building a bond with her over the course of three episodes is one of the most compelling, fascinating experiences you can have in VR. Take a good look at Wolves in the Walls; it might just be the future of this platform.
13. Moss – Read Our Review
Moss is one of a handful of 2018 games that proved that third-person VR experiences don’t just work but can make for some of the absolute best content out on the platform right now. You guide an adorable little mouse named Quill through diorama-sized levels, solving puzzles and taking on fearsome critters in sword-based combat.
While its mechanically refined, Moss’ real claim to fame is the bond you build with Quill over the course of the adventure. Playing as a larger companion to the tiny protagonist, you really start to connect with her as you work together to overcome obstacles. It feels very much like a team effort, which is quite a remarkable feeling in itself. Moss is easily one of the best Oculus Rift games – bring on Book 2.
12. Paper Beast– Read Our Review
Another World creator Eric Chahi is back with a similarly transformative VR adventure. In Paper Beast, you immerse yourself in a virtual ecosystem consisting of digital animals given life by digits and information. What follows is a magical safari ride through an impossible universe, complete with some of VR’s most natural puzzles.
What makes Paper Beast really sing, though, is just how believable its menagerie of animals is in VR. Interactions with them are seamless and natural, and each makes a dent (sometimes literally) in the surrounding world. Paper Beast might be a little on the short side and it might not have any explosions, but it’s one of the best explorations of the new types of experiences VR can enable.
11. Beat Saber – Read Our Review
Who would have guessed that, with everything developers could do, the closest VR has yet gotten to a ‘killer app’ is a rhythm action game with knock-off lightsabers? It seems ridiculous but just one go on Beat Saber and you’ll understand why it’s such a hit; it’s an utterly entrancing experience that makes you feel like a master. That’s all you need VR to be.
You slash notes that arrive on time with a beat. It sounds simple but, in practice, there are few things more satisfying to do in VR. It won’t be long until you’re throwing your motion controllers around like a ninja. Plus you’ll be working up a sweat and instinctively dancing to the given track. Many people will tell you Beat Saber is one of the best Oculus Rift games, and they’re absolutely right. Want more? Check out our custom mods guide.
10. No Man’s Sky VR – Read Our Review
No Man’s Sky promised to bring its entire universe of billions of procedurally generated planets connected by unending oceans of space that can be explored by yourself or with friends all into VR. It’s had a few technical hiccups, but you can’t deny it delivered on that hugely ambitious premise. You can lose endless hours here journeying to the top of mountains, scouting below the oceans and duking it out in spaceship battles. Not to mention the continued wealth of free updates add even more impressive new features.
Better yet, Hello Games put incredible effort into this VR update, making it feel native to the game instead of tacked on. Still, remember this is No Man’s Sky. There are plenty of beautiful sights and sounds, but also a fairly punishing survival loop and resource-gathering grind to fight back against. If that sounds up your street, No Man’s Sky will probably be one of your most loved VR games.
9. Pistol Whip – Read Our Review
Pistol Whip may be the new kid on the block but, for our money, its sharpshooting, sharp sounding, beat-based gameplay proves to be even more hypnotic than Beat Saber. In this neon-lit shooter, you stream down corridors, blasting bad guys to grizzly tunes, avoiding incoming fire and trying to rack up the best scores.
Pistol Whip’s key is to take influence not just from the VR sales king but also Superhot and, most prominently, John Wick. Whereas Beat Saber wants to make you a dancing Jedi master, Pistol Whip aims to teach you gun-fu with style, elegantly fusing the rhythmic and cinematic together into a pulsating, vibrant monster of its own.
8. The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners – Read Our Review
We would have never pegged a game based upon The Walking Dead to carry some of the best design and user-interaction you’ll find in VR, but Saints & Sinners delivers all that and then some. This sets the bar for VR zombie games with Boneworks-style, physics-based combat that has you wrestling with hordes of undead, throwing every ounce of effort you can into every swing and stab.
But this isn’t just a wave-based survival game (though it has that too) or silly sandbox. Saints & Sinners packs its action into a full, meaty VR campaign that sees you trekking through the remains of New Orleans. Add in human enemies, side-missions and the ability to kill zombies with a spoon, and you have one of the deepest native VR games on the market. Saints & Sinners will be one of the best Oculus Rift games for some time to come.
7. A Fisherman’s Tale – Read Our Review
As great as VR is, its initial novelty is bound to wear off after your first few weeks or so. If you want to recapture the magic of putting on the headset for the first time, though, there’s one destination that’s bound to deliver: A Fisherman’s Tale. This is a mind-bending puzzle game unlike anything you’ll see elsewhere. That alone makes it one of the best Oculus Rift games.
In A Fisherman’s Tale, you solve intricate, scale-based puzzles in which you work… with yourself. Its best puzzles utilize a miniature model of the lighthouse the game’s set in. Lift the roof of the model and you’ll see a mini-you, imitating your every move. Just try and keep your brain from breaking as you hand yourself giant objects, or reach down to poke your own head. It’s a trip to say the least. Throw in a poignant story about self-acceptance and you have a short, sharp VR game that will stay with you much longer than most multi-hour epics.
6. Boneworks – Read Our Review
If you want to see how far VR design has come since 2016, look no further than Boneworks. Stress Level Zero’s third VR game might not have the most masterfully designed of shooter campaigns, but its physics-based combat sandbox is a true marvel to behold. In this virtual reality game, every object, from broomsticks to bin lids, can be picked up and wielded as a weapon. Every item has physical presence in the world, meaning you can hook crowbars to edges and then climb up them, or nudge doors open with the end of a gun.
The result is a stunning showcase of things to come. Boneworks truly changes the game not just for VR combat but also world design, with fantastic puzzles that require player invention to be solved. Take a good hard look at Boneworks, because it’s laid the foundations for the future of VR gaming it’s easily one of the best Oculus Rift games.
5. Skyrim VR – Read Our Review
It turns out that the Skyrim of VR is, well, Skyrim in VR. There are definitely some awkward quirks to Bethesda’s port of its ever-popular fantasy RPG, but we were more than willing to put them to the back of our minds as we explored Tamriel like never before. With hundreds of hours worth of content, full autonomy to make the kind of character you want and an enormous world to explore, Skyrim VR is the closest we’ve come to fulfilling every adventurer’s dreams (outside of taking an arrow to the knee).
Plus, on top of the original game, mod support makes this an unending fountain of brilliant fan-made content that can turn you into entirely new characters or even let you experience whole other games that are every bit as good as the original. Skyrim VR is going to be hard to top for some time.
4. Superhot VR – Read Our Review
Superhot is, without a doubt, the most instantly rewarding game to play in VR. The flatscreen original was great but, by bringing your whole body into this groundbreaking shooter, the developer completely flips the game on its head. In Superhot (stop me if you’ve heard this before), time moves only when you do. That means that when you’re still, the world around you is too. Every time you raise your arm or duck your head, the world crawls into life. You’re essentially a human video playback device.
Superhot gives you a stark realization of the physicality of VR and what that means for gaming. It’s an experience in which you are aware of every inch of your body. It also makes it effortlessly easy to feel cool in VR; every catch of a handgun or toss of a ninja star comes with an incredible strand of slick satisfaction you won’t find anywhere else. Superhot VR is currently the gold standard for VR shooters and, in our opinion, one of the very best games on the Oculus Rift.
3. Lone Echo/Echo VR – Read Our Review
As standalone packages, Lone Echo and Echo VR represent two of the most immersive, engaging experiences you can have in VR today. As a combined package (which they essentially are considering the latter is free), they make for one of the best Oculus Rift games to date. This is a fully immersive, atmospheric thrill ride with the best production values you’ll find on the platform.
Lone Echo uses amazing zero-gravity traversal and builds a relationship between the player, a robot named Jack, and his captain, Olivia, to deliver a tight campaign with thoughtful interactions and a compelling narrative. Echo VR takes the same control scheme and applies it to one of VR’s most immediately fun multiplayer experiences that’s unlike anything you’ll find it traditional gaming. Throw in the $10 Echo Combat expnasion and there’s hours of entertainment to be had with this package.
2. Asgard’s Wrath – Read Our Review
While Skyrim in VR is a wonderful experience, we can pretty much all agree that it would be better to have an RPG of similar ambition built from the ground up for VR. Asgard’s Wrath might not match the Bethesda classic in terms of size and scale, but it more than makes up for it thanks to its VR-first design. This polished adventure delivers on the dreams that many people hoped VR would deliver when they first picked up a headset.
Asgard’s Wrath is as AAA as native VR gaming gets. It’s got a meaty, 30+ hour campaign littered with secrets of uncover and eye candy to gawk at. It’s got a refined menu and combat system that really put you in this gorgeous world of Norse mythology. More importantly, though, it’s got incredible moments of heart-pounding action, intense connection and profound growth that could only be achieved in a VR game. That makes it one of the best Oculus Rift games.
1. Half-Life: Alyx – Read Our Review
Well over a decade on, Valve’s legendary shooter series returns in fine form for VR headsets. Set between the events of Half-Life 1 and 2, Alyx casts you as its titular character. Alyx Vance sets out on an adventure that takes her across the iconic setting of City 17. What might seem an experimental spin-off quickly establishes itself as an essential chapter in the series’ canon.
Half-Life: Alyx might not feature the sandbox physics of Boneworks or a crowbar to mash headcrabs with, but what it lacks in innovation it more than makes up for in unprecedented production value and design, the likes of which we’ve not seen in VR. Every shootout, every puzzle and every setpiece has been meticulously refined with immersion, comfort and interaction at the core. If you’re not ducking out of the way of zombies, you’re huddled behind car doors returning fire or disarming mines in tense games of Operation.
These various elements combine together for a 10+ hour game that feels both true to its roots and VR. It makes for a worthy addition to the Half-Life series and, without a doubt, the best game on Oculus Rift.
Update 08/12/2020: The Persistence was added to the list, Accounting+ was removed.
Update 08/11/2020: Five Nights At Freddy’s VR, Paper Beast, The Under Presents and Phantom: Covert Ops were all added to the list, replacing Stormland, Virtual Virtual Reality, Budget Cuts and Vacation Simulator.
Update 04/07/2020: Half-Life: Alyx and Boneworks were added to the list, Groundhog Day and Tetris Effect were removed.
Update 12/03/2019: Dirt Rally, Wilson’s Heart, Creed, Unspoken, Subnautica, Downward Spiral, In Death, Arizona Sunshine, Pavlov, From Other Suns and The Lab were taken off the list and replaced with Asgard’s Wrath, Pistol Whip, Wolves in the Walls, No Man’s Sky VR, Red Matter, Groundhog Day, A Fisherman’s Tale, Stormland, Accounting+, Star Wars: Vader Immortal, Tetris Effect and Vacation Simulator.