Best Oculus Rift games 2018: 10 great games to play on your VR headset
Of course there are many VR experiences you can enjoy now that you own an Oculus Rift, not necessarily games – but who doesn’t want to play games? I don’t blame you, I would too.
The Oculus Store has an every-growing library of VR games and experiences, so we’re here to help you wade through the noise and fluff, to find the best games for the Oculus Rift.
If you don’t own an Oculus Rift but are thinking of buying one, our buying guide for the different VR systems is here. We also have lists of the best games for PlayStation VR and VR headsets in general.
So, without further ado, here are the best games on Oculus Rift in 2017.
Best Oculus Rift games
1. Best Oculus Rift games: LA Noire – The VR Case Files
Most games not built for VR struggle with the conversion, and while LA Noire isn’t a complete success, it remains a brilliant way of throwing yourself into 1940s Los Angeles. Examining crime scenes, getting up in suspects’ faces and driving around town lets you see the game like never before. It’s just seven cases (one of which is a tutorial) so it’s not the whole game in VR, but when it works, it’s superb and gives you great hope for the medium.
It also has been designed to let you mess around as much as you like. Doodle on your notebook, send people flying and annoy your co-workers. It’s all here, as this brilliant viral video shows:
2. Best Oculus Rift games: Lone Echo
Not only is Lone Echo Oculus Rift’s first truly room-scale VR game and experience, it’s also the absolute best VR game out at the moment. Combining a meaty story with excellent gameplay and brilliant traversal mechanisms, Lone Echo really does make you feel like you’re in space.
Its story places you in the shoes of a robot worker out on a space station in the midst of a disaster. It’s up to you to restore the space station systems and investigate the anomaly that caused it. This isn’t an arcadey couple of hours in VR sort of game, this is a full-blown VR experience that you’ll keep coming back to. It also helps there’s a multiplayer battler included with it in the form of Lone Echo: Arena.
3. Best Oculus Rift games: Elite Dangerous
Designed to be the biggest space simulation in history – although not as vast as the dubious Star Citizen – Elite Dangerous gives you free reign in a universe of 400 billion star systems. Players have discovered uncharted worlds, alien civilisations and built themselves a society in space.
Around 150,000 planets are actually modelled on real-world astronomical data, with the rest algorithmically generated using current scientific models. It’s gargantuan, but it’s also the closest any of us are going to get when it comes to exploring space. Put it in VR, and you’ve got one of the most incredible space simulations ever made – nothing compares to flying a spaceship in this.
4. Best Oculus Rift games: Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
Who says VR games aren’t social experiences? Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes takes the VR game template and turns it on its head, tasking one player to defuse a bomb in VR while others work together to provide defusal instructions via a bomb-defusal manual.
As you can imagine, things get hectic rather quickly. There’s going to be plenty of shouting and jeering as you work together to defuse the briefcase bomb. It may sound like a lot to wrap your head around, but once the cogs are in motion you can’t help but get sucked in.
5. Best Oculus Rift games: Robo Recall
Robo Recall comes free with every purchase of Oculus Touch and, therefore, comes free with every new purchase of an Oculus Rift. But don’t be put off by its inclusion, this is far from a throwaway freebie. In fact, this is one of Oculus Rift’s most wonderful games and does wonders to show just how immersive Oculus Touch is as a motion controller.
Taking place in a world where the robots have gone out of control, it’s your job to “recall” the devices by tearing them apart and blowing them to hell. It’s a little worrying that many of these robots already had guns and missile launchers available to them, but that only gives you an excuse to snatch bullets from the air, use robots as shields or simply tear them limb from limb with your bare hands. It’s incredibly liberating and takes the high-score chasing arcade game model to new heights.
6. Best Oculus Rift games: The Climb
Now, I’m not much of a climber and I seriously dislike heights, but Crytek’s The Climb is a fantastic climbing game with a very simple premise. While playable with an Xbox One pad, The Climb really comes into its own with Oculus Touch.
The objective of The Climb is to, well, climb your way to the top of various cliff faces around the world. You can take as long as you like, but the scoring element boils down to time and finesse. There’s a great amount of detail here too, you’ll need to chalk your hands so they don’t get sweaty or bloody, and even though it’s in VR, it’s still terrifying to look down!
7. Best Oculus Rift games: Superhot VR
Ever wanted to feel like an action star? Feel like you’re constantly living in a world of bullet time, where you can see each incoming punch, every fired bullet or thrown projectile? Welcome to Superhot VR, the virtual reality version of the excellent first-person action puzzle game Superhot.
Following a similar premise of level-by-level action puzzles, time only moves when you do. This means that as you turn your head, duck, lean or walk around, you’re progressing time. This creates some pretty interesting combat moments, and you’re likely to die over and over again – but nothing compares to the feeling of dodging out of the way of an incoming punch and throwing your own and watching your opponent shatter to pieces. More of this, please.
8. Best Oculus Rift games: Thumper
Rhythm-action games are dime a dozen, but few are like Thumper. Playing out like a VR fever dream, heavy drums, screeching guitars and an eerie presence of silence make Thumper more horror than the upbeat shine many rhythm games have had in the past. With a soundtrack more akin to that of a hardcore or doom-metal album, Thumper wants to make you feel uncomfortable as you speed down its windy track at breakneck speed.
In gameplay terms, it’s relatively simple to play. Most of the moves require you to press one button in time with beats coming down the track towards you, each type of “beat” looks different and so requires a different set of inputs to successfully pass. It may sound straightforward, but things pick up very quickly.
9. Best Oculus Rift games: Radial-G: Racing Revolved
Missing F-Zero and WipEout but also want to play both of these sorts of games in VR? Radial-G has you covered. Playing out on tubular tracks that allow for complete 360-degree horizontal movement, racing in Radial-G is both an exercise in object avoidance as it is in beating your opponent. As you can imagine, you hurtle along at breakneck speeds and, while it certainly feels fast in VR, it shouldn’t make you too nauseous – unless you decide to spin around a tube track for an entire race.
10. Best Oculus Rift games: Rock Band VR
This is one of those games where only a select few need apply because you need a few things: namely a compatible guitar controller, a Rock Band VR connector (a doohicky that clips to the back of the guitar head) and possibly an Xbox wireless adapter depending on the guitar model you have. If you tick all these boxes, then Rock Band VR is one of the best Oculus experiences you can have – but beware, it’s not really like any Rock Band game before.
Instead of following specific fret patterns on the fretboard like on Rock Band games of old, this is all about improvisation. It’s impossible to lose, but the game does give you special points if you at least look like you know what you’re doing. In other words, repeated patterns replace combos, and the more advanced the better.
But the main appeal: getting to look your audience and band members in the eyes while you rock out. It takes the fantasy laid out by Rock Band and, in the words of Spinal Tapp, turns it up to 11.