Virtual reality can be an, a -- or both. If you want the best self-contained VR gaming console, the -- now renamed the Meta Quest 2, after Facebook's -- is your choice. The compact headset, an improved and less expensive update to the original , reminds me more than ever that there are some really excellent games on the VR platform. (That being said, there are if you already have a gaming PC or a PlayStation 4 or 5.)
While Facebook's intentions to put more ads in Oculus VR -- and a-- may not be to your liking, the Quest has nevertheless turned into quite a destination for the best VR games. Good games continue to arrive regularly on the Oculus Store. Though do note that to access top PC VR games like or , you'll need to connect to a gaming PC, either wirelessly or with a USB cable.
Just keep in mind, though: I stillunless you're occasionally sharing games with them in a place where you can watch them play and make sure they're playing safely. The Quest doesn't officially allow you to create an account for kids under 13, and lacks kid profiles or parental content controls.
Many of these games also work with the year-old Oculus Quest, but many apps are receiving extra updates and graphic boosts for Quest 2 owners, and some games are now Quest 2-exclusive. We'll continue to periodically update this list as new options become available.
Playing the classic Resident Evil 4 in VR feels like a whole new game. The ability to use your hands, holster weapons, and actually walk into creepy settings is transformative. Other than 2D cut-scenes, this feels like a native VR game. Resident Evil 4 is a Quest 2 exclusive, so original Quest owners can't play it. But this is an excellent game to show off how good stand-alone VR has become.
VR is a great format for escape room experiences. I Expect You To Die is a game you can play seated, leaning over desks and flipping switches, using telekinetic powers to control items from afar. The puzzle designs can be as challenging as any escape room I've ever been in. Try the original game and this one for double the challenge.
My new favorite VR game is mini-golf. Walkabout's multiple golf courses are brilliantly designed, with extra-hard challenge modes and hidden golf balls to collect. The game's golf physics are perfect. The multiplayer modes are great for having friends join in online. Every time a new course comes out, I get excited. Seriously, you have no idea how good VR mini-golf is.
Demeo is a miraculous four-player online RPG that captures the feel of collaborative play, but in VR. The 3D map, the characters and your hovering hands, holding cards that can be played in-game, feel like a session of D&D that animated into reality. A recent update adds more free content; games are randomized a bit each time to keep the excitement going indefinitely.
Sometimes, I really miss Wii Sports. Or real bowling alleys. ForeVR Bowl is the best simulation of both, with online play and solo challenges, and a mix of realistic and weird environments. The ball physics is more realistic than Wii Sports could have ever dreamed of, but it's also forgiving enough to have fun. Just leave some arm room in your home play area... you need a bit more free space than you think.
You have no idea how surprisingly intense VR rock climbing can be until you've tried The Climb 2. This sequel to a classic VR game (also on Quest) uses your hands to reach up and grab ledges, grab ropes and zipline. It sounds easy, and yet discovering ledges, holding the right grip and keeping focus can be a real challenge. It's also absolutely beautiful.
This isn't Overcooked, but Cook-Out is a charming and really immersive cooking game where you race to put sandwiches together using a grill and tools right in front of you. Other players can join in, up to four players at once. At full speed it feels like a theme park attraction created in VR just for you.
Cyan Worlds' new version of Myst is the same game you've probably played a million times, but the environments here are really beautiful to move through. Consider this a puzzle game that doubles as meditative escape. Read our Myst VR hands-on.
I missed my chance to go to Disney and see Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, but ILMxLab's Batuu-themed game is the next best thing. It's not exactly a tour of Black Spire Outpost, but the incredible character acting, world design and intense blaster battles are an impressive feat. It's over too soon, but this Quest game still costs less than most Disney souvenirs. (Also check out Vader Immortal, ILMxLab's previous lightsaber-wielding adventure involving Darth Vader.)
The multiplayer battle royale experience of Population One is very Fortnite-like. In fact, it's extremely Fortnite-like. That's a good thing. There are few large-scale multiplayer VR games right now, and this is one of the best. Dropping down from above, navigating the shrinking map, climbing and hunting for supplies, and excellent controls make this a must-play team shooter.
It's expensive, and the file size can get up to 8GB on the Quest 2, but this is console-quality VR shrunken down into a portable headset. Saints & Sinners was already an acclaimed PC VR game, and the transition to the Quest keeps its polish and RPG-like feel. It's freaky, but it's also deep. There's a lot more going on than simple shooting.
A lot of Quest games are expensive, but a surprising number are free. Rec Room is a social hub that's also a doorway to tons of social games, with a seemingly limitless set of possibilities. Sometimes it feels a bit like Wii Sports or VR Roblox. There are mini-adventures, paintball games and more. I just want there to be improved parental-control features (there seem to be a lot of parents letting kids into Rec Room lately).
This is Oculus Quest's killer app, and if you want to get moving, love lightsabers, or just want a fun dance challenge, this is it. There are plenty of tracks to keep you busy, the lightsaber tracking is fantastic, and there are extra music packs to buy if you feel compelled. I'm still exhausting myself trying to beat my nephew's high scores.
Bullet time, grab the gun, wait -- the faster you move, the faster everything else moves. Get it now? Superhot was one of the first games that hit the Quest, and it's still amazing. Runner-up pick: Pistol Whip. (Sorry, I still like Superhot more.)
Seriously, ping-pong in VR is so good. The table physics, the size of the play area, the way VR matches what you need perfectly -- who knows? You can play online with real people, and the gameplay is shockingly unforgiving.
If you're up for a creepy dive into mysterious puzzle boxes, this unique VR game from the makers of the hit game series called The Room is a fantastic and spooky mental challenge (it's not great for kids, though). There are lots of other escape room games on Quest, including the excellent I Expect You To Die 2 (listed above), and a ticketed live multiplayer escape-room experience from Adventure Labs, too.
I can't explain The Under, really. Nightmare cabaret? Apocalyptic playground? There's stuff to explore, and secrets to find, and real actors who perform in it from time to time. There's a ticketed performance of an immersive theater version of The Tempest. There's a variety show. You'll find other people who can't speak, and neither can you. But somehow, it all ends up feeling magical and strange.
The synesthetic Tetris Effect was one of the best games of 2018, and the Quest version is mostly as good. It's intense, the music is amazing, and even though the levels are frantic, it's also weirdly zen. This is a perfect way to unwind.
Oculus' zero-gravity ultimate frisbee game is a relentless three-on-three VR experience that gave me vibes of Rocket League, but in VR. The controls, which rely on your hands to catapult around, are brilliant. The open beta is free until Nov. 30, and it's great. But expect to lose.
Moss is about a small mouse with a sword who goes on a quest. You'll follow him through levels that feel like dioramas you can peer down at. Walking around and exploring the beautiful worlds is half the fun, but the game itself is also great and plays like a console platformer, but in 3D.
With other people in your home, VR can be a solitary disconnect. Keep Talking involves others by having people not in VR handle a bomb-defusing manual while the person in VR tries to communicate and stop the bomb in time. It feels like a weird board game, which is something most VR games never succeed at.
An endless and randomly generated set of castle enemies meet you every time you play, and this roguelike game uses a bow and arrow as your only method of navigation and attack. The mechanics feel great, and being surrounded by enemies you're firing arrows at can be incredibly intense.
Talk about a game that never seems to get old. While Space Pirate Trainer has been around since the launch days of the HTC Vive, the simple arcade design is perfect. You stand still, shoot at aliens and shield yourself. Survive as long as you can. It's perfect.
Want to revisit '90s games, including the experience of sitting on the floor with a controller playing games on a TV? You can do that already with a little retro 16-bit console, but Pixel Ripped pulls it off uncannily in VR. You're a kid in a house, playing games that don't exist. Then you enter the pixel world, and it gets stranger. The original '80s-set Pixel Ripped 1989 is now inside as add-on DLC, too.
VR can turn your sense of reality inside out, and A Fisherman's Tale is the best type of out-of-body experience. A room with puzzles to solve also has a dollhouse, which is a perfect model of the room you're in. You can reach into your own space and as you do, a larger hand from above enters your room. It's like living in your own weird puzzle dollhouse universe, and it's fantastic.
Red Matter was one of the best-looking Oculus Quest games, and an update for the Quest 2 pushes the graphics even further. The puzzle-solving, atmospheric, brooding adventure is set in an alternate-timeline Cold War in space. Your tool-filled space suit glides around and grapples with the brilliantly evoked world, which often has Half-Life vibes.