It’s been three years since the major consumer VR headsets came onto the scene, with Oculus Rift leading the charge back in March 2016. Now that Rift S is here, and Oculus Link is ushering more users to hook up their Quests to a VR-ready PC and finally check out made-for-Rift games (in all their glory), it’s high time we take a look at the best games for Rift that came out this year.
We’re included links below for both Steam and the Oculus Store if the game just so happens to be available on both. And now, in no particular order, our list of best Rift games released in 2019:
The 10 Best Rift Games of 2019
Insomniac Games recently released Stormland, a Rift exclusive and open-world adventure that is devilishly fun thanks to excellent shooting mechanics, fun flying and cloud-gliding locomotion schemes, and its two-player co-op mode that lets you take on the game’s evil robots with either ninja-like finesse, or head on, guns a’blazing.
This open-world adventure doesn’t just offer your garden variety campaign though, as once you’ve completed the story mode you’re treated to an ongoing mode that remixes the world each week, and luring you back in with the promise of fresh objectives. Check out why we gave Stormland a [9/10] in our review.
Sanzaru Games has hit upon some interesting territory with its recent Rift exclusive Asgard’s Wrath, the big budget Norse-inspired adventure that sets you in a mythical world of Valhalla, Odin, Thor… the lot.
It’s without a doubt among one of the best VR games to date, as this melee combat adventure lets you dig into a nice slice of story, mostly serviceable melee-based combat, and easily 20 hours of dungeon crawling and looting. Double that if you’re a steadfast completionist, or some sort of masochist playing on the highest difficulty. Read our review of Asgard’s Wrath to find out why we gave it an [8.8/10].
Vader Immortal: A Star Wars Series
ILMxLABs recently released the last installment of its three-part Star Wars experience, Vader Immortal. Ok, so it’s not exactly a game per se—more like a VR experience that’s somewhere between a theme park ride and an interactive film—but it’s an awesome trip into the Star Wars universe which features three 40-minute episodes.
Each episode also includes a ‘Lightsaber Dojo’ where you get to train each of your newly acquired Jedi skills. If you’re not into wave-based combat (no matter how slick and lightsaber-y), you’ll probably still find the story portion worth your time.
Trover Saves the Universe
Justin Roiland, the co-creator of Rick and Morty, poured whatever fever dreams lurks in his head into this charming, silly, and deliciously off-putting 3D platformer. Trover Saves the Universe is one of the few VR games released this year that primarily uses gamepad (or gamepad emulation via motion controllers), but being the chair-bound ‘Chairopian’ that you are, it not only makes sense, but is entirely self-aware of how weird it is to control a little purple monster with a joystick and buttons.
Trover on Oculus Trover on Steam
We didn’t get a chance to officially review Trover Saves the Universe, although it’s currently sitting at a very respectable [4.76/5] on the Oculus Store. Having played it personally, it’s totally a justified score.
Cloudhead Games previously made its name in VR with its linear, story-driven VR adventure series The Gallery, but taking a few notes from Beat Saber, the studio released Pistol Whip, a VR rhythm shooter that engages your body in a very unique and compelling way.
Pistol Whip on Oculus Pistol Whip on Steam
You’re constantly moving forward through a levels where enemies appear and shoot at you, and it’s your job to not only return fire, but dodge incoming bullets too. It’s an awsome way to get into ‘flow state’, although we’re still waiting on more music to fill out its 10-song library.
No Man’s Sky
Hello Games really deserves some serious credit here. In the face of one of the worst launches in video game history, the studio not only persevered to make No Man’s Sky (2016) a more interesting and full experience (closer to original promises), but also included VR support when it released its free ‘Beyond’ update this year, making it an entirely new experience for VR players to enjoy. The game was already a blast on flatscreen in the months leading up to Beyond, but there’s really nothing like stepping into your own starship and heading out into The Black for some shooty, looty, and … exploration-y.
It didn’t get the highest marks from us when it first released; it’s something Road to VR contributor Gabriel Moss called “a wonderful, deeply flawed space odyssey,” giving it a still respectable [7.5/10]. It’s since benefited from some quality of life updates that have lured us back in, proving that Hello Games is working hard to make it right in a way Bethesda simply didn’t with Skyrim VR and Fallout 4 VR.
Owlchemy Labs’s followup to Job Simulator (2016) includes more story, a more open environment to traverse (albeit node teleportation) and a ton of vacation-style activities to explore and play.
Vacation Sim on Oculus Vacation Sim on Steam
For some, this makes it arguably better than the first, as it not only retains the ‘smash crap until it breaks’ spirit of the first, but also shows off more of a raison d’être with clearer objectives and fun, more leisure-based activities. Find out why we gave it a resounding [8.8] in our full review.
Five Nights at Freddy’s VR: Help Wanted
It’s the iconic jump-scare-machine from PC and mobile fame, but expertly recreated for VR headsets, including both classic levels and original mini-games set in the Five Nights universe. As you’d imagine, VR really pushes this horror game to a new level, as you can hear the footsteps clattering behind you and can only close your eyes (or rip off the headset) when you’re eventually caught by the animatronic cast of the game’s version of Chuck E. Cheese on PCP.
FNaF VR on Oculus FNaF VR on Steam
I had a chance to jump into Freddy’s for fun back on Halloween, but unfortunately we missed a proper review when it released back in May. It’s got a justified near [5/5] on the Oculus Store and an ‘Overwhelmingly Positive’ rating on Steam.
Espire 1: VR Operative
There’s been some debate about whether Tripwire Interactive’s stealth combat adventure Espire 1: VR Operative truly deserves to be compared to Konami’s iconic Metal Gear series, but it’s hard to deny that they certain have a lot in common. Slinking around corridors, crawling through ventilation shafts, silently killing a massive amount of guards on your quest to uncover a sinister plot from a deep state terrorist splinter group: it provides plenty of great moments despite some niggling UX stuff.
Espire 1 on Oculus Espire 1 on Steam
We gave it a healthy [7/10] in our review, which puts it on the low side in terms of scores here on this list, but don’t sleep on this one; its redeeming qualities outweigh the eventual frustrations.
Released in Early Access by Guitar Hero series creator Harmonix, Audica is a rhythm shooter of another stripe, as it essentially takes the Beat Saber formula and crossbreeds it with Space Pirate Simulator, putting its focus on timing, accuracy, and shot combos.
AUDICA on Oculus AUDICA on Steam
Even though it got off to a rocky start during Early Access, Harmonix has managed to refine it for its full release, garnering it on the Oculus Store a [4.5/5] and ‘Very Positive’ rating on Steam.
We’re cooking up more round-ups of our favorite games for all major platforms, so check back soon for more of our favorite VR games of 2019.