The turkey has been picked clean and everyone is getting ready to settle in for a good old-fashioned Thanksgiving Day coma—but what’s that in your backpack? It’s a VR headset, of course! And a veritable cornucopia of games are out there just waiting to be played by your family at this year’s Turkey Day.

But before you go throwing your dear Auntie Karen or your little cousin Skip McDingus in the middle of your favorite action-adventure game de jour, you may want to first consider some games that are sure to not only entertain VR newcomers, but make them want to come back for more.

There’s a few on the list you might have already shown off at last year’s Thanksgiving Day, but there’s also plenty of few new ones here too that everyone will enjoy.

Note: No matter what headset you have, it’s best to make sure you’re mirroring your view to a monitor or TV so other people can watch from outside the headset. Also make sure everyone knows that the guardian boundary is to be respected, lest you want a broken TV, or injured kid/pet. You may consider putting a small piece of carpet on the ground so users know when they’ve left the play area.

Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs

  • What: Resolution Games developed this awesome VR version of the hit mobile game Angry Birds. What else is there to say: everyone knows Angry Birds, so this should be an easy sell.
  • Who: Both older and younger relatives should find this one an easy choice, as it’s dead simple and super fun to smash blocks and knock down evil piggies. Serious name brand recognition should also perk up an ear or two with the older crowd.
  • How long: under 5 minutes
  • Why: It’s easy to get lost in this one, as you trudge ahead to harder levels, or continuously retry a level to get the best score. Pass this one around the room quickly and keep the masses snacking.
  • Platforms: PC VR, PSVR, Quest, Go/Gear VR

Store linksSteam, ViveportPlayStation Store, Oculus Store (Rift, Quest, Go)

Acron: Attack of the Squirrels!

  • What: The couch co-op party game Acron isn’t a perfect first-time experience, as it may be a tad complicated at first, but it’s sure to bring out the competitive nature in the family as you take control of a giant in tree defending golden acorns in VR, or multiple pesky little squirrels on mobile devices.
  • Who: Anyone who can handle a frenetic mobile game shouldn’t have an issue strapping in to either the headset or the mobile client for some super competitive fun.
  • How long: 30 – ∞ minutes
  • Why: This is one of the few party game that’s done really well, but it gets everyone actively participating. You can dedicate the rest of the afternoon playing this as a large group.
  • Platforms: PC VR, Quest

Store links: Steam, Oculus Store (Rift, Quest)

Beat Saber

  • What: Take Dance Dance Revolution and cross-breed it with Fruit Ninja, and you’ll have Beat Saber (2018). There’s a reason why Facebook just acquired the studio behind it too: the game is incredibly addictive, has plenty of songs to choose from, and it’s a super easy and intuitive way to introduce someone to VR for the first time.
  • Who: Everyone, even the couch potatoes of the family, will want to get up and dance and slice blocks to the beat. Thankfully there’s plenty of difficulty settings to satisfy even the most musically disinclined.
  • How long: 5 – 15 minutes per person
  • Why: Most songs last around five minutes, but you’re bound to encounter failures along the way, and also family members that just can’t help themselves for a second go at another song.
  • Platforms: PC VR, PSVR, Quest

Store linksSteamPlayStation Store, Oculus Store (Rift, Quest)

SUPERHOT VR

  • What: Insanely stylish, easy to pick up and play, Superhot VR (2017) tosses a little time-bending cartoon violence your family’s way that shouldn’t receive too many odd glances from the older generation.
  • Who: Younger, more game-savvy players are sure to love the concept, letting them live out their dreams of being an action hero. The concept is simple and slow enough to get anyone in the mood to punch some red crystal dudes in the face.
  • How long: 5 – 10 minutes
  • Why: A single stage can go by pretty quickly. It may be best to do a round-robin style match that lets everyone have a go when one player fails a level, or relegate a person to two to three of the smaller sections a piece.
  • Platforms: PC VR, PSVR, Quest

Store linksSteamViveportPlayStation Store, Oculus Store (Rift, Quest)

Star Wars Vader Immortal: Episode I

  • What: It’s an Oculus exclusive title for Rift and Quest that starts you on the path of three separate episodes featuring the big Mr. Vader himself. Although there’s a longer-format story mode, the first episode’s ‘Lightsaber Dojo’ is a great place for quicker playsessions.
  • Who: Anyone who’s spry enough to wield a lightsaber, although anyone born within the past 60 years may want to try their hands at the training area. The episode itself is also good for 30 minutes sessions, so you may just want to plug Skippy and leave the room.
  • How long: 5 minutes for Lightsaber Dojo, 30 – 40 minutes for story mode
  • Why: Like Angry Birds VR, the wave-based dojo can be simple but addictive; best to keep it short so everyone else can get in. Reserve the longer session for whoever had fun in the dojo.
  • Platforms: Rift, Quest, other PC VR headsets via Revive

Store links: Oculus Store (Rift, Quest)

Gadgeteer

  • What: Build chain reaction machines with this Rube Goldberg-inspired puzzler/sandbox.
  • Who: This is a bit more particular, as it has slightly more complicated controls, so it may be worth pawning off on more game-savvy players for longer sessions.
  • How long: 15 – ∞ minutes
  • Why: It’s not really watchable or exciting, but it’s casual enough to plug anyone in who’s looking to get some much needed downtime from family.
  • Platforms: PC VR, Quest

Store links: Steam, Oculus Store (Rift, Quest)


Don’t Miss

  • Space Pirate Trainer – Pew pew pew. It’s fundamentally just a wave shooter, it’s by far one of the best looking and best feeling out there. Oculus Store (Rift, QuestSteamPlayStation Store
  • ASTRO BOT Rescue Mission – Maybe not great for the crowd-pleasing wow factor, but after you show off some of the fan favorites above you might park a few more of your curious family members in a chair and let them experience the best platformer PSVR has to offer. PlayStation Store
  • Moss – Don’t have a PSVR? Try plopping the kids down into this family-friendly puzzle platformer that will have you awwwing to nearly the same degree as Astro Bot. Oculus Store (Rift, Quest), Steam, PlayStation Store
  • Google Earth VR – The controls are a bit complicated at first, but giving a loved one the opportunity to travel, especially if they aren’t physically able, is going to really be a special moment. Travel the sights and revisit distant places you never thought you’d see again in the flesh. Oculus Rift and Steam
  • The Lab – Valve’s collection of mini-games and photogrammetry scenes are top-notch, and warrant more than just a few minutes of you time to explore ever single bit of what’s on offer. Kids and adults a like will love the Longbow, Core Calibration, and XortexSteam

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If you’re looking for an idea for games to play on Oculus Go, Gear VR, or Daydream (if you still own the last two), check out last year’s Thanksgiving Day article that should help point you in the right direction.

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  • gothicvillas

    There are SO many great titles available, titles most of the users never heard of. But everyone just keep repeating the same ones all the time. Titles like Angry Birds, Superhot bla bla everyone knows. It would have been great if medias like Road To Vr and others would tell us about the games we might have missed… there is a galore of trash indie games and same amount of awesome titles which get buried straight away by those who push marketing better.
    If anyone is looking for something special and something what looks and plays great, and plus have tons of replaybility and can be played in company, try these:
    Rainbow Reactor, Party Pumper.
    These two titles will get you countless hours of pure VR joy. Both are made exceptionally well and fits VR medium 100%. I ain’t connected to these 2 devs but it pains to see how the good titles get overlooked and most known names (not necessarily good ones) are mentioned again and again.

    • callen

      Thanks for this, totally agree. We have a multiplayer VR game designed for introducing new people to VR, which has been enjoyed by kids as young as 5, up to senior citizens. But without millions to spend on marketing, we don’t expect much attention as we prepare to leave early access in the next couple months. *sigh* I guess another round of beat saber it is! (if you’re curious… vr party club)

  • Adrian Meredith

    No love for pistol whip?

    • MosBen

      Honestly, though I tried Pistol Whip and liked it over the weekend, I wouldn’t have had my family play it. A lot of non-gamers aren’t super comfortable with violence, and VR can make violence more intense than regular flat gaming. And with its music-tied pace, Pistol Whip is just the other side of family friendly to me. If one of my family members really got into Beat Saber and liked John Wick, I might try it.

  • MosBen

    I really wish that there were better VR roller coasters available for the Quest. Epic roller coasters doesn’t feel as real or immediate as some of the ones that I’ve played on Rift. It all feels a bit floaty. And while I appreciate that the recommendations are for “real” games, in my experience most of my family 1) have no experience with VR, 2) aren’t gamers, and 3) are wanting to pass the headset around fairly quickly. Something like carnival games, roller coasters, and Richie’s Plank experience, with maybe some forays into Beat Saber are the best first step. And if TheBlu was available on Quest, I’d use that too.