VR Games discussion thread

We’ve had some scattered threads a little bit about VR, but I’d be interested in discussing the games that are available.

I suspect there are a lot of new VR users who got an Oculus Quest 2 recently (including myself). I think this is finally the break into the mainstream VR package - self contained, simple, requires no PC (although can be enhanced by using one), very good technology, very affordable (probably a loss leader), actually cheaper than a playstation/xbox and IMO significantly better. The big downside, of course, is that facebook owns it, and requires you to use a facebook account to use the headset. Who knows what kind of unprecedented spying they’re up to, and what they’ll do with the VR market when they gain dominance in it. A lot of people won’t buy it for that reason - and that included me, until I received one as a gift and it didn’t seem like it would be right to reject it. Fortunately, unfortunately…? I’ve been nothing but impressed with it. I like it more than I thought I would.

But of course any VR headset/game is up for discussion, including the index, vive, g2, rift, psvr, WMR, whatever. Most of them all have access to the same games, except there are a few exclusives for PSVR and a few for oculus (quest/rift). I would guess that the PSVR also can’t run a lot of the stuff that require PCs with whatever headset.

I originally thought that if I had VR, I’d mostly use it for the sit down experiences (like driving games and flight sims) and the room space stuff would feel like a novelty. But actually I spend 75% of my time with it playing the room space/moving experiences and hardly sit down with it (and often that’s just to take breaks so I don’t sweat up the headset too much). The quest 2 really helps here, being untethered by wires makes moving a lot better. I actually don’t have much room in my bedroom next to my PC to do the room space stuff, but I can run the Q2 standalone or wirelessly connected to my PC via virtualdesktop to play stuff in the living room where I have more room.

So, games I like:

Beat Saber - obviously. This is the killer app for a lot of people. I love rhythm games and this is probably the funnest way to play them. A good workout, too, I kept pulling muscles in my shoulder/back from playing the game too enthusiastically, and then wanting to play so much more I kept at it without healing up. You can easily add custom songs that the community has mapped in either the steam or quest version of the game, and I would assume the rift version too. The default song list is not great, but there are thousands of fan made ones.

Eleven - table tennis. I know it sounds silly that a simple ping pong game can be great, but it is. It replicates the real world experience flawlessly. The movement you do maps out exactly 1:1 to the movement you would be doing in a real ping pong game. The oculus touch controllers are about the same weight/similar grip to a ping pong paddle. The physical impact of hitting a ping pong ball is light in real life, so it can be simulated well enough using the vibration on the controller. The physics are dead on. I have no doubt that the skill you learn from this game would translate to playing ping pong for real. It’s actually better than the real thing - you get all the realism of playing the game without having to chase down balls after they go flying off the table.

Google Earth VR - not strictly a game, but absolutely amazing. They used photogrammetry and supercomputers to use aerial photos from different angles to try to create a 3D map of the world. It’s still a work in progress - some areas have full 3D buildings and others don’t. And because of the limitations of the data they’re working with, it’s not perfect - buildings have weird shapes, power lines appear as weird blobs sometimes, etc. But you can fly through the entire world like you’re superman. Explore anywhere you want. See famous landmarks, go visit your home town, plan out future road trips. It integrates with 360 degree images taken for google street view or panoramic pictures people uploaded to google, so you can often experience 360 degree pictures of whatever you’re looking at. This one is free, try it.

Sports scramble - sort of like a wii-sports style collection of minigames. Baseball, tennis, bowling. It’s mostly goofy, where the “scramble” part is that you can activate powerups to change the game in the middle of playing, like forcing your opponent to bat with a pool noodle or changing your tennis ball to a beach ball. This stuff can be turned off to make it a little more serious if desired. It has a really cool tennis mode that’s almost sort of like beat saber - you get a red racket and a blue racket in each hand, and you then play with one red ball and one blue ball at the same time, and you have to hit the ball with the appropriate racket.

The Climb - a mountain climbing simulator that’s an interesting use of VR technology. I haven’t played that much yet, but it’s a fairly unique experiencing pushing/pulling yourself up a mountain using your hands. Very pretty.

Pokerstars VR - it’s funny, I hate playing poker for play money. I played poker for real for a long time and I’d never play poker for play money, but I tried this just to see what i was like and it turns out I actually really enjoy it. Not for the poker, but for the social aspect. It’s sort of a virtual chat room and while a lot of tables are quiet and boring you can just keep switching until you find one with fun people. I’ve had some interesting conversations. The feel of being in a virtual place, manipulating your cards and chips, watching where other people look and what they do with their hands (some real-life poker tells actually work) is all very good.

I tried VRChat a little bit, but it was more janky, the performance was uneven, and there were a lot more kids running around than in pokerstars VR, but I’ll try it some more in the future. RecRoom too.

Arizona Sunshine - seems pretty cool so far, the aiming for the guns requires quite a lot of precision and it feels good to make headshots.

Population one: a VR battle royale game. I just got it and haven’t played it much yet, but it seems cool. This one tries to simulate the body feel of running a little too much and gives me a little bit of motion sickness, I’m hoping I’ll get used to it. I like all the fiddling you have to do with guns like slapping in the magazine and pulling the charging handle. Playing competitive shooters in VR is pretty wild, you can really peek around corners or stick your gun around objects and blind fire at people and all sorts of stuff you can’t really do with a traditional shooter. I also got Onward to try another MP shooter, but haven’t played it yet.

Walkaround minigolf / Topgolf with Pro Putt. Both of these are minigolf simulators that are pretty fun. Topgolf has real/full golf swings but only replicates the minigame experience that you’d see at a real topgolf facility. There’s not too much meat to the game, but they’re well implemented, and it’s relaxing to play a virtual little golf game. I’m kind of baffled as to why there isn’t a full blown VR golf game - it’s such an obviously great match for VR. Swinging the club feels good (you usually play with one controller and grab it with both hands and do a golf swing) and inhabiting a virtual golf course would be great.

No Man’s Sky - I finally got around to trying NMS because it’s included in my gamepass subscription. They did a good job translating the game to VR, the way you interact with your inventory and point your mining laser at stuff like a gun and operate things by actually grabbing the controls in the world is really good, it’s not a half-ass VR port tacked on. The VR is well integrated. Unfortunately the underlying gameplay just… isn’t very interesting. I kept waiting for something interesting to happen and it never did.

Synth Riders - a music game like Beat Saber but not quite as fun. But it’s different enough to want to play both. Beat saber is about attacking the music and being very active, synthrider is more like riding the music and kind of grooving with it.

Tetris Effect - has a VR mode, it’s a cool psychedelic twist on tetris. The regular game has cool graphics and sounds, but in the VR version they totally surround you, so it’s more immersive.

Superhot VR makes you feel like you’re Neo in the Matrix or some sort of superhero. I’ve only played through a few of the batches of scenarios, but it’s way better than the standard/non-VR version of the game, which itself is really good. Ducking and doging in slow motion, throwing stuff at enemies, snatching guns out of the air - awesome stuff.

There’s stuff I have that I haven’t played yet, and I’m sure there’s plenty more I’ll pick up when it’s on sale. I’m particularly interested in Until you fall and In Death: Unchained. Of course I’ll get Half Life Alyx at some point. I’m gonna try more racing and flight sim games - I have IL2: Battle of Stalingrad, MS Flight sim 2020, Elite Dangerous, Everspace, Project Cars 2, Dirt Rally 2 which all have fleshed out VR modes. I’m pretty interested in Pistol Whip as another shooter/rhythm game. And Blade and Sorcery seems like it will be a crazy, gorey highlight reel machine.

What are you guys playing? What do you like?

If anyone maybe wants to play multiplayer games sometime, add me on steam (same name) or PM me. I have some games there, some on oculus (I’ll tell you my oculus info on steam if we end up playing stuff). Some games are cross-play between the oculus platform and steam, some aren’t, but maybe we can figure something out. Most of my friends don’t have VR and the couple that do aren’t too interested in doing the room space VR stuff with me, but I’d dig playing sports scramble, eleven, population one, arizona sunshine, and maybe others with someone. Feel free to share your info in the thread, too, if you’re looking for people to play with.

‘Thrill of the Fight’ is a top notch boxing simulator for only $10. Note it is a boxing simulator, not a boxing arcade game. You go for three 2 minute rounds with an AI opponent with a minute break between rounds. The strength of each punch you throw is determined by how fast you move your hands. Expect to be drenched in sweat after going a few rounds. Intense workout and fun at the same time.

‘Star Wars Squadrons’ is my favorite game at the moment. You quickly forget about that boring other world as you strain to whip your head around to follow the enemy fighter trying to get behind you. It has an instruments-only mode which turns off the on-screen GUI so you have to use the fighter’s instruments. You actually have to turn you head to the left to view your radar while sitting in an X-Wing, etc. This makes it more difficult but much more immersive. I can’t go back.

I recently got a VR system too (the Valve Index). I found that I liked VR so much that I am considering getting the Quest 2 for the exclusives, in particular Supernatural and Dance Central. (It actually made me create a Facebook account after saying for years I would never do so. Principles, I know not what you speak of.)

I have played Pistol Whip and I like it a lot. It makes you feel like a badass in the same way that Superhot does. The one caution I have is to be careful with how you move. I ended up spraining my back when I played the game, and was in incredible pain for a few days. Getting an injury when playing a video game is perhaps the most embarrassing way.

I have also been playing Ragnarock lately. It is rhythm game where you bang on drums to motivate the people rowing a ship. The soundtrack is rock/metal, which is a nice change from the mostly dance/electronic/pop songs that rhythm/dance games primarily have.

I have also found horror games to be great in VR, and by great, I mean terrible. In one game, I actually jumped because of thunder (Don’t Knock Twice, which I played because I watched the movie).

I have attempted Phasmophobia in VR solo, and I quit after less than ten minutes several times. Phasmophobia is a ghost hunting game that somehow manages to actually be scary. I think part of it is that the mechanics are not fully explained in the game, which leads to a lot of speculation and hearsay.

I just noticed that you mentioned Blade & Sorcery. I recommend it. Magic in it is great. Not so much the standard fire and thunder spells, but telekinesis. My favorite thing is what I call spinning daggers of death. I use the telekinesis spell to pick up and then to spin daggers. Short swords also work, but anything longer is risker because you can injure yourself.

I keep hearing Half-Life: Alyx is pretty much a killer app for it. I don’t watch gameplay videos, but I have watched a lot of it on youtube and it looks amazing.

If you have friends/family over then Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is fun.

I bought the original Vive 2½ years ago. My computer isn’t up to par on playing some of the newer VR games like Half Life Alyx, so I’m waiting to upgrade my rig before trying it. I’ve been disappointed with most VR games. I’ve seen a lot of very cool short experiences, but only a only a few games that were fun after the first 10-20 minutes. There’s a lot more potential to VR than is currently being utilized in the games.

Beat Saber alone was worth the price of the head-set in terms of pure fun and benefits in exercise and weight loss, though.

Reopening this semi-zombie as I just got an Oculus Quest 2 and there didn’t seem to be a newer thread.

It’s really been worth it for me, but it’s a parallel experience to regular gaming, not a replacement for it.
When I bought it, I assumed that just about any 3D game I owned could be played in VR and that’s just not the case. One of the first games I tried this with was classic Doom, and I felt sick as a dog before even completing the first stage.

Meanwhile, my favorite game right now, The Climb 2, of course wouldn’t work on desktop. Not just because of the input method but because it is actually scary – it’s amazing that just binocular vision is sufficient to trigger acrophobia, but it does, and so climbing, and completing a climb, feel pretty epic.

I also have The Walking Dead and Red Matter which are both excellent but are a little deep for what I am used to so far in VR – I’ll come back to these as I get more acclimatized.
And I have Beat Saber, but I am going to go against the grain a little and say I don’t like it that much; the actual mechanics of the sabers are great, but the included music is lousy IMO and the visualization of which way to break the blocks should have been made more distinct.

I don’t think two months makes it a semi-zombie, we can definitely make this into a long term general discussion VR thread.

How did you actually play classic doom in VR? There’s not a general option to just play any game your computer can run, is there? Maybe there is in link mode. But yes, you can’t just run any old game on a VR headset except basically if you’re simulating it playing on a monitor within the VR world. Games have to be designed specifically for VR - they don’t know how to make use of the head tracking camera (I guess your head could simulate mouse movement), they don’t create binocular 3d, where there are two seperate render points, etc. I know there is a sidequest community that has hacked a few old games together to run in VR, doom 3 is actually one of the ore popular ones.

So good news on Beat Saber. I agree that the included music is pretty bad. And I’m not just being snobby because it’s music I don’t like - other rythm games have plenty of music I don’t like, but is much better suited for the game and I’m okay with that. Anyway, there’s a huge custom song community for beat saber which, at the moment, does not work on the quest, but will again. You do have to mod your quest if you want custom content, but that also allows you to sideload experimental/in development/otherwise not on the oculus store games (like the aforementioned doom 3 VR).

Then once you’re modded, you use BMBF to load the custom songs into beat saber. Which is currently broken. Every few months they patch the game and that breaks the mods, and it takes the modding community a few days (usually, this one has ran a few weeks) to get it working again. It doesn’t break the game in the meantime, you just go back to having the unmodded game.

That sounds like a hassle, but it’s really not bad - it takes less than an hour and you only have to do it once. Having custom beat saber songs is a totally different game - not only is the music better (obviously) but a lot of the custom song creators are better at mapping the notes than the actual game creators. I rarely play any of the built in beat saber content. There are also functional and graphical mods for the game - I have not played around with those, but one of them may solve the issue you have with the clarity of note markers.

If you’re interested in rhythm games but didn’t like beat saber specifically, there are other good options. I play synthriders and audio trip. Synthriders has much better music than beatsaber, plenty of it (50-60 songs built in, custom songs can be loaded without modding the headset), and it has a lot of options on how to play (spin mode, force mode). Audio trip is one I only got recently but I really like it a lot. The choreography/note charting is way better than either of the other two games. It was designed by a professional dancer and it shows. The movements you make while playing that game are way more satisfying than the other two. But it has a very limited sound track, I think around 15 songs, although it does allow drop in custom songs too - although you’d probably lose the best part in that case, the excellent choreography.

No. It was one of the first things I googled when I got the Quest 2; basically it is a program called QuestZDoom. It can play the original WADs as well as various mods.

I did need to install Sidequest for this, but I needed that anyway; I’m based in China, where Facebook is blocked, so doing anything the “right” way, through Oculus’ own interface, is a monumental pain.

QuestZDoom indeed has binocular vision, works with the controllers, etc.
But it’s sickening:

  1. Doom guy zips around very fast. What I found was fast, free movement in a VR game while your real body doesn’t move at all is disorienting. That’s probably why for games like Halflife Alyx they don’t give you this free movement.

  2. Original Doom is actually “fake” 3D; it was an amazing programming feat that they managed to make such a convincing illusion of 3-dimensionality. This is most obvious when you walk around the 2D sprites, but I think the bigger issue for VR is the geometry of the walls and floor…it feels not right, somehow.
    Like when you first walk around you feel about 2 feet off the ground, but then find you’re eye to eye with the enemies;

I’ll try out Doom 3 it may work better. But I’m unloading original Doom, it was just unplayable for me.

Thanks for the tip, I’ll give it a go :slight_smile:

Ah, gotcha, I wasn’t aware of the doom 1/2 ports. Doom 3 is a better fit for VR because it was more slow motion and jump scare based than the other dooms, more like a horror game. I heard it’s popular on sidequest.

It sounds like you’re not going to like that kind of motion, and that’s fair enough. It gives me a bit of a sickening feeling sometimes too. Lots of games give you teleport style movement or other styles of movement (Gorn makes you pull yourself against… reality… like, walking around by grabbing the air and pulling essentially) or perhaps smooth movement might work for you it’s slow enough.

I did find that turning off any sort of head-bob or anything that tries to simulate the up and down motions of walking makes it less weird. Better to float than to be subjected to a fake walking bump.

Is this all for custom tracks loaded directly onto the Oculus and using its processing hardware or does it apply if you’re using the Steam version as well?

I have an Oculus Quest 2 en route and was picking out titles. Synth Riders looked much easier to get custom tracks for since the devs seem to encourage it. Also getting Audioshield which I know is older now but the “Play your music” aspect is a big draw. I know it won’t synch up as well as human-created tracks but I’ve played enough Audiosurf, Beat Hazard, Melody’s Escape and other dynamically generated rhythm games to set my expectations accordingly. Despite Beat Saber being the big crown jewel, I think I’ll wait for that one to go on sale between the lack of native music I’m interested in and pickiness in installing your own (well, someone else’s) stuff.

Running custom songs on steam has a different process. I use the one click install function on bsaber, it’s very easy. BMBF is specifically for adding songs to the native quest version of beatsaber.

Other rhythm games like synthriders and audiotrip support custom songs without any sort of modding, you just drop them in. I’m guessing beat saber wanted to avoid the legality issues that stem from that and so you have to add songs unofficially. Their custom song communities are much smaller than beat saber, though.

BMBF, the program that mods the quest version of beatsaber, has not been updated since the last patches came out. I don’t know why. Usually it only takes 2-3 days to update the mods for new patches, but we’re going on like a month now where they haven’t been updated. Adding songs to the steam version is a different process and as far as I know isn’t broken every time the game is patched.

Sounds like Beat Saber is a definite “Wait for a sale” game. A larger modding community isn’t much use if it’s a regular broken hassle to use the mods. And the native song selection and official DLC doesn’t appeal to me at all. Getting it on Steam is sort of a solution but I’d rather my wife was able to play it independently of my Steam account and PC.

Beat Saber is actually a game that may not ever go on sale, unfortunately. The history on PC shows that it increased from $20 to $30, and that’s the only price movement it has ever had - no sales. I don’t think it’s been on sale on the quest store either. It may, but some games that are consistently popular never do. I got the steam version for $24 because of the 20% discount for humble monthly subscribers, I think that’s the best you can do. I also have it on quest because my girlfriend wanted to play in multiplayer, although I’m a little annoyed that I had to pay twice and also that the modding has been broken for a few weeks, as I kind of hate about 80% of the built in songs. Surely there must be a million bands out there that would love to get their music featured on a game like beat saber for free, I don’t know why they don’t try to do that.

It doesn’t sound like the quest version is regularly broken - a patch comes out every couple of months and it’s fixed within a couple of days - the current situation is unusual, and I’m not sure why.

That said, there are other good rhythm games so it’s not totally essential.

Ah, one of those. Well, it can wait until I have a surplus of money burning a hole in my pocket then, it seems. Or get tired of the other games enough to suck it up. Too bad – if it had actual supported modding (or at least modding that didn’t get broken which sounds as though the devs are actively hostile to the idea), it’d be much more of a buy but right now it feels like there’s better options.

Mods being broken by every little update is annoying, but at least on Steam you can still play custom songs through the unmodded interface. You still lose access to a lot of quality of life improvements from mods, but being able to play custom songs is the most important thing for me. I usually wait a few days to a week after an update to update mods.

I wish there was more rhythm games that were as fun as Beat Saber. VR seems to be perfectly suited for this kind of game, but most of the others I’ve tried just aren’t as fun.

I tried out a drumming game called Beat Smith. It’s free (choose your price) on Sidequest.

On the one hand, being a free game, it’s pretty crude. The only option is to be able to customize the position of your kit. You can’t change the speed of the tracks, which are intense.
And I’m finding the hit detection a bit, well, hit and miss, right now.

But on the other hand, it’s the most physical exertion I’ve had in a VR game so far. And the music is pretty good; I’m not really a rock person but I found myself head-banging to a few of the tracks.

So, worth a go, particularly if you’re looking for more games in this genre.

I tried Beat Saber, Audioshield, Soundart and Synth Riders. Out of all of them, I’ll probably spend the most time in Audioshield since it’s pretty simple and I like being able to just pick from my many, many mp3 files and it gives me a game. Synth Riders I liked except that the native music selection is pretty limited and there’s not a ton of custom maps. I do like that using custom maps is very easy. This will probably be my second choice, if I’m looking for something more involved that Audioshield. If it had more custom tracks, it’d probably be my first choice since it blends aspects I like best of Audioshield and Beat Saber.

Beat Saber didn’t really grab me. I understand that this is a minority opinion and Beat Saber is “the” rhythm VR game right now. But I didn’t care for most of the music and, although there’s a lot more custom maps than Synth Riders has, they (a) usually also aren’t anything I want to listen to and (b) almost always only have “Expert” mode, so they weren’t much fun to get started on. Maybe I’m just old and uncoordinated but the need to slash in specific directions just added a bit too much and I’m not excited about the learning curve when lower difficulties put me back into the base tracks. It’s listen to stuff I don’t like on Easy/Normal or listen to some stuff I do like on Expert and play like shit. I did come across Beat Sage which claims to autogenerate maps for you so, if they’re any good, maybe that’ll spark more interest for me.

Soundart felt sort of like a bootleg Beat Saber, although I could use my own tracks. I only played one song without doing the tutorial first and came away feeling like I should have done the tutorial. I’ll have to go back to that one.

I remember having problems finding good custom maps in normal and hard mode in the beginning, but I went to expert pretty quickly. I think it took me <5 hours of play to go from normal to hard, and about 10 hours to go from hard to expert permanently. SInce I’ve put over 200 hours into the game, 95% of my playtime has been on expert or higher difficulty. Since most people who make maps are also long time players, they tend to focus on making maps on the difficulty they’d play themselves. There’s definitely a much better selection of custom songs on expert and expert+.

For a few good mapper for lower difficulties maps, I’d check out maps made by Greatyazer and BennyDaBeast. They tend to make maps that have more focus on dance style patterns instead of ultra-fast wrist movements.

You can filter the bsaber custom song library for available difficulty levels. It’s true that they tend to focus on expert since by the time people get into creating songs they’re probably very good at the game and it’s more work creating multiple difficulties, so they settle on the one that challenges them. But there are thousands of songs that do have easy or normal levels.