So far VRFocus has listed its favourite PlayStation VR and Oculus Quest videogames of 2019 and now it’s the turn of Oculus Rift. While there will always be some crossover thanks to some awesome multiplatform releases, the headset also has some choice exclusives which aren’t to be missed. So here’s VRFocus’ roundup of the best titles which have arrived this year.
The Best Oculus Rift Games of 2019:
There were always going to be certain titles which would make this list, showcasing how far VR development has come over the last few years and Sanzaru Games’ Asgard’s Wrath is most certainly one of them. While it may require a decent VR-capable PC to make the most of the stunning visuals, Asgard’s Wrath also rewards Oculus Rift owners with plenty of close-quarters combat, a rich narrative based on Norse mythology and challenges galore.
As an Oculus Rift exclusive Asgard’s Wrath is one of those videogames all owners of the headset really should own, being a definitive AAA VR experience.
Another massive VR exclusive for Oculus Rift was Insomniac Games’ sci-fi adventure Stormland. If you prefer guns and robots over swords and monsters then Stormland is the place to be. Giving players an ever-changing open world to explore set across three cloud levels, Stormland offers a campaign allowing for single-player and co-op multiplayer gaming.
With excellent gun mechanics and a mixture of locomotion options including gliding across clouds, Stormland encourages you to explore everywhere by making almost everything climbable. Once the campaign has been completed you can keep returning to find fresh challenges as each week the world changes.
If there’s one genre that’s surely captured the imagination of VR developers and consumers alike it’s rhythm-action. There are a number of videogames which could’ve made the cut but VRFocus went from Cloudhead Games’ latest, Pistol Whip.
Designed to make you feel like an action hero badass such as John Wick, on the standard setting you can hit bad guys at distance like a marksman, all to thumping beats. Find the gameplay is a little too easy then start to activate some modifiers like Dead Eye which removes the auto-aim feature. With or without these extras Pistol Whip is super fun to play no matter your VR experience.
Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series
Only available for Oculus Rift and Oculus Quest, Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series made the cut on the standalone headset and equally does the job here. While some may consider this an interactive experience rather than a fully-fledged videogame, however, you want to categorise it ILMxLAB’s trilogy expertly mixes the iconic franchise with VR technology.
Almost putting you inside a Star Wars film where you’re the central character, the main storyline lets you learn skills such as lightsaber duelling and using the force, all taught by Darth Vader himself. Once the campaign is over you can head to the dojo to really practice those skills. Sci-fi and VR fans will enjoy the experience, Star Wars fans will love it.
Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son
Certainly one of the more unusual (and unexpected) movie tie-ins of 2019, Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son is essentially a sequel to the early 90s movie starring Bill Murray. As the title suggests, you play Phil Connors Jr. as he returns to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Caught in another time loop, you need to relive the same day over and over, solving residents problems and other challenges to escape.
VRFocus’ four-star review noted: “Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son is a lovable VR adventure that doesn’t do any disservice to the original material on which it’s based. With a unique art style and engaging story, Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son offers an unexpectedly enjoyable adventure, and you don’t even need to have seen the film.”
After blood, carnage, and utter, utter mayhem? Well, then Gorn should be on your want list. Originally a Steam Early Access title from 2017, Gorn saw its official launch back in the summer, allowing players to engage in some brutal gladiatorial combat.
While screenshots make this bloody brawler look gruesome thanks to decapitated heads, smashed in body parts and wall to wall crimson, Gorn doesn’t take itself seriously. The weapons bend and flex like comedy mallets, and enemy bodies all have rag-doll physics. Due to the nature of the combat, the experience is very physical, encouraging you to put in plenty of effort. As VRFocus said in its review: “Brutal, dumb and addictively fun.”
Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs
Resolution Games brought Rovio Entertainment’s massively popular mobile puzzler Angry Birds into VR at the beginning of the year, with the experience offering a fine take on the building destruction videogame. Its inclusion in this listing is thanks to a new update, greatly expanding the gameplay possibilities.
This month saw the studio release a Level Builder option for Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs so you can make your own levels and challenge your friends to complete them. Thanks to the level builder Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs now offers a far more rounded experience, that doesn’t simply end when he single-player campaign is over. One for puzzle fans the world over.
Espire 1: VR Operative
Digital Lode’s very first VR title Espire 1: VR Operative had a bit of a rocky start, with the initial September launch delayed with 24hrs notice. The delay saw the videogame pushed back a couple of months but that hasn’t hindered the experience. Offering a futuristic plot where you control an Espire model 1 robot to complete missions, the gameplay is designed around stealth, so there are plenty of places to hide, you can scale walls to maintain vantage points and you can tranquilise enemies rather than killing them.
Of course, should you get spotted or simply find a gung-ho approach more exciting then all hell will break loose and guards will start raining down gunfire. Espire 1: VR Operative offers the most standard first-person shooter (FPS) gameplay of any title on this roundup, yet it manages to deliver a videogame for VR fans looking for a Metal Gear Solid or Splinter Cell experience.
Five Nights at Freddy’s: Help Wanted
Who doesn’t love a good scare from a horror videogame? It’s something VR does so well and for 2019 fans were treated to the resurgence of a classic, Five Nights at Freddy’s. Steel Wool Studios kept what made the originals great and expanded upon the concept of original creator Scott Cawthon, including both the classics and brand new mini-games.
If you’ve not heard of the Five Nights universe the basic premise revolves around a theme park with some fairly questionable animatronics. Each mini-game will have you watching CCTV systems or repairing ventilation systems, whilst at the same time trying to stay alive and avoid being…well you know, killed. Not one for the faint of heart, Five Nights at Freddy’s: Help Wanted offers some of the best jump-scares for any VR headset.
Possibly a little controversial because the PC version of Tetris Effect is exclusive to the Epic Games Store, that doesn’t mean to say it shouldn’t be included here as its still an awesome VR puzzle experience.
The classic Tetris gameplay is still there, it’s the visuals and audio that have really been overhauled. They are in sync with the gameplay so as you score more points by making lines you’ll be treated to evermore stunning effects which envelop and mesmerize, without distracting from the gameplay. It’s why VRFocus gave Tetris Effect five stars for its review.