The first half of 2022 has delivered a bit of a dry spell in terms of new Meta Quest 2 games. Aside from gems like Cosmonious High and Little Cities, we’ve spent a lot of time this year catching up on our backlog and replaying old favorites. But thanks to the Upload VR Showcase Summer 2022 — and the Meta Games Showcase in April — we have dozens more games to look forward to.
Aside from highly anticipated titles like Among Us and Moss: Book II, the Upload VR showcase revealed DLC expansions and sequels of some of our favorite games, including Zenith and Espire, plus some exciting newcomers. Below, we’ve selected the most exciting Oculus Quest games (in our minds) that should be on your radar.
We already saw a glimpse of Among Us VR at the Meta Games Showcase, but today’s trailer gave a clearer glimpse of what the gameplay will actually be like: proximity voice chat while tasking, climbing into vents, how you’ll complete tasks in first-person (with a new Whack-A-Mole-like task), and what you’ll look like as a ghost.
It looks incredibly charming, a game where you can goof off with friends as they try to murder you. Tasks will be both more interactive than in the original while also not obscuring your vision as much; you’ll be able to keep your head on a swivel to look out for whoever’s coming to kill you. I only wish we were getting more than the Skeld II map to start.
Stealth games are some of my absolute favorite VR games, even though there are only a handful of worthy mentions. While the likes of Budget Cuts 1 and 2 are unmatched in my eyes from a stealth perspective — and they’re not available on Quest 2, anyway — Espire 2 could deliver the best stealth experience VR has yet seen thanks to a brilliant new mechanic: dually-controlled Frames.
Espire 2 puts you back into the body of a robot — called a Frame in the game’s lore — but this time around you get to control two Frames at any given point in time. Sinder is a refined version of the humanoid robot from the first game, while Sooty is a 3-foot-tall noisemaker that gives you a completely different perspective on the world. I cannot wait to take enemies down at the kneecaps in the stealthiest ways while unraveling the global domination plot of the game.
WHAT THE BAT?
The developers of slapstick golf-parody game WHAT THE GOLF? have brought a similar absurd charm to its first VR title, which has a similar vibe to Vacation Simulator mixed with WarioWare’s manic, random energy — only with purposefully worse controls. You have to complete various mini-game tasks with realistic physics, only your hands are tiny bats that aren’t exactly built for dextrous jobs.
It’s not going to offer a lot of depth, either in terms of gameplay length or any actual story. But it’s clearly designed to appeal to both adults and kids, and doesn’t try to take itself too seriously, both of which I appreciate.
I’ve attended more than one LAN party where we’ve played PAYDAY: The Heist the entire time, and Gambit might just satiate my need for squad-based hijinks in the modern era. Gambit was first teased as a PC VR title two years ago but has now resurfaced as a Quest 2 title with an actual release date, including crazy masked characters, foul language, and lots and lots of shooting.
In many ways, it seems to channel Payday’s energy while being a game properly built for the VR era. Throughout the 20+ hour campaign, you’ll join friends through a three-chapter-long story that includes robbing trains, grand adventures, gun fights, and the single goal of ‘get rich or die trying.’ Sounds like a blast.
NERF Ultimate Championship
I was always more of a Super Soaker kid, to be honest. And this kind of tie-in is certainly designed to push Quest owners’ kids to buy NERF guns in real life, or possibly sell in-game guns via microtransactions. But beyond the premise, NERF Ultimate Championship looks genuinely fun, with the parkour shooter mechanics we’ve seen in Titanfall or Dying Light.
From launch, it’ll have three game modes tied to three maps. Developer Secret Location is promising multiple seasons of free content and new game modes, a must for any multiplayer VR game to keep its audience. For gamers wanting a less serious alternative to Population: One, NERF Ultimate Champtionship could be that game when it arrives August 28.
Stride multiplayer update
Stride’s original release (opens in new tab) on the Quest 2 felt very much like the goal was to bring Mirror’s Edge to VR and, for the most part, the game accomplished the look and feel of EA’s classic with excellent VR controls. Stride’s multiplayer update, which is available right now, has a completely different aesthetic but one that’s still quite unique among VR titles.
Like the single-player modes, players will find themselves parkouring and shooting their way to the top. Unlike the single-player modes, though, the world of Stride in multiplayer is extremely colorful and features personalized avatars. Whether you’re just racing to parkour better than anyone else, trying to stay at the top as king of the hill, or clearing out enemies in horde mode, Stride’s long-awaited multiplayer looks like a boatload of fun.
Into the Radius
VR has plenty of shooters, but even zombie titles tend to lean more towards action than horror, giving you plenty of ammo. Into the Radius instead has much more methodical gameplay that leans more towards realism — aside from the “otherworldly anomalies.” You have to scavenge for supplies, maintain and clean your weapons, and learn to pick your battles instead of running in guns-blazing.
Originally a PC VR game, Into the Radius is another title that we didn’t expect would “fit” on the mobile Quest 2. It makes us excited to wonder what other great Rift titles could make their way over, even if the graphics have to take a hit.
Zenith: The Celestial Throne
While Zenith: The Last City (opens in new tab) launched as what felt like the definitive VR MMO of the age, players quickly hit max level in just a few weeks, and, unfortunately, the player base tapered off quite a bit. But developer Ramen VR has listened to the hue and cry of players and delivered the end game content we’ve been waiting for. The best part is that the Celestial Throne update is just around the corner, dropping for free on June 16 for all Zenith players.
This update delivers six new instanced dungeons, eight new sets of armor, and over 20 new quests to embark upon. The goal here was to deliver dynamic dungeons that react to the player’s presence so dungeons didn’t feel quite so static. It also rewards players who are willing to put more time in by offering up more varied content. It’s certainly a great start for the first major expansion of the game and, hopefully, a look at the bright future to come for the game.
It’s a family tradition to watch the Twilight Zone marathon on SYFY on New Year’s Eve. Rod Serling’s narration and the various brutal, iconic endings to my favorite episodes still sit with me. So I’m leery of how well Pocket Money Games can pull off the iconic franchise in VR form…but I’m still eager to “tune in,” so to speak.
The game will include three different scenarios written by different authors, and seems to employ some run-of-the-mill shooter and stealth mechanics to go with whatever spooky narratives the writers conjure up. Twilight Zone VR arrives on the Quest 2 July 14.
Next Player Please
This one brings me back to the early days of VR, specifically Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes. Next Player Please sees players sitting around a physical table passing the headset to one another to complete minigames with just their hands. The trick here — at least based on the trailer — is that the VR headset doesn’t have a strap and players don’t use controllers.
Those two key points make it easy to pass the headset along to others quickly, as what appear to be Wario Ware-style minigames will likely be faster-paced than other VR titles. Party games are a lost art in the video game industry and I always welcome any such concepts with open arms. Bring on family game night!
A virtually jam-packed summer of gaming
We’re in the midst of
E3 Summer Games showcases revealing tons of AAA titles, with the recent Sony State of Play revealing a ton of AAA PSVR 2 titles like No Man’s Sky and Resident Evil Village. In this context, these indie games coming to the Quest 2 this season don’t have the same level of appeal.
But that arguably doesn’t matter. The Oculus Quest has allowed smaller devs and new franchises to flourish, and you’ll likely be able to buy several Quest experiences that delight and entertain for the same price as just one Sony title. We can only hope our favorite Upload VR Showcase Summer 2022 picks live up to their full potential.