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From horror fests to shoot-’em-ups, here are the 20 best Oculus Rift games

The Oculus Rift had a tough go of it out of the gate. Delayed shipments and a sparse library of games made its first six months on the market rocky, to say the least. Then, in late 2016, the delayed Oculus Touch controllers arrived, upping the impressiveness of most games by giving players full motion control with each hand.

Now, well into its second year of life, the Oculus Rift continues to impress with a steady stream of solid experiences. From first-person shooters to frightful psychological horror games to quirky puzzlers to co-op games, the platform has something for everyone. We’ve combed through its library to compile the best Oculus Rift games available on the VR headset today.

Lone Echo

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Numerous VR experiences have attempted to capture the feeling of floating in space, but the Oculus exclusive title Lone Echo is the only one to do it in a way that feels accurate.

In reality, most of your actions involve simple maintenance fixes to a space station, but through the excellent Oculus Touch controllers, all of your movements have an immersion to them that few VR games have been able to replicate thus far. With a strong sci-fi story and a wonderfully realized space setting, Lone Echo‘s several hours of play are the best way to visit space from your living room. Amazon

Wilson’s Heart

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One of the more ambitious Oculus Rift games to date, Wilson’s Heart serves up psychological horror through the immersive experience of VR.

Set in the 1940s, the game follows hospital patient Robert Wilson, who wakes up only to realize that his heart has been replaced by a perplexing device. You play as Wilson, but you’re not the only one with disturbing woes. As you make your way down spooky, tight corridors, you’ll meet an eccentric cast of characters, all of whom want to find out how and why they have been poked and prodded by the dastardly hospital staff.

Full of jump scares and eerie realizations, Wilson’s Heart makes great use of the Touch controllers to get you into the thick of its mind-altering horrors. Amazon

Superhot VR

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Conceived as an alternate expression of experimental first-person shooter Superhot, Superhot VR adapts the stop-motion mechanic to your arms as you wield Oculus Touch controllers. When you move your hands around, the bullets rain in from enemies, but if you stop to consider your next move, you’ll receive a welcome bullet remission.

The goal remains the same — to advance to the exit in each room — but in VR, the intensity is amplified. Dismembering foes in VR will get your blood pumping. You must move your hands methodically to succeed, but Superhot VR‘s ingenious design makes it a constant delight.

Amazon

Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives

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A testament to how VR excels at turning menial tasks into engaging, even sometimes transformative experiences, Owlchemy Labs’ Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives pretty much plays as advertised. Yet, the mundane becomes fascinating in VR. Who would have thought?

The year is 2050, and humans have automated every job. To spice up your unburdened human life, you can now use a VR headset to simulate what “honest work” was all about. You can ring up chips and drinks as a convenience store clerk, fix cars as a mechanic, man the griddle as a short-order cook, or process paperwork as a run-of-the-mill 9-to-5 office worker.

Of course, this is what robots thought work was like, so it may be different and much funnier than you remember. Amazon

The Unspoken

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This is the closest you can get to being a wizard at home. Oculus exclusive The Unspoken from heralded developer Insomniac Games does an exceedingly impressive job of making you feel like you’re doing a lot of wizarding work without demanding much of you. The Unspoken is an urban fantasy filled with customizable wizards and spell casters, and you just happen to be one of them.

The wide array of spells deployed via Oculus Touch controllers almost feel as if they are truly being guided from your fingertips. There’s some exploration here and a dreary game world, but the meat of the experience comes from the duels that help you advance through the ranks of a wizard fight club. Unlike the fight club you’re thinking of, it’s okay to talk about this one.

We recommend you play it, too. Amazon

Star Trek: Bridge Crew

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Quite possibly the best multiplayer VR experience to date, Star Trek: Bridge Crew lets users play out their childhood fantasies of joining the likes of James T. Kirk, Montgomery Scott, Hikaru Sulu, and Pavel Chekov as a member of a Starfleet crew.

Players work in teams of four, with each person in one of four roles — pilot, engineer, tactician, or captain. Each job — best acted out with an Oculus Touch controller, but playable with an Xbox One controller — asks players to tinker with a computer panel. Bridge Crew excels as a cooperative game due to the need to work together to find success. It really does feel like you’re living inside an episode of Star Trek.

Simply put, if you have a group to play with, Bridge Crew should be at the top of your wish list. Amazon

Robo Recall

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Originally designed as a pack-in game for the Oculus Touch controllers, Robo Recall is a frantic shoot-em-up designed to make it easy for you to look cool while blowing robots to bits. You play as Agent 34 of the robot manufacturing company RoboReady.

Your job at the company is to remove defective units from the production line, but a virus has turned the robots against their creators, and now you must take them out. While Robo Recall boils down to a series of timed shooting galleries, it’s much more interesting than your average on rails FPS. You can pick up enemies and fling them into other robots with a swipe of your hand, and you can even catch bullets in the air and whirl them back to turn the infected robots into nothing more than a pile of parts. Robo Recall shows off the brilliance of the Oculus Touch controllers.

Best of all, it’s free-to-play. Oculus

Arizona Sunshine

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One of the only full-fledged first person shooters available in VR, Arizona Sunshine drops you into the smoldering heat of an American Southwest that is currently littered with zombies. Using the Oculus Touch, you can aim, shoot, and reload dozens of weapons.

More open than other shooters in VR, Arizona Sunshine has a campaign mode that lets players explore the deserts and caves in search of an escape. After the campaign is finished, there are both single- and multiplayer horde modes, which force you to fight off hordes of the undead. Arizona Sunshine is a fast-paced gore-fest filled with bloodied, hungry zombies. It’s slick and demonstrates how the Oculus Rift can deliver complete packages with multiple game modes.

Amazon

Chronos

For people used to playing traditional video games and looking to ease into the world of VR, Chronos is a great option. An easy comparison is Dark Souls. It’s a game full of pitched sword duels in which you have to carefully land blows and defend against the attacks of your foes to stay alive. Chronos eschews the usual VR approach of the first-person viewpoint — in which you see the game through the eyes of the character you’re playing as — in favor of the third-person view, where you watch and control the action from a separate perspective, much like a camera recording an event. Oculus

Edge of Nowhere

Insomniac Games took a stab at doing horror in virtual reality in a way that’s different from nearly every other game of that genre on the platform.

Rather than go the usual route, using a first-person perspective that has you playing as if you’re in the shoes (and seeing through the eyes) of the protagonist, it puts the camera behind the main character, just like in Chronos.

The result is a more psychological, stealthy take on horror. Edge of Nowhere is another of those VR games that feels like it could easily exist as a more traditional game, but it does some experimentation with the platform to find new ways to scare players.

Oculus

Whatever you do, don’t mess with Boston Dynamics’ SpotMini robot

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If the robot uprising starts anywhere, it’s going to be in Boston Dynamics’ workshop in Waltham, Massachusetts. And looking at the latest video from the team, it may have already begun. It shows SpotMini, a dog-like robot first shown off in 2016 and improved upon with a new design in November last year.

Earlier this month, Boston Dynamics unveiled version 3, featuring an extendable arm first seen with the original SpotMini but removed for the second iteration. The arm rises up from the top of its torso and is agile enough to open doors, an ability that will look cute to some though extremely worrying to those with darker thoughts about where this could all be leading. A new video posted on Tuesday shows how this impressive four-legged robot deals with what Boston Dynamics describes as “disturbances.” A disturbance could be something like a terrified human using Elon Musk’s flamethrower to take on SpotMini, though in this particular case involves a calm engineer prodding it with a stick.

In the video, we see SpotMini once again trying to open a door. Despite the engineer’s efforts to stop it, the unflappable dog-bot remains very much focused on grabbing the handle. There’s a bizarre moment where the man suddenly pulls a leash from its butt, a feature that appears to be a sort of kill switch, though if it is, it didn’t work very well.

For whatever reason, the man drops the leash and the robot effortlessly opens the door before entering the neighboring office to (possibly) wreak havoc. The video fades before we hear any screams. Boston Dynamics has released few details about SpotMini, preferring instead to scare the bejeezus out of anxious types by posting a series of short videos instead.

But this week’s clip does offer a little insight into its latest robotic effort. SpotMini, you’ll be pleased to learn, isn’t entirely autonomous (yet), as the video had an off-camera human with a remote controller guiding the robot to the door. However, when it reaches it, SpotMini flips into autonomous mode.

“A camera in the hand finds the door handle, cameras on the body determine if the door is open or closed and help navigate through the doorway,” the team explains in a message accompanying the video. “Controllers provide locomotion, balance and adjust behavior when progress gets off track.

The ability to tolerate and respond to disturbances like these improves successful operation of the robot.”

The message ends with: “This testing does not irritate or harm the robot.” We’re not sure whether to take this as an animal welfare quip or as an ominous reference to SpotMini’s remarkable abilities.

Editors’ Recommendations

See Boston Dynamics push its door-opening dog robot around

SpotMini gets a hockey stick on its “head.”

Boston Dynamics video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Boston Dynamics is living its own kind of “Black Mirror” story line with a new video highlighting the abilities of its dog-like SpotMini robot. But this time there’s a human in the picture and he comes off as kind of a jerk. The robotics company unveiled a simultaneously cute and unsettling video back on Feb.

12 showing a headless SpotMini walking up to a door and then receiving a portal-opening assist from a second SpotMini equipped with an extendable arm. Naturally, we all trembled and despaired for our futures. The new video, released Tuesday, shows humans are still the boss.

It’s called “Testing Robustness” and stars a man with a hockey stick alongside the SpotMini. It’s got everything: action, drama and triumph. All the poor SpotMini wants to do is open the door and walk through it, but a guy pushes its head around with the end of a hockey stick and then pulls it backward with a leash attached to its butt.

The robo-critter’s butt plate even falls off.

Before your heart totally breaks, SpotMini does end up succeeding in its mission. Boston Dynamics explains how the robot operates, saying, “A camera in the hand finds the door handle, cameras on the body determine if the door is open or closed and help navigate through the doorway. Controllers provide locomotion, balance and adjust behavior when progress gets off track.”

Once you get past the roughness of SpotMini’s treatment, it’s really pretty impressive to see how it’s able to bounce back and adjust as needed. Boston Dynamics notes, “This testing does not irritate or harm the robot.” Boston Dynamics is known for letting its people push the company’s robots around, including in a 2015 video introducing its larger four-legged Spot robot.

We know it’s important to test the robots’ abilities in adverse conditions, but it’s just a little hard to watch when SpotMini is so endearing.

Batteries Not Included: The CNET team reminds us why tech is cool.

CNET en Espanol: Get all your tech news and reviews in Spanish.

See Boston Dynamics push its door-opening dog robot around

SpotMini gets a hockey stick on its “head.”

Boston Dynamics video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Boston Dynamics is living its own kind of “Black Mirror” story line with a new video highlighting the abilities of its dog-like SpotMini robot. But this time there’s a human in the picture and he comes off as kind of a jerk. The robotics company unveiled a simultaneously cute and unsettling video back on Feb.

12 showing a headless SpotMini walking up to a door and then receiving a portal-opening assist from a second SpotMini equipped with an extendable arm. Naturally, we all trembled and despaired for our futures. The new video, released Tuesday, shows humans are still the boss.

It’s called “Testing Robustness” and stars a man with a hockey stick alongside the SpotMini. It’s got everything: action, drama and triumph. All the poor SpotMini wants to do is open the door and walk through it, but a guy pushes its head around with the end of a hockey stick and then pulls it backward with a leash attached to its butt.

The robo-critter’s butt plate even falls off.

Before your heart totally breaks, SpotMini does end up succeeding in its mission. Boston Dynamics explains how the robot operates, saying, “A camera in the hand finds the door handle, cameras on the body determine if the door is open or closed and help navigate through the doorway. Controllers provide locomotion, balance and adjust behavior when progress gets off track.”

Once you get past the roughness of SpotMini’s treatment, it’s really pretty impressive to see how it’s able to bounce back and adjust as needed. Boston Dynamics notes, “This testing does not irritate or harm the robot.” Boston Dynamics is known for letting its people push the company’s robots around, including in a 2015 video introducing its larger four-legged Spot robot.

We know it’s important to test the robots’ abilities in adverse conditions, but it’s just a little hard to watch when SpotMini is so endearing.

Batteries Not Included: The CNET team reminds us why tech is cool.

CNET en Espanol: Get all your tech news and reviews in Spanish.

See Boston Dynamics push its door-opening dog robot around

SpotMini gets a hockey stick on its “head.”

Boston Dynamics video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Boston Dynamics is living its own kind of “Black Mirror” story line with a new video highlighting the abilities of its dog-like SpotMini robot. But this time there’s a human in the picture and he comes off as kind of a jerk. The robotics company unveiled a simultaneously cute and unsettling video back on Feb.

12 showing a headless SpotMini walking up to a door and then receiving a portal-opening assist from a second SpotMini equipped with an extendable arm. Naturally, we all trembled and despaired for our futures. The new video, released Tuesday, shows humans are still the boss.

It’s called “Testing Robustness” and stars a man with a hockey stick alongside the SpotMini. It’s got everything: action, drama and triumph. All the poor SpotMini wants to do is open the door and walk through it, but a guy pushes its head around with the end of a hockey stick and then pulls it backward with a leash attached to its butt.

The robo-critter’s butt plate even falls off.

Before your heart totally breaks, SpotMini does end up succeeding in its mission. Boston Dynamics explains how the robot operates, saying, “A camera in the hand finds the door handle, cameras on the body determine if the door is open or closed and help navigate through the doorway. Controllers provide locomotion, balance and adjust behavior when progress gets off track.”

Once you get past the roughness of SpotMini’s treatment, it’s really pretty impressive to see how it’s able to bounce back and adjust as needed. Boston Dynamics notes, “This testing does not irritate or harm the robot.” Boston Dynamics is known for letting its people push the company’s robots around, including in a 2015 video introducing its larger four-legged Spot robot.

We know it’s important to test the robots’ abilities in adverse conditions, but it’s just a little hard to watch when SpotMini is so endearing.

Batteries Not Included: The CNET team reminds us why tech is cool.

CNET en Espanol: Get all your tech news and reviews in Spanish.

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