The Best Free VR Games for the Oculus Rift S
For years, many industry insiders have been saying that VR will be the next frontier of gaming. We’re not quite there yet in 2020. Among several other reasons, the high cost of VR headsets and the relative shortage of high-quality VR content are some of the oft-cited hurdles for the widespread adoption of mainstream VR technology.
VR headsets are quite expensive, so it’s understandable if VR headset owners will look for games and experiences that they can get for free. In this article, we will focus on free VR content for the Oculus Rift S, the latest wired VR headset from the Oculus brand.
1. Robo Recall
This first-person shooter is probably the closest thing we have to a AAA VR game. While it’s not free on the Oculus Store, it comes bundled with the Oculus Touch controllers and should automatically be added to your library.
Developed by Epic Games, Robo Recall truly captures the high-paced feel of arcade shooter games but with a VR flavor. The gameplay mechanics feel simple enough to be old-school – you are given an assortment of guns and have to shoot just about everything on the screen that moves. The graphics are anything but old-school, though. This game has some of the best-looking robots we’ve seen and watching them fall apart from your bullets never gets old.
If there’s a flaw with this game, it’s that it feels too short and does not have enough content. However, that’s par for the course in VR gaming. Since you can play it for free, Robo Recall is a great introduction to the wider world of VR experiences.
2. The Lab
The Lab holds the distinction as the very first VR title from legendary game developer Valve. This free game isn’t exactly the type of fully realized video game that comes with a plot and a cast of characters. Instead, it’s a glorified technical demo of what you can do with the VR headset and handheld controllers. That description doesn’t do The Lab justice – this demo is a blast and one that you might find yourself coming back to every now and then.
The Lab is made up of eight mini-experiences, with each one making use of the Touch controllers in a different way. One minigame will have you defending your castle from a horde of attackers using a bow, while the others will have you petting an animal or building a robot. There’s a certain meditative appeal to each one of these minigames. If you’re never played a VR game before, The Lab is a great way to be familiar with how to interact with this purely virtual world.
3. First Contact
Developed by Oculus as an introduction to the Touch controllers, First Contact puts you inside a room where you are free to play with a box full of toys. A robot guide provides company and prompts you with tasks that you can accomplish.
As a VR game, First Contact doesn’t offer much besides a sweet and simple experience. You can interact with just about any object inside the game room, pushing and throwing them around to discover the limits of what you can do with your controller. You can play along with your robot companion with toy guns and rockets. Older users may get a kick of nostalgia from playing around with technology that seems like they came from 20 years ago.
Overall, First Contact is probably one of the best games you could boot if you just received your Oculus Rift S. It’s an amazing first experience for everyone, including kids. While it doesn’t have the same replay factor as The Lab, First Contact is an endearing VR experience that you won’t forget.
If you’re a fan of the brand of humor of Rick and Morty, then you’ll surely get a kick out of Accounting. This game with an unassuming name is one of the funniest and most entertaining VR experiences ever created. Just to be clear, this game is not appropriate for children despite its cartoony graphics. There is a lot of foul language and crass humor, but that’s all part of the appeal of this game.
Accounting puts you in the role of a trainee accountant who is slated to undergo a “virtual reality accounting” experiment. From the four walls of a boring accounting office, you are transported to a fantasy land of talking trees and demons that can be summoned by rap songs. That sentence may sound confusing, but it all makes sense in the game’s uniquely hilarious logic.
Throughout the game, the player can interact with in-game objects by throwing them around, playing musical instruments, or using weapons like knives and guns. No words can adequately describe what this game is about – it is best to experience it blindly. If you’re looking for a weirdly hilarious time, the free legacy version of Accounting is a great way to spend an afternoon.
5. Echo VR
Multiplayer VR games are rare, much more free ones. This is the reason why Echo VR remains fairly popular and still has an active player base several years after it was launched. Right now, the Echo Arena is still free, but players have the option of paying to upgrade to Echo Combat.
In Echo Arena, you will be part of a team battle of robots armed with an arsenal of different weapons. What makes this multiplayer game unique is that the battles happen in a massive zero-gravity arena. This means that you can yaw, pitch, and roll to maneuver your player, evading the shots of your enemies while positioning yourself for the kill.
The unbridled use of 3D space is what makes Echo VR one of the more immersive multiplayer VR experiences. The controls are very smooth and responsive, although it may take some time for you to get used to the floaty feeling of complete freedom of motion. If you’re prone to motion sickness, it would probably be tough to be competitive with some of the high-level players.
6. Rec Room
While Rec Room isn’t exactly what we would consider a VR game, it would certainly qualify as an experience. This free VR platform is basically a social app where you can interact with your friends or strangers in an immersive 3D environment. It’s also cross-platform, so you can play with your friends who have headsets other than the Oculus Rift S.
Rec Room offers a host of multiplayer games including Laser Tag and Paintball. There are also hundreds of player-created rooms and games that you can try out. Customization is one of the more appealing qualities of Rec Room. You can change how your character looks, create your own rooms, or set filters to control the content that you can see.
This is the beauty of Rec Room – you are never going to run out of things to do, and you can always find something new to do every time you log on, and that you can craft the experience to your preferences. Against Gravity continuously supports the development of new content for Rec Room, so there will always be new and fun stuff to do.
7. PokerStars VR
Want to go to the casino but would rather not mingle with a crowd? Then this free VR poker game is perfect for you. PokerStars VR allows you to play with real people in a platform that’s immersive and perfectly intuitive.
There’s nothing exceptional about the gameplay mechanics – this is just poker, after all. The controls feel great, and you can even go as far as reading the ‘body language’ of other players in your table. You can also populate your tables with interactive props. These could be fun but can also be irritating if you just want to play a serious round of poker.
With such a wide player base, PokerStars VR seems more suitable for casual players. More competitive players may find it hard to encounter other players with a comparable level of skill, especially since the game relies on random matchmaking.
8. Face Your Fears
Horror and VR are a match made in heaven. Nothing can be as scary as being immersed in an environment where unseen horrors could be lurking, as opposed to watching the same scene on a screen. While there are hundreds of VR horror titles, we are this landmark title from Turtle Rock Studios.
Face Your Fears comes in two parts. Skyscraper puts you at the ledge of a skyscraper overlooking a city while a robot climbs up towards you. The Haunting puts you in the shoes of a little kid inside a bedroom where you are seemingly not alone. Both parts of this VR experience touch into the basic human fears of heights, darkness, and the unknown.
It hardly needs to be said, but Face Your Fears isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s not uncommon for people to end up removing their headsets in the middle of The Haunting and never try it again. If that sounds like a challenge you’re up to, then you can download this experience from the Oculus Store for free.
9. Deadly Hunter
Deadly Hunter is a high-fantasy VR title that combines elements of first-person shooters and tower defense. You play the role of an Orc hunter who has to defend a fort against endless waves of Orcs that get more powerful and numerous with each wave.
As an Orc hunter, your primary weapon is a bow with an endless supply of arrows. You can choose to fight the Orcs head-on, but you will eventually find yourself overwhelmed with their numbers. This is where the traps come in. The game will allow you to choose from ten different traps, each one with unique effects and targeting specific Orc weaknesses.
With more than 100 trap upgrade combinations, 10 enemy types, 20 different scenes, and three game modes, it’s going to be easy to find yourself spending hours playing Deadly Hunter. There’s one major caveat, though – the graphics of the game are really outdated. The animations are janky, and the character models for the Orcs look like they belong in a game from ten years ago. However, if you think that gameplay trumps graphics, then you might want to give Deadly Hunter a try.
MiYuBi is certainly not a game, but it definitely is an experience. This 360 video, which premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, is the first long-form scripted VR comedy to ever be created. It’s basically a movie where you play one of the central characters.
MiYuBi is a movie told from the perspective of a Japanese toy robot. It’s 40 minutes long, so it’s best to find a comfortable place to sit down if you want to experience it. Over the runtime, you get to watch one year in the life of the MiYuBi robot from the day that it was gifted in the Christmas of 1982. Beneath the façade of sitcom-level gags is a somewhat tragic story about the passage of time. Despite being a popular toy in 1982, how long can MiYuBi remain relevant?
The VR medium adds new dimensions to the storytelling technique of MiYuBi. The action happens all around you, and your eyes are free to wander in any direction. Also, Jeff Goldblum is somewhere in it, so what’s not to love? MiYuBi is a great way to take a break from VR experiences that demand too much from you – this VR movie will just let you sit back and take it all in.
While entertainment in the VR space sounds intriguing, it seems like most consumers are not yet ready to accept the extra costs associated with it. You can still rarely find VR headsets in typical households, despite the technology becoming a lot more affordable through the years.
Free VR content seeks to bridge this cost-related gap. If you are invested enough to buy an Oculus Rift S, the great news is that there’s a wealth of content that’s available for you without having to pay a single cent.
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