‘Tis the season for holiday shopping, but why brave the cold and the crowds? The Quest owner in your life just wants one thing: more games. Luckily it was an incredible year for both VR and for Quest 2. There were more great games this year than anyone could reasonably play—not to mention major updates to perennial favorites.
Below we’ve rounded up 21 fantastic games from ’21—plus a handful of Quest must-haves from past years. There’s a little something for everyone, whether you’re giving gifts to someone who loves jigsaw puzzles (Puzzling Places), an espionage enthusiast (I Expect You To Die 2), an air-drummer (Ragnarock), or a fan of the classics (Resident Evil 4). You’ll find those games and more below, along with related recommendations for each.
Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond
Charge into history with Respawn’s ambitious Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond. Fight on the frontlines of iconic World War II battles—ducking behind cover as you storm the beaches of Normandy, or blind-firing around cover in a sinking German U-boat. With a 10+ hour cinematic campaign, intense multiplayer action, and a poignant Gallery of VR-ready films (including the Academy Award™-winning documentary short Colette), Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond lets you experience history like never before.
Resident Evil 4
What’re ya buyin’? Hopefully it’s Resident Evil 4 VR. Armature Studio rebuilt Capcom’s acclaimed survival horror classic for Quest 2, putting players directly into Leon S. Kennedy’s shoes. A new first-person point of view, weapons you aim and reload by hand, a fully interactive version of the classic inventory grid—Resident Evil 4 VR feels like a brand new VR game. That said, it was built using Capcom’s source material and preserves what fans love about the original. (Re)visit Resident Evil 4’s iconic village, fight through hordes of Ganados, and maybe you’ll be able to rescue the president’s daughter before the year’s out—and before The Mercenaries mode releases early next year.
Did you ever hold a toy in your hand and pretend you were flying it through space? Probably, right? YUKI takes that idea and runs with it. The titular Yuki is an action figure that you hold in your hand and guide through an intense bullet-hell gauntlet. Dodge incoming fire, fly under obstacles, and try not to make little “Whoosh” noises with your mouth the entire time. It’s a childhood dream come to life—but don’t think that means YUKI is easy. You’ll need quick reflexes to make it through each level intact, while death means unlocking new abilities, upgrading Yuki’s stats, and giving it another go. Good luck!
I Expect You To Die 2
Despite the title, you did not die in the original I Expect You To Die. But will you be so lucky the second time around? Find out in I Expect You To Die 2. Step back into the shoes of the Agent, an elite super-spy attempting to save the world from the evil Dr. Zor. Like its predecessor, I Expect You To Die 2 is an impressive and impeccably themed series of escape rooms, packed full of hilarious-but-intuitive puzzles to solve. Foil an assassination attempt at the theater, escape from a booby-trapped plane, and more as you try not to, well, die.
Rainbow Reactor: Fusion
The Rainbow Reactor was supposed to be the power plant of the future. Clean, efficient, and safe—and it was, until humans messed it up. Now it falls to you to fix what others ruined in Rainbow Reactor: Fusion, a match-3 game made for VR. Explore the power plant, clean up messes, solve puzzles, and try to figure out what went wrong here. When you’re ready, you can take on the Rainbow Reactor itself, lobbing colorful blobs into the core and trying to restart the flow of power. Or hop straight into Arcade mode for instant color-matching action and a chance to top the leaderboards!
Shadowgate VR: The Mines of Mythrok
A stunning reimagining of the 1987 classic Shadowgate (and the 2014 reboot), Shadowgate VR: The Mines of Mythrok serves up the same style of puzzle-centric dungeon crawling for which the series is revered. Treasure and traps await in equal measure. Battle fearsome beasts, ride Dwarven minecarts, and uncover secrets as you move through the labyrinth of caverns and long-forgotten chambers that make up the mines themselves. It will take a keen mind to make it through Mythrok and continue your quest to Castle Shadowgate, but luckily you won't be alone on your journey. Everyone's favorite raven Odin is at your elbow, ready to show you hidden secrets, entertain you with humorous quips, and (of course) provide much-needed hints to casual and veteran adventurers alike!
Lone Echo II
Ready At Dawn’s Lone Echo set the bar for VR storytelling upon its release in 2017. With a flair for both small-scale character interactions and grand space opera drama, Lone Echo captivated players with its tale of Olivia “Liv” Rhodes and her robot companion Jack (a.k.a. you, the player). Trapped aboard the Kronos II mining station when an anomaly appears in Saturn’s orbit, what should’ve been Olivia’s retirement run instead became a fight for survival. And then...a cliffhanger ending. Now it’s finally time to continue Jack and Liv’s tale in Lone Echo II. No spoilers here, but anyone who loves an ambitious sci-fi story will want to see this one through.
Blade & Sorcery: Nomad
The era of weightless “wiggle-sword” combat is over. Blade & Sorcery became a fan-favorite in 2018 thanks to its unbelievable physics-driven melee combat, which gave weapons a feeling of weight, momentum, and presence that was traditionally missing in VR. Now Blade & Sorcery: Nomad allows you to experience the same groundbreaking combat on Quest 2. Delve into dungeons with sword (or spear or mace or axe) in-hand. Unleash your inner adventurer on a medieval sandbox without peer.
Song in the Smoke
If you woke up in the middle of a prehistoric jungle with nothing but your wits and strength, could you survive? Song in the Smoke tests your skills, immersing you in a world full of fearsome wildlife and harsh elements. Everything you need to survive can be found in nature—but it’s up to you to put it all to good use. Create fire, craft a bow and arrows, hunt and forage for your meals. It won’t be easy, but a little luck and a lot of know-how will get you through Song in the Smoke unscathed.
Wraith: The Oblivion - Afterlife
In Wraith: The Oblivion - Afterlife, what starts out as a photography job for an eccentric Hollywood mogul quickly turns into a multiple murder mystery. Trouble is, one of the people who died...is you. Turned into a Wraith, one of the restless undead, you must piece together the clues behind your own demise. Explore the Barclay Mansion’s palatial halls, using supernatural abilities to aid your investigation, but watch out—you aren’t alone here. Spectres are on your trail, hostile spirits looking to kill what’s already been killed. Based on the famed World of Darkness setting, Wraith: The Oblivion - Afterlife is a tense cat-and-mouse horror game with a slow-burn story that will intrigue anyone brave enough to see it through.
Fighting oversized enemies with oversized weapons—or your oversized fists—GORN is gladiator combat gone off-the-rails. Pull a man’s leg off with your bare hands. Use the leg to hit someone so hard they fly out of the arena and into the stands. It’s violent, yes, but in a silly Saturday morning cartoon fashion that we can’t get enough of. Hopefully you’ve been working on your cardio, because it’s difficult to properly wallop an enemy and laugh this hard at the same time.
The sun is going supernova, and you’re the only thing standing between the Spacefolk and disaster. Spacefolk City is a casual, built-for-VR take on the city building genre. This is no boring planetbound-city though. You get to build in space, creating a floating mass of buildings and parks and walkways where there is no up or down. Help your Spacefolk form a productive and happy community—and then send it rocketing off to safety before the sun destroys all your hard work.
Puzzling Places is a love letter to both jigsaw puzzles and architecture. Each puzzle is actually a 3D scan of a real-world location—the billiards room at a Swedish mansion, a crumbling monastery, a cozy izakaya, a swathe of a French seaside town, or even a piece of the Mars Desert Research Station—broken up into anywhere from 25 to 400 pieces. Your goal is to reassemble these locales, paying attention to aspects you’d typically overlook like the way the sun shines through a stained glass window, or the way moss hangs over a ruined tower. And when you’re done you get to admire the model you’ve assembled in all its intricate detail, and hear it brought to life via a rich and immersive soundscape.
If you love tabletop gaming, you’re going to love Demeo. Gather your party (up to four people) and delve into dungeons to face dangerous foes. The catch? Demeo plays out like a hybrid of pen-and-paper RPG and a board game. From high overhead you’ll move your player-pawn across the gridded floor, then play cards and roll dice to attack, use items, and more. It’s all the fun of real-world counterparts like Dungeons & Dragons and Gloomhaven, but without any of the setup. And, of course, the table is virtual so you can easily play with friends around the world. Resolution Games already added a second adventure (“Realm of the Rat King”) after release, with a third ("Roots of Evil") arriving on December 16 alongside a new Bard champion class—and more planned for the future. Expect to dip back into Demeo for a long time to come.
Come, friends—to Valhalla! Ragnarock is a brilliant rhythm game, somehow making you feel like you’re actually playing drums even though you’re just air-drumming. Perch at the back of your Viking longship and pound the drums in-time to the music, urging your crew downriver. The songlist fits the theme, with up-tempo tracks from Alestorm, Gloryhammer, Wind Rose, and various other Celtic, Viking, dwarven, and pirate metal bands. Even if you’re not usually a fan of that type of music, it matches the spirit of Ragnarock perfectly—not to mention, they’re incredibly fun to drum along with.
BATTLESCAR: Punk Was Invented By Girls
One, two, three, four! And then the guitar hits you like a fist. BATTLESCAR: Punk Was Invented By Girls is the story of two runaways, Lupe (voiced by Rosario Dawson) and Debbie, trying to survive the New York City punk scene in 1978. It’s a world of drugs and violence, and of guitars distorted to the breaking point—with art to match. The overall look of BATTLESCAR is as punk as the music, rushing from one scene to the next at breakneck speed and scratching words from Lupe’s journal right into the fabric of the city, like a zine come to life. No surprise that BATTLESCAR was a film festival favorite, including at Sundance and Tribeca.
The Secret of Retropolis
Welcome to Retropolis, the futuristic robot-city of the past! The Secret of Retropolis is a modern take on a classic adventure game—you know, (spoiler alert) use the battery on the saw, use the saw to cut through some steel bars. But the real draw is the world itself, beautifully drawn using Quill. As the only (robot) private investigator in this (robot) city, it falls to you to investigate the disappearance of a rare gem, the Sapphire Nucleus. More than just a pretty rock, it’s also the source of power for acclaimed singer Jenny Montage. Without it, she’ll...well, do the robot version of “die.” Packed full of creative details and every film noir trope ever put to celluloid, The Secret of Retropolis will stick with you long after you’re done playing detective.
Madrid Noir is a story of past, present, and how they intertwine. When Lola’s uncle dies, she’s tasked with cleaning out his old apartment. This forces Lola to confront her past—the summer she spent with her uncle, and his mysterious comings-and-goings. Was he involved with something suspicious? A criminal, even? Or is everything not as it seems? Trail him across the Madrid-of-the-past and try to find out what he’s up to, as Lola-of-the-present tries to unravel the larger story and finally make peace with a troubling chapter of her childhood. Madrid Noir is a brilliant slice of film noir fun, premiering at Tribeca Film Festival 2021 and Annecy Film Festival 2021, and winning VR Experience of the Year at the VR Awards
A Township Tale
Imagine: You wake up one day in a Medieval town. What do you do? Become a blacksmith? A warrior? An explorer? A Township Tale lets you roleplay this scenario to its fullest extent. Adventure across a vast realm full of secrets—or get very good at crafting tools and weapons for those who need them, instead. Every role is important if you want your village to flourish, so gather some friends (or just band together with other people on your server) and make a go of building a home together in the wilderness.
If you want a team-based shooter that really moves, check out Hyper Dash. Fights happen in the blink of an eye here, as you mix sprinting, rail-grinding, and the titular dash—a clever use of the “teleport” motion found in other VR games—to get the drop on your enemies. With Payload, Domination, Team Deathmatch, Control Point, Elimination, and Capture the Flag modes, there’s something for every kind of player—and more all the time, as developer Triangle Factory is great about rolling out regular updates.
For hundreds of years, rulers and commoners alike had to pretend that chess pieces stood in for foot soldiers, knights, kings, and...moving castles. But no longer! Chess Club brings the board to life, with the pieces properly fighting over territory. If that’s not enough to entice you, it’s also just a damn good chess game. Practice against the AI, or head online if you’re confident in your skills. And there’s more to come! Developer Odders is already teasing major updates, including tournaments, spectator mode, and “Chess School,” for those who only know chess via The Queen’s Gambit and want to learn the basics or dig into advanced tactics. Keep an eye out in 2022.
It’s been a big year for Beat Saber. March saw the release of Original Soundtrack 4 (or OST4), a free update that added four new high-intensity tracks to people’s libraries. That was followed by the multi-artist Interscope Mixtape in May, August’s bass-dropping Skrillex Music Pack, and September’s stacked Billie Eilish Music Pack. Oh, and did we mention there’s another surprise coming before the end of the year? With Beat Saber recently surpassing $100 million USD in gross lifetime revenue on just the Quest Platform alone, it’s clear it’s a must-have part of any Quest library.
Walkabout Mini Golf
The gimmick holes are the best part of any mini golf course, right? We all know the ol’ ball-through-a-windmill hole, but Walkabout Mini Golf isn’t constrained by courses that could be built in real life, and that’s what makes it so entertaining. Launch your ball off a cliff, or bounce it off one asteroid and into the hole on another. There’s even an entire valley of windmills, the aptly named Quixote Valley, where your ball is likely to be blown off-course by powerful gusts. And Walkabout Mini Golf keeps growing, with its recent Hanging Gardens of Babylon course the most ambitious yet.
Do you have what it takes to be the titular “one” in POPULATION: ONE? A built-for-VR battle royale, surviving POPULATION: ONE means working as a squad and using every trick at your disposal. Climb anything you can see, then leap off and use your wingsuit to fly to safety—or to fire down on an enemy squad from above. It’s fast and frenetic, and has only gotten better since launch thanks to regular updates by developer BigBox VR. The Kingdom Age update even added an entire Medieval castle and let you wield Excalibur like King Arthur himself. What will next year bring?
Quest can be fun—and it can also be an intense workout. Supernatural is a great option for those looking to formalize their Quest fitness routine. For less than $15 USD/month when you sign up annually (and with a free trial), you’ll get access to over 500 full-body workouts led by professional coaches, set in stunning destinations around the world, and with new workouts daily. Find music that resonates with you, whether that’s today’s hits, high-intensity hip-hop, late ‘90s pop punk, ‘80s hair metal, or even pretending you’re the conductor of a world-class orchestra on the surface of Mars. And with Supernatural adding a whole new Boxing section recently, you have more workout options than ever.
That’s the list! Hopefully you’ve come away with one or two gift ideas for your loved ones—or for yourself, we won’t judge. And remember, if you need even more ideas you can check out last year’s gift guide or our recent list of must-have Quest games!