The end of 2023 is almost upon us, but I have just enough time to share with you my four favorite Meta Quest 3 games and apps from December 2023. I’ve had an absolute blast with everything I’ve tried – I’d go as far as to say this month might have been VR’s best in years offering some tremendous experiences for your Meta Quest 3 VR headset.
This December I’ve taken mixed reality piano lessons in PianoVision, explored a Meow Wolf virtual art experience in Walkabout Mini Golf, touched a lot of buttons I wasn’t supposed to in Please, Don’t Touch Anything: House Broken, and even became a god in the incredible Asgard’s Wrath 2.
If you’re looking for more recommendations check out my favorite Quest 3 games and apps of November 2023 which included Ghostbusters VR and Out of Scale: A Kurzgesagt Adventure. Or you could pick up one of the games and apps on sale in the 2023 Meta Quest Holiday Sale.
Walkabout Mini Golf – Meow Wolf DLC
I always want to talk about Walkabout Mini Golf, and this month that’s doubly true with the arrival of the VR game’s new course which Mighty Coconut has created alongside Meow Wolf – the incredibly talented arts production company that specializes in immersive real-world art experiences.
I’ve been eager to visit a Meow Wolf installation since watching Rooster Teeth’s The Weird Place collaboration back in 2019 – in which the Achievement Hunter crew explored The House of Eternal Return. Unfortunately, I live in the UK and all of Meow Wolf’s permanent exhibits are in the US so I’ve not yet been able to check one out – though if I ever get to go to CES which is usually held in Las Vegas each year I’ll make some time to visit Omega Mart.
Well, I should say all of its exhibits were only in the US; now one exists in VR and I’ve been able to visit it in the comfort of my own home across the pond. The mini golf course / VR art installation not only lived up to my expectations but blew them out of the water.
Despite loving this course I don’t want to say too much more about it; just know that this is probably tied with Upside Town as my favorite ever Walkabout course, and it might even take the number one spot.
Every time I think I finally have a grasp of what’s happening in this delightfully weird wonderland it finds a way to get stranger, and frankly, I think it’s best experienced first-hand without me spoiling the surprises. If you own Walkabout Mini Golf (which should be everyone with a VR headset) then please pick up this DLC expansion course – it’s more than worth the very affordable price of entry.
Plus this month Walkabout has received a Meta Quest 3 update that improves the VR game’s resolution by 13%, and the game now runs at 90FPS instead of just 80 on the Quest 2.
Asgard’s Wrath 2
Ahead of its December 15 launch, I had the chance to try out Asgard’s Wrath 2 and it’s a marvel of VR gaming – an absolute must-play Meta Quest 3 title.
I’m not saying that because the game is free to everyone who bought a new Quest 3 between its launch and January 27, 2024 – though that helps – but because this title is truly a AAA experience in VR.
The shining gem among a lot of other treasures that await you on this Egyptian adventure is the combat. Fights will feel a little chaotic at first but as you develop your skills – both your virtual character’s skill tree and your reflexes – brawls will become dances of parrying, counterattacking, dodging, and exploiting weakness and environmental hazards.
What I particularly love is that the enemies have smarts. As Abraxis – the first of four champions you play as, each with unique weapons and abilities – you can get some easy hits in from afar with a well-timed throwing axe, but rely on this weapon too much and your foes will learn to dodge, block, and eventually catch and throw your axe back at you. The same is true for your other techniques. You can’t just spam, you have to rely on your whole arsenal and fight properly.
The puzzles are also fun to solve; often requiring you to use a mixture of your champion’s skills as well as your godly status to manipulate the world. So far I’ve not found them to be particularly challenging – but I’ve yet to explore every nook and cranny in the game so maybe some harder puzzles are awaiting me,
I’d advise going in with some tempered expectations of the open-world nature of this title though. It’s not open-world in the same way as Skyrim or Tears of the Kingdom where you can go practically anywhere. Instead, I’d compare it to God of War (2018) – there’s a very clear path to the next objective but also plenty of optional side routes and goodies to discover along the way that take you off the main trail.
That said I’d much rather have Asgard Wrath 2’s version of open-world – one brimming with bonus challenges to find – than have a larger map that feels emptier.
If Asgard’s Warth 2 sounds like a blast but you’re put off the idea of jumping in with a sequel then don’t worry. There’s an opening cinematic that succinctly explains all of the key details from the first game – and while there’s the odd easter egg or reference you might miss you won’t ever feel lost because you’ve started with Asgard’s Wrath 2.
Inspired by The Instrument Meta Quest 3 trailer – which shows a person learning to play the piano using a virtual keyboard – I decided to pick up PianoVision this month to see if it can help me sharpen the music skills I haven’t flexed since I was at school.
This Quest 3 mixed reality app projects a virtual keyboard in front of you that you can play using hand tracking. You can then either jam freestyle if you’re already a piano virtuoso, or you can load up a tune you’re trying to learn. If you do, notes will fly toward the keys Guitar Hero style so you know which ones to press.
While the app encourages you to play at full tempo you can take as long as you need with each note, and even practice tracks one hand at a time if you’re struggling to play two-handed. Plus, if you’d rather learn your own choice of tunes rather than the ones included by default with the MR app, it’s super easy to add your own. You just need a MIDI file and the free PianoVision desktop app. The only difficult part is finding compatible MIDIs. The app recommends Musescore for this – which is a great source – but it’s not free to download tracks once your seven-day trial is over so it will add to the cost of learning to play.
What’s more, the completely virtual experience isn’t always quite as magical as the trailer might have you believe.
The Meta Quest 3’s hand tracking is very good, but at times it struggled to tell exactly where my fingers were – registering presses I didn’t think I was making, and not counting others that I thought we obvious. For slower basic songs it was fine, but as you graduate to faster tracks with more complex fingering the app recommends using a Midi keyboard and I can see why – while I haven’t used a real keyboard myself, I’ve seen reviews online from people saying it makes playing a lot less awkward, and apparently it’s not difficult to set one up with the Quest 3 headset.
Despite some of my issues I loved using PianoVision, it did feel like it was helping me get back into the groove of playing piano despite not having seriously given it a go in over a decade. And while getting a keyboard is something I’m seriously considering, you don’t need to buy one right away. I’d recommend trying PianoVision first – if you like it and want to progress beyond the first couple of levels then pick up a real keyboard.
Please, Don’t Touch Anything: House Broken
When I reviewed the Meta Quest 3 I was impressed by the quality of its mixed reality, and was excited to see what experiences would put it to good use. Please, Don’t Touch Anything: House Broken is one of those MR experiences I’ve been waiting for. It brings the escape-room-esque experience of the Please, Don’t Touch Anything series into your own home, and it’s a definite pick-up for puzzle fans.
Just like the games that’ve come before – including the 3D version which has previously been ported to VR – Please, Don’t Touch Anything: House Broken has you going against its title’s instructions to complete various escape room-like puzzles to find a wide variety of endings that result from your actions. Some are easy to find while others can be devilishly tricky to solve.
Best of all, the puzzles in House Broken are (mostly) entirely new. A few classic endings have been adapted from the original game, but unlike the 3D remake of the 2D title House Broken feels a lot more different than similar to what’s come before – while still holding onto that Please, Don’t Touch Anything charm.
If you don’t have a Quest 3 and aren’t a fan of mixed reality you can also experience the game in VR, but having tried both it’s definitely more enjoyable in MR. It just hits different when you see cracks appear in your actual floor, or glowing handprints covering your real-world walls.
Please, Don’t Touch Anything: House Broken is just the beginning of mixed reality on the Meta Quest 3, but it’s an excellent place to start.
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Hamish is a Senior Staff Writer for TechRadar and you’ll see his name appearing on articles across nearly every topic on the site from smart home deals to speaker reviews to graphics card news and everything in between. He uses his broad range of knowledge to help explain the latest gadgets and if they’re a must-buy or a fad fueled by hype. Though his specialty is writing about everything going on in the world of virtual reality and augmented reality.