Working out what software to download for your Oculus Quest 2, Meta Quest Pro, Pico 4, or any one of the wide range of VR headsets out there can be tricky, but this month I have some great suggestions that you'll definitely want to try.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve got my blood pumping with the newly updated Imagine Dragons tracks in Beat Saber, fought back against the corruption threatening the world of The Light Brigade, and then relaxed while painting along with Bob Ross in Vermillion.
Here are the VR games and apps I’ve been playing in March 2023.
(Looking for more suggestions? You can also find some great software picks on our best VR games list and best Oculus Quest 2 games list)
Beat Saber: Imagine Dragons
Back during Meta Connect 2022 in October, we saw a demo for a mixed reality (MR) Beat Saber level – where a player jammed out to Imagine Dragons’ Enemy (the theme song for Netflix’s Arcane) in their living room. The demo was pretty neat but the MR wasn’t what caught my attention. Instead, it was that Enemy wasn't a playable Beat Saber song…
Months after this tease, Meta and Beat Games have finally introduced the song to the game alongside Bones via an update to the existing Imagine Dragons Music Pack. If you already own the pack then most of the update is free; however, the new tracks will cost you a small fee as an add-on.
Whether or not you buy these new tracks, you’ll see that every Imagine Dragons song has been upgraded with Beat Saber’s latest gameplay – now they feature multiple hit blocks and light trails. The tracks’ backgrounds have also been given a makeover, and these might be my favorites in the game yet. At first glance the patterns, lights and shapes that appear in time with the beat aren’t that impressive – especially compared to the stages used by Fallout Boy and Lizzo’s music packs. But what I adore about the Imagine Dragons approach is that each level uses these simple building blocks to create an experience that feels simultaneously custom to each song, while also fitting within the aesthetic of the pack as a whole.
Radioactive features a more sparse environment, with the few objects being sharp and intimidating; Enemy’s environment is filled with explosive color (and a lot of track obstacles to avoid); and Believer’s environment eventually cracks open and morphs as the track reaches the crescendo of its final chorus.
The gameplay itself is as good as ever, too, yet again convincing me that Beat Saber is a must-play VR title – and now the Imagine Dragons pack might have cemented itself as the game’s best DLC.
The Light Brigade
I couldn’t put The Light Brigade down this past month – at almost every opportunity I could, I slipped on my Meta Quest Pro and made my way into the rogue-lite's ever-changing dungeon to attempt to progress further than I had before.
In this VR shooter, you play as a member of the Light Brigade on a quest to fight back against the world’s corrupted forces. Your mission takes you through various areas filled with enemies and bosses that you must clear out in order to proceed. On your adventure, you must rely on your weapons – world war era rifles with realistic controls – and various items you pick up along the way.
If you fail, you can attempt to take on the dungeon again. However, the map layouts and enemy placements are different, meaning you never know exactly what to expect – with the exception being that, as far as I can tell, the bosses are the same every time you play.
So far I’ve unlocked three characters, with there being a few more I have yet to experience. The first that all players have access to is the Rifleman. This character is equipped with a medium to long-range bolt action rifle that you can equip with scopes to snipe baddies from a distance. Then there’s the Scout; this character has an SMG and a pistol, and while they can engage in medium-range firefights, they prefer getting up close and personal with enemies – rinsing them before they have a chance to fire back. The third is the Pistolier, this character dual-wields pistols and is the most action-movie-like option I’ve tried so far. They can reload their weapons very quickly – just by ramming them into their bags of ammo; however, they have fewer belt pouches for other items you can find.
Each of these classes shares some traits, but each also affords pretty different styles of gameplay. You’ll almost certainly find one class you really click with, or if you prefer some variety then you swap between classes after each run to ensure your next feels a little different.
The Light Brigade is engaging and adrenaline-inducing in all the right ways – and it’s a perfect display of VR's capabilities. I absolutely adored playing this game – and I’m not going to stop playing it anytime soon. The Light Brigade is a must-play title for anyone with a VR headset.
In a previous edition of this monthly roundup, I detailed my love of Painting VR. It's an app that enables your creativity to run wild in a painting studio, where your creations can be as controlled or chaotic as you desire. Vermillion is another painting app – and one of the Quest Store’s top-rated pieces of software. While it lacks some of the freedom afforded by Painting VR, I can see the reasons that more serious art enthusiasts may prefer its approach.
Vermillion’s tools are solely focused on helping you complete a single task – creating a masterpiece using paint from your palette on a canvas placed on an easel. While you lack some of Painting VR’s more chaotic elements – such as brush spinners, spray cans, and hurling paint buckets – Vermillion offers you more precise control over its tools, with a selection that offers deeper control over your creations.
There’s a wide selection of brush sizes, and even painting knives you can use to add detail to your piece. You can also manipulate the properties of the paint, making it behave more like watercolor or oil paint depending on your preferences.
One feature I particularly welcomed is the floating browser that lets you watch YouTube while you paint. You can use it to enjoy one of your favorite videos while you paint, or – my preferred method – you can follow along with Bob Ross or another artist’s painting tutorial. This experience is superb, and while I struggled to match the artistry of the professional, I found the experience super-relaxing and enjoyable.
Best of all, you can play a free demo of Vermillion to see it you like it before you buy it. Unfortunately, the demo is only 15 minutes – which is just enough time to get through the tutorial and start a Bob Ross video; but not enough to understand the app’s vibe and decide if you prefer its approach to Painting VR’s before you sink any money into buying either.
Not liking the look of anything on this list? Check out the VR games and apps I played in February 2023.