Beat Saber, the intense VR rhythm game that has you slashing in time with dual lightsabers at incoming blocks, has so far seen overwhelmingly positive feedback since its release on May 1. The original music is catchy and well produced, the graphics are flashy and well suited for the gameplay, and the actual content is about as addictive as I've seen from a VR game. If you've already played through Beat Saber to the point that you're ready for something similar yet a bit different, I put together this list of games you'll likely enjoy.
Officially available for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift (and it also seems to work fine with Windows Mixed Reality (WMR)), Thumper (about $20) is another rhythm game with a twist. Instead of playing as a human with two lightsabers, here you're a space beetle that likes to go fast. Seriously, it's hard not to feel like you're going about a billion miles per hour as you hurtle down a neon track with original music pumping in your ears.
Much like Beat Saber, Audioshield (about $20) sets you in the middle of the incoming action. Instead of lightsabers, here you have two shields, one red and one blue, that you must use separately or together to block incoming streaks of light. It's all synced up to the music you choose, including some original tracks plus any from your own personal library. If you like the idea of getting a workout in VR, Audioshield should do the trick. It's available for WMR, HTC Vive, and Oculus Rift.
If you've played Rez in the past, whether on Sega Dreamcast or PlayStation 2, you can probably already imagine what it's like in VR. For the rest of us, imagine a rail-shooter (there's also now a free-movement area with new enemies) that has you controlling a digital avatar who's on a mission to restart an AI named Eden. You get fast action, pumping electronic tunes, and big boss battles that ramp up the difficulty as you progress. Rez Infinite (about $25) (opens in new tab) is probably the furthest you'll get from Beat Saber while still retaining a similar sense of style, and it's officially available for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. There is no official WMR support, but it seems to run fine through SteamVR integration.
See at Green Man Gaming (opens in new tab)
Rock Band VR
Officially available for Oculus Rift, Rock Band VR (about $40) (opens in new tab) lets you impersonate a rockstar without leaving your VR space. It's more like Guitar Hero than the original Rock Band series due to there not being any instruments other than a six-string, but that doesn't mean it isn't a whole lot of fun. The rest of your band mates are now virtual avatars, and instead of a random backdrop behind a scrolling page of notes, you get to actually stand on stage in front of a crowd. With plastic guitar in hand and Oculus Touch attached, you play individual songs or play through the story mode that sees you go from opener to rock God
See at Oculus (opens in new tab)
Classified as a workout game (and rightly so) for WMR, HTC Vive, and Oculus Rift, BOXVR (about $20) is focused on teaching you how to throw a number of punches in time with some awesome music. Choose a backdrop, put on your boxing gloves … er, motion controllers … and see how you fare against incoming targets. You get more points the better the streak you get going, and you watch in real time as the number of calories burned climbs. Best part? You can create playlists with your own music and save them in-game to avoid new rhythm detection each time you play.
Unlike other rhythm games where the beats are generated automatically, Soundboxing (about $8) is all about a custom experience. You search YouTube for any video you want and from there it's up to you to create the beats. Once you've run through once and have set up a satisfactory challenge, you can then play it over again to your heart's content, boxing at the beats that fly your way. The ability to share your creations with other players and challenge them to beat your score works both ways, so there's a ton of challenging content available. Soundboxing is officially available for HTC Vive and Oculus, but it also seems to work fine with WMR thanks to SteamVR integration.
- Best Windows Mixed Reality games in 2018
- Best SteamVR games for Windows Mixed Reality in 2018
Cale Hunt is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.
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