We’re well and truly into spooky season, so to get in the mood, I’ve been playing some Halloween-tastic VR titles that I’m happy to share my thoughts on.
The Oculus Quest 2 and Pico 4 are home to some of the best VR horror games, but there are a few hiccups; So, to help you choose the full-size treats from the sugar-free tricks, I’ve listed a few games and apps that I’ve enjoyed playing and using.
If you’re not a horror fan, don’t despair – scroll down this page to see some skip-free apps that I also tried this month. Spoiler alert: they are both amazing software.
The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners
Whether you like the franchise or not, if you’re a fan of intense survival horror games with a narrative filled with moral dilemmas, then The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners is a must-watch this Halloween.
You play as The Tourist, a legendary figure among survivors, as you’re somehow immune to the virus that turns people into mindless undead monsters. You’ve traveled to New Orleans to discover a huge stash of government supplies known as the Stockpile, though its whereabouts (and even if it’s real or not) are shrouded in mystery.
To uncover the secrets of the reserve, you’ll need to ally with the various factions in town, but for every friend you gain, you’ll also make a few enemies. Saints and Sinners, much like The Walking Dead Telltale game, gives you choices that will shape how the adventure unfolds. However, unlike other titles, it gives you a lot more freedom to decide how you want to navigate the world. These choices also extend beyond in-game dialogue; every second of your explorations leads you to make real-time decisions about how you want to proceed.
But there’s more to this game than just standing and talking. When you hit the streets of New Orleans, you’ll need to manage your resources carefully. While landing well-aimed strikes against the ravenous demons that roam the streets can help your weapons and ammo last longer, your tools will eventually break and you’ll need to find or craft replacements. It’s not just your supplies; your health and stamina can also deplete, making you easy prey for the next horde that stumbles your way.
This incredibly immersive style of horror game can feel pretty intense – even though the game’s comfort settings kept me from feeling nauseous, I had to take several breaks to keep my heart from beating in my chest – but If you can muster up the courage to face the monsters in front of you, you will find this to be one of the best virtual reality horror games.
You can download The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners from the Quest Store (opens in a new tab) for $40 / £30 / AU$50, while its sequel, The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners 2 Retribution, launches December 2.
After the fall
If you don’t want to tackle the terrors of the night alone, you might prefer the Left 4 style multiplayer VR title Dead After the Fall.
This game shares many similarities with The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners; you are one of a dwindling number of survivors in a post-apocalyptic wasteland filled with hordes of undead demons who aren’t called zombies – instead, they’re called Snowies. But After the Fall trades Saints and Sinners’ narrative strengths and some of its variety for the ability to play with up to three other players.
I played After the Fall on the Pico 4 while testing the headset for review, so I can’t speak for the Oculus Quest 2 version, which seems to have received a few more updates over the version I’m looking at I’ve played, but generally I agree with others that After the Fall isn’t the most exciting VR game out there. Case in point – although it has a variety of enemies, the only real difference between most of them is how many bullets they can mop up, which makes combat a bit repetitive.
That said, the game still has a lot going for it: the gunplay is great, and the ability to play with your friends adds a level of fun that single-player VR experiences can lack.
If you want to participate with your friends, you can buy After the Fall for $40 / £30 / AU$50 (opens in a new tab).
Drop Dead: The Hut
Last but not least is Drop Dead: The Cabin, a game that won’t actually be released until early 2023, when it comes to Oculus Quest 2, Meta Quest Pro, and Pico 4.
The latest game from developers Soul Assembly (Warhammer 40,000: Battle Sister, Drop Dead: Dual Strike Edition) lets you and a friend use every gun, bat and frying pan you can find to battle an endless horde of undead. As you explore the cabin and its wider area, you can find new tools to help you survive and keep the cabin lights on until you can escape from the nightmare.
The world of The Cabin is an interesting blend of Stranger Things with classic cabin-in-the-woods horror and a VR take on Call of Duty’s zombie mode. The end product is an action horror title that will get your adrenaline pumping.
One of my favorite aspects of the game is that you play it using your Meta (or Pico) avatar. It makes it feel like it’s you and your buddy trying to survive, not faceless characters you don’t know and care about.
I also enjoyed the intensity of the game mode – when the zombies start coming for you, it really feels like they’re really out for blood. If you and your partner don’t work together and manage your resources carefully, you’ll likely succumb to the horde of zombies, like I did in both of my games (insert a joke here about the reporters at video games cannot play games).
My death unfortunately meant that I couldn’t experience everything the game had to offer in the time I had. The game developers explained that if I could have survived longer, I could have unlocked new areas to explore – map expansions as large as the central cabin area – which provide players with rewards and challenges. if they choose to venture into a . Three of these bonus areas are planned for launch, with one randomly available per game.
Drop Dead: The Cabin was a lot of fun, and I’m already counting down the days until it launches, and I can make amends for the admittedly poor performance I put up. If you want to try it out before launch, you can check the game’s Discord for beta membership details. (opens in a new tab).
Not so scary VR apps
Don’t worry if you’re not a fan of horror games, because I’m bringing you VR experiences that won’t require you to fight zombies or explore a haunted house…
Prior to its reveal, I had the chance to try out the Meta Quest Pro and several of the experiences that would be enhanced by its mixed reality capabilities. One of those apps was Wooorld, and its immersive GeoGuessr-like minigame might be one of my favorite new VR experiences.
Wooorld lets you and your friends’ VR avatars explore 3D recreations of the real world while wearing a Meta Quest Pro or Oculus Quest 2 headset. As giants, you can tower over skyscrapers and draw images in the air to exercise your creativity or to highlight areas you want to explore. You can then descend to the human level and virtually visit sites through the many billions of 360 degree images that Wooorld has access to. You and your fellow travelers can even take a few selfies while you’re there with the game’s camera tool.
But for me, the best aspect of the game is definitely its Where in the Wooorld mode, which is basically VR GeoGuessr. Much like that game, Wooorld randomly drops you into a Google Street View image of somewhere in the world, and using only the information you find while exploring, you have to guess where you are. I love GeoGuessr (partly because in school it was one of the few games we could play on computers, as it felt like something educational), and the chance to feel present in these spaces, rather than looking at images on a computer screen, was a blast.
Wooorld will be launched on October 25 (opens in a new tab) – and I know I’ll be ready to download it right away.
At the same event where I tested Wooorld, I also got to play Painting VR. Much like Walkabout Mini Golf, the app’s premise is super simple – it’s just paint job – but its execution is superb.
In Painting VR you have a virtual canvas and a multitude of different paints and brushes with which to create a masterpiece. Whether you prefer a messy approach, where you toss paint cans, flick smeared brushes, and move the resulting mess through the space with your hands (like me), or a more delicate touch, where you carefully add detail with pencil-thin brushes, VR Paint has something for you.
And if you don’t want to start from scratch, you can import well-known masterpieces – like Mona Lisa and Starry Night – as a starting point for your creativity.
There are also paint-by-number canvases that effectively provide you with a virtual coloring book. Using the settings, I was able to remove one of these canvases from the easel, lock it in place on the floor, grab a brush and some paints, and sit next to it for one of the most relaxing experiences I’ve ever had. I had in VR – all that was missing were some lo-fi background tunes.
VR Painting is available today from the Quest store for $20 / £15 / AU$27.32.
- Looking for something different to play? Here are the best VR games available