Virtual reality may allow you to explore fantastic worlds or real places on Earth, but you’ll usually be all alone doing it. Thankfully, there are a growing number of multiplayer experiences, either with fellow Quest 2 owners or with your friends and loved ones in the room with you. Here are some of the best multiplayer games for the Oculus Quest 2 to start your social VR experience.
Acron: Attack of the Squirrels!
Fend off your frenemies in this rare, superb local multiplayer VR game
Acron: Attack of the Squirrels! is one of the rare local multiplayer VR games. It’s a frenetically fast-paced, well-balanced if everyone knows what they’re doing, and perfect for families or parties. You, the Quest 2 wearer, are an angry tree furiously defending its acorns from invading squirrels while your friends use the free iOS or Android app to become acorn-hungry squirrels and try to get past your attacks and steal your treasures.
Acron is a tower defense game played from both the attackers’ and defenders’ perspectives. The tree player can snag and toss enemies that get too close, or throw projectiles like boulders knock out or ensnare opponents. The squirrels, meanwhile, take on different roles like the fast one, the tank with a shield, or the strategic squirrel that digs through the Earth. Since the tree is so overpowered, you’ll need to use strategy to get past them, including building past traps Fortnite-style or taunting to distract them.
You can have up to seven squirrels playing at once, but since people can’t meet in person at the moment, you can play with just a couple others and fill the gap with AI bots. The Sulky Swamp Halloween update on the Quest 2 added some bot fixes and made it possible to play against just one real squirrel opponent, so you can technically play this 1v1. People with families will probably get the most out of this genuinely fun game. —Michael Hicks
Zero gravity conditions make for the perfect VR sport
Have you ever read the novel Ender’s Game (or, God forbid, seen the movie)? Remember how zero-g combat worked? That’s Echo VR. For the time being, the Oculus Quest version only has access to Echo Arena — a free-to-play zero-gravity sports game where players must make their way from one end of the arena to the other trying to toss a disc into the goal on the other end. Like any good sports title, the opposing team is there to make sure you never score (with a well-landed punch, in some cases). Players will find themselves floating around an arena littered with floating cubes to grab, flinging themselves around and zooming towards the goal with wrist-mounted boosters.
Echo VR is built upon the same zero-gravity tech found in Lone Echo, the acclaimed Oculus Rift game that has you roaming an advanced mining facility in the rings of Saturn. The developers’ love for all things zero-gravity nailed them a special spot in Facebook’s first-party Oculus VR development studios, and that pedigree continues on in some of the most authentic gameplay you’ll experience in VR. After all, how many times are you going to get the chance to play in space? This might be your best shot.
Developer Ready at Dawn has started prepping season passes, called Echo Pass, to entice players into putting even more time into the game in order to unlock content. Each season is designed to last a few months at a time and will feature unique items to unlock that can’t be had any other way. Since this is a free-to-play title, Echo Pass offers ways for players to purchase additional content to customize their in-game avatars. Don’t worry though, this isn’t a pay-to-play thing. —Nick Sutrich
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
You’ll explode from happiness at how fun this game
You’re alone in a room with an elaborately armed bomb. Your colleagues off-site have acquired the codes used by the bomb-maker, but there’s a ticking clock and no time for them to reach you and disarm it themselves. You have no choice: you must relay the complex mechanics of the bomb to them exactly, so they can tell you how to dismantle it in time. Make too many mistakes, or take too long to find the solution, and it’s game over!
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is a local couch co-op game. It’s been around since the original Oculus Rift, and since then has ported to Android, iOS, PC, Switch, Playstation, Xbox, PSVR, and Quest. The core gameplay hasn’t changed, and you don’t need to play this in VR; all you need is the free bomb manual, and to make sure that the one disarming the bomb can’t see it from where they play. But this is a case where VR’s natural isolation works in your favor: it makes you feel trapped with no escape, making the bomb’s countdown that much more stressful.
Gameplay is fairly straightforward. Each bomb has different modules with traps that can’t be solved without the manual. One example: you see a module with five wires and tell your friends. They check the manual and ask you questions. Depending on the color and number of the wires, you’ll need to cut a specific wire. Get it wrong, and you get a strike (three strikes equals BOOM).
The Quest 2 version has enhanced graphics that make this dated game feel slightly less old. One thing we really hope the developers add is hand tracking support, but we haven’t heard of any plans to add it. Despite that, it’s still a really fun experience that’ll help get your reluctant family members or roommates to try VR. —Michael Hicks
CS:GO-style military simulator focuses on tactics and teamworks
Most shooters today turn you into a one-man army and are generally fast-paced and cartoonish. Old-school games where you rely on your squad and call out your opponents’ tactics at a more deliberate pace aren’t as popular anymore. But VR sometimes gives new life to older genres, and Onward is one of the more popular multiplayer games on the Quest 2 because it makes you feel like a soldier in real tactical situations.
Onward has single-player, co-op, and multiplayer modes, with different game types that keep things varied. In standard multiplayer, you’ll play on one of two sides, each with different weapons you’ll need to master. You actually have to hold your gun up to look through the scope, crouch down in real life to hide behind cover, or check your magazines to see how much ammo you have left. You can equip different loadouts with specific weapons or tools like colorful smoke grenades or a recon drone, and there are a decent number of maps, including night variants.
The Quest 2 version is a great way to play Onward. You can enjoy cross-play with Rift and SteamVR players, and you get to duck and move around without worrying about wires, so you have a competitive advantage. You’ll want to talk to your squad using proximity chat, so like any multiplayer game, the experience is only as exhilirating or as toxic as the people around you. I recommend starting out against bots so you don’t feel the pressure of needing to perform well for strangers. But there isn’t a campaign here: the crux of the game is multiplayer, so get this if tactical VR shooting against real opponents is what you want. —Michael Hicks
Turning battle royale on its head… literally
When Population: One first got announced in late summer 2020, I’m pretty sure I heard a collective sigh from the VR community. “Do we really need another battle royale game?” was heard across forums far and wide, but developer Big Box VR proved most everyone wrong a few months later. Not only is the game one of the single-best battle royale games on any platform, but its mechanics are so well-tailored to VR that it doesn’t make sense to play Population: One any other way.
If you’re a fan of games like Fortnite, Apex Legends, or Call of Duty: Warzone, you’ll feel immediately at home in the standard gameplay mode. Fly into a map and make sure you’re the last one standing to win. The unique setup becomes apparent immediately since it doesn’t take place on one floor. VR’s unique level of freedom is fully explored in this game because it lets you climb anywhere — and I mean anywhere — and glide off said structures by simply extending your arms like you’re wearing a wingsuit. It’s doing to the battle royale formula what Breath of the Wild did for third-person adventure games when it comes to traversal.
Big Box VR has also supported the game in a way that’s making players come back for more. Population: One Season One began a 10-week season full of new content that promises to make way for more events just like it, and plenty of reasons to play regularly. —Nick Sutrich
The most consistently popular game on the Quest 2
Facebook wants to make Oculus more social by adding Messenger, but for now, most Quest 2 owners get their social fix in VR by playing Rec Room. Over one million gamers play Rec Room in VR every month, half of them using the Quest 2. There are also plenty of non-VR users playing on PC, iOS, Xbox, or PS4, making it a great, free way to hang out with friends that aren’t into VR as much as you!
Rec Room has a ton of activities, some officially created by the devs but mostly created by fellow players. The most popular is Rec Royale, a battle royale mode that the original Quest couldn’t handle but the Quest 2 fully supports. There are also official quests where you team up with up to three other players to defeat killer robots, find pirate booty, vanquish Dracula, and other tasks, many of which are Quest 2 exclusive as well. But the player-built modes are where you’ll find knock-offs of popular games like Among Us and Fall Guys, unofficial maps from popular properties like Star Wars, or just little clubhouses where you can hang out with friends or meet new people.
If you’re tight on cash and want content that will last for hours, Rec Room is the game for you. Just keep in mind that some people’s experiences with Rec Room can be poisoned by rude trolls, so you may have more fun if you play in private sessions with people you trust. —Michael Hicks
Star Trek: Bridge Crew
Trekkies everywhere need this game in their lives
From the tender age of eight I have lived and breathed the Star Trek universe. The first time I donned a VR headset and sat in the captain’s chair in Star Trek: Bridge Crew, I knew this was a game I would be playing for years to come. This is not a game of energetic action but one that fully immerses you into the Trek universe. The main missions of Bridge Crew are set in the Kelvin Timeline and you get to captain the newest ship of the line the USS Aegis, searching for a new home for the Vulcans that survived the 2009 movie.
Bridge Crew is a co-op game in the truest sense of the word. Each of you holds a different position on the bridge, from the captain to the engineer, and has different tasks to make the ship run efficiently. Whether it’s diverting power to the warp core to give you more speed or completing evasive maneuvers against Klingons, the game has a sense of urgency to every process that makes it incredibly compelling. If you are a Next Generation fan, then the DLC is also a must have. Sitting in Picard’s chair or standing at tactical as the Borg attack you has been a defining moment for me and cemented my love for VR.
Do yourself a favour; take three of your friends and try the Kobayashi Maru level. It is as close to being in an episode of Star Trek as you will ever come. —James Bricknell