Why Facebook rejected this game, in which robotic cheetahs with jets in their paws soar through beautiful, geometric sandboxes full of obstacles, challenging puzzles, and hidden treasures, we’ll never understand. Climb, skate, fly, and fall through 35 maps, with Mirror’s Edge-esque time trials encouraging you to improve your movement mechanics and find new, faster paths through levels.
The best SideQuest games for Oculus Quest can’t pass Facebook’s rigorous criteria to get on the official store, but don’t let that stop you from booting them up! SideQuest’s app features some truly fun VR titles from indie game devs that had their games rejected, as well as proof-of-concept demos for hand-tracking tech and VR mods of classic games like Half-Life. Here are our favorite games and apps available via sideloading, along with information on what apps and files you’ll need to make them work.
The stripped-down port of this acclaimed Counter-Strike clone offers some of the best shooting mechanics and tense multiplayer you can find on the Quest. Free until the official Quest release launches in 2020, it offers multiple modes that let you team up with friends to capture objectives and kill zombies or kill friends and strangers alike in Deathmatch. It’s the most popular SideQuest app, so you’ll never wait long to dive into some violent PvP.
You can use Oculus Link to access the Bedrock VR edition, but for true wireless play, you must sideload the mobile Gear VR edition. This difficult process involves recreating the GearVR environment on your Quest via NoxPlayer, purchasing the Gear VR edition on Oculus Store, extracting the Minecraft APK via Packet Capture, and uploading the APK to SideQuest. Once done, however, Minecraft is a joy to play on the Quest, supporting strong frames per second and six degrees of freedom (6DoF) (though you’ll need an Xbox controller).
Your favorite trigger-happy, quarter-guzzling arcade game is transported to your living room with this difficult SWAT shooter, available on SideQuest. In solo or co-op with a friend, you’ll take on groups of terrorists on various maps. Be careful when you stand up from cover as barrages of bullets fly, but also be careful not to blind fire and hit hostages instead! This is a challenging, replayable title that drives you to improve your reflexes and strategy, making it one of the best SideQuest games for the Quest.
Half-Life: Alyx will never come to Quest (officially), so enjoy the next best thing and dive into Gordon Freeman’s HEV Suit in this VR mod of Half-Life 1. Purchase the original game and install the mod via SideQuest, and you’ll be crowbarring headcrabs, shooting enemies and dodging attacks using 6DoF support. Fair warning: running around in old VR worlds can cause serious nausea if you don’t have strong VR legs.
Another free mod of a classic 90s shooter, this SideQuest app brings the single-player campaign to Quest, complete with 6DoF support, HD weapons and textures, and the original OST — although no multiplayer, unfortunately. A Quake 1 mod is also available for free, but we’ve picked the sequel as it offers many gameplay improvements over the original. You truly feel like you’ve been warped into id Software’s world, but dive in sparingly, as moving about too much can trigger nausea.
Not a game in itself, this Oculus Store app uses WiFi to connect your Quest (or Go) directly to your computer. The SideQuest mod takes the app and enables you to stream SteamVR games to your headset, including titles that your Quest hardware would not normally be able to support—thus removing the need for a wired connection. You’ll need a PC that can normally support VR, and likely a wired PC-router connection to stream your games with low latency, but with the right setup you’ll drastically improve your access to games, with no need to download APKs.
Using Oculus’ Guardian system for mapping your living room, this prototype game procedurally generates a never-ending maze for you to explore. The non-Euclidian (physically impossible) maze goes on forever until you fail to shoot your robotic enemies. Few sideloaded titles incorporate roomscale VR so well, and it incorporates hand-tracking tech to shoot finger-guns at enemies and interact with your environment.
Guide the human race towards prosperity and destroy heretics supporting other gods in this early-access Steam title. You place tiles of land and cast spells to shape the growth of society indirectly, but you must occasionally use your omnipotent power to deal with troublemakers and keep humans on the right path with miracles. The one-person dev team continues to add intriguing new features for a target 2020 release, such as modern and futuristic societies, warring kingdoms, and even UFO invasions.
Built to take full advantage of the Quest’s 2020 update with hand tracking controls, Hand Physics Lab is not so much a game as a collection of activities. You’ll use your hands to manipulate objects, finger paint, build or smash things, type on a keyboard, and so on. It lacks replay value but shows what the Quest is capable of, and the kind of gameplay designs that future Quest releases may incorporate instead of Touch controls.
A team of neuroscientists and psychologists built this app, which contains a series of experiences and games designed to evoke particular emotions: “Calm, Energy, Pain Relief, and Awe”. You’re asked about your emotions before and after each experience, which the designers will use to help conceptualize future activities and their effects on players. Some free, relaxing VR therapy is exactly what the doctor ordered for Quest owners stuck at home.
3D model scans of real-world places like the Tatev Monastery in Armenia are split into pieces that you must reassemble into their original appearance! Reconstructing just one building will take you multiple play sessions, but the app autosaves your progress and you can choose to play seated or roomscale based on your preferences. It plays immersive spatial audio recorded at the location you’re working on, which adds to the ambiance. Currently, this prototype app only has the one puzzle to work on, but Patreon subscribers get access to new test puzzles every week.
Explore The Stack, a procedurally generated, cyberpunk dungeon full of random environments and enemies as a fighter, mage, or thief. Between battles, the top-down god mode perspective lets you manipulate the environment with touch controls or ride around on a hoverboard. Once in battle, you switch to first-person and must dodge attacks using 6DoF-tracked movement. You’ll enjoy gathering loot and get a decent workout dodging and defeating foes.
Directly inspired by the popular anime series Attack on Titan, this unauthorized fangame puts you in the omnidirectional mobility gear from the show and has you kill as many titans as possible. Low-res graphics and dubious legality aside, controls are easy to pick up, movement triggers less motion sickness than you might expect, and the developer is regularly adding updates to make gameplay more challenging and flight more dynamic.
Build race tracks and upload them so people can compete on your course, or download user-created levels and compete against online leaderboards or other players’ ghosts. You can race in top-down mode, like you’re controlling your own mini model car, or sit in the cockpit and cruise off of ramps and into loops and half-pipes. With new content regularly added, you’ll find new features and racetracks to enjoy in the months to come.
(Side)load up on games
Before booting up the best SideQuest games for your Quest, you’ll need to enable sideloaded apps on your headset by following our step-by-step guide. From that point, SideQuest makes playing unofficial titles straightforward. Especially following the recent SideQuest updates, which allows it to run natively with Oculus Link and launch PC versions of SideQuest VR apps. The update also overhauled the UI and sorting options, making it simpler to find trending or genre apps based on your tastes, if our picks don’t match yours.
The main benefit of sideloading is to test out games that were once PCVR-only that benefit from Quest’s wireless setup. To the Top lets you whip your head around faster to dodge mid-air obstacles and reach your targets, adding immersion as you soar through levels. Similarly, Pavlov: Shack may not match up graphically with its PC counterpart, but the lack of wires makes turning corners hunting for foes more natural.
SideQuest is also a great place to try out Quest’s new hand tracking tech because of the number of games supporting it in the official library is surprisingly limited. Most of the best hand-tracking games for Quest can be found on SideQuest instead, often for free. Tea for God incorporates it naturally into its gameplay, while Hand Physics Simulator focuses on putting the tech through its paces.
Best of all, the lack of Facebook curation allows you to try early-access titles that aren’t ready for an official release or add unofficial mods to legally purchased content. For instance, you can add unlicensed songs to Beat Saber, or try sideloading the GearVR version of Minecraft or Half-Life Alyx. As a fan of old shooters, I was particularly blown away by the VR mods for Half-Life 1 and Quake 2.
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