When Meta announced the Quest 3, it was clear mixed reality games and apps were going to become more important. A month later, there are dozens of titles that make great use of the significantly improved passthrough camera.
I went hands-on with some of the best titles that you should check out if you own a Quest 3. Of course, the Quest Pro can also show a color, mixed reality view of your room. The Quest 2’s passthrough camera is grayscale and low-resolution, but you can still play most of the games below on this older model.
Meta includes First Encounter on every Quest 3 headset. It’s one of the few apps that won’t work on a Quest Pro and Quest 2, since it uses the Quest 3’s depth sensor to scan your room.
The floor, furniture, walls, and ceiling are identified so virtual objects can interact with your actual surroundings. It’s a short game, but it gives you a great idea of what’s possible with mixed reality. It’s surprisingly fun to see your own ceiling crumble away from invading critters.
Fuzzy aliens knock holes in your walls and bounce around crazily until you capture them with a blob gun. Within a few minutes, this introduction to Quest 3 gaming will be done, and you’ll have a silly smile on your face, ready to find another reality-bending adventure.
I Expect You To Die (free) is a popular VR franchise that is a clever variation on escape room games. You play a secret agent tasked with stopping the nefarious plans of Dr. Zor, who sets a series of deadly traps that you must disarm to survive and save the world.
In IEYTD: Home Sweet Home, Dr. Zor must have discovered your location somehow because that’s the setting for this mixed reality mini-game. It only takes a few minutes to solve a few puzzles, but as a freebie, you should give it a try.
It’s a great introduction to the series and works perfectly with the Quest 3’s color passthrough cameras. Starting out trapped inside a virtual box inside your own room is not for the claustrophobic, but the effect is well done.
Drop Dead: The Cabin ($25) is one of the most thrilling VR games, featuring a relentless zombie horde that attacks your remote cabin in increasingly difficult waves. You can’t just hunker down since the power keeps going out. You have to maintain the generator or battle in the dark.
To add to the terror, a new mixed reality mode incorporates your room’s doors and windows in the gameplay. Now, the undead are banging on your walls, splintering doors, and climbing through windows. A radio signal might help if you can keep the wobbly antenna aligned. It’s as much fantastic fun as it is nerve-wracking.
If you like ping pong but don’t have room to set up the large table required for this sport, you should check out Eleven Table Tennis ($30). It feels just like the real thing but without all the hassle of unfolding the table and chasing down errant balls. There are no broken table legs, dented balls, or sagging nets either.
Even if you’ve never played, you’ll enjoy seeing the full-size table appear in your room. Even if it wouldn’t really fit, VR can break the rules and extend a table into a wall.
You can learn how to play with hands-on tutorials, hone your skills against an AI player, or join a multiplayer game with people around the world. As a decent ping pong player, I can attest to the accuracy and fun of Eleven Table Tennis.
OpenBrush (free) is a fantastic 3D art app that’s completely free. When Google discontinued TiltBrush, as Google often does, the company open-sourced the code, a wonderful way to acknowledge the community of artists who loved this new form of expression.
OpenBrush keeps that dream alive with various tools that turn your Quest 3’s Touch Plus controllers into magical brushes that paint in the air. After laying down brushstrokes, you can move within the scene, resize everything larger to add detail, or shrink it to make grand changes with a swipe.
I recommend OpenBrush even if you don’t consider yourself creative. You might be surprised at how relaxing and inspiring it can be. Like the other apps described so far, OpenBrush supports mixed reality, so you can decorate your room with 3D paint.
For a more traditional paint and canvas art experience, Painting VR ($20) gives you the freedom to explore without the expense and mess. You can use various sizes and shapes of art tools, from standard paintbrushes to a roller and even a power drill with art attachments.
Go wild with experimentation or enjoy a meditative moment with deliberate strokes. For shy painters, you can keep your gallery within virtual reality or share it with others by exporting. Mixed reality mode lets you use anything around you for a reference. It’s a really great use of the Quest 3’s upgraded color passthrough cameras.
Working out in VR is surprisingly fun and effective since you can stay home but travel to the gym virtually. Les Mills Body Combat ($30), like most mixed reality apps and games, has a full VR mode as well as one that lets you see your surroundings.
That’s more important in an app that guides you to punch and knee-strike virtual targets. If you work out in a tight space, your furniture could be at risk, so leave plenty of space in front. More importantly, your family members and pets could enter your play space unexpectedly from the side.
With the passthrough mode active, the virtual gym and incoming targets appear directly in front, but you can clearly see to the sides. Your peripheral vision should give you enough time to react if someone approaches your strike zone.
When it’s time for work, Immersed (free) is a great virtual desktop app that lets you connect to your Windows, Mac, or Linux computer from your Quest 3. This turns your VR headset into an enormous display space that supports up to five virtual monitors.
You can work fully in mixed reality mode, positioning floating screens around your actual monitor. If you want to drop out of the world for better concentration, you can choose from a variety of virtual environments, and then create a portal to show your actual keyboard and mouse.
With the increased resolution of the Quest 3, text is sharp and easy to read. The added performance from the Quest 3’s Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 keeps everything running smoothly.
One of the greatest things about Meta’s Quest 3 is the massive library of VR games and apps. I didn’t have enough time and room to list every title that deserves acknowledgment.
Pickleball One, Demeo Battles, Samba Di Amigo, Gravity Sketch, ShapesXR, and Figmin XR all make excellent use of mixed reality. VR developers are busily adding an option to use the passthrough camera within many more games and apps.
The Quest 3’s improvements aren’t restricted to mixed reality. Many VR games received updates with better graphics, including Red Matter 2, Guardians Frontline, Into the Radius, The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners (Chapters 1 & 2), Population: One, Pistol Whip, Beat Saber, and more.
Now’s the time to shop since Meta is having a huge Black Friday sale with 40% off over a hundred titles. Meta doesn’t have any sales on the newly announced Quest 3 yet, but you can save big on a Quest 2 during the Black Friday sale.
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