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Do you want to play driving electro beats under your VR headset? Or become a VR rock star? We show you the best VR music games for the Meta Quest (2).
As a standalone VR headset, the Meta Quest 2 (review) is ideal for motion-intensive games. Without annoying cables, there is one less stumbling block in virtual reality. In our list of the best VR fitness games on the Quest (2), you can find the best titles for sweating in VR.
In the game catalog of the Quest (2), there are several VR games that primarily challenge your sense of rhythm in addition to your physical fitness and fill the virtual world with music. We show you the best VR music games currently available on the Meta Quest (2).
Beat Saber: The classic VR music game
Let’s start with the VR hit par excellence: Beat Saber sparked a craze for rhythm games with VR headsets in 2018 that continues to this day and is still one of the most successful VR games ever. In 2021, Beat Saber brought Meta almost $100M – three years after release.
The game principle should be familiar to all VR headset owners by now. You use two virtual laser swords to slash different colored blocks that fly at you to the beat of mainly electronic music.
Since 2018, numerous updates have been released, which expand the main game with additional modes like the Beat Saber multiplayer. In addition, there are paid DLCs that bring new music from well-known artists like Billie Eilish, Fall Out Boy, Skrillex, Lady Gaga or Linkin Park into the game.
Most recently, the Electronic Mixtape was released with heaps of EDM classics, including “The Rockafeller Skank” by Fatboy Slim or “Freestyler” by the Bomfunk MC’s.
Synth Riders: Dancing in retrofuturistic VR worlds
Synth Riders follows a similar path as Beat Saber but focuses more on rhythmic dance movements. Instead of cutting blocks, you touch orbs that come towards you to match the sound. Synth Riders also offers multiplayer and gameplay variations like a 360-degree mode where rhythm balls fly around your ears from all directions.
Kluge Interactive sends you into thirteen different retrofuturistic settings. Sometimes you stand on the roof of a skyscraper surrounded by neon advertising, then you fly past gigantic robotic creatures.
Most of the now over fifty playable songs include synthwave, industrial, EDM, and many other electronic subgenres. You can also access music by Muse, Lindsey Stirling, or The Offspring via partially paid DLCs.
Pistol Whip: The VR music game with a twist
Pistol Whip brings a completely new twist to the genre of VR music games. According to the developer studio Cloudhead Games, it was inspired by stylish action movies like John Wick or Equilibrium.
Like in a classic rail shooter, you are pulled through a tube-like level. You shoot at enemies and dodge their bullets. If you hit them in rhythm with the beat, you’ll get extra points.
Pistol Whip is also regularly updated with new content, but it also has a special feature among VR music games: Story DLCs. With Pistol Whip 2089, Cloudhead Games delivered a first mini-campaign with five chapters in a cyberpunk world. This was later followed by Smoke & Thunder, a western scenario. Read our detailed review of Pistol Whip to find out how good the VR game is with all its DLCs.
Dance Central: Shake a leg in the VR Club
Harmonix has been successfully merging music and video games since 1995. The company made its name with games like “Rock Band” and “Guitar Hero,” in which plastic instruments are plugged into game consoles.
In 2010, Harmonix used Microsoft’s camera-based full-body tracking module Kinect and released the dance game “Dance Central” for the Xbox 360. Several versions later, a spin-off for virtual reality followed in 2019 in collaboration with Oculus Studios.
In Dance Central, you dance various choreographies that virtual dance partners teach you on the VR dance floor. The soundtrack is very pop-heavy and mixes classics like Earth, Wind, and Fire with nineties dances from Haddaway and current hits from artists like Dua Lipa and Lady Gaga.
Smash Drums: The VR music game for real drummers
Smash Drums is the first real rocker on our list of the best VR music games for the Meta Quest 2. You take over the virtual sticks and drum in real drumming style on the bass drums, toms, snares, and cymbals flying in time.
With a bit of practice, you’ll actually get some drumming feeling. Real drummers will have to get used to it, though: You hit the bass drum with the stick instead of the foot pedal. In the total of nine virtual environments, you play your way from a prison cell to an office room to a rock show to the moon.
Smash Drums now offers almost fifty songs from different rock subgenres. You won’t find the really big names on the track list. However, the developers have promised to add songs from well-known bands soon.
Unplugged: Air Guitar – A different kind of air guitar
Really legendary names from rock and metal have made it into the air guitar simulator Unplugged: Air Guitar. Weezer, Muse, Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Zombie, Slayer and Pantera are among the performers of the playable songs.
Instead of Guitar Hero or Rockband VR, which is not available on Meta Quest 2, Unplugged: Air Guitar does not require a plastic guitar. Vertigo Games fully relies on the hand tracking of Meta Quest 2.
You strap on a virtual guitar and fix it in the VR environment in front of you at a suitable height. The body hangs on an imaginary anchor, so to speak, while you can move the guitar’s neck up and down with your left hand.
On four lines, which correspond to the four frets of the virtual guitar, the fingering instructions rush towards you. Depending on the color, you pick up one to four fingers at the right height and strum them with your right hand. You can improvise during quick solos and move your fingers quickly within a limited field.
The hand tracking works surprisingly well and the small campaign is wittily staged. Russ “Satchel” Parrish, guitarist of the glam metal band Steel Panther, leads you from the back room to the big VR stages of this world in a poster – and doesn’t leave out any rock cliché.