So you’ve just got a brand new Oculus Quest, congratulations! But what are the best Oculus Quest apps to sideload?
The official Quest Store is filled with plenty of excellent games and apps but there’s also an expansive library of experimental content available by sideloading.
For those unfamiliar with sideloading, it is simply a way of getting apps onto a device by circumventing their dedicated stores. It’s a very common process on Android smartphones, for example. Want to know how to do it on Quest? Be sure to follow our guide right here.
But before we start, a word of caution:
When sideloading, you need to keep in mind that you are putting content onto your device that has not been approved by Facebook and could potentially damage your device or be malicious in nature, even if it doesn’t appear so at first.
It is also important to be aware of the Oculus Content Guidelines when sideloading content, to ensure you’re not violating anything with the content you’re placing on your device. You might want to give our report on Oculus’ Content Guidelines and sideloading a read before you jump into the thick of it.
Half-Life VR (Lambda1VR)
If you own a Quest and a PC copy of Half-Life, then you owe it to yourself to try this. Yes, it is possible to play the entirety of Valve’s celebrated first-person shooter inside your Quest. That includes swinging your crowbar like you were Gordon Freeman himself. You haven’t really experienced VR until you’ve had a headcrab jump in your face.
Better yet, Lambada1VR continues to refine its existing support. In fact, it recently added support for the excellent Blue Shift expansion. This is the best place to get your Half-Life VR fix whilst we wait for an official game.
An important note, however, is that this sideloaded app is only for the engine itself, and you will need to own a copy of Half-Life from Steam and place it in the correct folder for installation alongside the engine mod.
Half-Life VR can be installed via SideQuest.
Tea For God
Unseen Diplomacy popularized the idea of infinite movement in room-scale VR with randomized rooms. But Tea For God takes that template and applies it to one of the most popular VR genres: shooters.
Though it’s a little scrappy, there’s few experiences as immersive as losing yourself in the winding corridors of this experimental FPS. It is genuinely possible to forget where you’re really standing as your sheepishly step around corners and take cover in elevators.
The Tea For God Quest APK is available to download online and can be installed via SideQuest.
Yes, you can get Virtual Desktop on the official Quest Store. But the best version of the app is only available through SideQuest. Why? Because this version lets you wirelessly stream PC VR games from your desktop to your Quest. While Oculus Link offers similar functionality, the sideloaded version of Virtual Desktop gives you the same functionality but wirelessly. We need to note that you will likely have more latency and video compression when playing PC VR content on your Quest via Virtual Desktop.
In our experience, Oculus Link is a generally smoother experience with less latency, even if it is wired. However, the level of latency and compression experienced will differ depending on a multitude of things, including what router you’re using and its position in your home relative to your computer and your Quest. There are many elements that come into play here – whether you’re using a 5GHz network (which is recommended), how many walls/structures come between your Quest and your router, whether your desktop is running on WiFi or a wired connection, and even how congested your local network/router is at any moment. It will really depend, but it is worth a shot if you want something similar to Link but without the wire.
The modified version of Virtual Desktop is available on SideQuest, but you will still need to have purchased a copy of the version on the Oculus Quest store for the sideloaded version to work.
Pavlov will soon officially release for the Oculus Quest, as ‘Pavlov Shack’, but until then you can test the latest Quest builds via sideloading. Developer Dave Villz posts links to the latest Quest builds on his Twitter account, which you can download and install through SideQuest.
The official full launch is scheduled for early this year.
Much like LambadaVR, Quake2Quest is a sideloaded app that mods the Quake 2 engine, allowing you to play it on Quest. Similar to Half-Life, you’ll also need to own a version of Quake 2 to be sideloaded alongside the modded engine.
Quake2Quest is available on SideQuest.
Hand Tracking Demos
Many developers have made small, proof-of-concept apps or games that use the new hand tracking SDK, allowing you to demo what using your hands, instead of a controller, in a VR game would be like. We have a whole separate list for these demos which you should definitely check out.
What are your favorite sideloaded apps on Quest? Are there any that we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments.
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