Whenever I want to show VR to friends who’ve never tried it before (which is one of the great pleasures of owning a headset), Beat Saber is the game I fire up first. Few other games so quickly and effectively get across the appeal of this technology as it does, throwing a stream of color-coded boxes at your face and turning your controllers into a pair of mismatched, off-brand lightsabers with which to slice and dice them in time to pumping electronic beats. Honing your skills to turn frantic flailing into precision swings is as satisfying as it is sweaty.
As VR games go, Beat Saber doesn’t push the limits of the technology too far. You play it standing still and facing straight ahead with nothing going on behind you, so you don’t need a room-scale setup – even the PlayStation VR’s basic single-camera tracking can handle it fine. The shiny neon-rave graphics are simple but clear and easily readable, so it looks nearly as good on the Oculus Quest as it does on a Vive Pro (with just a few effects turned down). These unlicensed lightsabers don’t make the signature whizzing sounds of Star Wars, which I can’t help but feel a tad disappointed by, but the sound they do make meshes well with the music they’re timed to, and that creates the feeling of being a participant in the song.