12 immersive ways to keep your family entertained and fit while at home.
With the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we are all adjusting to a new normal. For many parents and guardians this means learning to work from home while simultaneously keeping their families safe, happy, and healthy under quarantine.
According to the ILO, “Americans work 137 more hours per year than Japanese workers, 260 more hours per year than British workers, and 499 more hours per year than French workers.” Optimistically, the quarantine has meant that most families around the world are able to spend some additional quality time together, perhaps the most they’ve ever have.
With all of this family togetherness going down, it comes as no surprise that parents are looking for more ways to keep their families engaged and entertained from within the home.
For families who have nearly exhausted every possibility of Jenga, Simon, Risk, Monopoly, and Uno, VR is a great way to transform family together time while under lockdown.
Below is a selection of VR experiences rated “Everyone” or “Everyone 10+” perfect for keeping grandparents, parents, and the kids entertained with action-packed arcade-like experiences, multiplayer party games, and adrenaline-powered fitness apps.
VR Gaming Fun for Everyone
For those of you who miss visiting arcades or Wii-like experiences from yesteryear, rejoice! Fruit Ninja, Sports Scramble, Bait! and Baby Hands will get families playing games or sports they know and love in zany new ways – no tokens or sports gear required.
Fruit Ninja by Halfbrick Studios
A modern VR take on the original mobile classic, Fruit Ninja VR takes the fruit-slashing madness to a whole new level. Players can transform their ninja world by competing in four different modes:. Classic, Arcade, Zen, and the new “Survival” mode, which tasks the player with surviving an onslaught of fresh produce being flung directly at them.
Available on Oculus Store for Rift, PlayStation Store, Steam, and Viveport.
Sports Scramble takes your favorite sports and mixes them together to create a series of hybrid sports experiences. Play a tennis match with a golf club. Bowl a strike with a basketball. Hit a grand slam with a hockey stick. Each of the three main sports: Tennis, Bowling, and Baseball has its own single-player training, quickplay, and challenge modes. Play with your family at home or mix it up against other players online.
Available on Oculus Store for Quest, and Oculus Store for Rift.
From the creative mind of Tommy Palm, the mastermind behind Candy Crush, Bait! has you catching rare fish in an effort to save the struggling aquarium where you work. The game play is explorative and relaxing, an ideal combination for those new to VR gaming. Players can catch a variety of fish and meet a number of locals across four different lakes each with their own unique terrain and challenges
Available on Oculus Store for Quest, and Oculus Store for Gear VR.
Baby Hands is a hilarious family friendly VR baby simulator loaded with multiple mini-games to play, achievements to unlock, puzzles to solve, and fun Easter eggs to uncover. Experience a Rugrats-like world through the eyes, ears, and chubby little hands of one mischevous little baby. Crawl your way through a retro sandbox experience filled with imagination and fun.
Available on Oculus Store for Rift, Steam, and Viveport.
Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs by Resolution Games
For over 10 years Angry Birds has delighted audiences with all sortf of family friendly content, including games, film, and TV. Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs brings the classic Angry Birds experience to VR, putting players directly behind the slingshot for the first time. There’s even a level builder, allowing players to craft their own challenges and share them with other players. Explore the remote island where the greedy green pigs take their vacation in 75+ fun-filled levels. Tough boss pigs, balloons, boulders, and fans make each level a challenging puzzle in its own right.
Available on Oculus Store for Quest, Oculus Store for Oculus Go, Oculus Store for Rift, PlayStation Store Steam, and Viveport.
VR Multiplayer Madness
When play dates and family visits just aren’t an option, multiplayer games and social experiences can be a fun way for families to play together. If you have a stable internet connection, you can even challenge friends or strangers online.
Acron: Attack of the Squirrels! by Resolution Games
Acron: Attack Of The Squirrels! is an asymmetrical cross-platform VR party game in which one player in VR plays the role of an ancient tree tasked with protecting the coveted golden acorns from a team of two to eight super powered squirrels controlled via iOS and Android devices to become rebel squirrels scheming to steal the golden acorns using an arsenal of unique super powers. The best part of Acron: Attack of the Squirrels! is that the full family can play together with a single VR headset. Players can play in the same room together or with friends remotely.
Rating: Everyone 10+
Available on Oculus Store for Quest, Oculus Store for Rift, and Steam. Companion apps are free, available on the App Store and Google Play.
The Angry Birds Movie 2: Under Pressure by XR Games
Don’t let the ridiculous name fool you, this four player couch coop game offers a surprisingly robust asymmetrical VR experience. Here’s how it works: one player in VR guides a piggy submarine through dangerous waters by destroying any obstructions blocking its path while simultaneously collecting any treasure they may come across. Meanwhile, three players on controllers must keep the ship and its systems operational by redistributing resources and fixing any damage sustained on the journey.
Available on PlayStation VR.
Puppet Fever by Coastal Byte Games and Coffee Stain Publishing
Puppet Fever is a social VR party game where the players take turns acting out secret words using puppets in a virtual puppet theater. It’s a mashup of Pictionary, charades, and puppeteering where voice acting is not only encouraged, but essential.
Rating: Everyone 10+
Available on Oculus Store for Quest, Oculus Store for Go, Steam, and Viveport.
VR Family Fitness Gaming
The gyms might be closed and P.E. classes might be canceled, but VR is open 24/7. Games like Beat Saber, Racket: Nx, and BoxVR are guaranteed to get your family up and moving.
Considered by many to be the ultimate VR rhythm game, Beat Saber tasks players with slashing their way through waves of colored blocks to the beat of a thumping electronic soundtrack. The Jedi-like training experience is packed with tons of addictive tracks and modes to mix up your session, such as 360 and 90-degree levels.
Available on Oculus for Quest Store, Oculus Store for Rift, PlayStation Store, and Steam.
Best described as racquetball meets Breakout inside a giant pinball machine, Racket: Nx is a fantastic way to keep your body active while under lock down. Set inside an enormous dome-like structure, players must use their futuristic racket to destroy a series of colorful targets before their energy runs out. You can even play against friends and compete against strangers in the online league.
Available on Oculus Store for Quest, Steam and Viveport
BoxVR is an award-winning VR fitness game choreographed by professional fitness instructors. The game revolves around boxing-style workouts in which you jab, weave, and uppercut in time to pumping music. You can even upload you and your families favorite music for a more personalized workout routine.
Available on Oculus Store for Quest, Oculus Store for Rift, PlayStation Store, Steam, and Viveport.
VR from the Comfort of Your Own Phone
With most retailers completely out-of-stock on VR headsets, now is the perfect time to revisit the glory days of mobile VR. There are several affordable and accessible options available at the moment, such as Google Cardboard and a plethora of DIY VR kits options available online that kids and their parents build and decorate together.
In terms of apps and games, the MERGE Miniverse provides a curated library of kid-friendly VR conten. Google Cardboard apps and the App Store also feature a number of family-friendly mobile options to choose from.
A bonus for Nintendo Switch players, Nintendo Labo VR provides its own VR solution for the portable home console.
Image Credit: Sony PlayStation