Virtual reality headsets are only as good as the experiences they offer. Lose yourself in the best action, arcade, exploration, simulation, and sports VR games for the Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift S, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR, Valve Index, and Windows Mixed Reality platforms.
- The concept of virtual reality (VR) has been around for several decades, but, until recently, even the best VR Headsets were not very accessible to consumers from either a cost or usability standpoint. Apart from a few cool demos, VR seemed like vaporware. Now, however, headsets are becoming less reliant on external hardware, and developers are creating first-party games that take full advantage of the medium. Fans of nearly every genre have excellent choices and should find at least a few games of interest in our roundup.
- Our list of VR games covers the top titles for the HTC Vive, Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift S (the successor to the Oculus Rift), PlayStation VR, Valve Index, and Windows Mixed Reality headsets. Many of these devices (and the games themselves) have gotten cheaper in the past couple of years, which makes them a more easily justifiable purchase.
- If you choose the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift S, Valve Index, or a Windows Mixed Reality headset, keep in mind that you also need a powerful gaming desktop or VR-ready laptop to push pixels to the headset displays. For the best possible experience, make sure to find systems equipped with speedy CPUs, top-of-the-line GPUs, and a sufficient number of USB ports for connecting all these peripherals. PS4 players are lucky that they don’t have to worry about specs; any PS4 or PS4 Pro will work with the PlayStation VR headset. Some VR products, such as the Oculus Quest, are mostly self-contained units, though you can connect the Quest to a PC to power more graphically intense experiences.
- The standalone Oculus Go headset is a less pricey entry into the VR fray, but we don’t specifically cover compatible experiences for that system here. Other VR and augmented reality (AR) platforms, such as Microsoft’s HoloLens and Samsung Gear VR are not included in this list either, as those headsets are intended for a different audience altogether. HoloLens, for example, has more professional and commercial applications. Nintendo Switch has also made a push for virtual reality with its recent Labo VR Kit, but that platform is also beyond the scope of this roundup. Google Daydream is sadly discontinued now.
Astro Bot Rescue Mission
- In this action platformer, you must rescue the various members of your crew who are scattered across space. The game offers 20 different main levels and 26 challenge levels, which should keep you entertained for a long time. This isn’t a simple platforming title. The game features 360-degree worlds and offers several different weapons, including throwing stars, a water gun, and a hook shot.
HTC Vive; Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift and Rift S; PlayStation VR; Windows Mixed RealityBeat Saber is a music and rhythm game with an active twist. The setup is similar to other music games, such as Audiosurf, Guitar Hero, and Rock Band, but instead of controlling a virtual ship or using fake instruments, you slash your way through a song with virtual laser swords. As the music plays, Beat Saber generates different patterns of color-coded blocks on the screen that you must hit with the correct controller (right or left) as they slide towards you. Obstacles also appear at times that require you to duck or slide away. Make no mistake, Beat Saber is not a game you can play sitting down; it’s a very active experience. If you love music and motion, Beat Saber is definitely worth exploring.
- Will you let robots take your all-important paper-stamping and document-filing job? In this game, cost-cutting robots try to terminate your employment by any means necessary. You must fight your way through an office environment to save your job (and your life) using stealth tactics or by resorting to aggressive violence. AI and automation technologies are certainly poised to take over some real-world jobs previously filled by humans, so this game’s hook is all too real.
- The life of a goat has never been easy, as you may have experienced first-hand in the one-of-a-kind Goat Simulator. Danger Goat is arguably less bizarre, but with traps, missiles, and robots standing in your way, your escape is anything but assured. Don’t be fooled by the bright and pleasant environments; danger lurks at every turn.
EVE: Valkyrie – Warzone
HTC Vive; Oculus Rift and Rift S; PlayStation VR
- EVE: Valkyrie – Warzone, a space-based dogfighting game, puts you in control of a spaceship in a series of multiplayer and single-player game modes. Multiplayer options include the Team Deathmatch, Control, Carrier Assault, Wormhole, and Extraction game modes. Fight your way through hordes of enemies and avoid collisions and damage at the helm of one of 13 ship types. Progression is flexible, so players can control how they customize their ships as they go along. One of EVE’s strong suits is its excellent visuals; ships feature remarkable detail, and laser projectiles light up magnificently against the backdrop of deep space.