Video games as a whole already offer a more immersive way of experiencing modern media. But virtual reality is what makes it seem real. Button presses and analog sticks aren’t the same as seeing a sword in your own hand that moves as you move. The action is exciting, the worlds are huge, and the most mundane horror stories become heart.
Virtual reality allows us to experience gaming to the fullest. So why not experience the best there is? Maybe you’re new to the platform or a veteran looking to figure out what you might be missing. From the HTC Vive to Meta Quest 2, these are the best VR games of all time.
10 The Living Dead: Saints and Sinners
The Walking Dead has seen many different media formats, from HBO live-action shows to narrative, decision-based video games. Why not VR too? You play as a hapless tourist in the now zombie-infested swamps of New Orleans. Sneak past walkers, collect food and water, and craft new weapons and equipment as you progress through the dead world in hopes of survival.
What Saints & Sinners really sets is the ‘pacing’. The way things flow achieves a perfect flow, from the progression of the narrative to how best to fight the zombies. Everything feels natural and fair, striking the right balance to really immerse you in the experience. It’s a level of consideration for the VR format that you don’t always see in a game.
9 Walkabout mini golf
There is beauty in simplicity, two things that Walkabout Mini Golf has in spades. Go through a selection of low polygon themed mini golf courses to score a lower value. Through space, past pirate treasure, and even onto Myst Island via one of their various reference DLC add-ons. When you’re not placing balls, you can search for hidden ball patterns or uncover secrets to unlock new balls.
There’s a certain level of clever game design going on here that improves the overall gameplay in a way you might not even notice. Small aspects like automatic rod length and adjustable power settings allow you to operate as professionally as you feel, rather than being in the unfortunate reality.
8 Blade and sorcery
Blade And Sorcery is one of the older VR titles available. Originally a purely sorcery-based game, it eventually evolved into a full physics-based swordsmanship game. Now it sets an impressive standard for VR combat with loads of medieval combat weaponry, magical effects and even dungeon crawling. VR games have a certain disconnect in that you can move your hands with the force of your bare hand. A heavy toddler’s weighted swings don’t really flow the same.
But that’s not a problem here. Large weapons move slowly and hit with a loud rumble. The hilt of the weapon will stop the blade, and the hook of the ax can catch (and even tear off) the edge of the shield. You are capable of complex combat maneuvers that are only possible in VR, and the game handles them perfectly.
7 Beat Sabre
The most famous and best selling VR title of all time, Beat Saber is something that is much easier to understand first hand. Wield two lightsabers. As the song plays, the dice will fly towards you. You must cut the cubes of each sword color in the direction marked on the block. It’s your standard rhythm game experience set in a neon 3D landscape. Easy to follow, fun to play and sure to leave you feeling excited.
If you’re playing on PC, you can also access a huge collection of songs and playlists created by the community. From meme tracks to dance classics, this creates a seemingly endless supply of fresh content to experience and explore. Just make sure you stay hydrated. This game is a real workout.
6 Work simulator
Often considered the forefather of virtual reality gaming, Job Simulator was the launch title for nearly every single VR headset that hit the market. And he remains king for a reason. This quirky sandbox game puts you in a normal office job. However, you are from a distant future where the details of each part have become somewhat muddled over time. It’s not just office work either. You can also experience the concept of employment as a car mechanic, cook and shop assistant.
In addition to the extremely charming humor, the level of sandbox interactivity available on each map is unforgettably fun. Every element seems to be able to interact with every device in some way, encouraging creativity for whatever goal is set. It will keep you so engaged that you will forget you are at home.
5 I expect you to die
I Expect You To Die is the perfect game for puzzle-savvy people who have ever wanted to feel like fast-paced super spies. This game offers a continuous multi-level escape room-style narrative where you, a secret agent, must undo the evil plans of a mad scientist.
Each level is creative and offers extensive answers to some clever puzzles unfolding all around you. Each puzzle is a challenge and can often be solved using more than one method. And the plot, while not exactly mind-blowing, fits perfectly with the theme and tone the developers were going for. All these aspects come together to form what is probably one of the most fun VR puzzle games.
It also had a pretty well-received sequel.
4 Super hot VR
Superhot already attracted attention when it was first released. This incredibly stylized indie game introduced a fascinating first-person shooter concept: time only moves when you move. This creates the intensity of a non-stop action fight scene with the timing and deliberation of a puzzle game. Wrap it all up in a very cyberpunk narrative and unique art style, and it’s a game that will have the words “SUPER… HOT…” etched in your memory long after you’ve played it.
Although it was originally a standard computer game, it was eventually adapted for virtual reality. The freedom of movement, both in the head and in the hands, takes the mechanics of movement and timing to a whole other level. You do more than just play in this world; you are experiencing it with your own eyes.
This is another ‘hit indie game with VR’ title. In Phasmophobia, you (and up to 3 friends) are tasked with exploring a haunted house. You need to use various ghost hunting tools and your ghost encyclopedia to find out what type of ghosts are present. Think of it as Clue, but much scarier. It’s the perfect balance of encouraging courage but responding to it with more terror.
Phasmophobia is already a very heart-wrenching experience, as the occasional paranormal behavior causes countless fears upon encountering it. And it’s all turned up to 11 on the scare factor when presented in VR. Now you are actually in a dilapidated hospital and the ghost is actually whispering in your ear when you say his name. The level of immersion takes an already engaging multiplayer horror game and makes it one of the best horror experiences available in VR.
2 Pistol Whip
Often described as ‘Super Hot Meets Beat Sabre’, Pistol Whip is a rhythm shooter that blends genres to near perfection. You, equipped with a gun, move forward along the track. Each level is handcrafted to tell a small story, set to some of the most pounding techno and EDM tracks you’ll ever hear. Enemies will spawn along the track and try to shoot you, dodge and shoot back, all to the beat of the song.
It has a surprisingly deep level of customization, ranging from simple mods to new mechanics and weapons. With a neon style and a unique story behind each track, each level is extremely immersive in context, and the rhythm-focused design means the action will always be exciting. It’s a completely condensed display of how fun VR can be, all condensed into four-minute segments.
1 Half Life: Alyx
Half-Life: Alyx is what happens when you take one of the most popular PC game developers of the past era and combine it with one of the most immersive gaming platforms of modern times. Half-Life: Alyx is a science fiction action-adventure game based on the titular game series. You play as Alyx, who encounters a much bigger complication than she expected in her search for her father.
This game takes everything we love about a narrative shooter adventure and blends it perfectly into a VR perspective. Enjoy freedom of movement during intense combat sequences, feel and control your weapons and equipment in ways not possible on a flat screen, and use a true 3D perspective to solve unique puzzles. With absolutely stunning graphics, fantastic music and a plot that will truly immerse you, Half-Life: Alyx will make you wonder if it’s worth straining your eyes for another hour in a VR headset.
NEXT: The best ways to add VR to regular games