The best VR games truly take you to new worlds, whether you're exploring outer space or using your real arms to swing a virtual lightsaber. And with more and more great VR headsets hitting the market at reasonable prices, there's never been a better time to jump into VR gaming.
Platforms such as Oculus, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR have tons of great games, from AAA fare like Skyrim and Tetris Effect to unique indies like Beat Saber and Job Simulator.
Looking forward, the upcoming Half Life: Alyx looks like it will finally continue the well-loved Valve series in a whole new immersive style, while HTC's Project Photon could take VR headsets to a whole new level. But in the meantime, here are the best VR games you can play right now.
No Man's Sky VR
The famous (and infamous) space exploration game can be enjoyed on the PlayStation 4’s VR headset. You’re taken right into the heart of the new worlds you discover, or can sit and truly appreciate the massiveness of space from your ship’s cockpit. And since the galaxy is so enormous, you’ll never run out of new things to see and find as you hunt for resources to improve your ship and travel even greater distances.
Beat Saber (Oculus Rift; PS VR; HTC Vive)
Beat Saber is a fast, kinetic rhythm game in which the player slashes color-coded blocks to the beat of music playing in the background, and one of the best VR games for working up a sweat. Using two motion controllers, you'll swipe in the air vertically or horizontally and occasionally hold your controller in a position to rack up points. Beat Saber features a similar "note highway" as you'll find on games like Guitar Hero or Rock Band; you'll see the blocks you need to swipe as they draw closer to you, and it'll be up to you to keep yourself in time with the beat.
Designed for a seated experience, Beat Saber comes with 10 songs. However, PC players can use a track editor to create their own custom tracks from within the game; with some light modding, they can allow download other users' tracks.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR (Oculus Rift; PS VR; HTC Vive)
A full VR translation of 2011's single-player, open-world epic, Skyrim VR gives players a much closer look at the world of Tamriel. The game features fully tracked motion controls for your left- and right-hand equipment, so you'll be able to swing your sword and block incoming attacks using realistic gestures. You move through the game world via teleportation, direct input on a controller or walking around using a room-scale setup if you have a room big enough to spare.
All previously released DLC expansions, like Dawnguard and Hearthfire, come with this version of Skyrim. The graphical upgrade seen in Special Edition is unfortunately missing from the VR version of Skyrim, so some visuals may look a bit dated.
Doom VFR (PS VR; HTC Vive)
Doom VFR is best described as a VR adaptation of 2016's popular release of Doom, rather than a full port of that game into VR. This means Doom VFR features a different story and campaign, with heavily tweaked combat dynamics designed with VR in mind. This title is suited to a standing or room-scale setup, as the game will frequently require you to raise and lower your profile and turn around quickly to deal with enemies coming from all directions. This title adds free movement using a controller, but the game was originally designed to use a teleportation system when covering large distances.
Rec Room (Oculus Rift; PS VR; HTC Vive)
Rec Room is one of the best VR games for kicking back and relaxing. This game provides a low-impact and free social sandbox of places to go, things to pick up and toss, objects to interact with, and some minigames to play solo or with others online. You can play this title suitably from either a seated or standing position, and it works well with room scale.
Rec Room is designed primarily as a social experience, so expect a lot of people to be on mic, and consider taking part in the chatter yourself. You won't find an infinitely replayable game world to explore here, but Rec room should help people who need to get their VR sea legs before they tackle more in-depth experiences.
Star Trek: Bridge Crew (Oculus Rift; PS VR; HTC Vive)
In Star Trek: Bridge Crew, you can fulfill your dream of joining Starfleet, with a choice of four different key roles onboard the USS Aegis: Captain, Tactical, Helm or Engineer. This game will require constant communication with your crewmates as you explore space, defend yourself from enemies and avoid natural hazards. Bridge Crew is designed as a seated experience, so players won't be moving around or exploring the bridge itself. Instead, you'll handle one of the four workstations and use your motion controllers to interact with the ship's controls.
The game works best in online multiplayer, but you can also issue specific voice commands to three AI crewmembers in single-player mode if you're playing offline.
Archangel: Hellfire (Oculus Rift; PS VR; HTC Vive)
Archangel is a mech shooter that includes a single-player story campaign for the PS4 and PC versions of the game. This campaign places you in the cockpit of a building-size mech in an on-rails experience best played while seated. You'll control the mech's two arms and an array of weapons for dispatching waves of incoming enemies. When things get a little close quarters, you can swing your mech mitts around and swat the bad guys away.
The PC version offers a free stand-alone competitive multiplayer mode. This also gives you full control over your mech, so you can move in all directions; a robust upgrade path; and unlockable mech chassis and skins. If you buy the campaign DLC on Steam, it'll also unlock some goodies in the multiplayer mode. This is one of the best VR games for those looking for a full fledged AAA experience in headset.
Batman: Arkham VR (Oculus Rift; PS VR; HTC Vive)
Batman: Arkham VR puts you right in the bat suit so you can take to the streets of Arkham City and get busy fighting crime. This game is from the earlier days of VR, so much of it feels like an extended, albeit very polished tech demo for a full Batman VR game. You'll teleport only to designated positions in the Wayne manor, the bat cave and out in the city, with most direct action consisting of throwing a bat-arang or calling in for support from your ship, the Nightwing.
The game emphasizes the detective side of Batman, so if you're looking for something slower paced and cinematic, this one might be worth your time. You'll have plenty of opportunities to examine your environment, pick things up, study crime scenes and otherwise immerse yourself in the world of Bruce Wayne, mostly at your leisure.
Fallout 4 VR (HTC Vive)
Like with Skyrim and its VR edition, Fallout 4 has gotten the full VR treatment, bringing over the full single-player campaign of Fallout 4 exclusively to HTC Vive headsets on PC. The VR adaptation works just like it does in Skyrim VR, where you're free to walk about the world of Fallout at a room-scale level, use direct-control stick movement on the Vive's controllers, travel via teleportation from point to point or any combination of the above. This doesn't inherently rule out seated gameplay, but it's geared toward standing and at least some degree of turning and walking around.
The Talos Principle VR (Oculus Rift; HTC Vive)
The Talos Principle is a first-person puzzle game, easily adapted fully into VR and suitable for any play-space configuration. In this game, you'll have to line up light beams to turn on and off force fields that block your path, manipulate blocks using motion controls, and solve other mind-bending puzzles. Where many VR games focus on action, The Talos Principle offers something a little more chill and cerebral.
The single-player campaign features a mysterious story to unravel. You play as an android being guided by a mysterious voice while you learn about the last days of humanity on Earth.
LA Noire: The VR Case Files (HTC Vive)
L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files brings a portion of the very impressive PS3 and 360 game to Vive headsets. You'll have seven cases to solve in this VR version of the game, which famously uses facial motion capturing to make the characters look exceedingly realistic, even seven years after release. The game recommends a minimum of 2 by 2 meters of room space to move around in, so you can lean in and inspect items in people's homes, pick things up off of the ground and maneuver around the game's open-world comfortably.
Just as with the original game, you'll need to gather clues and question suspects, taking into account if you think they're telling the truth or lying to your face.
Superhot VR (Oculus Rift; PS VR; HTC Vive)
Like the original Superhot, Superhot VR is a combat puzzle game in which you must clear a room full of enemy AI humans using a limited arsenal and one key mechanic: Time moves only when you do. Large deliberate movements of your arms or legs will trigger time to progress forward, but making smaller movements with only your head or hands will allow you to assess the next move and even give you enough time to move out of the way of enemy bullets.
The VR version of the game is primarily a standing experience; you won't be walking around your environment, but you'll need to be able to turn around and duck behind cover in the space you have. You can take weapons directly out of enemies' hands, and you can fire bullets at incoming bullets to deflect them; in general, Superhot VR is one of the best VR games you can play on any platform.
Polybius (PS VR)
Polybius is probably the strangest game on our list and also the one most likely to make you motion sick. It's a high-score, arcade-style shoot'em-up that relies on psychedelic "trancetastic" visual design and a truly awesome sense of speed even outside of VR. It's a little difficult to explain exactly what you need to do in Polybius, aside from shoot as many things ahead of you as possible while avoiding collisions with the solid objects that come hurtling toward you during the game's 50 linear levels. This game's filled with old-school arcade and early gaming references, so you may pick up on some aural references here and there. You may also get a little motion sick.
Best to play this one seated, and if you have a weak stomach, try playing it on a normal TV first.
Eve: Valkyrie (Oculus Rift; PS VR; HTC Vive)
Eve: Valkyrie is set in the world of Eve Online, but has only competitive multiplayer spaceship combat. There is no single-player mode that's offline or features a traditional campaign; instead, you're placed in large battle arenas and must shoot down the opposing team's spaceships. You have a selection of ship classes, each with its own specialties and roles to play during a match. You have five different multiplayer modes to choose from.
This game is designed for a seated experience and for play using either a traditional controller or a keyboard and mouse. Eve: Valkyrie tracks your head movements to help give you visibility around your ship from inside the cockpit, but the game otherwise does not rely on motion-controller input. If you're looking for a truly immersive space combat experience, Eve: Valkyrie is one of the best VR games out there.
Astro Bot: Rescue Mission (PS VR)
Astro Bot: Rescue Mission is a PS VR exclusive and might be one of the most creative platformers in VR yet. You control a small robot who must rescue his robot friends who are scattered about each level. Your perspective as the player is a third-person camera, and you'll need to bend down, turn around and look closely at the environment to spot the trapped robots as well as other hidden collectibles.
The game is a cheery example of the platforming and creative camera control that is truly possible only inside of VR.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (PS VR)
Resident Evil 7's VR support is exclusive to PS VR, and the terror this game delivers really ramps up when you're placed directly in the shoes of Ethan Winters in the Louisiana swamp. As Winters searches for his missing wife, Mia, this first-person horror game returns to Resident Evil's survival roots and requires you to carefully manage your inventory and resources in order to survive.
There's also a fair bit of puzzle-solving to do, in between running for your life from the creepy mold monsters that have infested the Baker family's derelict home.
Tetris Effect (PS VR)
Tetris Effect takes what you already know about Tetris and layers on several visual and musical effects designed to change the way it feels to play this classic game. There are also some new mechanics, like the ability to clear whole zones of Tetris blocks at once, potentially up to 20 lines at a time. The music and visuals pulse and change to the pace of your performance in-game, and the PS VR support means you'll be that much closer to the experience, able to lean in as much as you like while using a traditional controller.
Moss (Oculus Rift; PS VR; HTC Vive)
Moss is a cute action/puzzle platformer that has you pilot a small mouse, named Quill, through a fantasy world. She must save her uncle from an evil snake that has taken over the kingdom. Moss plays best while you're standing, as you control Quill from a distance and will need to lean in to better view her surroundings, fight enemies and jump across gaps.
The game's environments are set up like dioramas for the player to peer into, adding to the game's storybook atmosphere. You control Quill directly using the controller's direction buttons, but you also need motion controls to manipulate the environment and help Quill get past obstacles.
Five Nights at Freddy's VR: Help Wanted (PSVR; HTC Vive)
If your idea of a good time is exploring a haunted restaurant with killer animatronic robots on the loose, then have I got a game for you. Five Nights at Freddy's has finally made the jump to VR so you can get your jump scares in terrifying VR. In Five Nights at Freddy's VR: Help Wanted, you have several mini games to play, but no matter what you play, the goal remains the same - survive.
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes (Oculus Rift; Oculus Go; Gear VR; PS VR; HTC Vive)
This is a party game that involves one person in VR and as many people as you like outside of VR assisting the VR player in defusing a bomb. In VR, you can see and manipulate a complex explosive device using all kinds of buttons and wires. Your friends outside of VR, who can't see the bomb, need to use an instruction manual that they can pull up on their phones or a computer screen to walk you through the defusal process. Outside players won't even know what kind of bomb you're looking at, so you all have to communicate as accurately as possible. And, of course, there's a time limit.
Minecraft: Gear VR Edition (Oculus Rift; Gear VR)
Minecraft's VR transition has been a little rockier than one might expect, but we did eventually get a VR version for Gear VR headsets. The VR mode does about what you'd expect, putting you right in at ground level in the world of Minecraft as based off of the latest mobile edition of the game.
For owners of powerful Android smartphones, Gear VR can be a good alternative to traditional VR setups. However, you'll, of course, need an external controller since your phone will be strapped into the Gear VR headset during use.
Catan VR (Oculus Go; Oculus Rift; HTC Vive)
Catan VR takes the real-world experience of playing the tabletop board game Settlers of Catan and adapts it lovingly for the VR space. You'll sit at a table with up to three other players online and use motion controllers to select and place your pieces in an otherwise-quite-traditional game of Catan. The charm of the VR version is that, even though you're playing online, you can still see and gesture at your opponents or teammates as if you were in the same room.
Catan VR is one of the standout games for Oculus Go, the all-in-one VR solution that doesn't rely on a smartphone, game console or beefy PC and is available for under $200.
FOCUS on YOU
This interactive story puts you in the shoes of a high school senior and budding photographer. While looking for your next photography subject and meet a beautiful girl. From here, you begin to build your relationship with the Han Yua, engaging in conversations and cataloging your dates via photo, it’s a story of young love and nostalgia that’s sweet and intimate.
Penn & Teller VR: Frankly Unfair, Unkind, Unnecessary, & Underhanded
You’ve seen entertainers Penn & Teller wow audiences with magic and take cleavers to some of our most sacred cows. Now the duo is taking on VR in Penn & Tell VR: Frankly Unfair, Unkind, Unnecessary, & Underhanded is at its heart a bunch of pranks you can unleash on your friends and loved ones. Half “face your fears” half magic tricks, you also have the opportunity to step into the shoes of some of the world’s most renowned magicians including Houdini. It’s a wickedly fun time.