The year 2020 wasn't exactly a great one for humanity. Yet, it's been an amazing year for VR. With lockdown measures keeping people trapped behind walls, the VR industry experienced a boom in consumption leading to higher HDM sales and, yes, more quality content.
We finally have a somewhat competitive VR marketplace on our hands, with the PSVR headset offering extremely affordable options for those with Sony’s favorite consoles, and the Oculus Quest all-in-one headset opening more doors than ever before.
With that in mind, as the mass appeal for VR keeps growing over the last couple of years, the realm of VR gaming has hit an all-time high both in terms of quantity and quality.
Couple this with the fact that some truly insane rumors regarding the release of a PSVR 2 for PS5 have been making rounds on the internet, and you’ll understand why this year is the perfect time to begin flushing out your Virtual Reality library with some of the best games. But before looking at some of the best VR games 2021, let’s begin with some basics and ensure we’re all on the same page.
What are the best VR games?
Most VR games can be played on PCs, laptops, game consoles, and standalone systems that support VR technology. For a more immersive experience when playing these VR games, it's also suggested to invest in some basic accessories such as a VR headset, sensor-equipped gloves, and hand controllers.
How to choose the best VR game?
In addition to simply picking the VR game that excites you the most, there are a few other things you ought to consider before a final decision. Some of the factors you should keep in mind include:
Free VR Editions
If you’ve just acquired a new headset, you’ll first need to check the free VR games that retail with the bundle before looking at other games. This is a good starting point as you might become more comfortable with the mechanics behind VR games before jumping into more advanced choices.
Even though most VR Games can be easily played while one is sitting down, some of them will need one to stand and play – and others will even need the player to move around the playing space to execute movements in the game. With that in mind, carefully check the requirements of the games available and pick the one whose requirements best meet your situation.
Not most games will be compatible with every system. Prior to deciding to invest in a game, check to confirm if the headset you currently own will support the game or not.
Best VR Games Today
Trover Saves the Universe (PSVR, Oculus)
From the minds behind the phenomenal Squanch Games and ‘Rick and Morty’ comes the hilarious, wacky Trover Saves the Universe VR game. The game’s crazy story is right out of Rick and Morty’s playbook, with Justin Roiland’s classic art style and attitude adding to the incredibly fun adventure.
Most importantly, the gameplay will allow you to operate everything while sitting down, with both flat options and VR. If all these factors coupled together do not make the Trover Saves the Universe a great bang for your buck, then I do not know what does.
Star Wars: Squadrons (Multiplatform)
We have been lucky enough to have lived through a few Star Wars dreams in Virtual Reality games already, but trust us when we say that Star Wars: Squadrons seems to have the ability to strike an exceptional chord with the fan base.
The unique opportunity to jump into the cockpit of a TIE Fighter or X-Wing in VR will make you a little weak in the knees. Lucky for you, you will be seated for both the single-player campaign and multiplayer battles.
It is not Half-Life 2 or Half-Life 3... It’s Half-Life: Alyx. This is the first full-fledged Half-Life VR game that Valve has released in a very long time and, yes, it has a place in our list of best VR games. Straight out of the box, you’ll notice that the game’s events play out before Half-Life 2, but after the original Half-Life.
As the game’s title suggests, you’ll also be playing the fan-favorite Alyx Vance character, and throughout the approx. 11-hour campaign, you will be taking on the enemy combine forces, and seeking to advance research on their flaws.
Valve has built the experience particularly for VR, so you should expect top-tier graphics and impressive physics mechanics.
No Man’s Sky (PSVR)
Since an initially unsatisfactory release, No Man’s Sky has come a long way. This current version of the game has been fitted with a base building, true multiplayer, and so much more to make our experience pretty close to exactly what we thought we were getting back in 2016. Finally, we can agree confidently that No Man's Sky has won its position as one of the best VR games out there.
Honestly, it finally feels like No Man’s Sky found its way. Perhaps the game was supposed to be a VR title from the word go. Another thing worth noting is that the game retails in a free update to the full game. Definitely do not sleep on this.
Superhot VR (Oculus, Windows Mixed Reality, PSVR)
Superhot is the one game that proves, without a doubt, that some experiences were specifically designed for VR. I know, the game’s standard controller version is fun, but nothing beats going head to head in the game ‘full Matrix-style.’
The massively stylized game allows you to take out red polygonal figures, with lots of varieties in how you can easily tackle the horde. Another thing we loved about this game is the fact that it rewards clear and calm thinking, as opposed to other games that only award lightning-fast reflexes.
Defector (Oculus Rift and Rift S)
One can play Defector on Rift S and Quest Oculus Rift. Yes, it is worth investing in one just so you can get to experience the fun play the game has been designed to deliver. If Mission Impossible (the movie) were a game, Defector would pretty much be it.
Besides being an action-shooter VR game that is ensured to keep you entertained for an extended period, Defector has also been perfectly executed for VR, thanks to its fantastic production value and movement freedom.
Vader Immortal (Oculus)
Whether this game is an Oculus game or Oculus experience doesn’t matter because it’s undeniably one of the most exciting and best VR games out there. The fact you’ll be battling eight-foot droids using your lightsaber (and also meet an intimidating Darth Vader) will take you into Star Wars’ dark side as no prior game could.
Better yet, your droid, ZOE3, is played by Maya Rudolph and its voicing scenes have been brilliantly written by David S. Goyer (of Blade fame and Dark Knight.)
Space Pirate Trainer (Oculus, Windows Mixed Reality, HTC Vive)
The fact Space Pirate Trainer is an arcade shooter makes it a game perfectly suited to the VR format. While playing the game, your main task will be to use your dual blasters (and other upgrades or weapons you pick up) to shoot down incoming space enemies as you head toward the top of the Space Pirate leaderboard.
Note though, that you will not get too far if you do not engage with the game. That is right – you will have to physically avoid and dodge incoming attacks while at the same time returning fire at droids to excel in the game.
From the game's name, you can also tell right away that Space Pirate Trainer takes place in space, and its graphics employ a realistic and vibrant art style that fits perfectly with fast-paced action.
Beat Saber (Multiplatform)
Beat Saber is a rhythm and music game with one of the most active twists ever seen. The game’s setup is quite similar to other music games, such as Rock Band, Guitar Hero, and Audiosurf, but instead of using fake instruments or controlling virtual ships, you will be slashing your way through songs with virtual laser swords.
As the song plays, Beat Saber will generate distinct patterns of color-coded blocks on your screen, and you will need to hit them with the correct controller (either the left or right) as they keep sliding toward you.
At times, additional obstacles will also appear, and with most of these, you will need to either slide away or duck. Make no mistake, however. Beat Saber isn’t a game you can simply play sitting down as it's an extremely active experience. But if you love motion and music, then Beat Saber is definitely worth exploring.
Astro Bot: Rescue Mission (PlayStation VR exclusive)
Even though Astro Bot might lack the charm of old PlayStation mascots like Clank or Ratchet and Clank, the game is still an absolute blast. This VR platformer is also more family-friendly, thanks to its stunning environs and the super charming interactions with the little robot.
You’ll need to help guide the robot through creative and inventive means.
While researching to come up with this guide, we also concluded that this game is arguably one of the best drastically underrated games that deserve more VR Attention, particularly from all those N64 platformer fanatics.
Putting the Tetris Effect experience into sensible words is one of the hardest things to do. Essentially, you will be playing regular games of Tetris, except that the environs you will be playing in keep changing. Every level has its own distinct flavor – with visuals and music tailored to the game’s theme. For instance, you will even be able to play in underwater levels and hear soothing underwater noises as sparkling whales float around your head.
Moss has been around since the early days of the original Oculus Quest, but that doesn’t make this VR version any less impressive. The game is basically a must-try for anyone new to VR. In the game, you play as an observer with a limited ability to interact with the fantasy in which you are helping a tiny mouse on a quest.
Saying that Quill, the mouse in question, is adorable would be an understatement, and this aesthetic is one of the things built around the lovable protagonist who makes the game utterly charming. Even better, a huge portion of the game involves moving from one stage to the next, solving specific puzzles so you can move on to the next scene.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (PlayStation VR exclusive)
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is quite an anomaly in this enumeration – thanks to the fact that this entry in the long-running horror series takes the entire experience into the first person for the 1st time. Even more impressive, you can play the game’s 18 hours entirely in VR.
This implies that the game is without a doubt one of the longest VR experiences available at the moment. Note though, since Resident Evil 7 is one scary game, you will need lots of courage to get through it entirely.
Elite: Dangerous (Multiplatform)
If your goal with VR games is to appreciate the vastness of space, then we urge you to play Elite: Dangerous. Created by Frontier Developments, this PC VR game is a crowdfunded follow-up to the classic Elite series of Space Sims.
Before embarking yourself on an intergalactic trip, you'll get a ship, a full tank of fuel, and a handful of equipment. The game is open, deliberate, slow, and huge. It’ll definitely award players who’re patient enough to stay on it.
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes (Multiplatform)
Do you ever sit back and wonder to what extent you can really trust your closest friends? If yes, then we know you’ll love this game. Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is the perfect multiplayer VR game for people who want to put their friendships to the test.
The game forces all of you to collaborate and communicate with each other in order to defuse a complex bomb. In the game, the group of players is also split into two different groups – the first one being of several Experts and the other one being of the Defuser.
The Defuser can examine and see the bomb but isn’t able to access or read the manual. Experts, on the other hand, can read the manual but won't be able to see the actual bomb. With these technicalities in mind, the players will need to exchange info, guide each other through the different steps, and track their progress if they all want to get out alive.
Another point to keep in mind is that the bombs boast countdown timers and will explode if the player makes way too many mistakes along the way.
Fallout 4 VR (HTC Vive Exclusive)
Fallout 4 VR is, undoubtedly, one of the most ambitious role-playing games out there. This game combines a quest design and an improved combat structure with Bethesda’s legendary world-building. The game will throw you into its world so you can live out your vault-dwelling dreams in VR – not only a minute section of the virtual reality of the game but the entire experience. Fallout 4 VR can also be played for long stretches of time.
Batman: Arkham VR (Multiplatform)
I understand that the phrase “if you liked A, you will definitely love B” may just be one of the cheapest of critical plaudits you’ve ever come across, but in some cases, no other phrase can convey the message – so here I goes.
If you loved Batman: Arkham Asylum, then you’ll definitely fall head over heels in love with Batman: Arkham VR. The game’s developer, Rocksteady Studios, borrowed everything from Asylum that worked, including excellent voice acting, thrilling fighting, and developed innovation.
Arizona Sunshine (Multiplatform)
Thanks to this stroke of genius, you can now finally figure out exactly how long you would likely last in a zombie apocalypse. Arizona Sunshine is a zombie-slaying, first-person, multiplayer shooter, and it is as much of a blast just as it is unnerving.
The main thing we noticed that this game does better than most other VR titles is movement. Running around in the game feels amazing, and you can rest assured that you’ll experience little, to no motion sickness. If you’ve played one of these games before, then you know that the last advantage is a huge plus.
Minecraft VR (Multiplatform)
Minecraft VR is a blocky, aesthetic sandbox that allows you to explore the depths of your imagination to the best of your ability. The game’s core is to survive and explore a hostile world made from the blocks you can use to build anything you please.
That said, as you play, you will quickly notice that the game has a lot more to offer other than just its architecture. Another thing that the game presents is plenty of space you can use to enjoy your own kind of play.
Eve: Valkyrie (Multiplatform)
Eve: Valkyrie is set in the realm of CCP Games’ EVE Online and during its release, it was Oculus Rift’s best-known launch title, retailing bundled with nearly every headset. Later on, the game launched on PlayStation VR and HTC Vive, becoming the first game with a cross-platform play on the three most high-end systems.
Like most Oculus Rift launch games, Valkyrie utilizes a standard gamepad instead of motion controllers. These have now become standard on VR headsets.
Star Trek: Bridge Crew (Multiplatform)
If you do not own a move controller but would still like to play Star Trek: Bridge Crew, then worry not, because the game can actually also be played entirely outside of Virtual Reality. In addition to that, Star Trek: Bridge Crew is a cross-platform, multiplayer game. Players on HTC Vive, Quest Oculus Rift, and PSVR can all play together.
Lucky’s Tale (Oculus Rift exclusive)
Not only is Lucky’s tale super adorable, but it is also a heck of a lot of fun to play. This version is a VR platform game in the same vein as classics like Super Mario 64 and Kazooie, but it's hard to beat graphics drag it right into the modern age.
Spread across a wide array of levels over lots of worlds, Lucky’s Tale packs in a mixture of 2.5D platforming and VR exploring. There are endless course bosses and enemies to defeat, coins to collect, and secrets to find. It’s hard not to fall in love with the adorable little fox.
Microsoft Flight Simulator (PC)
Microsoft Flight Simulator was one of the highlights of 2020, and the whole game just got even better for gaming enthusiasts who own virtual reality headsets. Head of Microsoft Flight Simulator, Jorg Neumann, recently announced that the game can now be played with VR headsets on PC.
During the announcement, Neumann singled out the flight sim community as being “an extremely insightful and active partner in shaping exactly how Microsoft Flight Simulator's team approached Virtual Reality.” VR comes as a free update for the game.
Falcon Age (PC, PSVR, Oculus Quest)
Falcon Age has launched a few years ago on the PlayStation VR and PS4, and thanks to continuous updates throughout the years, you can now play the game both on a normal television and in Virtual Reality.
The bond with the bird you will be controlling in the game is at the core of the emotional experience, and this fact has seen Falcon Age gain a cult following on Twitter. The game also tells a powerful story about the struggling group trying to fight off oppressive colonizers.
Pistol Whip (PSVR, PC)
Pistol Whip might be popular because it’s the new kid on the block, but for us, its beat-based gameplay, sharp sounding, and sharpshooting gameplay are even more hypnotic. In the game, you get to stream down corridors and blast bad guys to grizzly tunes.
Ensure you avoid incoming fire and rack up the best scores to the beat. While playing the game, the other thing we realized is that Pistol Whip’s goal is to take influence not just in terms of VR sales, but also compete with Superhot, and most importantly, the John Wick VR game.
Iron Man VR (PSVR)
The Avengers’ characters have been getting lots of attention in the realm of VR gaming lately, and even though no game has been quite able to topple Insomniac’s Spider-Man, this Iron Man VR remains one of the best Avengers VR game out there today.
The game’s controls feel great, and blasting or soaring robots will be an absolute smash for any gamer who has ever wished they could create their own Iron Man suit. What’s more? Iron Man VR is exclusive for PSVR, which means you’ll practically only be able to pay it if you’re a PlayStation VR owner.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR (Oculus Rift; PSVR; HTC Vive)
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR easily remains one of the most ambitious open-world games out there – and this is even without its VR capabilities. The fact that a VR version of the game has been introduced simply adds an extra sense of immersion while playing.
In the game, you’ll need to traverse the Skyrim lands, intermingle with non-player characters, and equip your character with sufficient armor, spells, and weapons.
Ultimately, you will be tasked with engaging and defeating Alduin, a world-eating dragon. If you don’t feel ready to handle this task, you can simply spend most of your time completing and exploring side missions for townspeople.
Doom VFR (PSVR; HTC Vive)
Since the introduction of VR games, only a few first-person shooters have been able to offer an exciting, enthralling, outrageous, smooth, and downright fun VR experience the same way Doom VFR has been able to.
Capturing every single thing that’s great about the first two games, this version feels like a direct response to the overly methodical and serious tone of modern AAA titles. In its ‘VFR’ title, the “F” implies exactly what you think it does.
It implies that the game has adopted the speedy experience of thrill-killing demons for Virtual reality.
Rec Room (Oculus Rift; PSVR; HTC Vive)
The best social VR experience, Rec Room awards its players the ability to hang around and play colorful mini-games with fellow players. As you control the avatar, you can play charades, disc golf, paintball, soccer, basketball, and more.
All these can also be played with room-scale virtual reality that really immerses you in the experience. While reviewing the game, several people described it as one of the most relaxed experiences available on HTC Vive, PlayStation VR, and Quest Oculus Rift, and after playing the game ourselves, we can confirm that the guys were certainly onto something.
Archangel: Hellfire (Oculus Rift; PSVR; HTC Vive)
If you played the on-rails VR shooter, Archangel, but are looking for an intense, free-roaming multiplayer expansion, then we really encourage you to check out Archangel: Hellfire. Spectacular mech combat has escalated the game to explosive new heights.
In the game, you’ll wander the war-torn landscapes freely in your mech and get to take advantage of the numerous obstacles on the battlefields, the dangerously wide-open basins, as well as the elevated positions to take out enemies.
The Talos Principle VR (Oculus Rift; HTC Vive)
If intellectual puzzle VR games appeal to you, then I’d like to warn and point out that you should prepare to sink lots of enjoyable hours into this Talos Principle VR. Inside the game, you’ll be playing as an anthropomorphic, intelligent robot tasked with navigating obstacles and mazes across a series of cryptic environs loaded with modern tech.
As a player, you can also go exploring off the beaten path and unravel some further backstories. You’ll discover additional secrets about yourself and the world around you as you progress through the narrative. All these realizations will factor into a momentous decision
Most importantly, the game looks aesthetic, with highly realistic textures and lighting.
LA Noire: The VR Case Files (HTC Vive)
With its Dashiell Hammett-Inspired interrogations of potential criminals, fedoras, and tough talk, LA Noire is arguably one of the best VR games of the decade. For this VR version, the game’s open-world has been changed to include seven “in your face” cases, which, in turn, allows you to really feel the essence of the game’s 1940s Tinseltown.
If you have played the original game and your power of observation was key to questioning crooks and witnesses, then you’ll have even more fun observing the gives and takes between creeps and cops in this VR version.
Yes, you will encounter occasional stutters in frames rate, but rest assured that the overall experience will make you realize Hammett, the acclaimed author, wrote that murder “makes you sick, or you get to like it.”
Polybius (PlayStation VR)
Are you a huge fan of retro arcade games? If yes, then Polybius is the perfect VR game designed with your exact needs in mind. The game will allow you to dance with the flashing lights while at the same time vibing with the music. If you tend to get motion sickness, better take this game little by little. We do not want you to get overwhelmed by all the intense visuals. That said, you can rest assured that the game is still worth the try.
Each VR game has its own unique offerings, weaknesses, and strengths, and if you aren’t aware of all these before making a final decision, you could end up massively disappointed. That’s exactly why we put this guide on the best VR games together. All left to do is to go through the list and pick the one you think best meets your personal preferences and gaming style. Not in the mood for a game? Go ahead and try one of these jaw-dropping VR movies instead.