While many assumed it would be fad that flashed in the technological pan, the rise of virtual reality has endured, transforming into a developmental renaissance that’s affected everything from education to medicine.
But it’s in the field of video games that we’ve seen some of the biggest leaps and bounds. With such a dearth of hardware - which is gradually becoming more and more affordable - VR games have shaken off much of their gimmick status as studios push the boundaries of immersion and simulation.
Now that we’re well into 2018, it only seemed right to cover the very best games you can download and play right now for your headset of choice. So whether you’re rocking a tricked out PC and an Oculus Rift, or a PS4 Pro with a PSVR combo, you’ll find a new VR game perfectly suited to your current hardware setup.
We’ve picked titles from a variety of platforms, ranging from exclusives to multi-platform hits, so there’s bound to be something here to have you pulling down your headset, picking up your controller and enjoying the very best virtual reality experiences on the market.
Best PSVR games you can buy right now
There’s plenty of variety in VR games, but a lot of these titles tend to skew towards the more adult themes, so it’s comforting to see something as family-friendly focused as Moss making waves among VR users. Rather than using a first-person perspective, Moss instead uses a dynamic camera to follow an adventurous mouse by the name of Quill.
The game uses a dual control setup where you both control Quill through various platforming sections while simultaneously using a ghostly cursor to control scenery and solve environmental puzzles as you go. Charming, challenging and full of creativity, it’s one of PSVR’s best exclusives.
Of course, Skyrim can be played in VR. Much like the original Doom and Minecraft, Bethesda’s fifth mainline entry in The Elder Scrolls series has become one of those titles you can play on just about anything with a screen.
Thankfully, rather than being a lazy port farmed out for quick cash, Skyrim VR offers a motion control setup that ideally maps everything from navigation to swinging your war axe a seamless and - more importantly - immersive experience. Whether you’re picking up a DualShock 4 or a pair of Oculus Touch controllers, this is the kind of game that can take over your life (especially when its strapped to your head in all its glory).
Come on, it’s Resident Evil in VR. What more do you need us to say? VR had a handful of horror titles using the immersive power of VR to scare its users to pieces, but when Capcom came along a the now first-person orientated Resi 7, it was destined to arrive in virtual reality and prove why the franchise is bigger and better than ever.
From fighting the crazed members of the Baker family to exploring the rotted nightmares of their plantation, the game is stocked full off jump scares and building dread. A must-have addition to any VR collection.
Do you love first-person tactical shooters? Do you own a PSVR headset? Well, these two points have converged and the result is an intense co-op FPS by the name of Bravo Team. Rather than being a port of an existing IP, Bravo Team has been designed from the ground-up for VR and enables you to take cover and use all manner of weapons.
You can use the PSVR Aim Controller (which use the PS Move to make an actual gun design you can hold and aim with) or you can simply play with the DualShock 4 controller should you not own one. So if you're looking a first-person experience that isn't horror or an RPG, this is the game for you.
Best Oculus Rift games you can buy right now
When it comes to blowing things up and emptying bullets into an unsuspecting enemy, venerable studio Epic Games knows its stuff. It has, after all, brought the world the Unreal series and Gears of War, so when it turned its attention to the world of virtual reality we knew we were in for a treat.
The Oculus Rift exclusive might have a storyline involving robots infected by a virus that are in need of ‘recalling’, but it boils down to you dual-wielding pistols and turning said bots into showers of bolts and sheet metal. The gunplay, as you’d expect is spot on with the Oculus Touch controllers, with movement based on teleportation rather than traditional navigation.
No, not the famous venue in Liverpool, but rather one of the most intense sports titles you can play in VR. Coming from the same studio that brought you the underrated God of War games on PSP and the gorgeous (but slightly hollow) The Order: 1886 on PS4, Echo Arena was built from the ground up with VR in mind.
The end result is a gravity-defying arcade sports sim where two teams of robots aim to throw discs into the opposing group’s goals. It doesn’t even try to hide how much it’s been influenced by TRON, but who cares when you’re having this much fun with a headset on?
Okay, Beat Saber might not have any official affiliation with Disney’s bloated cash cow, but there’s no denying the two implements you’re wielding are lightsabers. Whatever you want to call them, what you’ll do with them in the TRON-esque world of Hyperbolic Magnetism’s puzzle extravaganza will have you entranced.
The premise is simple - slash your sabers (one is coloured red, the other blue) in the direction of the tile heading towards you and dodge the glowing blocks that periodically pass you by. With a handcrafted soundtrack written specifically for a game of this style, the end result is Dance Dance Revolution meets Fruit Ninja with a heavy dose of electronica.
Navigation presents one of the most challenging problems for developers working in VR, especially if you’re looking to create an immersive racer. One answer, at least according to Survios, is to use the controllers of your Vive or Rift as your means of propulsion.
Think of it like a classic Wii Sports title, where you’ll swing your arms back and forth like a sprinter or speed skater, as you run, jump, drift and fly around 21 neon-lit courses. The motion controls work really well, making this a great racing platformer and a brilliant way to up your step count on your fitness tracker.
Best HTC Vive games you can buy right now
It’s the 2050, and all jobs have become automated. Humanity has seemingly forgotten what it like to do actual work. So, of course, they jump into virtual reality to experience a world before robots started doing all the heavy occupational lifting - and you’re along for the ride.
It might sound like a mundane concept, but much like the brilliant Surgeon Simulator series - Job Simulator is at its best when you’re either messing up simple tasks or mucking about when you should be hard at work. You can do everything from chug down donuts to firing your fellow employees, all from the comfort of your VR headset.
With Ubisoft preparing to make another deep cut into VR with the upcoming Transference, there’s never been a better time to try out one of its first forays into the medium. Eagle Flight sees you flying over Paris, 50 years after humanity has died out.
Coming from the same studio that brought you the Assassin’s Creed series, Paris is recreated with some serious splendor, making for quite the backdrop when you’re riding the wind high above. You can soar in single-player or hit up another play for some two-player races across the beautiful and desolate landscape below.
While horror and shooters may have made some of the biggest impacts on VR so far, racing is fast becoming of the most talked about. Along with the likes of Assetto Corsa, Project Cars (much like the first game) takes the immersive qualities of virtual reality and straps it into the seat of the world’s fastest vehicles.
From dynamic weather to realistic atmospheric conditions, every tiny facet of the racetrack will affect how you drive, making this an incredible experience for both novice drivers and experienced petrolheads that want to get as close as they can to a real-life career in motorsport.