The best HTC Vive games you need to play

What you should play first – plus which games are on the way
Best HTC Vive games to play now

The HTC Vive is finally alive and in out the wild for all the world to use. But what exactly can you try right now?

Well, Valve has a pretty extensive library of games for the Vive, and while not all of them are entirely complete – some are episodic while others are demo length – you'll still have plenty to play with on your brand new headset.

Read this: HTC Vive vs Oculus Rift

Oculus has more thorough experiences that extend beyond games, but Vive has the advantage of Room Scale VR, which lets you walk around universes and see games from whatever angle you want. The HTC Vive is simple to set up as well if you feel inclined towards non-seated action.

Check out our list below for the best HTC Vive games you can play now as well as the great games that are on the way.

Coming Soon

Fallout 4


Arguably the biggest VR news story to come from E3 2016 is Bethesda's decision to put a VR spin on its post-apocalyptic hit. Revealed at its press conference, Pete Hines, VP of PR and Marketing said: "We think that the greatest promise of VR is its ability to immerse players completely into virtual worlds, and that the best games for that experience will be first-person open-world RPGs."

There are no details yet on whether this will be an adapted version or if Bethesda will port the original game, but what we do know is that you'll have to wait until 2017 to play it.

Out 2017

DOOM VR

That's not all Bethesda had to talk about. Joining Fallout 4 VR was the announcement that the most recent Doom game was set to get the VR treatment too. Giving you a "virtual tour of hell", demos of Doom VR were played at E3 using the Vive to show off locations and the gunplay mechanics. Unlike Fallout, Bethesda hasn't stamped a release date on this yet, but here's hoping we're not waiting too long for it.

TBC

Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope

PC gamers will be familiar with this classic shooter that's not a proper sequel to Serious Sam 3, but gives you something to play while developer Croteam gets to work on it. There's not a lot known about it outside of the trailer above, but it looks like a game in the Space Pirate Trainer mould where you'll shoot from a stationary position taking full advantage of Vive's motion controllers to blast the enemy into pieces.

Out summer 2016 through Steam Early Access

Star Trek: Bridge Crew

Set in JJ Abrams' Star Trek universe, Ubisoft and Red Storm Entertainment unveiled this four player co-op game that could really showcase the potential for shared VR gaming experiences. You'll be able to play as the captain or various officers aboard a Federation starship, with gameplay elements set to include activating the warp drive, scanning objects in space and broadcasting images to the ship.

Out autumn 2016

Arizona Sunshine

A first person zombie shooter from Vertigo Games, Arizona Sunshine looks to be going for slick graphics and using motion controls to blow zombie heads off with virtual guns – a good combination. We don't have a launch date yet but again, it will be available at some point this year.

Out 2016

Budget Cuts

A spy thriller for VR, Budget Cuts is based around motion controls so while it's not a HTC Vive exclusive, it won't launch for Oculus Rift until its Touch controllers arrive later in 2016. It uses a teleportation gun to move you around the game and is all about stealth as you play a robotic spy infiltrating a corporate complex at night.

Out 2016

Play now

VR Funhouse

This is Nvidia's first title for the Vive and though it's simple, it's an absolute blast. If you like the mix and match style of the The Lab (below), then you'll definitely love Funhouse. Plus the crazy graphics and physics Nvidia are trying to show off are packed into the game so everything is more exaggerated than you'd expect – which we don't mind one bit.

Out now

War Thunder


Oculus Rift owners have already been able to dabble in this free-to-play, World War 2 based combat and now developer Gajin has delivered on its promise to add Vive support. Action from the cockpit of a historic plane or tank should be a similarly impressive experience with talks of adding more VR friendly features in the future, including museum mode to take a closer look at the iconic vehicles that once took to the battlefield.

Out now

The Gallery: Call of the Starseed

Cloudhead Games' The Gallery: Call of the Starseed is a fantasy adventure game that takes you on a mission to find your missing sister. It's designed to take full advantage of room scale gameplay with the devs even creating their own Blink locomotion tech and putting MoCap actors inside the headsets. It's beautiful, mysterious and kind of creepy sometimes, showing that Cloudhead really found a perfect balance of ambiance and intrigue. This is only the first episode with three more The Gallery games coming every six months from April.

First episode out now

Fantastic Contraption

Fantastic Contraption started life as a popular Flash physics puzzle game in 2008, was repurposed for mobile and now it also lives in VR – which is where it really belongs. You're essentially building weird and fantastic contraptions to solve little puzzles. It's simple to build yet difficult to get your creations moving right, which all makes for a really good time. Bonus: there's a creepy yet endearing cat that's essentially where your building materials come from. And a giant button you press to move on to the next level is on the face of a dog. We really love this game.

Out now

Elite: Dangerous

Frontier's multiplayer space sim Elite: Dangerous will head to the Oculus Rift too this year but the developer has said that it's now prioritising Vive. It's more of a traditional, seated game than some of the other more experimental titles but the VR game has been in development for years now. It's actually already available to play with VR headsets via a free update so those 7,000 Pre devs can all have a go.

Out now

#SelfieTennis

Basically a game of tennis with yourself… on drugs. The last part is what the Twitterverse has claimed, and they're not lying. From studio VRUnicorns, the game is both very simple and very weird. Also, incredibly fun. You can volley the ball towards the other side of the court and the game will immediately switch perspectives, allowing you to hit the ball again. Or you can try and hit the giant tennis-headed people hanging around for fun. Because why not? We hope the Unicorn team will add more to this game in the future.

Out now

Audioshield

Combine exercise and gaming as you hit blue and red glowing orbs racing towards you, all played to your favourite tunes. There are different difficulty settings, various kinds of shields and you can even upload your own music, which makes this one addictive game.

Out now

Vanishing Realms

If you've ever wanted to sword fight with skeletons then look no further. This is the game for you. The undead don't really lunge at you, rather they wait around for you to make the first move. But once that happens, it's on. We got genuinely sweaty with all the slashing and shooting and absolutely had a blast. While a bit too short – it's a Steam Early Access game – we're hoping the devs add much more so we can keep exploring and fighting baddies.

First two chapters out now

Space Pirate Trainer VR

This one is just like any arcade shooter, except the bots are blasting lasers at you from all sides. You get different firing options and even a shield, which is really helpful since the waves get crazy. It's hard to stop playing because you just want to keep going, attempting to beat your old high score.

Out now

The Lab

Straight out of Valve itself, The Lab is a combination of eight mini games and experiences. Though short, each one is whimsical and entertaining in its own right. Plus Aperture Science robots are everywhere including a little robot dog that loves belly rubs. Oh Valve, please make more games.

Out now

Budget Cuts

A spy thriller for VR, Budget Cuts is based around motion controls so while it's not a HTC Vive exclusive, it won't launch for Oculus Rift until its Touch controllers arrive later in 2016. It uses a teleportation gun to move you around the game and is all about stealth as you play a robotic spy infiltrating a corporate complex at night.

Out 2016

Hover Junkers

Indie devs Stress Level Zero part-crowdfunded this little treat on Indiegogo back in 2015. It's a multiplayer flying/combat game in which you choose a ship based on the size of the actual room you're playing in and, in shootouts, physically hide behind your ships's defenses. Designed from the ground up for the Vive's motion controls (and Oculus Touch when they land), Hover Junkers is playable now.

Out now

Tilt Brush

A stalwart of the HTC Vive demos, the Google owned Tilt Brush is a 3D illustration tool that lets you walk around your creations. More of an app than a game, it's still massively fun making art in VR because it feels like every Paint program you've used, but on steroids. There are so many options, colours, types of brush and so forth to choose from that it's almost overwhelming.

Out now

Job Simulator: the 2050 Archives

Another game that we've demoed plenty of times on the Vive and loved is just as much fun at home. Job sims include office worker and gourmet chef and the environments are cartoony, 3D kitchens and retro desk set-ups. It's very easy to cause mayhem and Owlchemy Labs is going after non-traditional gamers here who want to move about and 'pick up' virtual items. You can also follow the orders for each task assigned to you, or go nuts and do your own thing. We found it's most fun to do a bit of both (like making apple, bacon, flower soup or setting things on fire by putting everything on the grill).

Out now

Final Approach

An airport management sim meets strategy game that builds on the premise of something like Flight Control, but in 360-degrees, this is the debut game from new studio Phaser Lock Interactive. Airports and cities the size of your dinner table at are your command as you guide planes and helicopters to land or assist transporting criminals and moving junk around. It's a launch title for the HTC Vive but is also due to come to Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR too.

Out now

Additional words by Sophie Charara

20 Comments

  • kirstyollie says:

    The HTC Vives are the best thing ever invented which allows you to play games all day, everyday. I was one of the first people to get one and have never been off it,

    • arnold says:

      I received the Vive a week ago as well. Do you have any suggestions on what games to play?

      • Halleluyah says:

        The above list is really good. The one I play the most is hover junkers, second would be space pirate trainer. My kids really loves job simulator. Budget Cuts is a great demo, but very raw at the moment and not much to do. Most games out right now fit into wow this has a lot of potential rather than wow this is amazing category.

      • Gazader says:

        try fruit ninja, really good. :)

      • bampot says:

        a good game is surge simulator 2.0.256

      • cnelson700 says:

        HordeZ is awesome.  It is the game that I have played almost exclusively for the past couple of months - usually in multiplayer mode.

  • Lilbobby says:

    although I think these vrs HTC and the occulus will sell well, I think they are still very undeveloped, they should spend more time fixing it up and making contacts with third party developers before getting right into things. I think in the future it will save them from money loss and problems

  • johnButter says:

    Human, We Have A Problem looks cool too! :)

    http://store.steampowered.com/app/491100

  • speedpilot says:

    Just got the Vive, and it won't work, with error "(unresponsive) SteamVR [program]".  It's driving me nuts, because it ran thru about 80 percent of the tutorial and then crashed.  Lots of reports of crashing, and no real solution...

    • IronAngel says:

      Hmm, I sometimes get the unresponsive with "The Lab". I think in my case it's because I use a heavily outdated computer.

      Try disabling some heavy programs e.g. windows update while playing, it might improve a bit. Also try running the SteamVR Performance Test to check which component of your computer is lacking (if any).

    • frankwest says:

      use the display port on your graphics card, don't use the gpu from your motherboard. i.e. hdmi to hdmi for monitor, displayport to minidisplayport for vive output. Alternatively could put display port to hdmi for monitor, and hdmi to hdmi for vive output, depends on what cables you have or can find. TL:DR both video outputs should be connecting to the ports from your graphics card.

  • Robin52077 says:

    I've had my Vive for a week now and we've logged about 20 hours of play. The things that get the most of our attention are Spell Fighter VR (free!), The Longbow game in the Lab, and Vanishing Realms. Oh and Audioshield! Our GPU is just under spec but still works (nvidia 960) but we have an nvidia 1080 on the way and I can't wait!

  • LucasLball says:

    The HTC is probably the best VR on the market, and once your using it you just cannot stop. It requires a big room for the scanners and cameras, and the controllers need some room to move around, but apart from that you need the time to play the games (and a good graphics card!) plus some really good games are coming out, my favourite is fantastic contraption.

  • redalert says:

    Can you use the head set as a monitor for non VR games? Also, as someone that is not very techy(I'm a nurse) can someone tell me about the hardware specs? Are the one's listed accurate? Would you recommend something else. What kind of graphics card would you go with. AMD or Nvidia? Thanks gents

    • Wildcard9 says:

      I can say a couple things. First,  use the SteamVR Performance Test app. Second, using a steam app called Virtual Desktop will allow you to play any game on your PC, and a lot more. I myself always prefer Nvidia, but be smart as far as smanufacturers go (such as Asus, EVGA, MSI).

    • tenstorey says:

      As a headset for non VR games your going against the whole reason for its existence. There would be no reason to use it for just that. I've view videos with the headset and yeah, it's nice, but not a purchase reason.

      For VR as a minimum your graphics card in your PC would need to be a 970 gtx (1060 gtx would be better) or a radeon 480. CPU wise a quad core CPU is a must and at least 8GB of RAM. I've got a Vive myself and its a different world to any games I've played before. It's something more than your expectations (Well for me it was) as it's impossible to describe the pull into another world. The best description is that it's a world without the distractions of your surroundings (Until you bump into your furniture...It happens sometimes with the Vive on occasion.  Until the Rifts motion controllers I'm not sure how it will compare but I do know the Vive will offer the bigger area.

  • davidelindberg says:

    I can highly recommend Rec Room as well, a free title with a huge focus on being social and playing VR-sports with random people. Oh yeah, and it has three-dimensional guess-a-sketch, which is surprisingly fun to play, even with complete strangers - or maybe especially with complete strangers.

  • Alexchn says:

    htc vive, always connect the link box to the hdmi port on your graphic card, do not use the minidisplayport to display port cable. Buy a cable to connect your displayport from graphic card to your hdmi tv. You will save hours of work trying to make it work.

  • ryan_wiancko says:

    A little biased but I would add Yore VR to this list: http://store.steampowered.com/app/524380/

  • me56oldoldold says:

    I bought a displayport to hdmi cable and it fixed the headset problems the hdmi to hdmi hookup isn't good enough for the headset.

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