The best HTC Vive games you need to play

Plus: Vive experiences and non-gaming apps you need to try out too

So you've splashed out on a HTC Vive or even the Vive Pro and now you're wondering what VR games you should play on it.

Whether you're delving into the Steam VR store or Viveport, there's a pretty extensive library of games, experiences and non-gaming apps to play around with right now.

Read this: The best VR headsets

We've tried a whole lot of what's available right now. Some of it is great, but there's also a lot that there that's not so great. To help you find out what does warrant your attention, we've compiled our fave Vive games you need to play. Whether you're after dogfights, zombies, or, err, drug tennis, there's something here for everyone.

And if you're not all about the gaming, we've also picked out our favourite non-gaming Vive experiences you should also check out as well.

Any questions? Hit us up in the comments section below.

Hot VR headset deals

PlayStation VR bundle
PlayStation VR bundle
Amazon
£0.00
Samsung Gear VR (2018)
Samsung Gear VR (2018)
Amazon
$108
Google Daydream View
Google Daydream View
Amazon
$49

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Moss

You probably wouldn't expect a game starring an adorable little mouse to provide one of virtual reality's most moving, immersive experiences, but that's precisely what Moss does. Featuring a fantasy-fuelled adventure that'd make any blade-baring hero proud, Moss offers a brilliant blend of crunching combat, clever puzzles, engaging character encounters, and eye-catching environments. Moss in an emotional tale – strongly supported by the surprising bond you form with brave rodent Quill – and a fresh take on controlling third-person action from a first-person VR perspective, and Moss has far more to offer than its storybook facade might suggest.

£23.79, Steam

Island 359

If you've played a VR shooter in the last year or so, you've likely filled a few monsters, zombies, and mutants full of buckshot. While we all enjoy shooting virally-infected freaks in their ugly faces though, we appreciate Island 359 allowing us to aim our sights at a fresh, prehistoric breed of baddie. From roasting Velociraptors with a flamethrower to fruitlessly swinging a spiked baseball bat at a towering T-Rex, the game's packed with the sort of thrilling dino encounters that'd feel right at home on the silver screen. Much more than a brainless dinosaur shooter, however, Island 359 features intuitive survival and crafting elements that'll keep you engaged even when your not about to become a Pterodactyl's breakfast.

£19.49, Steam

Raw Data

VR shooters come and go, but Raw Data remains one of the platform's absolute best opportunities to empty ammo clips into evil-doing robots. Featuring a fantastic sci-fi setting, a massive arsenal of screen-clearing weapons and powers, and a varied army of cybernetic baddies just begging to be turned into piles of twisted metal, the game places players in its dystopian future with unmatched immersion. Solo operatives are welcome to dive into Raw Data's absorbing tale of rebel hackers, corrupt corporations, and sinister secrets, while competitive multiplayer fans will have a blast fragging friends in the game's class-based player-versus-player modes.

£29.99, Steam

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice VR Edition

A masterful mix of oozing atmosphere, engaging combat, and emotional story-telling, 2017's Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice proved to be both an epic action game and a nuanced tale of its heroine's disturbing descent into madness. Incredibly, the game's recent move to virtual reality has not only retained all these elements, but also significantly heightened them. Most notably, Hellblade's already-stellar sound design – which includes the protagonist hearing voices in her head – is elevated to haunting new levels, ensuring the realism-ratcheting nature of VR can be as pleasing to the ears as it is the eyes.

£24.99, Steam

Transpose

Offering a fresh take on the familiar physics-based puzzle genre, Transpose's dream-like, gravity-defying formula is capable of both challenging your mind and lulling it into a nearly meditative state. As beautiful as they are bizarre, the unconventional puzzler's surreal environments are an absolute joy to experience and explore from beneath the headset. Its inspired mechanics – which have you manipulating time, giving gravity the finger, and even recruiting past versions of yourself to solve brain-benders – however, ensure you'll be too absorbed by its clever conundrums to ever achieve a fully transcendent state.

£15.49, Steam

Gorn

Excessively violent, gratuitously gory, and obscenely over-the-top, Gorn pits you against beefy gladiators in brutal, blood-soaked arena battles. Players are not fed to the meat-bag mob empty handed, however, as a variety of blunt, spiked, and bladed melee and ranged weapons are available to use as they see fit against the barbaric hordes. While Gorn's a mature experience,it doesn't take itself too seriously; the physics-fuelled combat is unquestionably cartoony – even when depicting decapitated heads and lopped limbs – while its more creative death-dealers include the likes of chomping crustacean claws and rabid honey badgers.

£14.99, Steam

The Mage's Tale

A high fantasy romp set in the same universe as The Bard's Tale franchise, this VR dungeon-crawler puts players in the robes of a young mage. That means you're able to shoot all kinds of spells – from spears of ice and bolts of lightning to bursts of foe-frying flames – from their fingertips. While The Mage's Tale's excellent spell-casting mechanics make it a must-play for wizard wannabes, the game also features an engaging yarn, varied environments – packed with traps, puzzles, and monsters – and an intuitive crafting system for those who prefer customizing their own demon-slaying spells.

£30.99, Steam

The Exorcist: Legion VR

Given the immersive nature of VR, lots of game developers have used it to scare the pants off us. The Exorcist: Legion VR takes the tech's ability to fray nerves a step further though, focusing more on atmospheric frights and pulse-pounding pacing than cheap jump scares. As a demon-hunting detective, players will certainly experience their fair share of heart-stopping enemy encounters, but it's this episodic adventure's excellent use of immersion-cranking audio and visual cues – as well its terrifying, slow-burn story-telling – that will see this one popping up in your nightmares long after the credits have rolled.

£3.99, Steam

Beat Saber

Have you ever had the desire to slice boxes up while listening to music, like some kind of disco Jedi? Well, Beat Saber has got you covered. The VR title has become incredibly popular over the past couple of months, letting you chop up boxes to the rhythm of music. May the Force - and the funk - be with you.

£15.49, Steam

Skyrim VR

Skyrim is indeed available on pretty much every platform possible (even Alexa!), so it's no surprise that Skyrim VR would go from a PlayStation VR title to something also available on Steam for both Rift and Vive. This is the Skyrim you know and love, but fully in VR. Get ready to fus-ro-dah your heart out, all over again.

£39.99, Steam

Knockout League

Prepare to put 'em up and sock it to 'em. Knockout League is arcade-style boxing game developed by Grab Games and published by Vive Studios, but just because it's meant to be fun, don't expect it to go easy. Under the tutelage of Doug Johnson you'll learn to survive in the ring before taking on a host of fierce opponents from pirates to, erm, an octopus. It's incredibly fun, but it's also a damn good workout. Grab worked with the Virtual Reality Institute of Health for the in-game calorie counter, which lets you know just how much you're sweating. It's available on Vive, Oculus Rift and even PS VR. Ain't gonna be no rematch... ain't gonna be no rematch

£23.79, Steam

Doom VFR

The latest Doom found a way to modernize the fast-paced and brutal combat the series has been known for. Now, id Software has found a way to bring that combat to VR. You'd think it wouldn't work, a game in VR where you have to move quick and shoot quicker? But for the most part it does, and it's a whole lot of fun to boot.

£19.99, Steam

Rec Room

VR needs more social games, and a lot could be learned from Rec Room, a title that's all about hanging out with other people. Think Wii Sports with a bit more attitude and a lot more immersion. As you hang out with other players in a social club, there's a bunch of activities for you to participate in, from paintball to dodgeball to disc golf, while character customisations and quirky interactions with other people help bring the game to life.

Free, Steam

Star Trek: Bridge Crew

Ubisoft and Red Storm Entertainment's Star Trek game really showcases the cooperative possibilities of VR. You and a group of friends get together and command the bridge of a starship that's definitely not the USS Enterprise. You'll battle with Klingons and work together to boldly explore the final frontier.

£33.99, Steam

Archangel

Titanfall fans - assemble. This one's for all you mech lovers, putting you in the cockpit of a giant bot and pitting you against the evil mechanized forces of HUMNX. Each controller powers an arm of the mech, loaded with an arsenal of weapons for blasting away all manner of enemy vehicles. Sadly, it's on-rails, which works for PS VR (where it's also available) but on the Vive it's a shame it doesn't take more advantage of the freedom room-scale affords. Still, it's a fun arcade shooter worth your time.

£22.99, Steam

Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality

Take Job Simulator and swap in the characters and humor of the very popular Rick and Morty and you have, well, this game. If you're a fan of the animated show, then there's no way you're going to want to pass this up. If you're not, then you may be better off getting vanilla Job Simulator. Wubba lubba dub dub!

£22.99, Steam

Batman: Arkham VR

Originally for the PlayStation VR, it has since come to HTC Vive. Batman: Arkham VR puts you in The Dark Knight's cowl and has you solving a mystery in the heart of Gotham City. While this experience is almost absurdly short, it'll still be one of the best single player experiences you have in VR.

£14.99, Steam

To the Top

Movement might be one of the tough sticking points for most VR games, which may make you think twice about playing To the Top, a game totally about movement in VR. But once you sink your teeth in, you'll find yourself on an exhilarating ride

£15.49, Steam

Superhot VR

Initially released as an exclusive for the Oculus Rift, the unique first-person shooter Superhot VR is finally making its way to the HTC Vive. If you haven't played it, Superhot's twist is that everything plays out in slow motion, but any time you move, time speeds up. It makes for some incredibly neat bullet-time action, and the Vive game comes with the Forever update, which adds more challenges to try.

£18.99, Steam

Arizona Sunshine

A first-person shooter from Vertigo Games, Arizona Sunshine throws you in the middle of blistering Arizona during a zombie apocalypse. Yeah, it's wave-based, but there's a bit of exploration on offer, while co-op multiplayer gives it another dimension. It's tense, violent, and more fun than you can wave a sawed-off shotgun at. Get some.

£29.99, Steam

The Gallery - Episode 1 and 2

Cloudhead Games' The Gallery 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. You can buy the first two episodes together in a handy bundle, or just try out the first for £14.99.

£37.98, Steam

AirMech Command

Now this is how we wish we could have played Command & Conquer back in the day. AirMech Command is a fantastic demonstration of the RTS (real-time strategy) genre working with VR. You've got single player, multiplayer and co-op modes to choose from, across a bunch of different maps, and some intuitive controls that let you grab and deploy troops using the wand controllers.

£14.99, Steam

The Brookhaven Experiment

If you want a game to terrify your friends with, you can't go wrong with The Brookhaven Experiment. The zombie shooter offers a campaign and survival mode, the latter of which sees you blasting away the increasingly-tough undead - perfect for when you're hankering for a quick horror fix. Remember, when you wet your pants in virtual reality, you wet them in reality too.

£14.99, Steam

Vanishing Realms

If you've ever wanted to sword fight with skeletons then look no further, friends. The undead don't really lunge at you, rather 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 we expect you will too. While a bit too short – it's a Steam Early Access game – it continues to be added to.

£14.99, Steam

The Lab

Straight out of Valve HQ 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 - look out for the little robot dog that loves belly rubs. We can't wait for Valve to make more VR games, and it sounds like they're on their way.

Free, Steam

Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope

While it's not a proper sequel to Serious Sam 3, this gives you something to play while developer Croteam gets to work on the full follow-up. It's also a hell of a lot of fun, putting a VR twist on the shooter, and even though it's still in Early Access we thoroughly recommend it. And if you can't get enough, there's also The First Encounter and The Second Encounter to keep you going.

£29.99, Steam

Fallout 4 VR

Fallout 4 VR is the same huge, full version of Fallout 4 that you enjoyed on your PC or console, but it's available to fully enjoy in virtual reality. Explore the nuclear apocalypse at your leisure.

£39.99, Steam

The Talos Principle VR

The Talos Principle VR is the virtual reality version of a beloved first-person puzzler where you wake up in a weird world that combines ancient ruins and advanced technology. You'll have to complete over 120 complex puzzles, while also trying to figure out what your purpose on this strange world.

£29.99, Steam

LA Noire: The VR Case Files

LA Noire: The VR Case Files takes seven of the case files from the original LA Noire and rebuilds them specifically for virtual reality. In a game that already had you grabbing clues and looking around, this seems to be a perfect fit. Plus, you'll get even closer to the strange, obvious facial expressions those witnesses make. What more could you ask for?

£24.99, Steam

In Death

A roguelike shooter where the things you shoot with are various bows and crossbows, you'll be on your way through a godless afterlife. Enjoy as you fight horde after horde in procedurally generated dungeons. Also, you have a magic arrow that can teleport yourself wherever you want. Handy.

£23.79, Steam

Vox Machinae

There are VR games that put you in big mechs and then there's Vox Machinae, which gives you full, immersive control over everything your mech's cockpit. Oh, and you'll have to battle a whole bunch of other people in their own mechs. Just don't forget to eject before your mech blows up.

£19.49, Steam

Creed: Rise to Glory

You get to step into the shorts of Adonis Creed, the son of Apollo and mentee of Rocky. While the first movie may have given us a good origin story, Rise to Glory will see you build up his career. Yes, Rocky will be your trainer. And yes, you will get to train at Mick's iconic gym. It's a Rocky fan's dream come true.

£23.79, Steam

Best HTC Vive apps and experiences

Bartender VR Simulator

If you fancy flexing your mixologist skills, Bartender VR Simulator will let you do it without a smashed glass in sight. Under the wing of a real-life bartending world champion, users embark on a drink-slinging journey at four unique bars, where they learn about different liquors, glass types, and even the best uses for cubed versus crushed ice. Whether you've wondered what it'd be like to serve pints at the local pub or maybe mix more complex concoctions with style to spare, this virtual bartending school is way more fun than your typical VR simulation.

£14.99, Steam

The Great C

Based on the Phillip K. Dick short story of the same name, The Great C – which refers to the plot's evil super-computer is a cinematic, story-driven experience that'll make you wonder why there's not more VR experiences like it. Combining strong science fiction and post-apocalyptic elements with a Hunger Games-like narrative hook, the absorbing tale's brought to life by a stunning presentation that marries jaw-dropping visuals, richly realized characters, and a hauntingly beautiful soundtrack. If you're craving a truly engaging FVR experience, requiring little movement or interaction, The Great C is worth getting lost in.

£4.74, Steam

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; it's Microsoft Paint on steroids. There are so many options, colours, types of brush etc to choose from that it's almost overwhelming.

£14.99, Steam

Virtual Desktop

The desktop is our default way to get things done, but there are limits. Its 2D nature creates a disconnect between you and your content, and they're limited by hardware capabilities.

Virtual Desktop takes these two limitations and throws them in the trash. You can interact with your desktop like you would interact with your phone or tablet. You also will have a whole bunch more space, and a more immersive environment for all of that content. That means watching Netflix large and loud while also tending to some light spreadsheet work.

£10.99, Steam

Masterpiece VR

Have you ever tried modeling something on a computer? It's like tying your shoes while playing hopscotch. It's absurdly difficult, which is a shame because even the smallest child can sculpt when given clay.

Masterpiece VR uses virtual reality to make sculpting 3D models that easy again. You take your touch controllers and sculpt away, as if you were handling the clay with your own hands. Even better, Masterpiece VR enables co-designing. So you and some buddies (or co-workers) can create things together in the same space. There's even a spectator mode for others to watch your creation come to life.

£22.99, Steam

Engage

If nothing else, Engage is certainly ambitious. It's a VR educational platform that allows teachers and professors to record VR lessons for students to go through. These experiences can be as simple as putting a virtual skeleton together or going into a giant version of the Titanic.

There are also lessons from the likes of Neil deGrasse Tyson, whose lecture starts like any other but soon morphs and changes as he goes on, with models and animations popping in. Because this is a social platform, too, you'll be able to interact with teachers and fellow students.

Free, Steam

3D Organon VR Anatomy

Learning about the human body can be, uh, messy - to put it mildly. Virtual reality has the benefit of making it clean and not-so-gross. 3D Organon VR Anatomy will help you learn human anatomy with over 4,000 realistic anatomical models for your perusal. You can also take the human body apart, getting a sense of the scale and size of human organs that you never could have gotten otherwise. Well, unless you're a medical professional.

£22.99, Steam

Allumette

A good example of the potential power of VR storytelling, Allumette simply has you playing the camera as a 30-minute stop-motion film plays in front of you. You can pay attention to the main narrative if you wish, or you can look around at the rest of the scenery. It's up to you, but you wouldn't want to miss out on this one regardless.

Free, Steam

Google Earth VR

Google Earth is one of the best mapping applications ever built. It's beautiful to look at and incredibly accurate - so accurate that someone even used it to track down his long lost family. We've used Google Earth plenty on our desktops and mobile devices, but it takes on a whole new, immersive and epic quality in VR. You're not just playing around with a great map anymore, you're in that great map.

Free, Steam

Ocean Rift

Ocean Rift bills itself as a VR aquatic safari park, and, well, it's pretty close. You'll be floating in a virtual ocean just swimming around, and when you come up to a sea creature you can simply tap on it to learn more, complete with a narrator telling you all about it. Touch a fish, get in a shark cage, stare down a funky looking crab. Whatever your heart desires in the underwater frontier is possible.

£6.99, Steam

Within

When it comes to collecting premiere VR content and huddling them all in one place, it's hard to beat Within. You'll get all kinds of stuff, from behind the scenes looks at movies to unique experiences to 360 videos from far off lands and action sports footage you'd never dream off. The app is continually updated with new content too, so it shouldn't get stale.

Free, Steam

Shepard Fairey VR - DAMAGED

It's been 10 years since artist Shepard Fairey's last solo exhibition, which held his now-iconic Hope poster for former US President Barack Obama. His latest exhibition is entirely virtual, and takes aim at one subject in particular: Social media. In addition to seeing the actual exhibit, you'll get over 100 minutes of commentary from Fairey himself.

£3.99, Steam




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