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.

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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 ‚Äď it's a Steam Early Access game ‚Äď 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

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




What do you think?

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21 comments

  • kirstyollie·

    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·

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

      • Halleluyah·

        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·

        try fruit ninja, really good. :)

      • bampot·

        a good game is surge simulator 2.0.256

      • cnelson700·

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

    • lolytallica·

      Vive are the best!! got mine one week ago and with my MSI Geforce 1080 honestly wayyyy better than expected, best thing I have tried so far!!!

  • Lilbobby·

    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

  • speedpilot·

    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·

      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·

      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·

    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·

    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·

    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·

      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·

      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·

    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·

    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.

  • me56oldoldold·

    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.

  • LORD_SKYRAIDER·

    would u reccomend Out of ammo?

    I've heard it's good and I am deciding Wether to buy 

  • shadab14meb346·

    are these games online can any one tell?