Ask around, and a lot of people will tell you that the HTC Vive is the virtual reality champion right now. The Valve-powered system had the benefit of launching with both room-scale tracking and controllers, giving it a head start on the Oculus Rift.
These days there's more parity between the two, but there are still a few games that can only be played on one or the other. There's a pretty extensive library on the Vive, and while not all of the games are entirely complete or worth your time, there are still some great titles to dive into.
Read this: The best VR headsets
Below, we've rounded up what we reckon are the best Vive games you can play right now, along with some titles that are still on the way. Whether you're after dogfights, zombies, or, err, drug tennis, there's something here for everyone.
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.
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 recent Forever update, which adds more challenges to try. The game is set to release on 25 May, three days from the time of writing this, and we don't have confirmed a price as of right now.
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.
Nvidia's first title for Vive and though it's simple, this is still an absolute blast. If you like the mix and match style of the The Lab (below), then you'll know what to expect from Funhouse. Really, the game is a showcase for Nvidia's physics tech, but that doesn't stop it being a lot of fun. Plus, it's totally free.
The Gallery - Episode 1: 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. Right now you can only play the first episode, but the second is set to arrive very soon.
Fantastic Contraption started life as a popular Flash physics puzzle game in 2008, was repurposed for mobile and has now completed its journey in VR – which is where it really belongs. The game tasks you with building weird and fantastic contraptions to solve little puzzles. It's simple to build yet difficult to get your creations moving right, which is more fun than it sounds. Also, your building materials are conjured from a creepy cat. Standard.
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.
Frontier's multiplayer space sim Elite: Dangerous is more of a traditional, seated game, but that's ok, because it's also superb. Venture through space, trading and battling, in this modern sequel on the original BBC Micro classic. If you're looking for a massive multiplayer VR game, this is it.
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.
A game of tennis with yourself… on drugs. Or at least that's the best way we can describe this game from studio VRUnicorns, which is weird, but a lot of fun. As you hit the ball towards the other side of the court the game will immediately switch perspectives, allowing you to return it, so you're essentially playing a game of tennis against yourself. Or, if you get bored of that, you can try and hit the giant tennis-headed people hanging around the court.
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, all of which makes this game incredibly addictive.
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.
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.
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 vehicle's defenses. Designed for use with the Vive's motion controls, this is a game that both showcases what VR can be and serves as an addictive game in its own right.
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.
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.
Job Simulator: the 2050 Archives
One of the funniest games on the Vive, Job Simulator plonks you in a world where robots have taken over all human jobs. But don't worry, this isn't a case of doing a 9-5 in VR, it's much more entertaining than that. Jobs range from office worker to chef, but you'll have to work out most of it as you go along. This is also a fantastic game for when you're introducing people to virtual reality for the first time.
The biggest VR news story to come from E3 2016 was Bethesda announcing a VR spin on its post-apocalyptic hit Fallout 4. 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 it's set to arrive in 2017.
That's not all Bethesda had to talk about. Joining Fallout 4 VR was the announcement that the most recent Doom game was also set to get the VR treatment. 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 get one at E3 2017.
A spy thriller for VR, Budget Cuts is based around motion controls, using a teleportation gun to move you around the game (and get around those moment limitations). It's all about stealth as you play a robotic spy infiltrating a corporate complex at night.
Star Trek: Bridge Crew
Set in JJ Abrams' Star Trek universe, Ubisoft and Red Storm Entertainment's co-op game 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, coordinating actions with your crew as you explore the vast reaches of space.
Out 30 May 2017
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