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 new Vive Pro. You've hooked it up to your gaming PC or laptop, set up the base stations and now you're ready to boot it up and have some fun.

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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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

$29.99, 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.

$29.99, 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.

$49.99, 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.

$29.99, 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.

$29.99, Steam

Paranormal Activity: The Lost Soul

The first Paranormal Activity movie was terrifying enough in a dark theater, so you can probably imagine how terrifying this VR game is. And, well, it's super terrifying. You're placed in a terrifying realistic house and let to explore and avoid whatever goes bump in the night. Maybe play this during the day though.

$39.99, 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.

$19.99, 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

$24.99, 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 recent Forever update, which adds more challenges to try.

$24.99, 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.

$39.99, Steam

VR Funhouse

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.

Free, 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 $19.99.

$44.98, Steam

Fantastic Contraption

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.

$19.99, 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.

$19.99, Steam

Elite: Dangerous

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.

$29.99, 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.

$19.99, Steam

#SelfieTennis

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.

$19.99, Steam

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, all of which makes this game incredibly addictive.

$19.99, 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.

$19.99, 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

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.

$19.99, 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.

$39.99, Steam

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.

$19.99, Steam

Fallout 4 VR

Fallout 4 VR has become one of the most anticipated VR games of 2017, and now it's finally here. It's 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.

$59.99, 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.

$39.99, 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?

$29.99, Steam

Best HTC Vive apps and experiences

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.

$14.99, 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.

$29.99, 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.

$29.99, 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

Kingspray Graffiti VR

Ever think you could be the next Banksy if it weren't for the cops and running around in the dead of night with a bunch of supplies and a mask on? Well, this is your lucky day because this experience is exactly that. You and a group of friends can simply hang out in seedy locations tagging stuff.

$14.99, 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.

$9.99, 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




21 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.

    • lolytallica says:

      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 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • LORD_SKYRAIDER says:

    would u reccomend Out of ammo?

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

  • shadab14meb346 says:

    are these games online can any one tell?

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