We all like different games.
Some of us go nuts for action, shooters, or platformers—games that require quick problem solving and lightning-fast reflexes. Others prefer more methodical games—puzzles to be solved, relationships to be developed, and the organization of resources. And some gamers even enjoy farming simulators and other peaceful escapism. There really is something for everyone out there.
When it comes to virtual reality gaming, there are a lot of options for players to choose from—most major genres of games are represented by the growing library of titles available for VR devices, and many more are in development.
So, where should you start? Depending on the kind of experiences you like, you might not find a one-to-one translation of your favorite traditional games into virtual reality—which is fantastic, since it gives you an opportunity to try something brand new!
Here’s where you should start looking for VR games, depending on what you want to get from gaming.
Fast-Paced Action Gaming
Virtual reality is a fantastic platform for first-person action games, particularly shooters. Watching through the eyes of your player makes for a far more immersive experience as you play, and the thrills, explosions, and gunfire feel all the more intense as a result of the VR viewpoint.
There are plenty of VR games available that capture the excitement players have come to expect from action shooters. As with all media, some stars shine brighter than others—Raw Data, for example, comes highly recommended. With its focus on multiple weapons, its unique art style, and the inclusion of a solid multiplayer, this is a VR title which fans of explosive action will love.
Hover Junkers is the perfect choice for any fan of first person shooters.
Another excellent action VR title is Hover Junkers. Players navigate a barren wasteland, constantly involved in shootouts aboard flying cars made from scrap. The game has a genuinely unique personality that’s full of dry sarcasm, bombastic explosions, and grimy grunge that feels a lot like something you’d get from Borderlands while still feeling very fresh, and is well worth any player’s time.
These two games are a great place to start for any fan of reaction-testing action games. There are plenty more shooters for the platform, so once you’ve tried these, feel free to explore other options to find similar games that you’ll enjoy.
Thoughtful Story-Based Experiences
Thanks to the uniquely immersive viewpoint, VR isn’t just suited to high-octane gunplay. The possibilities available to storytelling in virtual reality have been well-documented, and players who enjoy a strong narrative will find plenty to enjoy on VR platforms.
Role-playing games in virtual reality have some limitations, but the use of the medium for giving players a character they can really connect with as they explore a virtual world means that a well-built RPG can deliver an impactful experience in VR. Such is the case with Chronos, which plays a lot like traditional fantasy role-playing games, but brings the player right into the heart of the world by putting them behind the eyes of their character.
Chronos creates a rich fantasy role-playing world.
Dark, atmospheric, and often creepy, Chronos is an excellent choice for anyone who likes story-driven games but also wants to see how VR can make role-playing even more immersive and personal.
The adventure game Loading Human similarly approaches the idea of narrative-rich virtual reality but does so in a far more intimate way that is wonderful in its own right. Telling the story of a young astronaut who is tasked with traveling the galaxy to find a mystical artifact, the game uses a science fiction setting to tell a very personal story about family, love, responsibility, and the importance our memories play in our interpretation of the world.
Both of these games draw on familiar role-playing and adventure game experiences but take advantage of the unique opportunities afforded by virtual reality. Rather than just watching characters engage with each other on-screen, the player takes on quests for themselves as they see through the eyes of the games’ protagonists and develop a connection with the characters they meet.
Loading Human has a powerful story at its core.
For fans of artistic, story-driven games that leave the player with plenty to think about, these two titles are an excellent starting point. From here on, there are a lot of other adventure titles available, such as The Assembly or P.O.L.L.E.N., meaning there’s a lot to keep story-driven game enthusiasts busy.
Not everybody wants a video game experience that will challenge them with new ideas or leave them tense and full of adrenaline—for many of us, games come as a main form of relaxation and simple escapism.
It hasn’t taken long for experts in meditation and mindfulness to find ways to use VR to create relaxation experiences using the technology. If you want to use virtual reality to escape the world, you might want to consider some of the guided meditation games that exist to help players unwind and relax.
Guided Meditation is a wonderful relaxation experience for VR.
One offering, simply titled Guided Meditation, gives players the opportunity to relax on a quiet, sunny beach. The ‘game’ is simple and lacks challenge, but it provides all that some users are looking for in their virtual experience.
If you’re looking for slightly more challenge to your game, you might like to try Thunderbird, a title that allows players to explore a wide world filled with puzzles to solve. Much like Loading Human, this game draws ideas from old adventure games, but where Loading Human is inspired by narrative-rich LucasArts titles, Thunderbird bears more in common with Myst and its ambiguous gameplay focusing on exploration.
Thunderbird is perfect if you like adventure puzzle games such as Myst.
Thunderbird is a long way from release right now, but for those who want an atmospheric world to escape into without having to worry about too much action or talking, this will be a great choice upon its release.
For those who like their virtual reality experiences to provide therapeutic escapism, there’s a lot that the platform has to offer—plenty of experiences such as theBlu are designed for the sole purpose of giving players a look at a new world that’s not going to threaten or disturb them in any way.
Don’t Be Afraid to Try Something New
There are a lot of games coming out for virtual reality platforms in the near future. Many of these, like the games on this list, are deliberately designed to continue traditional genres in virtual reality.
As VR gains popularity, though, be prepared to see a variety of new and exciting alternative gameplay styles—developers will look for ways to make new, innovative titles that take advantage of VR’s specific benefits.
Don’t just stick to familiar gaming genres. It’s well worth considering every title on VR to see what unusual or different game might become your new favorite if you give it a chance.
Coming October 13 as a launch title for the PlayStation VR, the first chapter of Loading Human will also be available for other major VR platforms soon after. To try the game out for yourself, preorder it today.