It’s not easy to explain the best bits of virtual reality to an unbeliever who hasn’t tried out the technology.
The exhilarating feeling of looking through a new pair of eyes or marveling at an incredible digital landscape can be a very personal experience, so while it’s possible to talk about it, words don’t always capture the essence of VR.
If you’re not yet certain about whether virtual reality is for you, there are a few games you should try out first before writing off the technology completely. Here are some fantastic VR experiences that show off the amazing possibilities that the technology has to offer:
The Lab is a series of minigames designed specifically to show off VR’s strong points.
If you’re completely new to VR, I can’t recommend The Lab enough as an excellent starting point.
Essentially designed as a proof-of-concept for the HTC Vive, Valve’s collection of minigames shows off the potential of the technology, giving you a quick rundown of the many kinds of different experiences that it’s possible to have in VR.
From shooting at aliens to throwing sticks for dogs and even admiring enormous VR landscapes, this short game collection is a crash course in virtual reality, and really shows off what makes the medium unique.
It’s all coated in an overworld that’s part of the Portal series canon, which will no doubt be helpful for experienced gamers making their first leap into VR. If the idea of VR Portal is something that appeals to you, be sure to also check out Portal Stories: VR, a collection of Aperture Science puzzles specifically designed for virtual reality.
Tilt Brush lets you paint in 3D.
One of the big challenges in describing what it’s like to experience virtual reality is explaining the concept of inhabiting a completely artificial space. As such, if you’re giving VR an initial try, I’d recommend Tilt Brush, which not only is a lot of fun for the creatively minded, but also teaches the player the rules of a virtual world.
The game lets you ‘paint’ in 3D all around yourself. The word ‘paint’ is the best possible fit for this, but it’s really more of a sculpture—paint comes out of your brush wherever you want it to, and then hovers in place. You can draw a little 3D house to climb inside, or paint wacky wigs to wear or shapes to explore.
This is a game in the most basic sense of the word, and is a little more abstract in purpose, as it doesn’t have anything by way of progression or achievements. For the VR skeptic, though, it’s a nice sandbox experience that helps you come to grips with VR and see just why the technology is so exciting for the future of games.
Job Simulator shows off how a good game can become great in VR.
I absolutely love Job Simulator. I think it’s a fantastic example of just how enjoyable virtual reality can be.
The game makes particular use of motion controls, an essential part of realistic VR gameplay, to allow players to mess around in a digital world. There are goals to achieve, but these are basic and relatively simple, allowing the player to explore, learn, and come up with wacky ways of using the items that are placed around them.
Where this game really shines, though, is in its setting—the idea of a game that simulates a typical working day may sound tedious, but Job Simulator’s developers have crafted a bright, colorful, simplistic and sarcastic take on the modern working world.
All of this adds together to create a game that is a lot of solid fun regardless of medium, which then utilizes virtual reality to build a stellar experience. This game really shows what’s possible in virtual reality when it’s built around a game, rather than just some pretty scenery.
Land’s End has a fantastic atmosphere along with compelling puzzles.
Come for the pretty sights, stay for the puzzle solving.
Personally, I feel that the atmosphere of Land’s End is primarily what makes it deserve a place on this list. It’s difficult to put on a VR headset and not be taken in by the stunning visuals and the sense of scope and scale present in a lot of this game’s settings.
But plenty of VR games have nice visuals, and any VR skeptic will know that this isn’t enough alone to build an enjoyable video game. This is why it’s wonderful that Land’s End is also packed with unique puzzles and challenges, as the player explores the game’s virtual landscape.
There are deeper virtual reality games out there, but Land’s End is perfect as an introduction to VR because it gives the player a sense of what will be possible in the medium. Its setting is breathtaking, and its challenging puzzles mean that there’s something to do beyond simply admiring the view.
Loading Human tells a powerful story in virtual reality.
It’s understandable that some people might worry that for all its gimmicks, VR won’t deliver a compelling level of depth and narrative in its games. For people who worry about this, I’d recommend Loading Human.
Inspired by adventure games of the past, Loading Human is a VR game that is built with a story at its core. The player takes on the role of Prometheus, a brilliant scientist, and explores an interactive story which centers on the struggles of one family in the future, as it asks questions about the importance of love, relationships, and the fundamentals of the human experience.
Loading Human proves just how perfectly VR can be utilized to tell a powerful story, as players are absorbed into the narrative and become part of the action themselves. If you have any doubts that VR might not be able to deliver compelling drama, this game is proof of just how much a player can be sucked into a virtual world as a story unfolds.
There’s Plenty More Where These Came From
VR is everywhere at the moment. There are so many fantastic games that are either fresh on the market or currently in development, from new indie studios and respected gaming juggernauts alike.
This list is a fantastic starting point if you’re brand new to the technology, or if you’re not sure whether it’s right for you.
Beyond this, though, there are hundreds of titles in every genre to choose from—simply start exploring the options available and you’ll find the perfect new VR titles for you.
If you’d like to try out Loading Human for yourself and see what all the VR fuss is about, the first chapter of the game releases on October 13. Preorder your copy today.