At Fudge, we’re lucky enough to have a HTC Vive in the studio. When we’re not using it for work, anyone can jump in and blow off some steam during their free time.
I bravely volunteered to leave our lame, normie reality this week to strap on the headset and painstakingly research the 10 best VR games that you can buy right now.
Star Trek: Bridge Crew
Sci-fi fans had to pinch themselves when this one came out. You and 3 other players are sorted into roles (with all-important uniform colour preserved) and you must cooperate to overcome various space-based challenges.
Hearing players getting really into their roles and addressing each other by their titles is immensely entertaining. There's even a classic mode with weird, retro-futurist primary coloured buttons.
Even with the occasional, inevitable bad egg, this is a funny, endearing and socially rewarding game. It’s a vital step towards making VR overcome the isolation and separation from other players that is an inherent obstacle to its widespread adoption. Creating more inclusive and communicative games like Star Trek is a great way to ensure the new technology thrives and establishes itself in the mainstream.
Speaking of Star Trek, next up is GORN (I should be ashamed of that reference but i’m actually rather proud). Instead of reptilian aliens, you’re thrown into a gladiator situation, pitted against comedically buff beefcakes, marching towards you with weapons drawn. It’s your job to choose a weapon of your own, and beat them all to a bloody pulp before they do the same to you.
It’s violent, it’s silly and there are even Wolverine-style claws for you to swing around. Although windmilling your arms around is as effective as any other strategy; GORN is a great little stress reliever. Just watch out for furniture, priceless Ming vases, loved ones etc. in your immediate vicinity.
LA Noire: The VR Case Files
We talked about this acclaimed film noir, gumshoe simulator already in our 10 Best Examples Of Character Animation In Video Games blog for outstanding motion capture animation. Well Rockstar have translated it into an immersive VR game with one-to-one use of your hands, because why not? The little details like having the brim of your hat in your vision are strangely effective and instrumental in encouraging you to start feeling like a real inspector.
It raises the bar for what should be demanded from a VR port of a game in the coming era. It enriches the experience, adds to it and yet loses none of the charm of the original by succumbing to what some would dismissively (and erroneously) describe as a gimmick.
Surgeon Simulator: Experience Reality
This runaway indie hit was made for VR. You play as a surgeon who must operate on patients with differing surgical requirements in a variety of bonkers scenarios ranging from hanging out the back of a speeding ambulance to a zero-gravity space station.
It’s like the board game Operation but far more complex. You will fail, you will accidentally drug yourself and you will lose your wristwatch somewhere inside your patient.
The well-loved reboot of this seminal first-person shooter franchise arrived a little too late for VR, but that didn’t stop id Software from building new VR friendly levels from the ground up to bring this experience to virtual reality in 2017.
Like many first-person shooters in VR, point-to-teleport movement is used here to great effect. There’s also a standard movement by directional pad option, which (when paired with the teleportation) definitely preserves much of the original’s dynamic, frantic, movement-based gameplay.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
Here’s hands down the best horror experience you can have with a headset on. The immersion is frightening, the setting is frightening, the audio is frightening. In case you hadn't gathered, this isn't for the easily scared like me.
RE7 is essentially a VR game where you live (or die repeatedly in) the worst ‘meet the parents’ scenario ever. You play as Ethan Winters, drawn to a derelict plantation in Louisiana, by a message from his wife, Mia, who has been presumed dead for the past three years.
Stills don't do it justice, not even footage of the non-VR variant truly convey the terror that this game is capable of inspiring in its players. It’s the kind of experience that can lead to a face full of dog booty. The things VR will make you do...
To The Top
Platformers have been a mainstay of video gaming ever since Donkey Kong. It’s only natural that VR gets its first decent platforming representative.
To the Top is an example of how VR is still in its infancy: finding out what the medium is supposed to be, how to make it fun, and how to refine core mechanics in a variety of genres.
Where VR has no foot tracking, conventional platforming is out of the question. Instead, TTT lets you bounce around its world by grabbing onto blue surfaces that will bounce you in the direction you’re facing. This essentially makes you feel like Spider-Man, need I say more?
Statik: Institute of Retention
Statik is a clever little puzzle game that acknowledges the limitations of the PSVR platform; namely that you can’t see your controller.
You’re placed in a series of lab experiment chambers with both hands trapped inside various contraptions. Each button and stick on the PlayStation controller does something different and mysterious depending on which box your hands are trapped in. This does a great job of making you really feel like you’re trapped, suddenly your trusty PS4 controller which you know so well is an intimidating and obscure device.
Shout out to Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, another great cooperative VR puzzler, but Statik is the next progression in this genre and a smashing debut from Swedish developer Tarsier Studios.
Project Cars 2
The in-car view from most driving games allows them to unsurprisingly translate seamlessly to VR. You’re physically turning your head to make overtakes, checking your mirrors, looking ahead at the next bend: all whilst experiencing an unprecedented level of speed in one of the most technologically sound racing games ever released.
For you sim-racing nuts, this is as close as you can get to being on the track itself.
Here is perhaps the most innovative first person shooter in VR so far. You're placed in a variety of hostile situations, confronted by an army of faceless, red, polygonal enemies weilding a variety of weapons. Sounds pretty challenging right? Well the unique quirk of SUPERHOT is that time only progresses when you move or shoot.
The experience that this mechanic creates plays more like a puzzle game than a shooter. You have to be cautious and strategic in your approach. You're like a climber, mapping out your next handhold and anticipating the immediate and upcoming risks all whilst under a hearty dose of pressure. Only difference is that no-one is breathing “SUPER...HOT” down your neck whilst you're halfway up a cliff face.