The summer is approaching, and with it are long, warm evenings where going outside seems unappealing. VR gaming lets you explore places far away, get some exercise, relive the games of your youth or even solve puzzles all from your house in an immersive, breathtaking experience you won’t want to miss. So what are the top VR games to play this summer?
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Rhythm games have been part of gaming since the beginning, and Beat Saber is a fantastic VR addition to the genre.
It’s similar to games like Guitar Hero, except that instead of pretending to play the guitar, you slash boxes to the rhythm with lightsabers and dodge out of the way of obstacles.
Beat Saber is more of a workout than most rhythm games, but it might be one of the most fun ways of getting exercise if you’re into gaming. You can buy extra songs through DLC, and people can add their own custom songs you can play if you want.
Widely considered one of the best VR games of all time, Half-Life: Alyx is a return to the much-loved series.
It’s set between the events of Half-Life and Half-Life 2, the experience you get from this VR-only game is one of immersion that manages to include all the things people love about the Half-Life series – mind-bending puzzles, zombie-infested death pits, and new, unique items.
Half-Life: Alyx is a wonderful addition to the series that you won’t get to experience unless you play it in VR, and it’s a fantastic, immersive game that will help tide you over until the next Half-Life game is released.
No Man’s Sky VR
No Man’s Sky was already a fantastic game, giving you the chance to explore new worlds and seek out unknown life forms. The universe at your fingertips is even more immersive and breathtaking than ever before with No Man’s Sky in VR.
Imagine feeling like you’re standing next to your spaceship, or the trees on the planet you’ve just discovered – you can sit in your ship’s cockpit, look around and compare it to how different it was from your first ship.
Playing in VR gives you a chance to explore the universe, and see (and feel) how big it really is, from your house, so even if you’re not going abroad, you can still relax and explore somewhere unknown.
Microsoft Flight Simulator
Everyone wants to be a pilot, and Microsoft Flight Simulator gives people the chance to not only fly planes, but to fly planes to places they know or have visited, or even know that they won’t get to visit any time soon.
As the game already requires a powerful PC to run, to make a VR experience as immersive as possible, you may have to lower the graphics requirements to keep the frame rate up, but if you do, you can take your trip to the other side of the world, visit that one airport that you went to on your first holiday or just fly around for fun and escape your everyday life, all while feeling like you’re really there, flying the plane and visiting those places.
If Microsoft Flight Simulator lets you explore the world, Ultrawings gives you a small island chain to fly around.
It’s a lot less graphically intensive than some VR games, but don’t let that fool you. It has incredible air physics, so you feel the sensations of flying from the air whizzing past your plane, the feelings when you pull off insane stunts.
This game is relaxing and immersive. It’s also available on PlayStation, so if you want to fly a plane but Microsoft Flight Simulator isn’t an option, this is an excellent alternative.
Star Wars Squadrons
Sticking with the theme of flying, but returning to the theme of space brings us to Star Wars Squadrons. This has lots of different game modes and while not being fully VR compatible in terms of controllers, it’s immersive and vibrant.
For many people getting to fly TIE fighters or X-Wings is a dream they can now realize in virtual reality, and Star Wars Squadrons gives you a game where you can fly around in space, forgetting that the real world exists.
It’s almost as if this game, with the in-game perspective being from the same position for the entirety of the gameplay, was meant for VR, even if it isn’t a VR-only game.
And what makes it better is that you can play it online with your friends, and the crossplay settings let you play together no matter what platform you’re using!
Another excellent VR game that lets you explore space, Elite: Dangerous isn’t a game where you just discover new planets. Instead, you take missions where you can explore, trade, or even fight.
This gives you another sandbox to play in, with other players in a massively multiplayer experience in an ever-changing universe. Playing Elite: Dangerous in VR gives you better graphics, so the universe feels more real and vast than before.
A departure from space now, as we look at Rez Infinite, a reinvention of an old game in VR. Here, you shoot down enemies while moving on rails.
Every move you make changes the colors you see and the sounds you hear, Rez Infinite tests the limits of what you can do, see and hear as well as bring back well-loved levels from the original game, remastered and seamlessly integrated into the new, updated VR game.
This is an experience like no other, and one you shouldn’t miss out on.
Tetris Effect is another game that plays on our nostalgia, but not only are there more game modes for you to play, but Tetris Effect also expands what the game is.
When playing the game in VR, not only are you completely without distraction, but every action you take has an impact on the sound and visuals.
If you lose a level, you don’t get to hear the end of that piece of music, if you win, the game celebrates with you.
Tetris may not be the first game you think of when considering the best VR games, but Tetris Effect is a way of escaping from the real world.
Vader Immortal is a narrative-driven game in which you complete missions for Darth Vader.
There are three chapters, each of which gives you a chance to develop a skill, like using a lightsaber. You can practice, complete the story and explore the planet of Mustafa. VR gaming gives you lots of different opportunities to be a part of the universes you know and love, and Vader Immortal is no different.
Before you start wondering why there is yet another version of Skyrim, think about how many times you’ve wanted to be fully transported into a fantasy world.
That’s what makes Skyrim VR one of the best VR games around, giving you the chance to be a part of the game as you never have before.
This is also the biggest adventure game on VR as it isn’t just the base game that’s included, but all the DLC as well, and, in true Skyrim fashion, there are even mods that will work with the VR version of the game.
The world has captivated people for thousands of hours, so now let yourself live it through VR and explore as you never have before.
Chronos is a third-person VR game with the player getting the opportunity to not just control the adventurer, but also the camera. You can take notice of small details in the background and draw them to your attention.
One of the other unique and fascinating aspects of Chronos is how it tells its story – in a similar vein to Dark Souls, dying often is a reality.
Chronos confronts this by having the character age one year for each death, meaning the more you die, the more aged your character will look.
Despite not being what you might think of as a traditional VR game, Chronos is a wonderful addition to the genre and a great game to play this summer.
Moss exploits VR to its full potential, in a family-friendly game where you control a mouse called Quill, and parts of the environment around her, as she goes on a quest to save her uncle.
The game tells its story through a mixture of first- and third-person perspectives and much of the gameplay focus is on puzzle-solving, so Moss is a great game for both having a relaxing time and getting a bit of a brain work-out on warm summer evenings.
Star Trek: Bridge Crew
How many of us have dreamed of joining the crews of Star Trek on the bridge of the USS Enterprise?
Star Trek: Bridge Crew might not let you join the bridge of the Enterprise, but it does give you and your friends a chance to have your own adventure in the Federation as one of four different roles.
Although there is a single-player mode, you won’t get the same level of philosophical discussion that made Star Trek so interesting without other players, and being able to take the Klingons on with your friends is a truly wonderful experience.
As Star Trek: Bridge Crew also has crossplay, it doesn’t matter how you and your friends are playing, as you’ll still be able to play together and explore the final frontier.
Regardless of what types of games you enjoy the most – simulators, puzzles, or rhythm games, there will be something that you’ll enjoy in that collection of the top VR games to try this summer.
You might even find yourself trying a completely different type of game to the ones you’ve played before and broadening your horizons in your VR experience.