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October 7, 2017

These are the 20 best HTC Vive games available today

by John_A

The HTC Vive is an exciting piece of technology, offering an immersive virtual reality experience,  This wave of consumer-grade VR is still in its early stages, and many developers are still trying to figure out the best way to craft compelling games. Still, there are already more than a few gems on the platform, and the best HTC Vive games show off some of the exciting new possibilities for gameplay that VR brings to the table.

Superhot VR ($25)

Superhot VR turns an already innovative and exciting shooter puzzler into an even more memorable experience on the Vive. The stop time mechanic transitions from any movement to the player’s hands wielding the Vive controllers. Thanks to the precise tracking system offered by the Vive, fluid, precise movements can be made with little frustration. The goal of Superhot VR is the same as the original — work your way through white rooms by dismembering foes with calculated movements. Superhot VR gets your adrenaline pumping and truly showcases how immersive VR can be. For that, it’s arguably the best experience available on Vive.

Buy it now from:

Steam

Adr1ft ($20)

If you watched Gravity and thought, “Gosh, I love to see how terrified I would get if I were stranded alone in space,” Adr1ft gives you the chance to find out. At the start of the game, you wake up completely alone in the vast silence of space. Remnants of your destroyed space station float around you, but you don’t really understand the significance of that event because you have no memory. Even worse, your oxygen suit is gradually failing, constantly threatening death by suffocation in the void among the nameless stars. The main draw of Adr1ft ends up being its stunning visuals. You truly will feel as if you are there. Throughout the roughly four hour experience, you will mostly be gazing at the environments while slowing trying to save yourself. Admittedly, the controls can be rough, but as a visual display, Adr1ft is certainly worth checking out.

Buy it now from:

Steam

Rez Infinite ($25)

A remake of the 2001 cult classic Rez, Rez Infinite is a pitch-perfect VR adaptation that makes us feel as if Rez was always meant for VR. Rez Infinite is still the on-rails shooter that takes players through a hazard-filled computer network, but the chaos that comes from all directions, the enemies that you must aim and shoot at, pop when in VR. There’s also something about the way the shifting environments — the lines, polygons, and bright flourishes — that comes alive when strapped into a headset. Combine the fast and enticing gameplay with the rhythmic soundtrack, and it’s easy to get fully immersed on HTC Vive. Rez has aged remarkably well, but Rez Infinite in VR is the best way to play the iconic game.

Buy it now from:

Steam

The Gallery – Episode 1: Call of the Starseed ($20)

One of, if not the most, impressive narratives available on HTC Vive, The Gallery – Episode 1: Call of the Starseed puts you in the shoes of Alex, a young man or woman (you can pick) in search of what happened to his sister on a remote island. It’s a slow-moving adventure divided up with interesting puzzles and cassette tapes that are narrated with full, well-done voice acting. In a way, it’s Gone Home for VR, but it also riffs off of ’80s fantasy films. There are elements of horror, the supernatural, and it’s full of surprises. Part one of the episodic adventure starts off strong and carries on in superb fashion until the credits roll. With beautiful visuals, writing, and acting, Call of the Starseed is a presentational delight.

Buy it now from:

Steam

Raw Data ($30)

One of the best action games available in VR, Raw Data transports you to the future to take down an evil corporation. Eden Corporation has control of the world but as an operative from the underground hacking group SyndiK8, you go straight into the walls of the corporation to decimate the operation from within, siphoning as much data as possible. The sci-fi setting is wonderfully realized, and the action-oriented gameplay puts you in total control of a wide range of weapons and nanotech powers. Raw Data is a challenging game that rewards players who take advantage of their entire arsenal of abilities. You can play solo or with a friend to uncover the true motives of Eden.

Buy it now from:

Steam

Eagle Flight ($40)

Showing off VR’s explorative strengths, Eagle Flight sees you control an eagle over the streets of Paris. Humans have been extinct for 50 years, so now animals have dominion over everything. Eagle Flight gives you a breathtaking vantage point over historic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower. The action comes in when you swoop down to fight off other animals from honing in on your territory. The aerial dogfights are exciting, but perhaps most interesting when enjoyed via the game’s competitive multiplayer mode. Part of the appeal of VR is having experiences that you could otherwise never have, and Ubisoft’s Eagle Flight does just that.

Buy it now from:

Steam

Rec Room

A social VR experience, Rec Room is a sort of VR social space that gives players the ability to hang out and play colorful mini-games with other players. Controlling an avatar, you can play basketball, soccer, paintball, disc golf, charades, and more, and all of it is played with room-scale VR that really immerses you in the action. Rec Room is one of the more relaxed experiences available on the HTC Vive, and since it’s in early access, more mini-games are expected to be added over time. As it stands, Rec Room is free to download and play, making it a no-brainer for HTC Vive owners.

Download it now from:

Steam

Serious Sam VR: The First Encounter ($30)

Expanding on the surprise success of Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope, The First Encounter delivers a faithful remaster of the 2009 HD remake of the original entry in the series. Supporting both full locomotion and teleportation movement, The First Encounter lets you enjoy the fast-paced experience however you see fit. The 15 campaign levels are even more fun than in the original thanks to the immersion of VR. You can also play cooperatively or in an arena-style competitive mode online. There is also a horde mode that lets you link up with up to 15 other players to battle through waves of enemies. Featuring full trackpad controls on Vive, Serious Sam VR: The First Encounter successfully replicates controller play while giving you increased precision.

Buy it now from:

Steam

Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives ($30)

Life is rather boring in 2050. Every job has replaced humans with robots, and now you’re feeling a bit underwhelmed. To keep yourself busy, you strap on a VR headset and see what it was like to work menial jobs. In Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives, you can work as a convenience store clerk, a mechanic, a chef, and an office worker. As mundane as that may sound, it turns out that everyday tasks are much more enthralling in VR. It helps that Job Simulator has quirky humor, but for the most part, the experience excels because almost everything you see is a point of interaction. Simply picking up, moving, and throwing things in VR is a joy.

Buy it now from:

Steam

Arizona Sunshine ($40)

According to your radio, there are survivors of the zombie apocalypse other than yourself, and it’s your job to go on the grueling journey through the southwestern heat to reach humanity. Yes, Arizona Sunshine is yet another game filled with flesh-devouring zombies, but it’s in VR. Getting chased by the undead feels a lot less blasé when you feel like you’re there. Exploring the game’s vast, barren world, a pack of zombies is never far behind. Arizona Sunshine‘s campaign is playable solo and cooperatively. When you’re done, there is a proper horde mode to get at with up to four players.

Buy it now from:

Steam

Star Trek: Bridge Crew ($50)

The closest you will come to living out your dreams on the Enterprise, Star Trek: Bridge Crew does an exceedingly good job at capturing the essence of a Star Trek space battle in VR. You explore the stars and universe with a team of four aboard your spaceship. One pilots the ship, another serves as an engineer while another makes tactical choices. The fourth teammate serves as the captain, looking over all of the work at a global level. As a team-oriented experience, Bridge Crew is at its absolute best when you have three friends to play with. If you’re remotely interested in Star Trek and have friends to play with, you shouldn’t miss it.

Buy it now from:

Steam

Thumper ($20)

Part of what makes virtual reality so exciting is its ability to dominate the player’s senses in a way screens and monitors simply cannot. No game better exemplifies this than Thumper, a so-called “rhythm violence” game that puts players in control of a metallic beetle, which races along a psychedelic highway to confront and defeat gigantic monsters. Players then use simple, intuitive commands to avoid obstacles along the track, lean into turns, and hop over rails.

The hazards are synced with the game’s soundtrack and consist of militant drums and ominous soundscapes. Even with the distance granted by a monitor, Thumper feels oppressive, but in virtual reality, it truly becomes a grinding descent into hell. While the game’s various environments look great in VR, the boss fights are truly awe-inspiring. Massive, cosmic horrors are rarely as menacing as they are in VR.

Buy it now from:

Steam

Space Pirate Trainer ($15)

Shooting galleries are already too common on the Vive. The controllers lend themselves to the act of pointing and pulling a trigger, and such games allow players to move very little and still engage with obstacles. Space Pirate Trainer stands out from the crowd, however, thanks to its tight controls and gorgeous presentation, which gives players an experience straight out of an ‘80s sci-fi film.

The game takes place largely on an isolated platform. Players hold the Vive controllers in their hands, each one acting as an in-game gun. These guns can be set to perform a variety of actions, allowing you to fire in bursts or using powerful charged shots. Increasingly difficult waves of robotic enemies will attack you, and as they do, you must shoot them down while dodging their attacks. This simple gameplay is surprisingly fun, however, as it gets you moving and multitasking. There are few VR experiences more thrilling than twirling around incoming lasers and firing back, guns akimbo.

Buy it now from:

Steam

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

Virtual reality headsets seem like an isolating experience at first, and though it is possible to mirror the visuals to a screen for the sake of people around you, there is no way to convey the same experience you’re having. Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is a unique multiplayer experience that offers a way for people not wearing the headset to participate. The game tasks the player wearing the headset with disarming a bomb, with input from other players. The problem? Only the player wearing the headset can see the bomb. In order to disarm it, the main player must describe the various modules on the bomb, while the other players consult a lengthy manual that offers instructions on what to do.

The result is tense, and often frantic experience as players shout at each other as the clock ticks down. The modules that can appear on the bomb appoint players with various tasks, such as translating morse code or playing memory games, and communication is vital; it can also break down quickly. The asymmetric gameplay of Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is great fun, and provides a much-needed template for socially-oriented VR games.

Buy it now from:

Steam

Fantastic Contraption ($30)

The Vive’s motion controls and use of actual, physical space opens up some exciting possibilities for games that really let you get your hands dirty, and Fantastic Contraption is a perfect example. Based on a flash game from 2008 of the same name, Fantastic Contraption tasks you with using simple components, such as wheels and rods, to construct devices that move a goal object through the level and into the goal area. It’s conceptually reminiscent of the old Incredible Machine series, but with simpler components and a greater focus on physics.

Unlike its predecessor where you simply used the mouse to connect parts and construct 2D contraptions, now you manipulate components directly with your hands in full 3D. The concept translates beautifully into the new medium, and getting down on your hands and knees to tinker with your contraption is gratifyingly immersive.

Buy it now from:

Steam

Hover Junkers ($35)

While many of the titles currently available seem more like proofs of concept than anything else, Hover Junkers is a fully-realized and exciting multiplayer experience that has us hooked. It solves the problem of moving in a limited space by turning your small play area into the deck of a hover ship that you use to fly around the battlefield, collect junk, and trade blasts with your opponents. Collected junk can be used to bolster your defenses, creating walls for you to crouch behind. Shooting and reloading are handled with naturalistic gestures.

Piloting around, ducking behind cover, and popping up to shoot at your enemies is as natural and immersive as any first person shooter we’ve ever played, so Hover Junkers serves as a fantastic ambassador for the genre.

Buy it now from:

Steam

Elite: Dangerous ($30)

Space dogfighting from a cockpit perspective is one of the most immediately obvious ideas when you consider VR gaming, and Elite: Dangerous delivers on that promise handily. A starfighter’s cockpit is a great way to justify a seated VR experience. Frontier has been working on porting the game to VR ever since the Oculus DK1, and that level of iteration shows in the final product’s polish. Elite has a first-mover’s advantage of being one of the Vive’s launch titles longest in development, with a successful, multi-platform release already under its belt, so this open-world space game will be a natural starting point for gamers who want a polished, proven experience.

Buy it now from:

Steam

Accounting

Is virtual reality a good medium for comedy? Accounting, a short adventure game written by Rick and Morty creator Justin Roiland, makes a strong case for it. Navigating through many colorful, deranged layers of reality, players can grab and move objects in the world, and, for the most part, the only thing they have to do is fiddle with their surroundings. While the mechanics may not be memorable, the writing certainly is. Populated by bizarre characters who speak in rambling, absurd dialogue, that might feel familiar to Rick and Morty fans. Fans of the show, or animated comedy in general, will undoubtedly love this short, but memorable VR vignette.

Buy it now from:

Steam

Tilt Brush ($30)

Tilt Brush isn’t a game, per se, but it’s easily one of the most engrossing and medium-specific applications currently available for the Vive. This Google-owned app utilizes the two motion controllers as a brush and palette, allowing you to paint in 3D space. The palette in your off hand lets you select brushes and colors, manage system settings, and apply a number of tools like a straight edge or a mirroring axis. Your dominant hand holds the brush, which can quickly change the scale on the fly with the touchpad. In addition to standard options such as oil paint, marker, or dry brush, the palette also includes effects brushes like smoke, fire, and stars to help bring your creations to life.

Tilt Brush doesn’t quite have all of the tools yet that you might need in order to make it a professional workhorse (like the ability to create standard, geometric forms), but it’s nevertheless a fantastic and intuitive way to quickly sketch out ideas in 3D. Unlike many of the game’s released so far that simply port existing genres into VR without fundamentally altering the gameplay, VR painting/sculpting is a categorically different experience and has the potential to become an enormously important sector of the industry.

Buy it now from:

Steam

Audioshield ($20)

Do you miss the nostalgic days of Guitar Hero and Rock Band? Audioshield, from Seattle-based independent developer Dylan Fitterer, brings rhythm-based music gaming back into the picture with an enrapturing — though simple — VR experience. The Vive’s wireless handheld controllers act as shields in this audiovisual experience, and you, the player, must use these shields — one red and one blue — to block incoming balls of goo ( ?) that fly at your face.

The game is similar to Guitar Hero or the TapTap series in that the balls’ flight paths are dependent upon the song that’s playing. Any audio file on your computer can be uploaded into Audioshield and used in the game, which might look like some sort of wild boxing simulator to someone who’s not wearing the headset. The whole thing feels like you’re inside some sort of cool rave-type fever dream, though we don’t encourage you to use performance-enhancing drugs. Audioshield is also compatible with Soundcloud, so you don’t even need to have a music file on your computer to play it in the game. The visual experience may seem a little barebones, but it feels like the beginning of something big in terms of virtual reality.

Buy it now from:

Steam

Update: Added Superhot VR, Adr1ft, Rez Infinite, The Gallery, Raw Data, Eagle Flight, Rec Room, Serious Sam VR, Job Simulator, Arizona Sunshine, and Star Trek: Bridge Crew.




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