We’ve been playing with the Oculus Rift for a couple of years now and in that time, the catalogue of available games and VR experiences has grown exponentially.
If you’re new to VR or just own an Oculus Rift headset and want to know what game to pick up next, we’ve got you covered.
Best superhero experience
Marvel Powers United VR
If you’re a Marvel fan, then this title should be immediately appealing. Whether you’ve dreamt of having Adamantium claws, green skin or a bullet-proof patriotic shield, Marvel Powers United lets you live out that fantasy.
Marvel Powers United VR is an online multiplayer game, where you team up with various other superheroes to complete set objectives while fighting off waves of enemies.
Play as Hulk, Captain America, Black Widow, Doctor Strange, Thor, Wolverine, Storm, Deadpool, Rocket Racoon, Starlord, Black Panther, Spiderman and more.
Playing online with friends or strangers is a total blast, but you can also play on your own too. How you play varies from character to character, which changes the game wonderfully each time you dive in. We had a blast with this one.
Most atmospheric experience
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is a dark and atmospheric journey into mental illness and psychosis. This game is set during the Viking age and sees the main protagonist (Senua) journeying into hell to save the soul of her beloved.
Developed by the team behind Heavenly Sword, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, and DmC: Devil May Cry this is a real corker of a game.
Better still, the original critically acclaimed game that released both on console and PC, has now been updated with a free VR workover.
In virtual reality, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is utterly immersive, disturbing and enthralling. This isn’t just a bolt-on either – the entire game is playable in VR. It’s also one of the most affordable Oculus Rift compatible games on our list.
Best heart-pounding race sim
We’ve been big fans of Codemaster’s Dirt games over the years and Dirt Rally was no exception. This classic rallying game was also one game to get the VR makeover. Reimagined in VR, Dirt Rally is certainly something special.
Driving a fast car, in virtual reality, while having a co-pilot call out pace notes and being able to turn your head to look about while you drive is nothing but astounding.
Warning though, if you suffer from VR motion sickness problems, this might not be the game for you.
Most voyeuristic VR experience
The Invisible Hours
The Invisible Hours is one of the most interesting and unusual virtual reality games we’ve played. It’s certainly a game like no other we’ve played. In fact, it’s more like a voyeuristic story-telling adventure than a traditional game.
Donning your Oculus Rift and playing The Invisible Hours, you become an onlooker witnessing events as they unfold before you.
As a floating virtual head, you’re able to explore your surroundings and move freely around the world. The highlight though, is being able to control time – pausing, fast-forwarding and rewinding time on your whim. This allows you to watch the the story unfold from a multitude of different angles.
You can follow a single character for the entirety of the game or zip between different NPCs, watching their actions and how they change when they think no one is looking.
We found ourselves enthralled by this title and the God-like Omnipotent powers it gave us. Fascinating, intriguing and downright incredible.
Read the full review: The Invisible Hours review: A voyeuristic VR delight
Best turn-based strategy
Skyworld VR is another game that delivers unexpected virtual reality experiences. This is a traditional turn-based strategy game, but with a brilliantly thought out VR design.
The game drops you in a magical land full of demons, dragons and floating little kingdoms. These kingdoms sit on a spinnable circular flat-topped world in front of you. These realms need to be protected, defended or recaptured from the enemy hordes.
Your job is then to gather resources, build your army and battle your enemy for control of the region. Play against friends, other online players or just computer controlled AI.
We found Skyworld VR to be a refreshing change from the usual hectic VR experiences and, although slightly slower paced than other games, it’s not one to be underestimated. Meticulous micromanagement is key to winning.
A lot of fun once you get the hang of it.
Read the full review: Skyworld VR review: Turn-based strategy fun in virtual reality
Best free VR experience
Google Earth VR
Ever fancied travelling the world without even leaving your living room? Now you can. Google Earth VR lets you go almost anywhere in the world in an instant.
Google Earth VR lets you search for specific locations or simply fly around the globe dropping down to Earth for a quick poke about. One minute you can be on top of the Empire State Building, the next standing beside the Pyramids of Giza or just outside your house.
Powered by Google’s Street View cameras and travellers Photospheres, Google Earth VR gives you unprecedented access to the world without all the hassle of booking flights or ever actually packing a bag.
Read the full review: Google Earth VR review: Now with virtual reality Street View
Best VR bullet-time experience
Superhot VR is a simply smashing gaming experience.
This game puts a fresh spin on the classic bullet time mechanic. Superhot VR pitches you against angry red men who are apparently made entirely of glass. These chaps are out for blood and you need to defend yourself from their vicious onslaught.
The twist is time is at a complete standstill until you to move. Swing your hands or move your head and time begins to move too. Of course, you need to move to look around and suss out the environment, so it takes times to adjust to this logic.
Superhot VR feels completely unnatural to play – confusing, amusing and extremely exhausting to boot. It’s this unusual design though, that makes it so enjoyable.
We’d also highly recommend this one if you want to show off the joys of VR to your friends. The developers built a “party mode” just for such shenanigans.
Read the full review: Superhot VR review: Virtual reality’s most frustratingly enjoyable game
Best VR boxing game
Creed: Rise to Glory
This is a virtual reality boxing simulator from the Rocky universe. It’s a fantastic game that’s utterly exhausting and exhilarating to boot.
Popping on your headset and booting up Creed: Rise to Glory, you’re thrown into a ring to box it out with a number of different opponents, as you fight your way to the top. Along the way, you also have the option to play a variety of training mini-games and compete against other real-world players for domination of the punching bag.
Inside the ring, victory is won by dodging, blocking and boxing your way to victory. The mechanics here are excellent and you’re really free to play as you would fight in real life. As long as you can stand up to your opponent that is.
We found Creed: Rise to Glory even more physically taxing than Knockout League, which we really didn’t think was possible. Tracking activity with a Fitbit while playing lead to some impressive heart rate results and good workouts. Who says you can’t play and get fit at the same time?
Boxing to the famous tunes from the Rocky films is an utter thrill if nothing else.
For a more arcade style game check out: Knockout League review: Arcade-style VR boxing is a smash hit
Best gladiatorial combat game
GORN is pitched as a “ludicrously violent VR gladiator simulator” and we’re certainly sure this isn’t something you shouldn’t let your kids play.
For blood-thirsty adults though, GORN is a hilarious romp. It’s stuffed full of gruesome gore, hilarious battles and the silly weaponry, all of which result in a smashingly good time. Cartoon-like cel-shaded graphics, hilarious physics and a design that doesn’t take itself too seriously only add to the amusement.
You do need plenty of space to play this one though as you’ll be flailing your arms around wildly as you play.
GORN is packed full of content – with a multitude of different levels to play, weapons to mess around with and bosses to battle. This game is utterly exhausting, but a brilliant stress reliever and full of chortles too.
It’s also affordable, so won’t break the bank. We can’t guarantee the same about valuables in your playroom.
Read the full review: GORN VR review: Hilarity and brutality abound
Best multi-experience game
The Lab is one Valve’s free demo software and was meant to show off the potential of the HTC Vive, but it’s also compatible with the Oculus Rift and Windows Mixed Reality Headsets. It’s also free and thus in our mind is an essential title to download right from day one.
The Lab is a collection of mini-games, VR experiences and demos. Playing The Lab, you’ll soon get a familiar feeling if you’ve ever played Portal or other Valve games.
There are a number of experiences to enjoy but we especially liked the Longbow game, where you have to fire arrows at a horde of Vikings who are trying to ransack your castle.
We heartily recommend The Lab to anyone who has just purchased an Oculus Rift wants to dip their toes into VR. It’s a fantastically enjoyable starting point.
Best wave shooter
Space Pirate Trainer
Space Pirate Trainer is an exhilarating virtual reality space-based shooter with a simple premise and a banging soundtrack.
You’re dropped onto a platform in space with two pistols and waves of flying bots that need to be shot out of the starry sky.
A variety of weapon modes allow you to mix up your play styles, blasting away while ducking and dodging incoming fire.
With only three lives to play with that don’t replenish between waves, you’re always close to failure which makes Space Pirate Trainer as intense as it is enjoyable.
Space Pirate Trainer is one the cheapest games on our list, it’s also one of the most exhilarating experiences on the Oculus Rift.
Read the full review: Space Pirate Trainer review: A fantastically exhausting VR shooting gallery
Most atmospheric VR zombie shooter
Killing Floor Incursion
Zombie games might be a bit cliché but they also work really well in virtual reality. Fighting off hordes of zombies is much more intense and immersive in VR than it is on any other platform.
Killing Floor: Incursion is likely the most atmospheric, well-crafted and enjoyable zombie shooter we’ve played in VR.
The game takes place in an eerie, foreboding and immersive zombie-filled world with a mass of weapons at your disposal.
Killing Floor: Incursion’s mechanics make it easy to play and far less frustrating than some other VR shooters we’ve tinkered with.
Killing Floor: Incursion allows you to blast, bash and bludgeon zombies in a variety of satisfying ways. It also includes a wide range of enemies which make for an interesting bit of VR combat.
Campaign levels are varied and interesting too. Our favourite feature might be the ability to play in the game in co-op mode with a friend. Shooting and stabbing zombies is always much more satisfying you’ve got a buddy to watch your back.
Read the full review: Killing Floor Incursion review: A zombie-slaying VR adventure
Best virtual reality role-playing game
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim might be an old game now, but it was a highlight of its time. The most recent reboot of this game is a joyful VR version that allows you to replay the entire game with full-on first-person VR joy.
Skyrim VR manages to be a magnificent RPG romp – rekindling all the freedom, fun and frolics we remember from all those years ago.
This updated virtual reality version includes a number of controls options for that breathe new life into the game and make it a more immersive game to play.
Blocking, parrying, blasting spells or using Dragonborn shouts are so much more interesting in VR than they ever were before.
Surprisingly, we found it was easier to get lost in the Skyrim universe in virtual reality on the Oculus Rift than ever before. Time simply disappears while you adventure.
Hours and hours of content await in a wonderful world that’s moddable too. The only downside is the tired feet you’ll get from trudging across the lands.