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Our absolute favorite HTC Vive games

The HTC Vive is an exciting piece of technology, offering an immersive virtual reality experience, but users may find the selection of games available right now somewhat disappointing. 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 some early gems on the Vive; here are ten games that show off some of the exciting new possibilities for gameplay that VR brings to the table. Check back in the future as we play more games and update this list with our findings of the best the platform as to offer. All these games are available on SteamVR.

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

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