The launch of the HTC Vive finally brings full-motion virtual reality to the masses. There are quite a few games available at launch, so we’ve combed through the list and selected a few of our favorites. After playing everything the Vive has to offer at launch, these games, in addition to being fun in-and-of themselves, 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.
Fantastic Contraption (Radial Games)
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.
Hover Junkers (StressLevelZero)
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.
Elite: Dangerous (Frontier Developments)
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.
Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives (Owlchemy Labs)
In a future where robots have replaced humans in all jobs, this simulator is the only way for people to experience what working was like. This tongue-in-cheek game places you in roles like office drone, convenience store clerk, or gourmet chef, and guides you through a variety of menial tasks. Each motion controller is a hand that can be used to grab and manipulate any of the objects surrounding you. Of course, you are free to ignore your instructions and cause chaos, as every workplace is full of fun interactions to discover. In practice it is essentially a point-and-click adventure game, but the immersion of VR and Owlchemy’s wry sense of humor makes this one of the funniest games we’ve played in ages.