5 Underexposed VR Games
Despite being a fairly new market, the library of virtual reality games across the Steam and PlayStation markets is already fairly diverse, with enough games that you can make a reasonable top 250 list of VR games on Steam and not have much in the way of full-blown shovelware.
Unfortunately this means that some games have the tendency to disappear into the waves of overly burdened storefronts. Today, I’m going to talk about five games I think deserve a little more attention. (All links are to either Steam or the North American PlayStation Store.)
While most people’s first choice in flight games on a VR system may not be a slightly more realistic take on the Pilotwings formula, the thoroughly polished job done here is a great first introduction to more complicated VR games.
Spread across three islands, multiple planes, and tons of missions, the simplified look and feel of Ultrawings gives the game a real charm to it, with its simple cartoonish graphics looking great even on a low res headset like the PSVR. The controls are simple and satisfying, with the startup process of each plane retaining its charm even after multiple takeoffs. There’s variety in spades thanks to multiple mission types, with one of the best letting you grab a simple starters pistol to shoot targets with. All three planes can be a real challenge or soft breeze to fly thanks to tons of difficulty options. Great for really stretching your VR legs for the first time.
#4 – Soundboxing – PCVR only
Arguably the most popular game on this list, being roughly in the 80th highest rated VR game list on Steam, Soundboxing is exactly what it sounds like – punching to the beat. While not exactly unpopular, I feel it’s worth mentioning here, purely due to the overwhelming existence of Beat Saber drowning out every other rhythm game imaginable.
With that said, Soundboxing does have a lot going for it right now, the main thing being YouTube integration. You can load up any video, and make a beat for yourself out of it, or see if anyone else has done the same. There’s also a ton of neat little details – the little robots that dance along with you, the visual design that’s simple on the eyes and easy to follow even on more complex songs, and since scoring judges your punching force, being precise can help your score immensely. It has plenty of depth and tons of songs already mapped, no mods required, so it can almost be easier to jump into than Beat Saber. Cheap as chips, to boot, even when not on sale.
#3 – Statik – PSVR only
I’m sure everyone can sympathize with the daily grind. Clock in, watch some fool play with a big box strapped to his hands for twenty minutes, absentmindedly tell him that he is doing perfectly average, drug him into a state of mild hallucinatory sleep, clock out. That kinda stuff, ya know.
While I kid slightly, Statik is a clever puzzle title that plays with the concept of VR by having every button (or most buttons) on the DualShock 4 control a big puzzle box on your hands. It lends itself to some really neat tricks and a lot of encouragement in being able to pick out obvious-yet-not-obvious details in your environment. It also leads to some weird questions. Who is this hilariously boring man running the Institute of Retention, and how is he actually interesting despite this? It helps that the variety on the puzzles keeps the game from being boring, and you’ll be through it before you know it.
#2 – Chambered – PCVR only
Most multiplayer games on both VR platforms have the eternal problem of low playerbases. Sometimes you just want to stretch out, relax, and shoot some dudes in structured matches. Chambered is this concept given form.
It’s a basic VR shooter, but it nails those basics. The guns are high quality enough to fit the part, fun to use but hard to completely master, the bots aren’t brain dead or rock hard, and there’s a fair selection of levels, weapons and customization items to unlock. The few dozen levels included will get about four hours out of it max, but for the regular asking price of $4 – yes, it gets cheaper on sale – it’s a steal for what it offers. And there’s even a free demo!
Imagine the TV show Survivor on spaceships, with you and your crew taking on seven other frigates in the fight to the top. High risk action is abound as your crew mans the weapons, engines, and shields, shooting, racing, and trying to get on top of the leaderboards, and every shot counts as you can easily lose time, points or carry over a lot of damage between events. As well produced as that mode is though, there’s a second side of things…
You’re fighting seven other ships to get to the top, and the other fighters can vote out one of the two lowest scorers at the end of a round! Turns out keeping camaraderie between the contestants is important, and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to help someone out, or hurt them so that they drop out of the race, but everyone has a friend in this business, and all debts will eventually end up being repaid. With lengthy ‘seasons’ that are procedurally generated every time you play with new events and contestants, Bow to Blood always remains a fun ride on both sides of the game every time you jump in.
The library of VR continues to grow and expand every year, with a pretty notable backlog of titles for anyone who wants to go digging. There’s gold in those hills, and hopefully these five will give you just a little more fun on your headset, whichever one you’re on. There are plenty of other VR games that deserve a bit of extra light; leave your favorites in the comments.
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