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Best VR games 2021 the top virtual reality experiences to play right now

Best VR games 2021
(Image credit: Valve)

The best VR games you can play right now can bring you a whole new level of immersion – especially in comparison to playing a game on a traditional games console. Nowadays, when you put on one of the best VR headsets, you feel like you’re stepping into a whole new world. This guide is filled with our selection of the top virtual reality experiences you can try today, from high-energy shooting games through to spooky escape room puzzlers.

There are a huge range of virtual reality games to choose from – and new titles are added to most of the top VR platforms each week. The best virtual reality games you can play right now are wide-ranging and there are plenty of options to suit all kinds of tastes. High-octane first-person shooters, horror experiences that will make your heart race, mysterious puzzle games, or a new creative pursuit, we're confident you’ll find something that’s right for you.

All of the games you’ll find in our list below support a range of headsets. That means  whether you’re using a high-end PC headset, like the Valve Index or you’re making the most of your PS4 or PS5 with the PlayStation VR headset, you’ll find a virtual reality adventure to suit your setup. Keep reading to find our list of the best VR games of 2021 below.

Which VR games are right for you?

To find the best VR games, your choice will mostly be down to preference. Only you know whether you find shooting games or space exploration games or mystery puzzle games fun. But there are some other factors to consider, too.

The most obvious is finding out whether the game you have your eye on works with your virtual reality system. We've put compatible headsets next to games below.

Another consideration is whether the game allows you to both sit and stand. If you have a lot of room and want to play a high-energy game, it might be a no-brained you'll want to stand up and move about. Those with smaller spaces who aren't playing action games might want the option to stay seated and stationary.

If you're prone to motion sickness, you might also want to check whether there are accessibility controls to change movement settings. Most people get used to VR after a few plays, but some people can still experience a lot of dizziness if they move quickly in VR or have to fly, hover or spin.

Trover Saves the Universe

Image Credit: Playstation  (Image credit: Playstation)

1. Trover Saves the Universe

A tongue-in-cheek comedy

Reasons to buy
+Absurd humor+VR is quite comfortable
Reasons to avoid
-Humor may not be to everyone's taste

Available on PSVR, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Valve Index

This comedy game is from the team at Squanch Games, which was founded by Justin Roiland (the co-creator of Rick & Morty). And because of that fact this game very much feels like a Rick & Morty space adventure but with different characters, which we think makes it one of the best VR games around. Ridiculous missions, hilarious voices, fun, colorful and bizarre stories, worlds and alien races. 

It's been around since 2019 on the Nintendo Switch, PS4 and Xbox One, but it came to Oculus VR headsets in June 2020. It gets around some of the tricky (and not to mention vomit-inducing) movement issues that are common in other games by placing you in a chair that serves as the game's user interface and you can control the main character, Trover, from a distance as well as teleport your chair to different spots in the game. 

Star Wars: Squadrons

(Image credit: EA)

2. Star Wars: Squadrons

Shoot for the stars

Reasons to buy
+Immersive flight sim+Fun for Star Wars vets and newbies
Reasons to avoid
-Campaign is bare bones

Available on PSVR, Valve Index, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Windows Mixed Reality.

Star Wars: Squadrons from Motive Studios is a VR game that will fulfill the childhood dreams of many. Letting you play as both Rebel and Imperial pilots, this ship-to-ship combat-focused flight sim is ideal for VR.

The game has a single-player campaign as well as multiplayer modes and although it's not a VR-exclusive title, playing in a VR headset really only adds to the excitement that you experience when whizzing around space in an X-Wing or a TIE Fighter. 

Sure, it doesn’t have a huge degree of breadth, but really it’s the depth of immersion that you’re looking for with Star Wars: Squadrons and it definitely provides that. 

Half-Life: Alyx

(Image credit: Valve)

3. Half-Life: Alyx

Best of the best

Reasons to buy
+Detailed and rich world+Graphically stunning+Innovative
Reasons to avoid
-Too ambitious at points

Available on Valve Index, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Windows Mixed Reality.

Some were afraid that Half-Life: Alyx, one of Valve's first VR games and the first new entry in the series in over a decade, might not live up to the expectations. But, without a shadow of a doubt, this is a Half-Life game that fills the roomy shoes that Valve left behind in 2007. To say Half-Life: Alyx is simply a good VR game would be an understatement - it's comfortably one of the best.

It is, like its forebears, a mind-bending joyride with a physics system to die for. The inventive, head-scratching scientific puzzles you’re used to from the PC games? They’re here. Tense jaunts through zombie-infested death pits that instil terror better than most ‘horror’ games? Alyx has got that in droves.

If you're looking for the one VR game to play in 2021, it's Half-Life: Alyx. It's available for free with the purchase of a Valve Index and HTC Vive Cosmos Elite.

No Man's Sky

(Image credit: No Man's Sky/Hello Games)

4. No Man's Sky

And unforgettable adventure

Reasons to buy
+Breathtaking environments+Loads to do
Reasons to avoid
-Can be a slow starter

Available on PSVR.

The action-adventure survival game that is No Man’s Sky by Hello Games was one one of the VR world’s most anticipated releases of 2019. That's not only because the original No Man’s Sky game seems perfectly poised for the VR experience.

Traversing and discovering its generated worlds is already one epic adventure many gamers would gladly immerse in. However, Hello Games has taken it to the next level by making No Man’s Sky’s VR experience better than most other developers have on their games, already making it an excellent contender for being one of the top VR games in 2021.

Superhot VR

(Image credit: Oculus/SuperHot VR)

5. Superhot VR

Unique and thrilling

Reasons to buy
+Responsive controls +Blends puzzle with shooter perfectly
Reasons to avoid
-Not particularly long

Available on Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR.

Super addictive first-person shooter Superhot has come a long way since its humble beginnings as a browser-based demo in 2013. It's found its natural home on VR headsets, where it makes the most of 360-degree tracking by having enemies flank you from all sides.

Because time moves in slow-motion when you do, Superhot VR benefits from the flexibility of a bigger playspace. As the difficulty ramps up, you'll need every inch of cover to dodge incoming fire, bullet-time style, while crushing faceless enemies using guns, shurikens, and - most satisfyingly - your clenched fists.

Room VR: A Dark Matter

(Image credit: fireproof games)

6. Room VR: A Dark Matter

Get your creep on

Reasons to buy
+Challenging puzzles+Spooky atmosphere
Reasons to avoid
-Only around 4 hours long

Available on Valve Index, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Windows Mixed Reality and PSVR.

Released in early 2020 from Fireproof Games, Room VR: A Dark Matter is available on a range of different VR systems. 

This is an escape room, mystery and creepy horror story all rolled into one. There are a lot of puzzles involved, which should be just challenging enough for experienced gamers with clues for those who need a helping hand. 

The visuals and imagery of this game are truly spectacular. We don't want to give too much away, as the game is best left shrouded in mystery, but fans of the occult, Ancient Egypt, Lovecraftian horror and early 20th-century detective stories are in for a real treat. 

The transitions of Room VR are really great for those with a sensitivity to motion sickness. There's a gradual fade in and fade out that's more seamless than you'll find on most games. You can choose from sitting and standing options too and intuitive controls are shown in a way that helps you to pick them up quickly without intruding on the story. 

Defector

(Image credit: Defector)

7. Defector

Intense spy action

Reasons to buy
+Immersion production value+Freedom of movement 
Reasons to avoid
-Narrative is poor

Available on Oculus Rift and Oculus Rift S.

Twisted Pixel, the developers of Wilson’s Heart, are at it again. This time, they brought an intense spy action game into VR, and from the first peeks we’ve had, it looks more like a Mission Impossible game than the actual Mission Impossible games ever did. Released in 2019, this action-shooter VR game will take you for the ride of your life, one full of impressive production value and lots of freedom of movement.

Vader Immortal

(Image credit: ILMXLAB)

8. Vader Immortal

Join the dark side

Reasons to buy
+Authentic Star Wars experience+Simplistic gameplay
Reasons to avoid
-Quite short

Available on PSVR.

Have you tried out The Void yet? It's an amazing location-based VR experience from ILMxLAB and now the team has created a home-based VR experience for the Oculus Quest and it's extremely fun and exciting for Star Wars fans. 

It's a narrative-driven game that puts you face-to-face with Vader, offers up light saber training and allows you to explore some of the mystical depths of Mustafa. The best news is, this is just the first part of a three-part series, fingers crossed the next two instalments will be just as good.

Space Pirate Trainer

(Image credit: Space Pirate Trainer)

9. Space Pirate Trainer

A space-based shoot 'em up

Reasons to buy
+Lots of variety+Great controls
Reasons to avoid
-Short 

Available on HTC Vive and PSVR.

Having debuted on the Vive back in 2016, Space Pirate Trainer is a space-based shoot-em-up that's like the laser guns Star-Lord uses in Guardians of the Galaxy mixed with the slow-mo 'bullet time' of The Matrix – and if that hasn't immediately made you want to try it out, I don't know what will. 

This golden oldie is the most fun on the Oculus Quest and almost a whole new experience without a cord tethering you to the spot. Choosing from an assortment of weapons and gadgets, including a nifty shield, the added movement afforded by the Quest’s inside-out tracking system is almost an additional weapon in itself.

It all makes for a physically demanding experience – stay rooted to the spot and you’ll be blasted into oblivion. While its gameplay can become repetitive over time, like Beat Saber, it has a magnetic ‘one more go’ feeling about it that seems to pull us back in.

Beat Saber

10. Beat Saber

A rhythmically challenging classic

Reasons to buy
+A great workout+Plenty of tunes to choose+Fantastic fun
Reasons to avoid
-Requires a lot of physicality

Available on PSVR, Valve Index, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Windows Mixed Reality.

Dance Dance Revolution meets Star Wars; Guitar Hero meets Tron; all of that happens in VR in Beat Saber. The rhythm game has players slashing around glowing sabers to the beat of a musical track. It challenges players to keep up with the tune while cutting specific colored blocks from specific directions and dodging obstacles.

If you want to jam out to some music, chop up some blocks, and break a little sweat, Beat Saber is definitely one of the best VR games for you.

Astro Bot: Rescue Mission

11. Astro Bot: Rescue Mission

Adventure for the whole family

Reasons to buy
+Fantastic platformer+Wildly imaginative+Charming

Available on PSVR.

If you own a PlayStation VR headset, stop whatever it is you're doing, head over to your PS4, and buy Astro Bot: Rescue Mission – this is the killer title the PlayStation VR has been waiting for. 

Astro Bot: Rescue Mission isn't just a great VR platformer, it's also a great platforming game full stop. Filled with the kind of inventiveness we've only come to expect from Nintendo's Mario series, Astro Bot: Rescue Mission utilizes the VR format with such wild imagination, making other efforts look lazy. Weaving levels all around the player, and using scale to both disarm and delight your expectations, it's quite unlike any of the best VR games you'll have played before.

Tetris Effect

12. Tetris Effect

Taking Tetris to the next level

Reasons to buy
+Mesmerizing experience+Fantastic score and visuals
Reasons to avoid
-Gameplay remains stagnant

Available on PSVR.

It's hard to put the Tetris Effect experience into words. Fundamentally, you’re playing a regular game of Tetris, except that the environments you're playing in change. Each level has its own distinct flavor - with music and visuals tailored to its theme. For example, you can play an underwater level and hear soothing underwater noises, while sparkling whales float around your head. 

It's a psychedelic and hypnotic experience, and one that everyone should have the privilege to play.

Skyrim VR

13. Skyrim VR

Another Skyrim port

Reasons to buy
+Full-length game+Open world to explore+Unofficial mod support
Reasons to avoid
-Some VR elements outdated

Available on PSVR, Windows Mixed Reality, HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.

At this point, Skyrim should need no introduction. It’s been released, and released, and released again. This time, it’s come to the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR, and, in doing so, it offers the biggest adventure game we’ve ever seen in VR.

Not only do you get to re-live the entire base game of Skyrim in VR, but the game includes the Dawnguard, Hearthfire, and Dragonborn DLC as well. Even if Skyrim VR isn’t exactly perfect, having some dated graphics (that can be improved with mods) and not being designed for VR from the ground up, it’s still an adventure easily worth diving into.

Moss

14. Moss

Charming adventure

Reasons to buy
+Brilliant storytelling+Beautiful visuals+Unique
Reasons to avoid
-Quite short

Available on PSVR, Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Valve Index and Windows MR.

After a wait that seemed to last this side of forever, Moss finally landed on PlayStation VR in February 2018. Quill, the heroine of this tale, may be pint-sized (and literally have a tail), but Moss uses size to its advantage by giving players the perspective of its rodent protagonist. 

A family-friendly VR adventure, you'll guide Quill through forests and ruins, direct her past enemies and take direct control of environmental elements to solve puzzles. The purpose is to save Quill's uncle, and by giving you dual control over a hero avatar and as an omnipotent influence on her surroundings, it's the perfect way to take advantage of the power of VR.

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

15. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

Are you brave enough?

Reasons to buy
+Unsettling atmosphere+Challenging puzzle elements+VR adds to horror
Reasons to avoid
-May be a bit scary for some

Available on PSVR.

With most of even the best VR games being bite-sized, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is a breath of fresh air, even if it’s a simultaneously horrific one. Despite the ability to play it otherwise on PC, Xbox One and PS4 proper, this is the first installment in the Resident Evil series that you could say was designed with virtual reality in mind. That’s because, unlike the entries before it, Resident Evil 7 is played using a first-person perspective.

Don’t assume you can just run and gun your way through the game, however, as Capcom has taken Resident Evil back to its survival horror roots with Resident Evil 7. As such, you’ll have to think tactically about how you manage to survive encounters with the game’s freaky enemies. As Ethan Winters, a resident of Dulvey, Louisiana whose wife went missing three years prior, you’ll be tasked with exploring a creaky old deserted house in an effort to find her.

The silver lining is that there’s only one location throughout the game, so don’t expect anything too chaotic beyond a generous helping of jump scares.

Elite: Dangerous

16. Elite: Dangerous VR

Multiplayer mayhem

Reasons to buy
+Massively multiplayer+Extremely immersive+Realistic space sim
Reasons to avoid
-Gameplay mechanics aren't great

Available on Oculus Rift and HTC Vive via SteamVR.

It may be over thirty years old, but the Elite franchise is still one of the best VR games to date, thanks to creator David Braben's fight to reacquire the license.

Drawing elements from the first game – e.g. trading, exploring and engaging in combat within a massive, procedurally-generated universe – Elite: Dangerous is an Elite game for the 21st-century crowd. It's even represented as such in its depictions of our galaxy in the future.

Oh, and did we mention the gameplay is massively multiplayer? Navigating the next frontier has never felt so real and connected. Elite: Dangerous is a game best experienced online and in VR.

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

17. Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

Keep your nerve

Reasons to buy
+Frantic gameplay+Great to play with friends
Reasons to avoid
-Can be frustrating

Available on PSVR, Valve Index, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Windows Mixed Reality.

Assuming you know somebody generous enough to print the 23-page manual, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is the new Mario Party, at least in the sense that it will make your friends hate you. 

Developed by Steal Crate Games, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes requires careful attention from a recommended 2 to 6 players. While one player works to defuse a bomb, the others have to provide clear instructions on how to do so.

Demanding some intense cooperation from your peers, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is a fun game with the right group of people, and it's even more enjoyable in VR using either a Samsung Gear VR or Oculus Rift headset. Keep in mind that while a gamepad is optional with the Gear VR version, the Oculus Rift version must be paired with a controller.

Fallout 4 VR

18. Fallout 4 VR

Experience the Wasteland in VR

Reasons to buy
+Full-length game+Open world to explore
Reasons to avoid
-Some VR elements feel outdated

Available on Valve Index, HTC Vive and Windows Mixed Reality.

When we reviewed the original game, we loved the massive, detail-oriented open-world with intriguing side quests and that exalted soundtrack. Then Bethesda's legendary post-apocalyptic open-world game was given the VR treatment in 2017, complete with full VR tracking and motion control shooting. 

Fallout 4 in virtual reality is even more ambitious than the original, making it a must-play for anyone with an HTC Vive and one of the best VR games on hand.

Batman: Arkham VR

19. Batman: Arkham VR

Become the Caped Crusader

Reasons to buy
+Authentic Batman experience+Compelling characters+Gripping story
Reasons to avoid
-Quite short

Available on PSVR.

Though the franchise may have already concluded on conventional platforms, Batman: Arkham VR is the follow-up to Arkham Knight virtually none of us were expecting. Not long after Rocksteady Studios revealed its third entry in the Batman Arkham universe would be its last, the developer announced this exclusive to PlayStation VR that would later make its way to all three headsets. 

Batman: Arkham VR is more of a self-contained detective story than a canonical sequel or prequel to the established Arkham mythos. You won’t be knocking goons unconscious with a VR-reimagined version of Rocksteady’s signature combat mechanics. However, what you can expect is not much more than a 90-minute, DLC-sized story mission at a fraction of the cost of a full-priced game.

Arizona Sunshine

20. Arizona Sunshine

A VR zombie experience

Reasons to buy
+Lengthy VR game+Comfortable experience
Reasons to avoid
-Not much replay value

Available on HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Oculus Quest, Valve Index and PSVR.

Lengthy VR experiences are pretty thin on the ground as it stands, and that's part of what makes Arizona Sunshine such an enjoyable experience. 

The game, which sees you exploring a zombie-infested Wild West, is a refreshingly lengthy experience that you can really sink your teeth into, which contrasts with the more arcade-like experiences offered by other games. 

Movement is handled by teleporting yourself around the environment which handily allows you to cover great distances without motion sickness, and you reload and change weapons by moving your weapon to your ammo belt. 

Out of any of the experiences we've played so far, Arizona Sunshine feels like what VR games might eventually become once developers have the time and money to craft full-length virtual reality experiences. 

But in the short term searching old mine shafts with a six-shooter in one hand and a blinking flashlight in the other is just plain cool, even if you'll have to keep your play sessions to half an hour at a time just to hold your nerve.

Minecraft VR

(Image credit: Microsoft/Mojang)

21. Minecraft VR

A classic made better

Reasons to buy
+More immersive Minecraft+Experience the full game+3D audio
Reasons to avoid
-May not be handle longer sessions

Available on Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR and Windows Mixed Reality.

It's official: the world's most popular block-'em-up is now on VR. Minecraft Windows 10 Edition is now out on the Oculus Rift, but you won't need to splash out $599 / £499 / AU$649 (the cost of the Rift) for the experience. 

That's because it's also available on the Samsung Gear VR, with all of the Oculus version's features in tow. Windows Mixed Reality platforms are also supported. What's more, there's even a theater view in case it makes you sick just thinking about 360 degrees of lego brick terrain.

We're not sure what excites us most about exploring Minecraft in VR — legging it from creepers in the dead of night or burrowing into the landscape like goggle-wearing, pickaxe-wielding mole. A bit of both, probably.

Star Trek: Bridge Crew

22. Star Trek: Bridge Crew

A shared galactic adventure

Reasons to buy
+Great to play with friends+Easy-to-use controls+Plenty of action
Reasons to avoid
-Slightly outdated now

Available on PSVR, Oculus and HTC Vive.

Virtual reality gaming doesn't get much more social than this, a game in which you and three other players team up to pilot a Federation starship from the long-running Star Trek franchise. 

Although the game includes a single-player mode it's definitely an experience best enjoyed with friends, where you'll soon fall into a rhythm of anticipating each other's every need and tailoring your actions accordingly. 

If you don't have friends with the same headset as you then you don't need to worry, as Ubisoft has also included cross-platform play, so PlayStation VR, Oculus, and Vive players should have no problem teaming up to tackle the Klingons together.

Lucky's Tale

23. Lucky's Tale

A delightful journey

Reasons to buy
+Fun platforming action+Easy to pick up+One for the whole family
Reasons to avoid
-A bit basic

Lucky's Tale is an intriguing little platformer. Think Mario 64 spliced with Crash Bandicoot, viewed with a third-person camera angle that you can manipulate by moving your head, and you'd be halfway there.

The VR element lets you peek at more of the level as you go along, which sounds gimmicky but actually introduces an exploration element as you tilt your head to reveal secrets in the level. It won’t blow you away like other VR games will, but Lucky's Tale proves that VR can breathe new life into old, ostensibly dead genres.

Michelle Rae Uy also contributed to this article.