Sony and Facebook may have their own stores for their respective headsets, but if you’re looking to get into virtual reality games on PC, you’ll want to check our list of the best Steam VR games. Whether you’re looking for the best Vive games or best Index games, this is the place to be.
Since 2016, Valve has encouraged a culture of openness for VR games on Steam (officially known as SteamVR). That means most PC VR headsets can run most Steam VR games. That said, we’ve already got a list of best Oculus Rift games focusing on both Facebook’s store and SteamVR. So for this list of Steam VR games we’re focusing mainly on the best Vive games and the best Index games.
Obviously, you’ll be able to buy all of these games over on Steam. Also note that this list includes some Early Access titles, which are games that haven’t finished development, so buyer discretion is advised.
The Best Steam VR Games And Experiences On Index And Vive
25. Transpose – Read Our Review
After the bullet-dodging thrills of Blasters of the Universe, Secret Location had its work cut out for it maintaining its standards with Transpose. Fortunately, the game passes the difficult second album test with ease; Transpose is a mind-bending puzzle game in which you record your own actions, store them as echoes, and then work together with your past self in order to solve a series of challenges.
Hyperbole be damned; we were often reminded of Portal as we trekked through the game’s ethereal world, defying gravity and gradually being introduced to new concepts that shift the core mechanics in clever, enlightening ways. This is an example of a VR game that feels demonstrably made for the platform it’s appearing on, providing gameplay experiences you simply won’t have seen on a TV or monitor before. That’s something every VR developer should be considering at the heart of their projects.
24. Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son – Read Our Review
Whoever thought Groundhog Day would get a sequel? Nevermind that; who thought it would get a sequel in VR and it would actually be quite good? Certainly not us, and yet Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son is exactly that. In this curious VR adventure game, you play as Phil Connors Jr., who gets caught in the exact same time loop his Dad does in the legendary movie.
Groundhog Day succeeds on two fronts. First, the way the game weaves through its potentially messy timeline and finds ways for you to progress is something of a small miracle to behold. Arguably more important, though, is the VR-first narrative and design, which has you connecting with characters and doing things you haven’t done in other titles. Don’t let the unwritten rules about tie-ins sway you; Groundhog Day is a real treat and one of the best Steam VR games.
23. Hot Dogs, Horseshoes and Hand Grenades (H3VR)
Hot Dogs, Horseshoes and Hand Grenades (H3VR) first released in 2016 but it remains even in 2020 one of the most regularly updated VR games. The developers at RUST LTD are constantly adding new game modes and weapons to its collection of experiments.
There are simulated shooting ranges with hundreds of weapons already available plus game modes like Take and Hold that, altogether, are keeping some players entertained for hundreds of hours. With each and every update, this cements its place as one of the best Vive games and best Index games.
22. L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files – Read Our Review
Rockstar’s first stab at VR might not have been exactly what we were expecting it to be but there’s no denying that L.A. Noire is anything less than a very thoughtful and ultimately successful attempt at bringing a top-tier gaming experience to the uncharted waters of PC VR. The VR Case Files takes select missions from the original game that would be best-suited to VR and lets you loose inside Rockstar’s stunning rendition of 1940’s L.A..
It may not be the full open-world sandbox we’re craving but L.A. Noire does have some features that make it perfectly-suited to VR. Questioning suspects, for example, is brought to life by the face-scanning application applied to the original game, and the crime-scene investigations make much more sense inside a headset. This is ultimately only a step towards something important for VR, but it’s a big one all the same and one of the best Vive games and best Index games.
21. Rec Room
Most social VR platforms aren’t really ‘games’, but Rec Room more than earns its place on this list by emphasizing fun activities to share with your friends rather than simply meeting up and chatting via virtual avatars. Against Gravity’s massive service offers an exhaustive number of multiplayer games and a robust creation suite that will mean you rarely run out of things to do.
This is a game that gets free-to-play right. You can decorate yourself with premium cosmetic items if you wish but all of the well-designed minigames, which include some brilliant cooperative quest levels and even a light take on the battle royale genre, are completely free. Add to that full cross-platform support and Rec Room is only set to thrive as the VR industry grows ever bigger. Don’t be surprised if, in the year’s to come, Rec Room becomes VR’s biggest and most recognized app, and maybe even climbs higher up the list of best Steam VR games.
20. Red Matter – Read Our Review
VR has plenty of great exploration games, but none of them feel quite as finely-tuned for the platform as Vertical Robot’s Red Matter. In this intriguing adventure-mystery, you journey to an alien planet to investigate an abandoned enemy base in the midst of a Cold War-style sci-fi conflict.
But it’s the dedication to immersion that makes Red Matter shine. From the comfortable hopping locomotion that works given its setting to the way your variety of tools emerge from virtual representations of the controllers you’re holding. If you truly want to feel like you’re in another world, Red Matter is one place you have to go.
19. The Exorcist: Legion VR – Read Our Review
You could basically do a coin toss between putting this or developer Wolf and Wood’s other VR horror game, A Chair in a Room, on this list, but The Exorcist VR more than justifies its place. Unfolding across five chapters that each present the player with different cases, this is perhaps the scariest VR game going right now. Crucially, though, that’s not because it’s simply a collection of in-your-face jump scares.
Instead, The Exorcist VR understands how to use the platform in clever, creepy ways to twist your very sanity and keep you guessing throughout. This is one of those entries in the list that’s going to be only for the very bravest of us but, if you count yourself one of those people, you can’t miss this. It’s one of the best Index Games and the best Vive games.
18. Vacation Simulator – Read Our Review
Job Simulator laid the groundwork for many of the great VR interactions we enjoy today. Vacation Simulator builds on that progress with a whole host of excellent minigames that keep comfort and immersion at the heart of each and every activity. Whether you’re on a ski slope simulator, building sandcastles or, uh, applying lotion to robots, each of the game’s tasks is carefully considered.
Not to mention that the game has a great sense of humor and an enthusiastic curiosity to explore new things in VR. Vacation Simulator is the kind of experience that proves we haven’t explored all there is to VR yet. Far from it, in fact; there are some minigames here that could be fleshed out into their own titles. That makes Vacation Simulator one of the best Vive games and the best Index games.
17. Virtual Virtual Reality – Read Our Review
There’s a lot of commentary out there about the ways in which VR could warp our society. Virtual Virtual Reality gives us a comical look at such a future first-hand. This fascinating story-driven experience borrows a like of Portal’s tone and wit to create an often hilarious and deeply curious showcase of VR narrative and interaction.
You play as a new member of a virtual universe that serves a range of clients, living out their weirdest fantasies. One, for example, wishes to become a slab of butter that dreams of having perfectly toasted bread stuck to it. Below the bizarre surface, though, is the sinister workings of a corporation that’s lost its way. Virtual Virtual Reality might be ridiculous, but it’s an important cautionary tale and one of the best Vive games and best Index games too.
16. Budget Cuts 2: Mission Insolvency – Read Our Review
The original Budget Cuts was a groundbreaking experience in terms of locomotion, but limited enemy AI and confusing level design held it back from reaching its full potential. Fortunately, Budget Cuts 2 fixed all of those issues and then some, resulting in the experience we wished the first game had achieved.
This is a thrilling bit of VR stealth where quick reactions and fast thinking are necessary to sneak through enemy bases. What makes Budget Cuts tick is its dependency on player skill; if you don’t master tossing knives and shooting arrows, you’ll end up dead pretty fast. It’s a rare sort of VR game that actually requires players to fully embody the avatar they play as. This sequel rightfully takes its place as one of the best Vive games and best Index games.
With seemingly overnight success and some of the most solid, realistic shooting mechanics in VR, you wouldn’t have considered Onward to have been developed by just one person who hadn’t even made a game before. But that really is how this excellent multiplayer military simulation game came into existence, paving the way for a new breed of VR games, the kind that people have wanted for ages.
What’s so impressive about Onward is its distinct identity. Whereas Pavlov impressively apes Counter-Strike with its tightly-designed maps, Onward is much more grounded in realism, with its pacing reflecting that. This is a game that demands tight teamwork and measured movements if you’re to survive on the battlefield. It’s still in Early Access but Onward has easily proven itself to be one of the Vive’s best games.
14. Moss – Read Our Review
Moss is one of a handful of 2018 games that proved that third-person VR experiences don’t just work but can make for some of the absolute best content out on the platform right now. You guide an adorable little mouse named Quill through diorama-sized levels, solving puzzles and taking on fearsome critters in sword-based combat.
While its mechanically refined, Moss’ real claim to fame is the bond you build with Quill over the course of the adventure. Playing as a larger companion to the tiny protagonist, you really start to connect with her as you work together to overcome obstacles. It feels very much like a team effort, which is quite a remarkable feeling in itself. Moss is easily one of the best Vive games and best Index games – bring on Book 2.
13. Gorn – Read Our Review
There’s definitely an argument to be made for keeping VR games from getting too violent but Gorn basically rips any such debate’s jaw off and then beats it to death with its own arms. Before we step into the murky ground of ‘realism’, Free Lives has jumped all the way over to the other side of the canyon and spilled a frankly hilarious amount of gore in the process. Gorn is all about being the last man standing in a gladiator arena, and the game has little in the way of rules to stop you from doing that.
Want to pull a guy’s head off? Bash him in with a rock? Swing a mace into a face and knock from some eyeballs out? Gorn lets you do all that and it feels wonderful, not because we have psychotic tendencies but because it’s all so stupidly over the top that you can help but laugh. Beyond the stupidity, though, there is actually a great structure in place here that will keep you coming back to unlock new content and make battles surprisingly tense affairs, too. It’s as stupid as it gets but Gorn’s a game you should take seriously too.
12. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice VR Edition – Read Our Review
Hellblade developer Ninja Theory may have recently been bought by Microsoft but that didn’t stop it from releasing one of 2018’s most surprising, polished and all-around best VR games. You probably already know Hellblade as an intricately woven and unbearably tense exploration of mental health complete with eye-popping visuals and fantastic combat.
Hellblade’s VR edition is all of that… in VR. Ninja Theory pulls off a first-rate VR conversion here, managing to mine fresh gold from the game’s most intimate and effective moments. If you want proof that you can port big games to VR and, with just a little thought, enhance the experience, look no further than Hellblade VR.
11. Vanishing Realms – Read Our Review
The wait for new Vanishing Realms content seemed to stretch on for an eternity but, when it finally arrived, it delivered on everything we’d hoped for. This fantasy RPG delivers all you need from a VR adventure; sword-slinging melee combat, accurate archery and spell casting.
Mechanically Vanishing Realms is a little simpler than some of its successors, but it’s also wholly accessible and dialled into the moments that really make VR sing. Vanishing Realms has always been one of the best Vive games, and now its’ one of the best Index games too.
10. The Gallery Episodes 1 & 2 – Read Our Review
The initial entry in Cloudhead Games’ groundbreaking The Gallery series was one of the purest, most exciting explorations of what VR adventure gaming could be for its time. It boasted the childlike fantasy of films like The Dark Crystal and combined that with an entirely new way to solve puzzles and interact with characters. It was a tease of what was to come for VR.
Then Episode 2 came along and successfully turned all of that into a ‘full’ experience. On the hunt for your missing sister, you journey to other worlds and meet an impossible cast of characters across some truly amazing landscapes. The Gallery is all about really making you believe you’ve teleported to another world, and it’s one of VR’s most successful titles in that respect. Paired together, The Gallery series is one of the most complete, thoughtful experiences you can yet find in VR. We can’t wait to find out more about Episode 3, but what’s here is already one of the best Vive games and the best Index games.
9. Accounting+ – Read Our Review
VR doesn’t get weirder nor more surreal than Accounting+, and we mean that in a very good way. This mad mashup from the minds behind Rick and Morty and Crows, Crows, Crows is a startling, erratic exploration of character presence in VR. In Accounting+, grotesque creatures scream at you and friendly abominations are gutted accidentally. It’s scary, awkward, hilarious and a wide range of other things that many VR games aren’t. That makes it one of the best Steam VR games.
8. Beat Saber – Read Our Review
Who would have guessed that, with everything developers could do, the closest VR has yet gotten to a ‘killer app’ is a rhythm action game with knock-off lightsabers? It seems ridiculous but just one go on Beat Saber and you’ll understand why it’s such a hit; it’s an utterly entrancing experience that makes you feel like the king of the world. That’s all you need VR to be.
You slash notes that arrive on time with a beat. It sounds simple but, in practice, there are few things more satisfying to do in VR. It won’t be long until your throwing your motion controllers around like a ninja, working up a sweat and instinctively dancing to the given track. Many people will tell you Beat Saber is one of the best Steam VR games, and they’re absolutely right.
7. No Man’s Sky VR – Read Our Review
No Man’s Sky promised to bring its entire universe of billions of procedurally generated planets connected by unending oceans of space that can be explored by yourself or with friends all into VR. It’s had a few technical hiccups, but you can’t deny it delivered on that hugely ambitious premise. You can lose endless hours here journey to the top of mountains, scouting below the oceans and duking it out in spaceship battles.
Better yet, Hello Games put incredible effort into this VR update, making it feel native to the game instead of tacked on. Still, remember this is No Man’s Sky. There are plenty of beautiful sights and sounds, but also a fairly punishing survival loop and resource-gathering grind to fight back again. If that sounds up your street, No Man’s Sky will probably be one of your most loved VR games.
6. The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners – Read Our Review
We would have never pegged a game based upon The Walking Dead to carry some of the best design and user-interaction you’ll find in VR, but Saints & Sinners delivers all that and then some. This sets the bar for VR zombie games with Boneworks-style, physics-based combat that has you wrestling with hordes of undead, throwing every ounce of effort you can into every swing and stab.
But this isn’t just a wave-based survival game or silly sandbox. Saints & Sinners packs its action into a full, meaty VR campaign that sees you trekking through the remains of New Orleans. Add in human enemies, side-missions and the ability to kill zombies with a spoon, and you have one of the deepest native VR games on the market. Saints & Sinners will be one of the best Vive games and best Index games for some time to come.
5. Pistol Whip – Read Our Review
Pistol Whip may be the new kid on the block but, for our money, its sharpshooting, sharp sounding, beat-based gameplay proves to be even more hypnotic than Beat Saber. In this neon-lit shooter, you stream down corridors, blasting bad guys to grizzly tunes, avoiding incoming fire and trying to rack up the best scores.
Pistol Whip’s key is to take influence not just from the VR sales king but also Superhot and, most prominently, John Wick. Whereas Beat Saber wants to make you a dancing Jedi master, Pistol Whip aims to teach you gun-fu with style, elegantly fusing the rhythmic and cinematic together a pulsating, vibrant monster of its own. Pistol Whip is definitely one of the best Vive games and best Index games.
4. A Fisherman’s Tale – Read Our Review
As great as VR is, its initial novelty is bound to wear off after your first few weeks or so. If you want to recapture the magic of putting on the headset for the first time, though, there’s one destination that’s bound to deliver: A Fisherman’s Tale. This is a mind-bending puzzle game unlike anything you’ll see elsewhere. That alone makes it one of the best Steam VR games.
In A Fisherman’s Tale, you solve intricate, scale-based puzzles in which you work… with yourself. Its best puzzles utilize a miniature model of the lighthouse the game’s set in. Lift the roof of the model and you’ll see a mini-you, imitating your every move. Just try and keep your brain from breaking as you hand yourself giant objects, or reach down to poke your own head. It’s a trip to say the least. Throw in a poignant story about self-acceptance and you have a short, sharp VR game that will stay with you much longer than most multi-hour epics.
3. Boneworks – Read Our Review
If you want to see how far VR design has come since 2016, look no further than Boneworks. Stress Level Zero’s third VR game might not have the most masterfully designed of shooter campaigns, but its physics-based combat sandbox is a true marvel to behold. In this virtual reality, every object, from broom sticks to bin lids, can be picked up and wielded as a weapon. Every item has physical presence in the world, meaning you can hook crowbars to edges and then climb up them, or nudge doors open with the end of a gun.
The result is a stunning showcase of things to come. Boneworks truly changes the game not just for VR combat but also world design, with fantastic puzzles that require player invention to be solved. Take a good hard look at Boneworks, because it’s laid the foundations for the future of VR gaming. Knuckles support, in particular, makes it one of the best Index games.
2. Skyrim VR – Read Our Review
It turns out that the Skyrim of VR is, well, Skyrim in VR. There are definitely some awkward quirks to Bethesda’s port of its ever-popular fantasy RPG, but we were more than willing to put them to the back of our minds as we explored Tamriel like never before. With hundreds of hours worth of content, full autonomy to make the kind of character you want and an enormous world to explore, Skyrim VR is the closest we’ve come to fulfilling every adventurer’s dreams (outside of taking an arrow to the knee).
Plus, on top of the original game, mod support makes this an unending fountain of brilliant fan-made content that can turn you into entirely new characters or even let you experience whole other games that are every bit as good as the original. Skyrim VR is going to be hard to top for some time, and retains its crown as one of the best Vive games and best Index games.
1. Superhot VR – Read Our Review
Superhot is, without a doubt, the most instantly rewarding game to play in VR. The flatscreen original was great but, by bringing your whole body into this groundbreaking shooter, the developer completely flips the game on its head. In Superhot (stop me if you’ve heard this before), time moves only when you do. That means that when you’re still, the world around you is too. Every time you raise your arm or duck your head, the world crawls into life. You’re essentially a human video playback device.
Superhot gives you a stark realization of the physicality of VR and what that means for gaming. It’s an experience in which you are aware of every inch of your body. It also makes it effortlessly easy to feel cool in VR; every catch of a handgun or toss of a ninja star comes with an incredible strand of slick satisfaction you won’t find anywhere else. Superhot VR is currently the gold standard for VR shooters and, in our opinion, the very best game on SteamVR.
Do you agree with our list of the best Steam VR games? Do you think these are the best Vive games or the best Index games? Let us know in the comments below!
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