Lots of the best VR games, including the magnificent Beat Saber, are built from the ground up with a headset in mind. But others are twists or remakes of existing games, and when developers get it right it can give a classic new life—Skyrim VR being a good example.
As VR becomes less expensive, we’d like to see more developers take the risk of porting their games over to VR. Every so often, we jump into a new game and think this would be perfect for VR. Will it ever happen? For most of these, probably not. But we can dream: Here are 12 great games that we'd love to play in virtual reality.
Forza Horizon 4
Racing games fit VR setups like a snug driving glove: being able to look freely around your cockpit as you tear around corners feels eerily close to the real thing, especially if you have a racing wheel. The excellent Project Cars 2 has a solid VR version, but Forza Horizon 4 is the best racing game on PC right now, and its accessible handling, crumbly scenery—stone walls fall apart like papier-mâché when you skid into them—and pleasant British countryside would all lend themselves to VR.
Even if you weren’t racing, it’d be quite nice to just hit the road and drive, watching the cottages zip past out of the window. It's a beautiful world to get lost in.
Return of the Obra Dinn
The delightful Return of the Obra Dinn is a tactile detective game: you see your hands reach out to turn door handles, flick open your pocket watch or grab a ladder to clamber on deck. It also relies on shuffling bits of paper and studying maps—all things that work well with motion controls, providing you could clearly read the text in your trusty notebook on a headset screen. We imagine we’d spent a fair chunk of time just gawping at how beautiful its black and white world is, too. There's simply nothing like it in VR.
Sea of Thieves
Furious Seas shows that VR pirate games can work—and now that Rare has spent a year improving Sea of Thieves, we’d like to see how it’d feel with a headset on. Sword fights would work with motion controls, as would steering your ship and firing its cannons.
And if you’re playing with friends, being able to control your hands creates plenty of chances for high seas high jinks: we love the idea of making up a dance to go along with a sea shanty, or flipping the bird to an enemy ship as it sails past. Take that, other pirates!
Those giant waves might actually cause real seasickness, so Rare might have to dial down the choppy seas a bit (or you could have a bucket on standby). Mostly, it would be exciting for VR to have a game with such a colorful, detailed, and silly sandbox to hang out in. The hours would go by like that.
Relaxing VR games are excellent stress relievers, so the VR version of the already serene Proteus would presumably be more soothing than a candlelit bath. A headset would make you feel fully present in its colourful world, wandering aimlessly for hours while the brightly-coloured seasons change around you, and bunnies bunnies bounce along beneath pink trees. A good pair of headphones would be essential to hear its wonderful music.
What Remains of Edith Finch
You spend a lot of time in What Remains of Edith Finch poking about rooms in a mansion, and if that could be translated to full room-scale VR, we reckon it’d make the best first-person exploration game on PC even more majestic.
And if you didn’t have space in your living room for that, then playing in VR would still make you feel part of its setting, and many of the in-game interactions—whether you’re pulling open draws, picking up clues or twisting a can-opener—would translate directly to motion controls. Edith Finch already does a remarkable job of telling a story through its rooms, and that'd come through even more powerfully in VR.
Portals worked well in Budget Cuts, a VR stealth game that came out early this year—but we’d love to see what Valve could do with the mechanic if they put their mind to it. You’d probably have to tweak all the levels to make them work, but the idea of swinging a portal gun around in VR, firing, and then poking your head through is mind-bendingly brilliant.
It’s a testament to how well it would work that the fan-made Portal Stories: VR has very positive Steam reviews, despite not actually offering you a portal gun (it just uses similar assets).
Stories Untold sits you down in a lonely room and asks you to solve problems with a series of battered computers. That poses problems for VR: motion controls aren’t really set up to handle fine motor controls like typing on a keyboard. Maybe there’s a way of delicately way of handling it, but honestly, we’d be fine just sitting in front of our keyboard touch-typing and wearing a headset.
It’d make it even more atmospheric, and it’d suit the puzzles that require you to glance around the room you’re in—such as in the arctic listening station where you go back-and-forth between a monitor and a microfilm. And if you could somehow make it work with motion controls then there would be plenty of buttons and sliders to fiddle with.
No Man’s Sky
No Man’s Sky players have been keen on VR since its launch, and this summer’s Next update added new crashed freighters, floating islands and giant avocados that we’d love to look at through our headsets.
Space flying has really… ahem… taken off in VR, because it works seamlessly with a cockpit view, and No Man’s Sky’s vibrant planets would be perfect for it. You could even make some of the other vehicles and weapons work with motion controls, as well as the sometimes-fiddly jetpacks. But really, we’d just be in it for the scenery.
The Sims 4
The idea of peering at your Sims’ house from on high, directing them via motion controls like a wavy-armed deity is oddly alluring, and The Sims 4 lends itself to VR in other ways, too. You could zoom into one of houses and try decorating rooms from the inside, moving sofas and dining tables until they feel just right, for example.
The Sims 4 actually just added a first-person mode—playing that in VR would be the ultimate way to get inside your sims’ heads. We think it’d be worth paying the inevitable $40 that EA would charge for the expansion.
The Stanley Parable
The Stanley Parable VR would probably work best on a smaller scale than the original: basically, we just want to be put in a room with narrator Kevan Brighting, lots of objects to pick up and fun ways to mess around with the motion controls. “But Stanley decided that instead of finishing his work, he’d dance the macarena and throw coffee mugs at the wall for half an hour.” That's days of entertainment, right there.
Kerbal Space Program
Playing Kerbal Space Program in VR holds the allure of space exploration, but it might actually work best for the ship-building sections. If they nailed the UI, then we love the idea of selecting parts and physically slotting them into your ship. We’re imagining standing in a room with miniature version of the ship that you can walk around, bend down and rip parts off with your hands.
Fans are actually working on a VR mod for the game, and we’d love to see developer Squad get involved.
Rinse and Repeat HD
The best male shower simulator around is practically begging for a VR version. You don’t have to move at all: just stand in one spot and massage another man’s biceps. Tweak his nipples. Get your scrub on. Currently, you do that by controlling a disembodied hand and waving your mouse around, but it’d fit much better with motion controls, and playing with a headset would let you better soak up the steamy setting. Just try not to fog up the lenses too much.
That’s our list—in a perfect world, what games would you like to see in VR?