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The best VR games

Hover Junkers

Developer: Stress Level Zero
Link: Steam page
Compatibility: HTC Vive

Hover Junkers has my favorite solution to VR movement so far. Think of it as a full-body cover shooter, where you’re dodging and ducking behind corrugated metal and hunks of wood, but with mobile cover. With one hand, you steer your floating junker, which glides smoothly over the air in whatever direction you point, while the rest of your body crawls around the deck, popping up to shoot at other players.

Aiming is tricky at first, but you get used to it, and I really love how reloading is an active, cartoony analog to the real thing. With the pistol, for instance, pressing down on the Vive controller’s trackpad pops open the cylinder. Circling the trackpad with your thumb plunks in bullets, and then flicking your wrist snaps it shut. It’s not hard, but when you’re close to a kill and close to death yourself it’s a frantic thing done sat on your carpet, slamming the cylinder shut way harder than you have to in the panicked moment.

The problem with Hover Junkers is that it's multiplayer-only and there are often few other players online, if any. I still think it's great, though, so hopefully the population picks up as more people buy Vives this year. —Tyler Wilde 

Accounting

Developer: Crows Crows Crows, Squanchtendo
Link: Steam page
Compatability: HTC Vive

If you enjoy the sort of long, improvised strings of dialogue that Justin Roiland brings to Rick and Morty, he and Crows Crows Crows have built a reality around that sense of humor. Accounting gets a lot of points for being free, but the main reason I've included it here is a two-headed xylophone skeleton. It's wonderful and horrifying and sticks in my mind as something that happened to me in a dream or hallucination. —Tyler Wilde

Job Simulator

Developer: Owlchemy Labs
Link: Official site
Compatibility: HTC Vive, Oculus Rift (with Touch)

As a pack-in with the HTC Vive, Job Simulator is a delightful introduction to the simple pleasure of waving your arms around in VR and interacting with your environment. It's satisfying to find just how many things are stuffed into its office cubicle or kitchen, and there are often great one-liners or slapstick jokes to reward your experimentation. It's all over too soon, and won't be the kind of game you go back to again and again, but it's definitely one to pull out every time someone's curious about why VR is so cool. Job Simulator will put a smile on their face. —Wes Fenlon

The Lab

Developer: Valve
Link: Steam page
Compatibility: HTC Vive, Oculus Rift (with Touch)

Valve's free VR showcase is another great way to introduce people to VR. It's full of little minigames that don't have much substance, but show off a little slice of VR's potential. And the robot dog is adorable. —Tyler Wilde

Fantastic Contraption

Developer: Northway Games
Link: Steam page
Compatibility: HTC Vive, Oculus Rift (with Touch)

Fantastic Contraption gives you the seemingly simple task of “make this pink blob move to that pink box” and then drops it into VR with you at the center. It’s a machine building puzzle game, but the machines are as big as you are tall. With a pile of sticks, rotating cylinders, and whole heap of creativity, you have to build contraptions that can navigate turns, turns, walls, and a lot more to get that pink blob to where it wants to go.

What’s so impressive about Fantastic Contraption is how intuitive the controls are. It’s easy to assemble your machine because it’s essentially just connecting dots, and modifying objects works exactly how you’d expect. Want this piece to be longer? Stretch it out. Want that wheel to spin the other way? Just turn it around. Don’t need that connector anymore? Throw it over your shoulder and it’s gone. The challenge never comes from the execution of an idea, but coming up with that idea in the first place.

Developer Northway Games is also doing some interesting things with observing a player while they are in VR, including using a camera and a green screen to key out the real world around that player to make it look as if they are physically in the VR space. It’s a cool concept on top of an already cool game. - Tom Marks