My Favorite SteamVR Games

From Tales of the Rampant Coyote

When I’m actually home to enjoy it, I’m still having a blast with my Pimax 5K+. While some of the newest headsets are going for a simpler, plug-and-play user experience, the Pimax 5K+ remains the best hobbyist / enthusiast headset for the consumer market. And… to be fair, I have less issues with it than I do with a Vive Pro (especially audio).

Between sales, bundles, and just wish fulfillment trying to take advantage of the VR I’ve been waiting half a lifetime for, here are the VR games on Steam VR that I personally enjoy the most, the ones that I use the most to share VR with others, and the ones I am most looking forward to. I confess that I am a lot less critical of VR-based games than games on other platforms. I still take VR as an experience first, and a game second. This is not something I expected, just something that I discovered.

My Personal Favorites:

Digital Combat Simulator (DCS) / IL-2 Sturmovik: Famous Battles Series / X-Plane

Right out of the gate I’m cheating with three titles at once.  Since you are inside a cockpit instead of directly out “in the world,” I assumed flight sims might not be the most thrilling VR experience. I am happy to admit I’m wrong. If you are flight-sim inclined, these are three fantastic, high-end titles with built-in VR support. There are others, but these three are (currently) the best. X-Plane is one of the top civilian flight sims on the consumer market, and has a ton of third-party support – but not all third-party aircraft support VR. Do your homework if you get a plane for VR use. IL-2 is a fantastic World War II combat flight simulator well-optimized for VR, and it now includes early access modules for tank combat and World War I aircraft. It’s hard to express how awesome dogfighting in a biplane cane be in VR. Last but not least, DCS is pretty much the one to beat for hard-core realism in mid-to-late 20th century air combat. While there are a handful of easier, lower-fidelity modules (which don’t work as well in VR because the cockpits aren’t interactive), most of the aircraft are study-level sims with almost every switch, dial, and button realistically modeled, and the weapon systems and flight models painstakingly created to simulate things as close to real life as possible. The result is amazing, if you have the time and patience to actually learn how to fly a sophisticated fighter jet. It also supports some aerobatic / trainer aircraft and World War II aircraft.

Skyrim VR

Skyrim VR for the PC is fantastic, if a little clumsy because it wasn’t designed from the ground-up for VR. But it’s beautiful, and fighting a dragon in VR is absolutely amazing. Stalking through the dungeon with a bow, ready to shoot a necromancer in the neck is similarly an awesome experience I’ve dreamed of since childhood. If you are a fan of VR and RPGs, just get this one. It’s also compatible with most mods.

Beat Saber

Okay, I wasn’t going to let this one go. At all. Beat Saber has sold a million copies, making it the highest-selling VR-only game out there (I think). Many people have already heard about it even if they haven’t played in Virtual Reality yet. My best way to describe it is “Dance Dance Revolution with Light Sabers.” You hit the incoming blocks in the right direction, timed to music, getting points for your accuracy in slicing them in half.  Sounds simple (and it is), but it can be crazy hard at high levels. If you have VR for the PC (or PS4VR, or the upcoming Oculus Quest), you must get this game. It’s as simple as that. The game has been expanded on and has added DLC since its first release, all of which makes a great game even better.

Star Trek: Bridge Crew

In theory, this is a perfect idea. You get to sit at your station on the bridge of a Star Trek starship (including, now, the original Enterprise and the Next Generation Enterprise-D, besides the stealthy USS Aegis), executing your role to perform missions. ON BOARD THE FRICKIN’ ENTERPRISE. It’s got cool factor all over it from there. It’s magical. The one down side is that it plays best in multi-player, and assembling a team a good team can be challenging. If you have three other friends who have the game and can play at the same time (or even just a couple of friends), then you are golden. Otherwise… I haven’t tried to gather a pick-up game since it released, but my results were generally good, but one of the team was usually a little drunk, which made it funny, but not particularly successful.

Vivecraft (Minecraft mod)

Minecraft has its own built-in VR mode, which I’m sure is great, but it only supports Oculus and Microsoft Mixed Reality. I’m sure if they wanted to support SteamVR, they could, but so far… nada. Enter Vivecraft, a mod which solves the problem at the low cost of being a few versions behind the latest. As this was still several versions beyond where I’d last played, I got to enjoy the latest features and changes as well as being able to play Minecraft in VR. And let me tell you… Minecraft in VR is a whole ‘nother story.

Catch & Release VR

Okay. This is a totally stupid game that I’d be totally stupid to buy and play, and I still can’t help myself but spend a bunch of time sitting on a chair pretending to fish with my VR controller. Especially after a long and stressful day at work. Don’t judge me… 😉


If you want an excuse to play VR games, this is it. It is a fitness-boxing trainer, ignoring any actual competitive boxing in favor of teaching you (I believe) boxing technique and then having you max it out in a DDR-style experience that will build up the right kind of sweat (not the “I’m feeling sick” kind) in no time.


Favorite Games to Share:

These are the games that I like to use to introduce other people to VR. Beat Saber was already mentioned – it’s still a crowd favorite.  Sometimes just showing someone the main menu cave of Skyrim VR is a better approach. There are a few experiences–not really games–that are also good for introducing someone to VR. The Blu is a classic. Apollo 11 VR also shows the power of VR as an educational tool. Google’s Tilt Brush is another one that helps people “get” VR.

Space Pirate Trainer

Another oldie but goodie, this is a great “wave shooter” that has been popular for a while, and for good reason. It’s clean, fun, and polished. Built from the ground-up as a room-space shooter, there’s no need to teleport. Just dodge, block, shoot, and enjoy power-ups.

Superhot VR

I didn’t play this game until the VR version came out. Be the hero in an abstract-world action movie, moving at “bullet time” to fight off bad guys with guns, throwing knives, or whatever little objects happen to be at hand. It’s incredibly fun, and the heavily stylized world makes the imagined violence a lot cleaner. I heard that the VR version of Superhot has finally outsold the original. I’m not surprised. I’ve only played the VR version, and I have a tough time imagining how the game is played without it.

Paranormal Activity – The Lost Soul

For those who can stomach the tension and scares, Paranormal Activity – The Lost Soul is good and creepy. I haven’t played it enough to comment on its gameplay, and I don’t know how it’s non-VR cousin is. But taken as a spooky experience with puzzles and so forth, it’s fun.

Bonus Titles:

Honestly, I don’t have as much time to play as I wish, and I have several games that may become favorites once I get a chance to really give them a good test run. Project CARS 2 and Redout are racing games that are made much better in VR. VR Dungeon Knight was an early favorite, but it has changed substantially since I first played it, and I haven’t played it enough recently to really get a handle on the new changes. Or, like, go through more than a single dungeon without dying. Island 359 is a chance to play “Jurassic Park” in VR, and Arizona Sunshine is the zombie apocalypse VR experience that you didn’t know you always wanted. I really haven’t had time to give Elite: Dangerous a fair shake, but every time I play it I am thrilled.  I never really came to grips (pun intended) with the controls in X: Rebirth – VR Edition. I should probably give it another shot.



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