The VR Games That You Must Play to Start 2017

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Last year has opened the doors to one of the most daring gaming technologies ever created -- Virtual Reality gear. It gave rise to many great games that were either originally developed for VR or adapted from their initial versions.

If you purchased some VR gear just recently and haven’t been following the gaming trends of the last year in this particular niche, here are a few suggestions for various set ups that can help you choose the best VR game to start 2017.

This selection includes games for all kinds of audiences, so you can be sure that there is one game that is perfect for you.

Robo Recall

Developer: Epic Games
Platform: Oculus Touch

Robo Recall is the first VR game from Epic Games -- the development team behind such classics like Unreal Tournament and Gears of War.

It’s a futuristic action-packed shooter that puts you in a position to subdue the robot uprising. You are given a huge arsenal of weapons that you can test and customize before destroying another group of machines that have gone wild.

The game will be released for free in the first quarter of 2017, and currently you can watch the demo gameplay below -- which is quite impressive.

Dead & Buried

Developer: Oculus Studios
Platform: Oculus Touch

Here is a nice surprise for all the future Oculus gear owners. Dead & Buried will be included for free with each Oculus Touch bundle, which makes a third free first-party game from Oculus.

This is not just another shooter, but the one that is set in the wild, wild west. Also, it’s not trying to be too realistic either, as it’s full of humor and zombies. On top of that, you get a co-op mode that allows for up to six people to play simultaneously.


The Unspoken

Developer: Insomniac Games
Platform: Oculus Touch

Insomniac Games are mostly known for the Ratchet and Clank series of games, but with The Unspoken they go in a world that is far more complicated.

You take on a role of a sorcerer who learns arcane spells and magic abilities in order to be able to manipulate the material world. The troubles begin when you start facing other sorcerers who may or may not be much stronger than you.

The game offers a 1v1 PvP mode that will set you against other players connected to the game. In this way you will be able to challenge your own skills and unlock new forms of spellcasting.

Raw Data

Developer: Survios
Platform: HTC Vive

Here is another futuristic first-person shooter, but this time it’s developed for the HTC Vive. Raw Data is currently available on Steam Early Access, and it has already received thousands of positive reviews.

Your main weapons are all kinds of pistols and shotguns, but you may be out of ammo pretty soon. Now this is where the game becomes really cool, as it gives you a whole arsenal of melee weapons, such as daggers and all sorts of blades.

The game requires a lot of physical action, so make sure your room is safe to be in before playing Raw Data.


The Lab

Developer: Valve
Platform: HTC Vive

The Lab is Valve’s own VR game... and it’s free. It’s not just a game, it’s an entire multi-level entertainment course that is set to reveal all the possibilities of the HTC Vive gear.

The Lab offers eight scenarios, where you get to examine a human body with a surgeon’s precision, repair a robot, or just shoot a longbow. Probably the most interesting one is Solar System that allows you to explore the universe from the space of your own room.

Star Wars: Trials on Tatooine

Developer: ILMxLAB
Platform: HTC Vive

Trials on Tatooine is a free tech demo from Industrial Light & Magic designed for all fans of Star Wars. You can imagine the kind of quality that comes directly from the smartest minds of the CG industry. The demo offers an incredibly realistic quality of visuals, which do require a high-end PC and a 5.1 surround sound system.

In the game you get to wield a lightsaber and fight against the stormtroopers, who are trying to capture R2-D2. This is definitely one of the best ways to introduce yourself or your friends to the capabilities of VR.


The Gallery Episode 1: Call of the Starseed

Developer: Cloudhead Games ltd.
Platform: HTC Vive

Do you like puzzles? How about puzzles set in the darkest of the settings? The Gallery offers something that you might like. It is inspired by the fantasy and horror movies of the 80s, and it will make you move, sit, stand, crouch and crawl.

This is one of the best adventure games fully realized for VR gear, and this is only the first episode -- so expect more to come in the future.

Defense Grid 2

Developer: Hidden Path Entertainment
Platform: Oculus Rift

The original game for PC has been released in 2014, but this is the Enhanced VR Edition that got upgraded specifically for Oculus gear. It also includes five new maps and an entirely new section, which was added to expand the story.

When you play a tower defense game, an ability to react in time is very important, and that’s why the developers have significantly increased the framerate of the VR gameplay from 30 to 90 FPS. This also makes the game incredibly comfortable to play.


CastleStorm VR

Developer: Zen Studios
Platform: Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR

CastleStorm is another tower defense game, and it looks like Angry Birds or Worms 3D. The VR edition of the game offers two types of perspectives -- a theater mode and an in-game mode. Both are great depending on what kind of gameplay you like the best.

And since every level can be approached in many different ways, the replayability factor of CastleStorm VR is very high.

Final Approach

Developer: Phaser Lock Interactive
Platform: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR

Final Approach is a perfect VR game for kids, especially if they’re into aircrafts. It’s light-hearted, fun and moderately challenging.

All you need to do is manage the airplanes and helicopters on their way through various obstacles in the sky and on the ground. The puzzles are not too hard and the environment is very bright and colorful.

Damaged Core

Developer: High Voltage Software, Inc.
Platform: Oculus Rift

The premise of Damaged Core is simple -- you play as an AI that can hack into other machines and robots in order to take control over them.

The combat is extremely fast. It gets even faster as you progress through the story and gain control over bigger and better robots. This means that the game requires you to play in a standing position, since you need to look around a lot and take action.

It’s a full-on first-person experience that will keep you on the edge at all times.

If you still can’t decide what gear to buy or what game to play, then consider the following advice. It should give you a better perspective on things to come this year.

In terms of VR gear, Oculus Touch is, of course, very interesting, as it allows for the levels of immersion that are simply not available on a typical console gamepad. Many gamers are getting more and more interested in Microsoft’s HoloLens that doesn’t even require a controller.

On the other hand, HTC has created its own Hand MoCap that lets you record your own motion capture. This opens up huge possibilities for indie developers and people who want to create VR content, but don’t have the budget required.

Currently, one of the biggest issues that limits the use of any VR tech are the wires. So, if the wireless VR becomes available in the next few years, this is where the game developers will have way more freedom, especially when it comes to mobile open-world VR titles.

With all that said, we want to hear your own impressions on the development of VR tech. Leave your opinions in the comments section below.

Published Jan. 6th 2017


Sergey has been a freelancer in the video games industry for more than five years, writing for various publications around the world. His favorite games are MtG, Dark Souls, Diablo, and Divinity: Original Sin.


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