Top 10 video is here → https://youtu.be/F_KoTXWttcE
Below is my written review for all of them:
I should mention that I’m intentionally excluding Fallout 4, Skyrim, and L.A. Noire from this list because everybody already knows about those VR games.
10 Red Matter
In Red Matter the cold war is in full swing, and you need to infiltrate a soviet moon base to retrieve some top secret documents.
That sounds straightforward enough, but before long you’ll be unravelling a mysterious story as to what really happened on this moon base, and how that mystery encompasses your present day events inside the game. That’s about all I can say without spoiling it.
The gameplay itself is essentially a series of mini puzzles, sort of like escape rooms as you progress from one room of puzzles to the next. There’s a healthy variety of puzzles but you’ll be dealing with mostly switches, levers, and buttons.
With your right hand you navigate, you can teleport or use sliding locomotion.
On your left hand you have a multi tool. Switch between pinchers, flashlight, and a scanner. The scanner you’ll use heavily because that’s what you use to translate all of the written language, and there’s a lot of written language to translate. At first I thought that would be tedious, but in the end it didn’t bother me as it felt realistic having to do that inside a soviet base.
For a while things seem straightforward but then the story takes a supernatural turn. I don’t want to ruin anything but you should know that there are some startling moments. Nothing terrifying, but definitely spooky.
It took me 2 hours to beat the game and I had a good time. The regular price is $25.
9 The Assembly
The Assembly tells the story of a powerful and mysterious scientific research organization of the same name. And in the game you alternate between two different characters caught up inside a conspiracy within The Assembly. You play as both Madeleine, who’s a newcomer going through initiation trials. And Cal, a veteran on the inside who’s unraveling the conspiracy.
There’s lots of voice acting in the game, as you can hear your own character talking to themselves and others.
And thankfully the voice acting and writing is top notch. The characters’ performances are legit and keep the story engaging and relatable.
Throughout your journey you’ll be involved in puzzles, item hunting, and moral choices. I think this game was originally made for flat screens and then later adapted for VR because you use the motion controllers like laser pointers whenever interacting with objects. But I actually don’t mind that in this game since you’re searching through a lot of cabinets and containers looking for items and clues. And the laser pointer control scheme helps speed that up. This was one of the first VR adventure games that I bought and I have a real soft spot for it. I’ve played through this game three times I find it a lot of fun. The first time I played this it took me almost 5 hours to beat. The regular price is $30.
8 XING: The Land Beyond
Is a journey through the afterlife where you follow in the footsteps of other souls and learn about the life they once lived.
There’s a handful of realms, each realm has a unique theme and story about a particular character who lived there. You’ll come across pedestals that are like poetic journal entries. As you progress farther in each level you’ll get a deeper glimpse into that characters life as they reveal more story with each pedestal. Most of the characters stories are tragic, but they also teach valuable lessons.
After finding hidden items inside the realms you’ll unlock more miniature story journeys that you can explore as well.
As far as the gameplay goes, it’s a puzzle exploration game.
The puzzle mechanics utilize the environment in creative ways. You have the power to change the environment from daytime to nighttime, change the weather, etc. And those elements are necessary to solve the puzzles and progress further.
This game is gorgeous and zen like, unless you’re frustrated by a puzzle, which definitely happened to me a couple of times. But most of the time is relaxing, thoughtful, and contemplative.
It took me about 12 hours to beat the main game, and many more hours to achieve 100% completion. For all the content it’s a great deal at $20, since it’s a massive game with many stories to tell.
7 The Solus Project
Earth has been toasted and you’re the sole survivor of an exploration mission to find a replacement planet.
Much of the difficulty comes from the details of surviving: Looking for food, staying dry, getting enough sleep, things like that.
But I chose to play it on 0% difficulty which removes almost all of the survival elements. For me that provided the most enjoyment since I could spend my time exploring and getting to know the story, instead if fighting for my survival. But if that’s your thing you can certainly play that way.
This game has very immersive atmosphere and sound design. It’s impressive how quickly you feel alone and in danger. It can feel pretty spooky at times, and there’s one point where creepy dolls come alive and follow you. But most of the time it’s solo exploration.
There’s some dialogue and spoken radio communication. But the vast majority of the storytelling comes from observing things you find on the planet through monuments. It’s like Indiana Jones in space, but without the action. You’re piecing together the mystery behind the planet through lots of observation.
It’s a very slow and lonely story. But it’s full of surprises.
It took me 10 hours to beat it. So for $20 it’s a great value.
6 Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin
…is the first Psychonauts game made for VR. It doesn’t require any knowledge of the previous games in the series, it does a great job of quickly introducing you into the story and how things work in this world.
The story picks up from where it was left off in the previous game. With the Psychonaut crew flying to rescue the leader of the Psychonauts. But unfortunately this rescue party is kidnapped and held prisoner in the Rhombus of Ruin. So it’s up to Raz, our main hero, to use his psychic powers to reunite everybody, get back to the rescue mission, and find out who’s behind it all.
The story is well written, engaging, and funny. The character development and voice acting are platinum grade. Each character really comes to life with their unique performances in this crazy adventure.
The gameplay itself is a series of puzzles that you solve by utilizing special psychic powers at your disposal.
After the tutorial, the main game starts with you having limited psychic abilities. You can only switch host bodies and poke objects.
But as you progress you regain more abilities like moving around objects and setting things on fire. All of the game mechanics are played by using your line of sight, like a cursor, to highlight things and activate your powers. There’s basically no use of your motion controllers apart from pressing their buttons. And it’s not a room-scale game. you can pivot your position a little bit but you can’t walk around in the space or you’ll quickly get out of bounds.
But despite all of these limitations the game is top-notch. The story is unique and fun. The visual design and graphics are really beautiful. It feels like you’re playing inside a Pixar movie. The game is a decent length as well, you’ll get around 2 to 3 hours of playtime out of this depending on how good you are at the puzzles and if you take your time to enjoy the scenery and story. So despite the limited VR utilization in this game it feels like a highly polished triple-A title. It’s a fantastic story driven puzzle adventure. The price is $20.
5 Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
…Couldn’t be more different from the previous game.
It’s a narrative journey through the eyes of a warrior in her struggle with mental illness, and her quest to redeem a loved one.
In its portrayal of mental illness, the game is awash with voices and narration. You get to witness firsthand her struggle amid the noise and confusion.
Early in the game you meet her mentor. He’s a welcome voice in this dark place as he gives encouragement and fascinating backstory to the world.
While playing this game and joining Senua on her journey I felt empathy for her character in a way I haven’t felt before. This game in VR is something truly special.
It’s also unique in its third-person perspective for a VR game, instead of actually being the character you are observing like a floating camera. As such it doesn’t use motion controllers, you’ll need to use a gamepad or keyboard and mouse.
The gameplay is a mix of platforming, line-of-site visual puzzles, and exciting combat.
It is a spooky experience, and the minimum specs to run the game are high, but for an immersive journey there’s nothing else quite like it. It’s a dark and heavy story, no question. But it’s also very powerful storytelling. It’ll take you about 7 hours to beat, and the regular price is $30.
… is a narrative mystery in which you explore the abandoned mansion of Dr. Talbot. He guides you on the journey with his consciousness, represented by a fairy like floating light.
Early in the game you’re granted the Gravity Tool. It can move almost any object and you’ll be using it a lot throughout the game. Most of the game you’ll be connecting lines of energy throughout the mansion using various props and furniture that contain symbols that match the missing pieces on the energy lines.
Hunt for the missing piece, use the Gravity Tool to move it there, and then rotate it until it locks into place. That’s what you’ll be doing for the vast majority of the game. Even though you’ll be doing most of the same thing it’s still enjoyable.
The mansion is large and beautifully designed with quasi steampunk technology and antiques. The voice acting is excellent, and there’s a ton of it. You’re almost constantly engaged in conversation with Dr. Talbot. And besides that he’s narrating and giving backstory on almost every part of the mansion.
I wouldn’t technically call this a puzzle game, as most of the time you’re just searching for shapes and snapping them into place. There is occasionally some variety, like when you replace the sails of this ship in a specific pattern. But it’s all pretty mechanical and not brain teasers.
The strength of this game lies in its exceptional storytelling, voice acting, and visual design. I beat it in a little over 4 hours, and I really enjoyed it.
This is great game if you love exploring mansions and unraveling the mysteries within them. The regular price is $30.
3 The Gallery – Episode 2: Heart of the Emberstone
You have departed from Earth, and traveled to the mysterious world of Ember, in search of your missing sister.
So with Episode 2 in the name, it’s obviously a sequel. But this game stands on its own very well. There’s no need to play Episode 1, although it is a good game too.
Heart of the Emberstone at its core is a science fiction adventure inspired by classic 80’s fantasy, like the Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal movies. Almost everywhere you go in the game you’ll encounter a new type of puzzle or a new superpower at your disposal.
Throughout your journey you’ll encounter holographic reproductions of the past. Primarily from your sister that has gone before you… But also from characters long ago that once lived in this world….
Beyond the character scenes there’s even more story to be found in the books and tablets that you’ll find in almost every room. And the backstory lore feels legit, because the visual design of Ember really drives home the feeling of an ancient place that could tell you even more stories if the walls could talk. This world has a deeply historical feel to it.
This is a fantastic adventure with a great sense of humor and a fascinating tale. I beat it in about 4 hours, and the price is $30.
… tells the tale of an unlikely hero: a mouse named Quill is chosen to rise up and fight against an evil force.
And the game literally starts with opening a storybook.
It’s a platforming adventure, but it’s actually much more than that since it tells the story of Quill facing adversity against impossible odds.
And you yourself are actually involved in the story as well. You play a mysterious character that teams up with Quill, and besides controlling Quill you also use your hands to manipulate objects and solve puzzles.
Absolutely everything in this game is well done, but by the end I was so enthralled with the story that I was 100% rooting for Quill and I couldn’t wait to see how it ended. It’s full of character, charm, and hope.
It’s simply one of the very best VR games out there. I can’t recommend it enough.
I beat it in about 3.5 hours. But there’s many hidden items to find which can add to your playtime. The regular price is $30.
1 The Invisible Hours
Nikola Tesla has invited some prestigious guests to his private island mansion. There is a murder and a fascinating mystery narrative unfolds with you as an invisible observer. You exist as though you’re standing there but no one can see you and you can’t change anything. It’s pure immersive theater. You can go wherever you want, follow any character you want, and you’re in full control of time. You can pause and resume the story, rewind, and fast-forward.
The writing is top-notch. With both the overall plot and the character dialogue. The voice acting is also excellent, it never felt campy and the characters had me engaged from the very beginning.
As the plot thickens the individual characters’ stories get really interesting and I was surprised quite a few times.
There is some interaction in the form of item hunting, and there’s lots of game achievements for finding various items like Diaries and photographs, but like I said before you can’t actually change anything.
But for the completionist there’s a lot to find. The mansion is huge with many rooms and secrets to find. The pause menu features a powerful interface that allows you to see who you followed, where they were at the time, and the ground that you’ve covered. It’s really handy for finding parts that you’ve missed.
I bought this full price at $30 and I got about 5 hours of play out of it after going back and following every character through the story. But even then the game says I’m only 75% complete out of all the things there are to find.
So comparing that to going to the movies, or to a play, and I think I got my money’s worth. It’s a very polished production and this new VR theater feels like the future of entertainment. if you’ve been looking for a fun VR murder mystery, then it’s a must buy.