Yup, 2021 is already halfway over. It’s been a busy six months for the VR industry with plenty of new releases. So let’s round up the best VR games of 2021… so far.
This list is comprised of every game we rated four stars or higher in the first six months of the year. And it’s only counting genuinely new games, not ports of older titles. So that’s why you won’t see the likes of A Township Tale and Carly and the Reaperman on here just yet.
As we move into the second half of the year, we’ll be interested to see which of these titles makes it onto our Game of the Year nominations come December.
The Best VR Games Of 2021 (So Far)
Mare – Quest
Mare emulates the rustic wonder of ICO, Shadow of the Colossus and The Last Guardian with ease. The game casts you as a mechanical bird that glides from perch to perch, guarding a young girl as she makes her way through a crumbling set of ruins. What the gameplay lacks in depth, Mare makes up for in atmosphere, with biting winds and stunning vistas that demand to be seen inside VR. An oddball treat.
Hitman 3 – PSVR
We were skeptical that IO Interactive could make VR support for Hitman 3 really work given it all relied on the PS4’s DualShock 4. And you definitely do miss out on some of the fun not having two-handed motion controls, but this is still a brilliant, expansive VR playground with plenty on offer, including the last two games in the trilogy too. Here’s hoping PC VR and PSVR 2 ports are in the game’s future.
The Climb 2 – Quest
The long-awaited follow-up to The Climb didn’t disappoint, giving us yet more heights to scale in imaginative and thrilling new ways. Visually the game left a little to be desired, which is why we’re still hoping we might see a PC VR version of the title release later down the line, too.
Hyper Dash – Quest, PC VR
Hyper Dash is a great indie success story, fostering its own community for its fast-paced multiplayer VR matches. This is a nimble FPS that trusts players with a range of locomotion styles and a steep learning curve. If you’re looking for an alternative to VR’s abundance of military shooters, Hyper Dash is definitely worth a look.
Cosmodread – Quest, PC VR
Cosmodread might as well be called Dreadhalls 2, as it’s essentially a sequel to one of the earliest VR horror games. But, whereas Dreadhalls was all about escaping the unknown horrors that lie in wait, Cosmodread does give you the tools to fight back, making for an evolved experience. Rest assured, though, that it’s still every bit as scary as its predecessor, with terrifying monsters making sounds in the dark.
Floor Plan 2 – Quest, PC VR
A wonderfully inventive bit of VR puzzling – Floor Plan 2 feels like a trip to Sesame Street. You travel between different floors in a building, each of which is essentially its own reality, and solve impossible challenges. Truthfully the puzzling can be a little too cryptic for its own good as the experience carries on, but the game is never short of funny, intriguing ideas that will put a smile on your face. If you missed out on Floor Plan 2 earlier this year, make sure to right that wrong.
Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife – Quest, PC VR
Fast Travel Games took an unexpected turn for its fourth release, trading in the vibrant worlds of Apex Construct and The Curious Tale Of The Stolen Pets for the horrors of the World of Darkness universe. Wraith is a moody survival horror experience steeped in dread and offers an interesting story that explores the tabletop universe like never before.
Demeo – Quest, PC VR
Within your first few minutes of playing Demeo with friends it feels obvious that it’s on to something special. The tabletop game itself is a lot of fun, but it’s the social VR element that really enhances the experience. Demeo is one of the few apps that genuinely feels like it leaps the distance between friends and offers a true one to one (or one to three) social experience, and that’s hugely significant.
Carve Snowboarding – Quest
Snowboarding shouldn’t really work in VR. And Carve certainly doesn’t compare to actually hitting the slopes in real life, but it is about as close as you can currently get with a headset. The game’s smart controls essentially see your hands fill in for your feet, making jumps and tricks easy to pick up but difficult to master. Carve Snowboarding is proof you can do great extreme sports games in VR.
Larcenauts – Quest, PC VR
The narrative around Larcenauts is a little messed up. Some launch issues lead a lot of people to conclude that the game was really an early access release and shouldn’t be a full priced title. In truth, the game already offers a lot of content, strategic multiplayer VR battles and developer Impulse Gear has already set about fixing some of those early issues. If you were put off by the conversation around the launch of Larcenauts I implore you to give it another look – it’s a gem of a multiplayer VR game.
Chess Club – Quest
Yup, it’s chess in VR. But, crucially, Chess Club does enough to ensure it’s the only take on the classic board game you’ll ever actually need in VR – it’s got robust options for AI opponents and even a suite of online features including tackling friends and strangers that the game thinks will be a good fit for you. Plus with both classic and animated boards the game takes full advantage of VR whilst paying respect to the staple experience, too.
Sniper Elite VR – Quest, PSVR, PC VR
Rebellion’s new VR shooter seemed like it might never actually come out, but Sniper Elite not only made its way onto all three major VR platforms, it pulled off pretty great versions on each, too. If you’re on PC and Quest then this offers just the right balance of authenticity and accessibility across a really enjoyable campaign. PSVR owners, meanwhile, get the added bonus of the excellent PSVR Aim Controller. Wherever you play Sniper Elite VR, though, you’re in for a treat.
What are some of your best VR games of 2021 so far? Let us know in the comments below!