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Video Games

Stomachs of steel: These VR titles nearly made us queasy

Can you handle these challenging VR games?

No one wants to spend their first day with their pricey new VR headset making mad dashes to the restroom. It's a valid concern! A few of the games we've tried on the new Oculus Rift and HTC Vive left us sweaty, dizzy, and feeling an acute need to lie down.

That doesn't mean you'll feel the same, though. Perhaps you're a thrill-seeker with a iron stomach? If so, here's a short list of VR titles calling your name.

If not, here's a short list of VR experiences you may want to avoid. Don't say we didn't warn you.

Note: As you scroll down this article page on a desktop Web browser, you should see a Table of Contents pop up on the left. Be sure to check out our other Must-see VR picks there.

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Eve: Valkyrie

CCP Games


Eve: Valkyrie (Oculus Rift)

Gamers looking to jump right into a fully immersive multiplayer VR experience will be pleased to find that a free copy of Eve: Valkyrie is available to anyone who pre-ordered the Rift. You can team up with friends to take down foes in frantic 3D space combat. It's intense -- you're shoved into the claustrophobic cockpit of a starfighter screaming through space, banking like mad to dodge enemy fire. Nerdy bonus: "Battlestar Galactica"'s Katee Sackhoff does voice work for the game as Rán, leader of the Valkyrie squadron.

Available: Today

Price: $59.99 (or free with Rift preorder)

Link: Eve Website

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Radial-G

Tammeka Games

Radial-G (Oculus Rift)

Super-high-speed sci-fi track racing. Those words might strike fear into anyone still frustrated by Mario Kart's Rainbow Road. But confident speedsters will enjoy the ride that is Radial-G. Maneuvering quickly on the hover-tracks is satisfying in VR, though the game is also offered in 2D on Steam. Radial-G appeals perfectly to the thrill-seeker who exits a roller coaster and immediately gets back in line; Tammeka Games went as far as to offer branded sick-bags and sick-buckets in their Kickstarter.

Available: Today on Oculus, also coming to HTC Vive and PlayStation VR

Price: $24.99

Link (to non-Oculus version): Steam

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Adr1ft

Three One Zero

Adr1ft (Oculus Rift)

After a wave of "abandoned in space" movies, there's no doubt you have wondered how you'd fare if left to your own gravity-less devices. In this first-person experience, you play an astronaut navigating through a destroyed space station. The game can be disorienting and claustrophobic (one of the crueler ironies of games set in open space), but Adr1ft is so well done, it even convinced one of CNET's editors on the merits of VR.

Available: Today

Price: $19.99

Link (to non-VR version): Steam

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Eagle Flight

Ubisoft

Eagle Flight (Oculus Rift / HTC Vive / PlayStation VR)

Who hasn't dreamed of flying over the Cathedral of Notre Dame as an eagle? Glide between buildings and take in the idyllic streets of Paris without all those pesky humans in the way. The multiplayer option ramps up the game with blood-pumping aerial dogfights. If you don't want to feel nauseous, make sure to lean your head when you want to turn.

Available: Fall

Price: Unannounced

Link: Ubisoft's website

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Omega Agent

Fireproof Games

Omega Agent (Oculus Rift)

The '60s. Cold-war spies. Jetpacks. It's time for you to become a secret agent trope! Fly around the island training facility on your very own jetpack, tackling missions and puzzles with the suave skill of James Bond (or at the very least, the bombastic enthusiasm of Archer). Given how queasy it made some of us, we'd recommend skipping the shaken vodka martini until after you're done. Also, we'd highly suggest a swivel chair.

Available: Today

Price: $14.99

Link: Omega Agent website

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Dreadhalls

Sergio Hidalgo Serrano

Dreadhalls (Oculus Rift)

Don't fret! Turns out that Dreadhalls remains just as terrifying on Oculus as the Gear VR. Use stealth and a dim oil lamp to evade the creepy creatures on your dungeon crawl. The map randomizes with each game play (naturally), allowing you to almost endlessly frighten yourself senseless. Even though the creatures aren't actually real, we challenge anyone to hear labored breathing from behind and not "Nope!" out of the situation.

Available: Today

Price: $9.99

Link: Dreadhalls website

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The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

The Astronauts

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter (Oculus Rift)

Atmosphere has never been easier to create; Vanishing takes advantage of VR to set a haunting, yet beautiful, tone. Players experience the open world horror adventure as Paul Prospero, a detective investigating clues in the disappearance of a child. You're free to roam the world at your leisure, communicating with the dead and engaging with the environment around you. If you want to do it without feeling queasy, we'd highly recommend never, ever using the controller to turn.

Available: Today

Price: $29.99

Link: Vanishing of Ethan Carter website

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Dead Secret

Robot Invader

Dead Secret (Oculus Rift)

Solve a murder; try not to get killed yourself. In this first-person mystery thriller, you play a gossip columnist investigating a murder victim's home. While the clue hunt through the house is visually reminiscent of Gone Home, the game is markedly more unsettling. The foreboding game features a number of different (and not all pleasant) endings and jump scares. Be prepared to be freaked out, as VR naturally makes horror games much more personal. And again, make sure to actually use your body (rather than the controller) to turn.

Available: Today

Price: $14.99

Link (to non-Oculus version): Steam

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Hover Junkers

Hover Junkers (HTC Vive)

Set in a post-apocalyptic world, this first-person multiplayer shooter game works exclusively with VR motion controllers to give you an authentic shootout experience. Move about your hovercraft (or in the real world, your living room) and salvage junk from the wasteland to equip your ship or sell. The gunfights have been touted as some of the best VR has to offer, complete with a complicated reloading system.

The potentially unsettling part: the hovercraft moves so quickly it's easy to feel like you're leaving your real body behind. That made one CNET editor a little nauseous after a while.

Available: April 5

Price: $35 (expected)

Link: Steam

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Elite: Dangerous

Frontier Developments

Elite: Dangerous (Oculus Rift / HTC Vive)

The space combat simulator, which is already available in 2D for PC, OS X and the Xbox One, reaches a new level of excitement now that it's available in VR. Whether you're looking to explore the billions of star systems based on our own Milky Way galaxy, trade, battle or switch to multiplayer mode, Elite serves as another stellar of example of adopting VR technology to games. Play it with a HOTAS to add an extra level of immersion -- the joystick and throttle in the game will match your motions in the real world.

Available: Today for Oculus; also coming to HTC Vive at or shortly after launch

Price: $59.99

Link (to non-Oculus version): Steam

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Project Cars

Slightly Mad Studios

Project Cars (Oculus Rift)

An ultrarealistic racing simulator for serious car enthusiasts. VR makes the gaming experience all the more intense, now that you can see cars creeping up in your peripheral vision and realistically check your mirrors. Slightly Mad Studios released footage of driving an actual race car alongside the simulator and it's hard to not to be impressed by how the karts handle the road. The question is whether you'll be able to handle the high-speed turns without a trip to the restroom.

Available: Today

Price: $49.99

Link (to non-Oculus version): Steam