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The best VR games for escaping to other worlds

In a world where we can't go out, these virtual experiences can transport us elsewhere.

Having a VR headset is hardly a necessity during the coronavirus pandemic. However, it can be a useful luxury, and a comforting way to escape a feeling of being trapped at home.

I've found myself escaping into VR a little more often, but it's not easy. Family responsibilities and plenty of obligations in the real world make it hard to find time to put on a headset. It's not a social activity I can share with anyone else in the house. It's total me time. Sometimes, though, I need that.

If you're lucky enough to have a VR headset (and these are some of the best ones), there are some great games worth your time right now. Here are some of my favorites. Also, be sure to check out some other great VR game suggestions.

Valve

Valve's long-awaited epic is a spectacularly produced Half-Life game made entirely for VR. It works with a large number of PC-connected VR headsets, too. It's single-player only, and its dystopian horror might not be a great fit for everyone right now, but it's the must-play VR game this year and a sign of where VR could be heading next.

Read the review.

 

Fireproof Games

It's an escape room brought into VR, with a ton of mysterious puzzles to solve and a creepy Lovecraft vibe. This VR-only entry in the long-running "The Room" series of games is a special gift right now. It's available for multiple platforms, including the stand-alone Oculus Quest.

Read the review.

 

Tender Claws

The immersive theater-meets-game universe of The Under Presents mixes live actors, who are performing through the end of May, with recorded cabaret and storytelling elements. Time bends, stories loop. It's a place to get lost in with others, and it's worth a dive right now. There's even a Discord group where communities are discussing the game's deepest secrets. It's now available on Steam, too.

Read the review.

 

Oculus

Ping-pong, in VR. It's my favorite way to transform my room into a way to play surprisingly real table tennis, and it works with AI or against online opponents. It's close enough to the real thing to border on practice.

Enhance, Inc/PlayStation

The hypnotic VR-optional puzzle game has been around for a while, but it's a great way to focus, meditate on blocks and feel yourself surrounded by landscapes and lush soundtracks. It's like taking a musical bath. Available on PSVR and PC.

Sony

If you haven't played Sony's stellar VR take on Mario-style platforming, now's the time to find out what it's all about. Each level has tons of secrets to uncover, which makes for some replay value too.

Beat Games/PlayStation

This has been VR's killer app for years, but now it's also a great stay-at-home exercise game. The music-rhythm-dance-with-lightsabers levels are a helpful way to blow off steam, and it's infinitely replayable.

Steam

One of the best little VR games, Moss, lets you explore little worlds as a mouse. The new Alice in Wonderland-themed Down the Rabbit Hole has a similar feeling of visiting tiny worlds, but laid out as you're moving down a hole in the ground. Leaning into each room is magic. (Available on Quest, Oculus Rift, Steam, PSVR)

PlayStation

I was late to discover this recent, beautiful game, and it's hard to describe: It's an alien odyssey in a minimalist world where you have to figure out what things do. It feels like art, and almost like a VR version of the classic game Journey. It's a PlayStation exclusive for VR.

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