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Top 10 VR Games of 2016

Our CEO and Chief VR Evangelist, Asif Khan, has compiled his list of the 10 Best VR Games that were released in 2016. Please take a look.

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Join us as we escape from reality one last time this year to look back at the Top 10 VR Games of 2016. This was an incredibly difficult list to narrow down, and we appreciate every developer who took a shot at creating something unique and fun on the new canvas that is virtual reality.

10. Rec Room

Rec Room is a quirky game for both Oculus Rift and HTC Vive that allows players to play games like Paintball, Dodgeball, 3D Charades, Disc Golf and much more. It is definitely more fun with friends, and has a lot of replay value. It is similar to some of the minigames in AltSpaceVR, but definitely has a finer polish as it is more a gaming first experience.

Useful Links:

Download Rec Room on Steam

Download Rec Room on Oculus Home

Rec Room official website

9. Windlands

Windlands is a first-person grappling hook VR exploration game. The game is almost like a first-person platformer in many respects as a key gameplay mechanic is jumping around the beautifully designed levels. Windlands merges some traditional control schemes with new VR motion controls to create an experience that is really fun. The game reminded me of the orb collection portion of the original Crackdown, as players are tasked with collecting crystals in some very hard to reach places. It is the right balance of challenging level design with fun and immersive gameplay that has you flying around like you are Spiderman slinging webs in a matter of minutes. Shout out to Mad Brahmin Disease, a Shacker who worked on the development team of Windlands! The game launched as a gamepad-based VR game but it really shines with Oculus Touch controllers as captured in the above video. 

Useful Links:

Download Windlands on Playstation Store

Download Windlands on Steam

Download Windlands on Oculus Home

Windlands official website

8. The Lab

The Lab is a bundle of games made by Valve Software. Yeah, Valve Software! The Lab is free with the purchase of the HTC Vive Virtual Reality Head Mounted Display and features a combination of experiences and games. My favorite game has to be Xortex, an arcadey space shooter that places you in the middle of the fight. Longbow is a cool bow and arrow game that features hordes of adorable enemies trying to break into your castle. Slingshot was another standout game in The Lab as it features that trademark Valve humor. Players are tasked with destroying a futuristic warehouse with hilarious cores. Rhythm core captured my attention several times, as seen here:

Valve has updated The Lab to allow for endless gameplay high score attacks in a few of its games. This has added serious replay value to what was already a great group of VR experiences. We hope there are more fun experiences coming to The Lab soon, but we understand if Valve is busy working on Half Life 3.

Useful Links:

Download The Lab on Steam

Valve Software official website

7. Thumper

Thumper is a rhythm violence game from Drool. It launched for PS4 with PSVR support, but is now available for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive as well. It is the best rhythm game to come out in many years. The game's visual representation of its music creates an immersive experience when playing the game on a TV, but playing in a VR HMD takes it to another level. Part of Thumper's beauty is in its simplicity. It is easy to pick up and play, but incredibly difficult to master. Players are graded at the end of each section with S being the best rating. It appealed to me on many levels as a fan of racing and music games, but the way that the game melds the tactile, visual, and auditory senses into one cohesive and immersive experience is what makes it one of the best virtual reality games to come out this year.

Useful Links:

Download Thumper on PlayStation Store

Download Thumper on Steam

Download Thumper on Oculus Home

Thumper official website

6. Job Simulator

Job Simulator is a quirky and fun VR game by Owlchemy Lab Inc. that doesn't take itself too seriously. Players are tasked with the seemingly mundane jobs of a business man, convenience store clerk, fast food cook, and auto mechanic. It is one of the first games to come out this year that was able to perfecly balance immersive gameplay and hand presence alongside humor in a fun package. Kudos to the writers for some of the funniest writing in any VR game to come out this year!

Useful Links:

Download Job Simulator on PlayStation Store

Download Job Simulator on Steam

Download Job Simulator on Oculus Home

Owlchemy Lab Inc. official website

5. House of the Dying Sun

House of the Dying Sun is a tactical space shooter that puts you in the cockpit of the universe's most terrifying starfighter. Made by Mike "Rampancy" Tipul, another Shacker, the game was our favorite space combat VR game to be released this year. The drift gameplay mechanic adds a different feel than most other space shooters to be released in recent memory. House of the Dying Sun works on traditional computer monitors, but is way better in VR. The menus are very easy to navigate as you command your fleet. There is also a solid amount of replayability with 4 levels of difficulty and unlockable upgrades. If you are into VR space combat, you must play House of the Dying Sun.

Useful Links:

Download House of the Dying Sun on Steam

House of the Dying Sun official website

4. Ripcoil

Ripcoil is one part frisbee, one part Tron, and equal parts fun. Players face off online in a disc-based game by Sanzaru Games that places the player on top of a hoverboard that is controlled by shifting your weight. This is one of most unique gameplay mechanics used in VR this year as you really feel like shifting your weight directly controls your hoverboard while you punch and throw discs around with your hands powered by the Oculus Touch controllers. While the game is simplistic at first glance, it offers a great amount of replay value and will most likely create blood feuds amongst your VR buddies. The game is exclusive to Oculus Rift, unless you have Revive.

Useful Links:

Download Ripcoil on Oculus Home

Sanzaru Games official website

3. The Unspoken

Insomniac Games hit a home run with this game. The Unspoken showed us that magic is real in this Oculus Touch VR action game that pulls players into the world of spellcasting and magicians’ duels. Players can manipulate the environment with the powerful arcane forces that flow through their fingertips, summon unfathomable monstrosities with their bare hands, and rise up through the ranks of an urban magic fight club. The Unspoken features some of the best hand presence in any VR title to be released this year and the multiplayer component adds a lot of replay value for players. Who doesn't want to shoot a fireball at their friend? The game is also exclusive to Oculus Rift.

Useful Links:

Download The Unspoken on Oculus Home

Insomniac Games official website

2. Rez Infinite

Rez Infinite is the main reason that I purchased a PSVR HMD. I was a huge fan of the original game and nothing has changed my opinion with this latest release. What amazed me about Rez Infinite is how well the game has translated to virtual reality. The third person perspective is great for looking around the environment while you fly through those same delightfully minimalistic levels. It is everything that made the original music based game great, just even better with the immersion of VR.

Useful Links:

Download Rez Infinite on PlayStation Store

Enhance Games official website

1. SUPERHOT VR

SUPER! HOT! This game received quite a bit of critical acclaim when it was released earlier this year. The way that player movement determines passage of time is a very novel gameplay mechanic that was impressive and cool on a computer monitor. SUPERHOT VR amplifies that unique gameplay mechanic by many orders of magnitude. The game captures everything that can be fun about VR. A keen sense of presence, aided by the great use of the Oculus Touch controllers. SUPERHOT VR's trademark "when you move they move" style achieves some of the most immersive gameplay we have seen in VR to date. The game also has a tremendous amount of replay value as completionists will strive for the game's validation that they are in fact, SUPER HOT. It is truly the best VR game of 2016, and we salute the SUPERHOT team for making a game that Shackers will enjoy in virtual reality for years to come. They truly know how to do it for Shacknews.

Useful Links:

Download SUPERHOT VR on Oculus Home

SUPERHOT official website


If this hasn't satiated your VR appetite, please check out our Top 10 Oculus Touch GamesThe 7 Best Oculus Touch Launch Games, and Greg Burke's list of Top 10 VR Games You Need to Play.

For more great videos, be sure to subscribe to Shacknews on YouTube.

Asif Khan is the CEO and majority shareholder of Shacknews. He began his career in video game journalism as a freelancer in 2001 for Tendobox.com. Asif is a CPA and was formerly an investment adviser representative. After much success in his own personal investments, he retired from his day job in financial services and is currently focused on new private investments. His favorite PC game of all time is Duke Nukem 3D, and he is an unapologetic fan of most things Nintendo. Asif first frequented the Shack when it was sCary's Shugashack to find all things Quake. When he is not immersed in investments or gaming he is a purveyor of fine electronic music. Asif also has an irrational love of Cleveland sports.

From The Chatty

  • reply
    December 28, 2016 4:30 PM

    Asif Khan posted a new article, Top 10 VR Games of 2016

    • reply
      December 28, 2016 4:37 PM

      You'll never believe number 7! Click to find out why!!!

    • reply
      December 28, 2016 4:43 PM

      Good list!

    • reply
      December 28, 2016 7:48 PM

      Whenever I see a list like this, I wonder what VR games the author (hi Asif!) played.

      Did you happen to play I Expect You To Die? That's a really fun puzzle game that you play with the Touch controllers.

      Xortex is rad as hell. I want to play more stuff like that.

      I'm glad SUPERHOT VR won though. Deserves it. Such a cool game.

      • reply
        December 28, 2016 7:55 PM

        I did play I expect you to die. It is really cool, and it made Greg's list of games that I linked at the bottom of the article.

        It is just so hard to fit everything on a list like this :(

        I ended up leaving off some games that I really like.

        • reply
          December 28, 2016 7:59 PM

          Yeah. I wish I had more time to play, but I have a bunch of other stuff going on and haven't even played everything I own yet. haha

    • reply
      December 29, 2016 12:09 AM

      Thank you, Shacknews, for being a bro and putting the entire content on one page. My mind was preparing for 2 or 3 page loads because the internet generally sucks like that, but I was pleasantly surprised ;)

    • reply
      December 29, 2016 12:47 AM

      The total number of hours that i played on my rift is probably 5 hours max, i was so hyped for VR, it's my childhood dream coming to reality but i wasn't mind blown as i hoped for plus it wasn't that comfortable

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        December 29, 2016 1:23 AM

        Wow, I think the Rift might be the most comfortable of the 3... but I hear ya. There has yet to be an app that defines the platform. I believe VR will have a long runway, and we are just getting started. We are the early adopters.

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        December 29, 2016 3:52 AM

        Do you have touch controllers?

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          December 29, 2016 5:46 AM

          Nope, I'm worried that it might be another dust collector especially that I don't have enough space for room scale VR games, plus the price is too high for a controller

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        December 29, 2016 4:04 AM

        Without controllers it isn't even VR, I have been saying this from the start. After a year of Oculus being completely forgotten about I hope people see that now and stop calling me a Vive fanboy over it.

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        December 29, 2016 7:15 AM

        This. Makes me glad I got into psvr first, as it's half the price. Will enjoy It for what it is now, and wait til the tech matures for proper 4k resolution down the line. Shouldn't be too long considering the 1080 can drive 4k right now, fairly ok.

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        December 29, 2016 7:58 AM

        Funny, that's like the exact opposite reaction I had. The anticipation to get my Vive was hands down the most excited I've ever been for a consumer product, and it totally lived up to the hype for me. I cleaned and painted the entire basement under the assumption that I was going to be hosting parties and spending a fair amount of time down there, which was a solid bet. Since then I've got something like 75 VR titles in my library and spent probably a hundred hours or more in virtual space. 2016 may suck in many ways but will definitely be remembered as the year of VR for me.

    • reply
      December 29, 2016 1:27 AM

      You didn't like Accounting?

      • reply
        December 29, 2016 6:11 AM

        I didn't care for it. The joke wore thin almost immediately but continued to drag on for far, far too long.

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      December 29, 2016 1:29 AM

      Question about VR... Can you get the lenses in your prescription? I've played the Vive and PSVR at a friends but always took my glasses off.

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        December 29, 2016 4:03 AM

        I'm near sighted, so it's actually not much of a problem for me, but I can definitely see it being a problem for farsighted people. But to answer your question, there are several places that make prescription lenses.

        https://vr-lens-lab.com

      • reply
        December 29, 2016 6:08 AM

        Not officially. I just wear my glasses with my Rift, but I also have fairly slender-framed glasses. Vive and PSVR are supposed to be pretty decent about wearing glasses in the headset, but with the variety of frame styles and head shapes, it's impossible to cater to everyone. I know some folks just go without if their prescription is light enough, but that's not an option for me. I've been considering contacts, though (and lasers, but $$$).

        These guys make special frames that will accommodate prescription lenses inside the headset, but I can't speak to the quality: https://vr-lens-lab.com/

        I want to say there are designs available on thingiverse you can also mess around with if you have access to a 3d printer and the desire to tinker.

    • reply
      December 29, 2016 4:00 AM

      I tried out vridge with my phone and cardboard, and it worked fairly well. It's not perfect, but it's a nice alternative to the $700 headsets. I'll try one of these games when I get a chance

    • reply
      December 29, 2016 6:37 AM

      Possible dumb question: Can you play ALL VR games on an Oculus, but you need software to play some games on a Vive? Put another way: are there OR exclusives, but not Vive exclusives?

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        December 29, 2016 6:49 AM

        There are oculus exclusives yes, in the form of the titles being locked to their storefront as opposed to steam VR. However, the vast majority are compatible with the revive wrapper that allows you to launch and play them on your Vive.

        There aren't any Vive exclusives really, just roomscale games that don't work very well unless you purchased and configured the additional camera for the Oculus. Oh I guess Google Earth is only on Vive, but I believe that is coming to Oculus down the road.

        • reply
          December 29, 2016 6:51 AM

          Ok that makes sense. Apparently there's a Google Earth VR hack too now or something.

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      December 29, 2016 6:41 AM

      I have a large head will I have trouble with Oculus or Vive? With fitted hats I wear a 7 7/8 or 8.

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        December 29, 2016 7:00 AM

        I'll tell you next week. (I wear a size 7 7/8)

        • reply
          December 29, 2016 8:05 AM

          Make sure you take time to properly adjust the straps if getting the Vive. When shipped the top strap is rather tight, loosen it up so the back straps cradle the back of your head (and not the top).

    • reply
      December 29, 2016 6:43 AM

      I hate how some of these games aren't on steam and I can't play them unless I install revive. Refuse to give my money to oculus store in case they end up blocking revive again, but would love to play these games. Glad to see Job Simulator on the list.

    • reply
      December 29, 2016 7:11 AM

      Did you try rush of blood on psvr? It's so cool. Makes me wish I had a vive to try out the funhouse nvidia game.

    • reply
      December 29, 2016 7:57 AM

      no Onward and no Battlezone? um...

      • reply
        December 29, 2016 9:04 AM

        I think Onward is still in early access. No early access for this list.

    • reply
      December 29, 2016 8:21 AM

      Cannot believe the lab is so low on this list. Hmm..

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        December 29, 2016 9:03 AM

        I can't even launch the Lab, it keeps failing with some VR server exe crash.

        • reply
          December 29, 2016 1:00 PM

          Holy crap that sucks, I'm sorry.. Are you using a rift or the vive?

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      December 29, 2016 9:27 AM

      I saw Rec Room in 10th and closed the tab :( List is broken :(

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      December 29, 2016 9:56 AM

      I still haven't tried any VR :(

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      December 29, 2016 11:28 AM

      Haven't had the opportunity to try VR yet. Maybe next year I'll win briefcases sweaty Vive unit.

    • reply
      December 31, 2016 8:15 AM

      If this is the best, I am not too excited,,,,yet.
      Loved playing with the free Google Pixel VR headset for about an hour (youtube 360 videos mainly). But I could not bring myself to pull the trigger on a PSVR yet. Last I read here about any VR is that it's not worth it yet....still hold true?

    • reply
      January 1, 2017 9:48 PM

      My post on this was eaten by latestchatty, and I was too lazy to re-type it on my mobile. I was just catching up on VR reading on uploadvr. This list is reliably better than theirs. They have some decisions and inclusions that I would never publish as a list that people getting into VR might jump to. They have Superhot listed as (and winning) as a puzzle game. WTF? I cannot recall a single puzzle. If they count the levels themselves as puzzles than we see gaming very differently. Single player shooters should not be considered puzzles. They also have Onward winning as shooter. I'm sure it's a good shooter, but still depends on a locomotion that makes the majority of people sick. Anyway, good list and keep up your evangelism TMWTB.