PlayStation VR is now officially one year old, and what better way to celebrate the futuristic facemask’s first birthday than with a list of our ten favourite titles to date. This countdown was actually a lot harder to compile than you may expect, and that’s a testament to the sheer strength of the virtual reality headset’s first year on the market. Nevertheless, difficult decisions had to be made, and thus these are what we believe to be the best games you can buy for Sony’s expensive accessory thus far.
10: Tiny Trax
FuturLab’s first stab at PlayStation VR is predictably brilliant, using the medium to insert you inside some of the most insane Scalextric tracks you’ll ever see. The beauty of Tiny Trax is how virtual reality is used to weave courses all around your peripheral vision, meaning that you need to look around to follow the action. Each vibrant environment has a great sense of depth to it, and while the lane-swapping gameplay is very accessible, it actually takes quite a while to master.
Capcom’s first-person survival horror can be played on a television and is a great fun in that format, but the Bakers’ nightmarish guest house really comes to life when you pop the PlayStation VR headset on. Virtual reality adds an unrivalled sense of scale to the abandoned outhouses and underground caverns that the game sees you sneak through, and running into the six-foot plus psychotic patriarch Jack Baker is an even more harrowing experience when he’s physically towering over you.
Your hands are tied and you’ve got to figure out a way to get them out. A series of puzzle boxes set inside a nefarious science facility, Statik is one of the standout puzzle experiences on PlayStation VR. Inventive from start to finish, the game’s difficulty is pitched perfectly, meaning that it’s able to provide those all-important “a-ha” moments without ever frustrating. A brilliant backdrop complements the conundrums, culminating in something of a sleeper hit.
A last minute entry, The Invisible Hours is a compelling Cluedo-esque murder mystery that sees some of history’s most famous faces embroiled in a wonderful whodunnit scenario. Unfolding over the course of 90 or so fraught minutes, everything that occurs inside Nikola Tesla’s mansion does so in real-time, meaning that you need to manipulate time in order to build a full picture of exactly who’s killed who in this fantastic fly on the wall experience.
The finest things in life are often free of charge, and The Playroom VR proves that adage true yet again. In essence, this is little more than a proof of concept for PlayStation VR’s various features, but with its mixture of asymmetrical minigames, it really is a compelling piece of content in its own right. In particular, the Robot Rescue platforming sequence shows how virtual reality can be used effectively in third-person action games – and it really should be developed into its own thing.
For our money, comedy is the hardest thing to achieve in video games. How many games can you name that have consistently made you laugh out loud? Probably not many, right? Job Simulator manages to have a hilarious sense of humour and deliver a compelling PlayStation VR experience, where you occupy a number of roles, such as a chef or office worker. The game may lack longevity, but it makes up for its short running time through sheer novelty alone.
Thumper is described by its developer as rhythm violence, and as you guide a glistening space beetle down toboggan-like tubes, it’s easy to see what the maker means. The game’s nebula-like backdrops appear cavernous in PlayStation VR, and the sense of speed is unrivalled, as you aggressively whip around corners and power down straights. This one looks great on a standard television screen, of course – but it’s transcendent in virtual reality.
Is there anyone in the world that doesn’t want to be Batman? Gotham’s chief justice dealer is both relatable and badass, characteristics which have helped the hero appeal to generation after generation of comic book fans. And in Rocksteady’s ridiculously effective power fantasy, you get to live out a couple of hours beneath the Caped Crusader’s cowl. Mixing detective work with unique story-telling, this clever experience exposes both the good and the bad sides of being Bruce Wayne.
2: Rez Infinite
The best thing you can say about Rez Infinite is that it feels like the PlayStation VR version has been 15 years in the making. Originally released on the Dreamcast in 2001 and ported to various other platforms in the interim, Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s rails-shooter has been waiting for virtual reality to reach its full potential. Existing inside the game’s fantasy world is a euphoric moment, and the newly realised Area X borders on biblical as you bob your head through its mesmerising landscapes.
1: SUPERHOT VR
SUPERHOT VR may be stripped of the unnerving narrative that makes its flat-screen counterpart so compelling, but it makes up for any shortcomings through sheer gameplay satisfaction. While it occasionally pushes the PlayStation Move technology a little too hard, this time manipulating arcade experience is so sublimely satisfying that there was no other place for it on our list other than in first position. A frankly outstanding achievement.
These are our top ten PlayStation VR games, then, with honourable mentions going to the likes of Battlezone, Star Trek: Bridge Crew, Farpoint, and so many more. But what are your favourite virtual reality releases thus far and why? Enter a different dimension in the comments section below.