The world of video games is always evolving, and gaming becomes more complicated - and more fun - every year. The latest and biggest advancement in the gaming world is having virtual reality gameplay right in your own house. While the current VR isn’t exactly what it is in movies and anime yet, it still offers a unique and immersive experience, unlike usual video games. And 2018 saw a huge boom both in full-length VR games, and the number of people that have the system to enjoy them in their homes.
In fact, so many fun VR games came out in 2018 that it was quite a challenge to decide on the best ones for our list of the Top 10 VR Games of 2018. In the end, we settled on a list that has games from many different genres and that can be played on a variety of VR headsets. Hopefully, you can find at least one game on the list that is a perfect fit for you! If you haven’t been sure about what new VR games to pick up from last year, or are curious to see if your favourite ones made our cut, read on!
We guarantee that all of these games will be entertaining in their own unique ways, and get you even more addicted to the world of VR. What we can’t promise is that you won’t just want to run out and buy a VR headset yourself when you finish this, so hopefully, you’ve got some savings!
10. Echo Combat
- System: Microsoft Windows
- Publisher: Oculus
- Developer: Ready At Dawn
- Release Dates: Nov. 15th, 2018
Echo Combat is a first-person shooter game that adds something special to this saturated genre - it all takes place in zero gravity! Echo Combat pits two teams against one another in these domes to see which team will come out on top. Many of the same elements of shooters are still in the game, such as capturing and holding objectives, charging shields, and more. But they all feel different because the fight is in a huge, free-movement zero-g dome. So while you can still try to seek cover, enemies can be above and below you as well, unlike in traditional shooting games. It’s an all-new kind of environment to learn how to succeed and thrive in!
Echo Combat is a refreshing addition to the world of first-person shooters, and the fact that it’s VR compatible just adds more weight to that. Shooting games aren’t going anywhere, but it’s nice to see the genre evolving and creating new challenges and elements to keep it fresh and interesting. It’s fun to experience zero-g through VR, too, and while of course, it’s not real, this is the closest thing we can get right now. Plus Echo Combat is well polished and finished, giving it a satisfying feeling when you play. It doesn’t have very many maps or game modes, but for its relatively low price, it’s satisfying and fun entertainment for shooting fans.
9. The Talos Principle
- System: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Linux, OS X
- Publisher: Devolver Digital, GHI Media, LLC, Nighthawk Interactive, Bandai Namco Games
- Developer: Croteam, Devolver Digital
- Release Dates: Aug. 31st, 2018 (Xbox One)
The Talos Principle was actually released originally in 2015, but only recently became VR-compatible, and in 2018 finally released for the Xbox One. In it, you play as an unnamed android that is given the task of exploring various worlds and solving puzzles within them. The only warning you receive is to not climb the towers at the centre of these worlds. Slowly, you begin to realise that all of these worlds are just virtual reality themselves and that you and the androids around you are nothing more than computer programmes. So do you continue to do what you are programmed to do? Or do you take independence and do something unexpected?
The Talos Principle is a VR puzzle game with a deep and complex story based on philosophy. Even the name, Talos, comes from Ancient Greek mythology. The Talos Principle is a unique take on an android story, showing a world where humans may no longer exist right from the start and throwing you right into it. The story will keep you guessing as you try to figure out what will happen next while solving complicated puzzles all along the way. The Talos Principle is both engaging but oddly relaxing at the same time as you escape into these fantasy worlds - and try to discover the truth of what is the real world, and what is virtual. It’s a cool concept for a VR game!
- System: PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows
- Publisher: Crows Crows Crows
- Developer: Crows Crows Crows, Squanch Games
- Release Dates: Oct. 18th, 2018
Accounting+ is...hard to describe, to say the least. It tries to sell itself as a software programme to help you learn how to do accounting but we all know that isn’t true. The start of the game even has you in a basement office beginning your noble career as an accountant. And then you’re summoning demons and playing a bone xylophone and listening to continuously arguing background narration voices all the while slipping into VR world after VR world within the VR world you began with. Yeah. As we said, it’s pretty hard to describe exactly what the plot is meant to be, but just know it’s about exploring the world of accounting. Or is it?!
Many reviewers claim that Accounting+ isn’t so much a game as it is an experience, and we have to agree with that assessment. Sure, it does have puzzles to solve to move through the story but really it’s all about just exploring the fairly linear path and continually wondering what is going to happen next - and never being able to predict it. Accounting+ is hilarious, with absolutely ridiculous dialogue always playing in the background to keep you entertained. It’s something that you have to just play to really understand (and even then you might not really understand it, we make no promises...) but if you want something fun and strange that you haven’t experienced before, well. This is it.
- System: PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux
- Publisher: Refract Studios
- Developer: Refract Studios
- Release Dates: Sep. 18th, 2018
Distance labels itself as an “atmospheric racing platformer” set in a futuristic neon city. In Distance, you’re racing in anything but a normal car, doing anything but driving on a flat road. It combines driving, flying, and parkour all into one fun package. Your car not only can drive, but it can also go upside-down, along walls, and even fly! You can find your own ways to complete the courses and routes through the city, discovering shortcuts and alternate routes to get to the finish even faster. But beware of obstacles and dangers along the way; you have to survive to actually cross the finish line, and you need to do it in the fastest time possible.
Distance fully supports VR, throwing you right into its crazy neon world and behind the steering wheel. It has a lot of gameplay features, including single-player adventure mode, multiplayer, arcade mode, and a level creator where you can make your own courses to share with other players around the world. Plus Distance has a great soundtrack that adds even more to the atmosphere of the game, taking you on a futuristic ride unlike any other. Even if you haven’t been a fan of racing games in the past, experiencing one in full VR like Distance is something special and worth at least trying. You might be surprised when you get addicted.
6. The Inpatient
- System: PlayStation 4
- Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
- Developer: Supermassive Games
- Release Dates: Jan. 23rd, 2018
The Inpatient is a psychological horror game and the prequel to the 2015 game Until Dawn. Set 60 years before the other game, you play as a patient at an asylum called Blackwood Sanatorium. The problem is that you have serve amnesia, and cNt remember who you were before waking up at the asylum, or why you’re really there. It’s up to you to learn the dark truths hidden at Blackwood by exploring the facility and interacting with NPCs. The storyline is branching and full of choices to make that will affect the rest of the game, and there are multiple endings to discover as well.
Horror games played in virtual reality are a cut above the rest and tend to be significantly scarier since they’re so immersive. But The Inpatient doesn’t just rely on jump scares and shocks to scare you for a thrill; it has a deep story and unraveling mystery, and the truths that you learn may be far scarier than any jump scare could be. Because your choices affect the game, The Inpatient has a lot of replay value to discover more paths and endings, if you’re brave enough to try again. While it’s not for the faint of heart, The Inpatient makes use of horror in VR in a fantastic way by telling an engaging narrative and putting you right in the story.
5. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR
- System: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4
- Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
- Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
- Release Dates: Apr. 3rd, 2018
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR is the latest release of the very successful The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim title. Played in first-person, you become a completely customisable hero who is thrown into a civil war in the northern land of Skyrim. On top of being pulled into the war and forced to pick a side, you are also what is known as the “Dragonborn,” and are the only one who can stop and deadly dragons that have started attacking the land. You set off on a quest to find and kill these dragons, learning their powers and absorbing their souls. The fate of Skyrim rests squarely in your hands.
Since its original release in 2011, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has become one of the most famous and popular games of our time. Whether it’s your typical kind of game or not, everyone knows the name, and many people have tried playing. Since it’s the first release, Skyrim has seen many successful re-releases, both with add-ons, and upgraded for the new consoles. And as of April 2018, a full-length virtual reality version! Many VR games are still disappointingly short, or just feature a small portion of the game in VR. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR brings us the entire game in VR, letting you travel to Skyrim and really become the Dragonborn. Whether you’ve already logged hundreds of hours on Skyrim or this will be your first time playing, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR is an awesome experience.
4. Red Matter
- System: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4
- Publisher: Vertical Robot
- Developer: Vertical Robot
- Release Dates: May 10th, 2018
Red Matter is an adventure game that takes the Cold War rivalries and gives them a new and exciting science fiction twist. Imagine that the war between America and the Soviets has spread into space, and you have the basic concept of Red Matter. It’s up to you to infiltrate an off-planet base on Saturn’s moon Rhea run by the Volgravians to do some astronaut-style espionage. You begin to learn more about the base through investigating diaries, photos, everyday objects and more while using your handheld Volgravian translator to slowly unravel the full story of the base.
Red Matter has an intriguing concept and retro-futuristic aesthetic that overall make for a fun experience. The story will have you hooked as you press on to learn more and discover all of the secrets, and it’s fun to step into the shoes of a spy. Plus of course Red Matter is VR, so you really feel like you’re there exploring Rhea! You can let yourself get immersed in this unique science fiction story full of secrets and conspiracies to be uncovered, and have a lot of fun along the way. The graphics are great and the gameplay as fun, so if you like story-based adventure games, Red Matter is one you won’t want to miss.
3. Sairento VR
- System: HTC Vive, Oculus Rift
- Publisher: Mixed Realms Pte Ltd
- Developer: Mixed Realms and Swag Soft
- Release Dates: Jan. 19th, 2018
Set in a futuristic Japan in the Tokyo Cluster in 2066, Sairento VR puts players into the role of a cyber ninja named Chieko Hatsuri. Chieko has been a member of the clandestine organisation known as Sairento as an agent for some time, but when the organisation becomes compromised she finds herself fighting for survival in an urban wasteland. Terrorist hackers have hacked into the in-brain computers of many Japanese citizens, forcing them to do whatever the hackers want them to do. And the hackers have infiltrated Sairento as well! The future of Japan’s society and security depends on Chieko’s success.
If you ever thought it would be cool to be a ninja in a sci-fi world, you’re in luck - that’s exactly what Sairento is. Combat in the game includes wall-running, triple jumping, and even slowing down time while basically ignoring physics. Weapons range from futuristic guns to shuriken and kunai. And everything is taking place in a future version of Tokyo! Sairento is one of the highest rated VR games on Steam, and for good reason; it’s really fun! Gameplay is fast and addicting, with a full story mode as well as multiplayer. And it’s incredibly satisfying to learn how to pull off the coolest and most complicated ninja moves. You won’t want to stop playing once you get started!
- System: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, macOS
- Publisher: Unknown Worlds Entertainment
- Developer: Unknown Worlds Entertainment
- Release Dates: Jan. 23rd, 2018
Subnautica is a new adventure survival game set mostly in the deep ocean of an alien planet. The planet is known only as 4546B, and you play as the lone survivor of a spaceship called Aurora that has crashed there after being hit by a mysterious beam of energy. Originally sent to find another ship lost on the planet, the Aurora seems to have found the same fate. Your goal is to explore the planet, which is mostly oceans, and find what you need to survive in this dangerous environment. Along the way, you slowly learn about the fate of the previous ship to crash on the island - and also about a mysterious race of alien precursors.
Subnautica fully supports VR headsets along with a game controller or keyboard and mouse to play. The game is played entirely in first-person, plunging you under the waters of this strange and dangerous alien planet. Playing a survival game in VR makes the stakes feel even more real and intense, adding to the atmosphere of the game. You really want to survive and do what you can when everything is playing out on your VR headset! Subnautica is also stunning, with creative and beautiful underwater environments to explore. And if survival mode becomes too stressful, you can switch to a creative mode where you cannot die and nothing you build can be destroyed. It leaves you free to explore the ocean to your heart’s content.
1. Beat Saber
- System: PlayStation VR, Microsoft Windows
- Publisher: Beat Games
- Developer: Beat Games
- Release Dates: Nov. 20th, 2018
Beat Saber is a rhythm game with a unique twist. Instead of just hitting well-timed buttons like most rhythm games, you have to cut them with energy swords similar to lightsabers in Star Wars. Beat Saber is all done in virtual reality, putting you right into the music. As coloured blocks either in red or blue approach you, you have to slash them with the appropriate energy sword. The blocks not only are colour-coded, but they also have an arrow indicating which way you need to cut them. Plus, to add to the difficulty, there are also bombs to avoid and obstacles you must physically duck under.
Beat Saber’s unique concept is what won over so many people in 2018. It’s not just another rhythm game; it really puts you right in the song. Plus, it’s so much fun to wield two energy swords and slash away to the beat of the music! Beat Saber combines a usual rhythm game with a dance game AND a fighting game to create an end result that is a good work out and a lot of fun. Beat Saber has both a single-player mode and a party mode, so you can enjoy it alone or with all of your friends. And trust us, it’s almost as entertaining to watch your friends wearing the VR headset and slashing away with the motion controllers as it is to play yourself!
Virtual reality gaming is still very new and in its infancy stages, but games like these ones are pacing the way for future games. Already VR has moved on from short 10 minute simulations or music videos and into games that cross most genres. They make use of your body and physical movement. And most importantly, they put games right in the game in ways that regular consoles cannot. So no matter what genre of game you enjoy, there’s sure to be at least one VR game out there that should at least make you curious. And if you haven’t settled on whether or not to buy a VR headset yourself, hopefully, some of these games can help you make that final decision!
Did we miss your favourite VR game of 2018 on our list? Would you change our ranking order? Are you hoping to play some of these games now? Do you think any of these titles will have a long-term effect on the video game world? We would love to hear from you in the comments below!