The First 5 Virtual Reality Games You Need To Try

Your VR headset is all set up and ready to go. Now what to play?

Getting your hands on a VR headset can open up a world of possibilities. Sure, you may have played video games before, but you've never played like this.

Virtual reality brings a whole new meaning to first-person gaming by allowing players to use their whole bodies to explore the virtual environment. Gone are the days where you look at everything through a flat screen. Now, the game moves around you, not in front of you. 

When you first fire up your headset and check out the games store, you're going to be flooded with information. Everyone wants you to play their game, and everyone wants to secure your first VR experience and leave a lasting impression. You probably don't want to spend a small fortune buying them all, and the free games will eventually get old. So, which virtual reality games are the best to start with?

If you are still looking, then look no further. These are the best VR games to try first if you are new to virtual reality.

1. Beat Saber

beat saber virtual reality game

Out of all the VR games I've seen, Beat Saber seems to be the most heavily advertised.  A TikTok video of a girl playing this game is what ultimately prompted me to get a VR headset, so it's only fitting that it was the first game I downloaded. It's one of the first games you see when you open up your device's game store, and understandably so. Great music and flashy lightsabers are quite a way to get someone's attention.

The aim of the game is to groove to the music by hitting floating boxes with your lightsabers. Staying on beat ensures you hit the blocks when you are supposed to and you'll have to pay attention to visual cues such as color and direction to make sure you are hitting the blocks correctly. 

Beat Saber is a great game to start with to get used to movement in the VR space. There is a huge screen of options that can be toggled on and off to the left on the main screen, allowing the player to customize the game to their liking. These options include turning the possibility of failing a level on and off, turning barriers on and off, slowing down the songs, and much more.  

beat saber vr game oculus quest 2

My favorite part about this game is the Online mode, where you can play against people all across the globe. The game puts you and 4-5 random players in a room, and you compete to get the best score. It's cool seeing other people playing along and builds a sense of community. You can even wave to each other in the lobby while you wait for the songs to load!

Beat Saber

However, the game is lacking in song availability. For $29.99, I was expecting more recent songs and a bigger variety in genre. You are able to buy additional song packs, but the packs leave much to be desired and are an additional charge each.

If this is not a concern to you, or if you are just looking for something to play to get your feet wet, Beat Saber is a great choice!

2. Moss

moss virtual reality game oculus quest 2

I thought I knew what to expect when downloading this game. I had read the reviews and seen screenshots of the gameplay, but nothing could have prepared me for how stunning the experience is. 

Moss is unique in that is optimized for stationary play. That means that contrary to normal VR gameplay, it's advised to play this game while seated. This is a great title to play if you are looking for a more laid-back, relaxing experience. Depending on which headset you have, you can stream to a second screen and play as your family or friends follow along.

Moss follows Quill, a fearless mouse, as she travels beyond her village to search for her uncle. You, the player, are referred to as a "Reader" and you help Quill throughout her journey. I would categorize this as a mix between an adventure game and a puzzle game, as you must solve puzzles and move Quill in the correct direction in order to progress. The story is being told as you play, and you unlock new abilities as you go along. 

miss virtual reality VR game oculus quest 2

As the Reader, you are able to interact with the environment around Quill in order to help her get from point A to point B. Although the game is played in stationary mode, you still have to lean and look around to observe every aspect of the landscape in order to solve the puzzles. You also have to pull, push, and grab certain things to help Quill get along. It is extremely immersive despite being low-key and will have you hooked for hours.

What blows me away about this game is how absolutely beautiful and vast the landscapes are. Although the Reader is much larger than the mouse, the game is still scaled so that everything still looks gigantic. The colors of the different terrains are all so mesmerizing, I find myself standing still in the game just to admire the scenery.

I also appreciate the fact that the checkpoints in the game are fair. If you make it most of the way across a level and die, it doesn’t start you from the very beginning. Additionally, you can die an infinite amount of times and aren’t sent far back in the game as a consequence. This reduces the amount of frustration and makes the game really enjoyable to play. 

My only criticism of the game is that it ends so abruptly. I was just starting to fall in love with the characters and the universe; it was a little too short. However, there is a sequel in the works!

The puzzles continued to get more and more challenging, and it was exciting being introduced to new creatures and learning different moves. For $29.99, I'd say this VR experience is a steal.

3. Tetris Effect

tetris effect virtual reality game oculus quest 2

This is yet another game I was pleasantly surprised by. I had seen the screenshots of splashes of color and light, but at the end of the day, it was still just Tetris right? Wrong.

Tetris Effect takes a simple, classic game and turns it into an entire sensory experience. The controls and object of gameplay are still the same — rotate the pieces until they fit in the spot you'd like, and try to make the rows disappear by filling them with blocks. You keep going until you cannot keep up with the speed and the blocks reach the top of the screen.

The difference with the Tetris Effect, though, is that your senses are being stimulated as you play. The game displays absolutely breath-taking visuals surrounding the game screen, which keeps the player engaged and attentive. Every time a piece is rotated, a quick yet calming sound plays that adds to the music. The visuals are paired with soothing music and sound effects, which are perfectly in tune with one another and work together to create a lovely soundtrack for the game. 

tetris effect VR virtual reality game oculus quest 2

The game has multiple modes of play, so you can adjust it to your preferred style. There is a practice mode, free play, and campaign mode, most of which can be customized to your liking. Some people prefer a slower game so they can take in the visuals, while others are more serious about playing so they can unlock the different boards and visuals. 

4. Pavlov Shack

pavlov virtual reality game oculus quest 2

I had never heard of this one before, nor had I ever seen it advertised, but a friend recommended it to my boyfriend and me as a must-have VR title. I don't personally play shooters often, but Pavlov is just straight-up addicting and has made its way into my list of frequently played games.

The selling point of Pavlov is how realistic the handling of the guns is. You can learn a great amount about loading and shooting different types of guns based on the gameplay. Your ammo stays around your hip and depending on the type of firearm, you use one or both hands to shoot and reload when needed.

If you know you love shooting games and want to get the ultimate firsthand experience, then I would highly recommend trying Pavlov first. The game has multiple shooting locations, including the killhouse for practice, a building full of zombies, and more!

Pavlov virtual reality game oculus quest 2

This might not be the best game to start with if you are still confused about the VR controls and moving in the space, as the directions aren't always super clear. However, if you want to jump right into some action and figure the rest out later, Pavlov is a top-notch recommendation. 

It can be fast-paced or eerily quiet, depending on which mode you play. You can use the kill house to learn how to use each type of gun, and then play online to showcase your knowledge and skill. I personally like to play on zombies mode to practice my reaction time. The kill house and shooting range are great options for practicing, and more practice means a better chance at survival.

The best part about Pavlov, also known as Pavlov Shack Beta, is that it's completely free! You may have to do a little extra to get it downloaded onto your headset, but the process is worth it for an experience you won't forget.

5. Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes

keep talking and nobody explodes virtual reality game

I wasn't expecting this game to be as fun and addicting as it was. I had seen gameplay of it on YouTube years ago when it first came out, and although it looked cool, I didn't have a particular desire to play it myself. However, my boyfriend and I were looking for a game that we could play with just one VR headset, and this appeared to be a popular option. 

Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes is a game where the headset wearer relays information and relies on the instructor's instructions to diffuse a bomb before the timer goes out and it explodes. There is a Bomb Diffusal Manual that the instructor refers to, and the two players must communicate to clear the modules and stop the bomb. 

keep talking and nobody explodes virtual reality game oculus quest 2

There is free play and story mode, with story mode introducing a new type of module every time you complete a level. The game gets progressively harder as environmental factors such as power outages and blaring alarms start to take up valuable time and focus. Additionally, the bombs themselves become more difficult to disarm within the timeframe as they grow and increase the number of modules.

Although the bomb manual is available online and can be accessed via phone, I ended up printing mine out. This allowed us to spread the instructions out on the table and access all of the instructions more quickly. It is quicker than scrolling through all the pages, and every second count when dealing with the bombs.

Whenever my boyfriend and I play this, we end up playing for hours on end trying to move forward through the campaign mode. Coming in at $29.99, this game has a lot to offer. I would highly recommend it!

Each one of these games has its individual merits, and my honest recommendation would be to try them all. However, if that's not plausible for you, you should at least have a better idea of what you might want to start with based on the reviews above.

Beat Saber is a wonderful choice if you would like to get used to moving your body around the virtual space. It also doubles as a workout and can help you burn calories while you have fun. Moss is a beautiful slow-paced adventure puzzle game that is suitable for those wishing to experience VR without exerting too much energy. Tetris Effect is also a wonderful stationery option and is perfect for anyone looking for a visual feast, calming music, and mental exercise.

If you would prefer to jump straight into the action and figure out the specifics while you go, Pavlov would be the way to go. If you want a multiplayer VR experience that tests your communication skills, Keep Talking And Nobody explodes would be a perfect place to start.

Although there are plenty of options and it may be hard to choose, you can take comfort in knowing that there is no such thing as a wrong choice. All of these VR games provide a top-tier experience and are wonderful introductions to the world of VR gaming. 

Writer, blogger, and content creator from Sunny San Diego. When she isn’t writing, you can find her exploring, eating, and watching Netflix.

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