New To VR? Here Are Some Of The Best Virtual Reality Games For Beginners On PS VR, PC VR, Oculus Quest And More

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Christmas is almost upon us, and with virtual reality now bigger than it’s ever been, there’s a decent chance you’ll either be the proud recipient of one, or you’re planning on getting one for a loved one.

Regardless of which headset you buy, you’re going to want some games to go along with it. With that in mind, here are some family-friendly (no sex, gore or bad language, although some do involve guns and shooting), virtual reality beginner-friendly games to get your VR gaming off to go a good start.

Keep in mind this isn’t an exhaustive list, and it also isn’t a Game of the Year list. There are plenty of huge releases that have come out in 2019 like Stormlands, Asgard’s Wrath and Defector, however all of these are for the more advanced and experienced VR player. If you’re taking your first steps into the world of virtual reality, and you’d rather not fall flat on your face, these are the games you’ll want to check out first.

Beat Saber – PS VR, PC VR, Oculus Quest

Rhythm games have always been great party pieces – remember the onslaught of plastic guitars ten years ago thanks to Guitar Hero and Rock Band? – and Beat Saber is by far the best rhythm game in VR. Simple for newcomers to learn, but with a skill ceiling found somewhere in the upper stratosphere, and with a relatively small playspace requirement, Beat Saber is also the perfect way to introduce people to virtual reality.

Stand in one place, and blocks will hurtle towards you from the horizon. Wielding two laser swords, your job is simply to cut the blocks in half in the correct direction in time with the music. The beginner levels are ludicrously simple, but get into the higher difficulties and within only a few minutes you’ll be sweating your unmentionables off.

If you’re playing on PC or Quest (with a bit of further tinkering), there’s also the massive Beat Saber custom songs, custom stages and custom blades that all extend the life of the game indefinitely. Unfortunately, these aren’t available on PlayStation VR, although more songs are added to the game all the time, with big names like Imagine Dragons and Panic! At the Disco lending their songs for purchasable music packs.

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes – PC VR, PS VR, Gear VR, Android VR, Oculus Go (also non-VR on PC, Android, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, iOS and Android)

This game is on basically everything, and for good reason: it is an idea party game that includes more than the person wearing the headset. If you fancy screaming at your family this holiday season, look no further.

One player wears the headset and is presented with a bomb they must defuse. To do that, the other players must flick through a (printable) bomb defusal manual that is a confusing, obtuse nightmare designed to create panic. Through careful communication and organisation, defusing the bombs and progressing to more complicated explosives is a hilariously fun ordeal.

While it works best in VR, where only one player can see the bomb, there are plenty of flat-screen versions available too that are also worth playing.

I Expect You to Die – PS VR, PC VR

There are more than a few spy-like games in VR, but I Expect You to Die is the only one that leans more towards Austin Powers than James Bond.

A collection of essentially locked room puzzles, I Expect You To Die requires thinking outside the box to solve its puzzles. Developer Schell Games recently released the final post-launch mission free of charge, meaning now is the best time to play it.

If I Expect You to Die stumbles anywhere, it’s in how trial and error the puzzles are. Knowing what to do could let you clear a mission in a couple of minutes at most, but the journey of tinkering and figuring things out before then is well worth the cost of entry. Grab a friend to talk things through with, and it’s a really, really good time.

Also, it has a theme tune that puts Snake Eater to shame.

Superhot – PS VR, PC VR (non-VR version with different levels available on PC, PS4 and Xbox One)

This one has guns and shooting, but a level of abstraction that should make it fine to play with slightly over children. There’s no gore or bad language.

Superhot’s core conceit is really easy to explain: time only moves when you do. Stand still to plan your next step, dodge bullets like Neo from The Matrix, and shatter glass enemies with finesse. For older players, Superhot features a really interesting metatextual story that pokes holes in the medium itself. For the younger ones, punching an enemy so hard they splinter into a thousand shards is incredibly satisfying.

It’s worth pointing out that Superhot in VR is a different game to the one available on flat surfaces. While both have the same art style and core idea, Superhot VR has a different set of levels that don’t require you to walk around as you do in the other version – which makes it perfect for VR newbies.

Robo Recall – PC VR (Oculus Exclusive)

Like Superhot, Robo Recall does feature guns, shooting and violence. All the enemies are robots, though, and there is nothing particularly extreme here.

Robo Recall is often cited as one of VR’s go-to games, and with good reason. Killing robots is always satisfying, but being able to physically grab them and tear their limbs off in VR is a whole other level of cathartic. You can play it like a straight shooter, or get more creative by catching bullets out of the air, throwing enemies at each other, modifying your weapons (like turning thrown guns into grenades) for a personal flair, or simply rip an arm off a robot and beat their friend to pieces with it.

Robo Recall is currently an Oculus PC VR exclusive. If you’ve got an Oculus Quest, you’ll need a Link cable to play it, and for those on non-Oculus headsets, you’ll need to make use of third-party tools like Revive to play.

Doctor Who: The Edge of Time – PS VR, PC VR, Oculus Quest (Index and Windows Mixed Reality support coming January 2020)

It’s a shame we’re not getting a Doctor Who Christmas special again this year. It makes sense, as the new season is starting just a week later on New Year’s Day, but its absence on Christmas Day last year was very sorely felt.

Fortunately, this year we’ve got Doctor Who: The Edge of Time, a full, official VR adventure featuring Jodie Whitaker’s 13th Doctor. It features everything a Who fan would love – you can pilot the TARDIS, wave the sonic screwdriver around, and face off against famous enemies like the Daleks and the Weeping Angels.

It can feel a bit hand-holdy at times, with the solution to each puzzle being given to you far too soon, but remarkably, this is nonetheless the first Doctor Who game to actually feel like Doctor Who. We’ve had games before, but they’ve never managed to nail the vibe of the show quite as well as this does. The inclusion of new and original enemies, Whitaker herself appearing as The Doctor, or the more threatening feel VR gives you when staring down a Dalek’s eyestalk, I’m not sure, but The Edge of Time has much more of a right to stand alongside the show than, say, the Adventure Games or The Eternity Clock ever did.

No Man’s Sky – PS VR, PC VR (also non-VR on PC, PS4 and Xbox One)

One of the biggest VR releases of the year… actually came out in 2016. However, with the release of the Beyond update earlier this year, No Man’s Sky became VR compatible and immediately became one of the most engrossing virtual reality experiences available.

The joy of No Man’s Sky is in its sense of discovery and spectacle, which is only heightened by virtual reality. Whizzing around the galaxy and seamlessly flying from space down to an uncharted planet’s surface was cool in 2016, in 2019 with VR it is mind-blowing. The ship controls are surprisingly simple, and the ship controls have been adapted well for standard VR controls.

Best of all, No Man’s Sky doesn’t include anything more violent than a kid-friendly wildlife documentary. An overprotective robot here, a big ol’ spider alien there, but nothing that would make exploring the universe an adult-only affair.

Tilt Brush – PC VR

Not really a game, but Tilt Brush came with the first wave of modern PC VR and it’s managed to stay enjoyable and relevant until today for good reason.

Tilt Brush is an art program that lets you draw entire 3D environments. Whether you’re a budding novice just wanting to doodle or a fully-fledged artist wanting to explore a new medium, Tilt Brush over the years has managed to position itself as a genuine and valid art tool.

Sure, there are others available (Oculus Medium is great if you’d rather try your hand at 3D modelling), but simply painting the air in front of you in Tilt Brush is a meditative experience regardless of your artistic ability. If you’re not feeling too creative, just browsing through what other people have uploaded is a delight.

Garden of the Sea – PC VR

If cost-to-cute was a ratio we actually compared games on, Garden of the Sea would be hitting greatest of all time territory. Taking inspiration from games like Stardew Valley, Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing, Garden of the Sea is an in-development farming game that lets you tend to an idyllic garden in a serene island, take a boat out into the crystal blue waters, and feed and befriend the floating cow-manatee-things that inhabit the island. It’s also just under six dollars.

Garden of the Sea is so, so adorable, it almost hurts. Playing with a friendly penguin or harvesting your crops to give to your cow friends makes you forget the world outside your headset exists. This is a vacation game, something to get away from anything going on your life for a few minutes and just do something nice, calm and colorful.

The big caveat for this game is that development has been halted on it temporarily. Developer Neat Corporation has decided to focus all of its resources into Budget Cuts 2, meaning that, as of writing, future updates can’t be guaranteed. However, Budget Cuts 2 is due out this month, meaning the wait for more Garden of the Sea and its obscenely cute world can’t be too much farther away.

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