Not all game genres make immediate sense for VR, but some of the very best VR games out there don’t initially sound like good ideas on paper. Here are 7 VR games in unexpected genres that are, actually, pretty good.
Considering Virtual Reality’s immersive nature, it’s hard to argue that some gaming genres naturally fit VR better than others. This is particularly true within rhythm, fitness, FPS and horror games, which all lend themselves favorably to first-person gameplay. Whether you’ve been working up a sweat in Beat Saber to your favorite songs, shooting up enemies in Onward or subjecting yourself to ghostly terrors within Phasmophobia, there’s been no lack of options for fans of these genres.
Modern VR is more accessible than ever, thanks to efforts like Oculus Quest 2, and having moved past those formative years, developers are continuously getting more creative. Genres we wouldn’t normally expect to work within this space have begun making an impact, bringing us some fine experiences worth looking into. From battle royales to visual novels, these are some of the best examples we’ve seen of this so far in no particular order.
Puzzle | Tetris Effect
We talk a lot about Tetris Effect on UploadVR but there’s good reason for it: it’s absolutely incredible. Having made its way to PSVR, Oculus Quest, PC and Game Pass, no one could’ve expected news of a VR version back in 2018, but it’s a concept which translated surprisingly well. Created by Tetsuya Mizuguchi, best known for working on Rez and upcoming title Humanity, it retained Tetris’ classic gameplay formula, seeing you clear lines by filling a box with shapes, and incorporated that into a stunning cinematic aesthetic. Backed up by an incredible soundtrack and recently implemented multiplayer support, we’d strongly recommend giving it a try if you haven’t already.
Visual Novels | ALTDEUS: Beyond Chronos
Though we didn’t think Tokyo Chronos’ attempt to bring visual novels into VR justified using the technology, developers MyDearest expanded upon that initial premise nicely last month with its sequel, ALTDEUS: Beyond Chronos. Featuring a brand-new story, ALTDEUS took us 300 years into Earth’s future, as humanity is forced to flee underground by strange creatures called Meteoras. Playing a mech pilot named Chloe, its down to you to protect humanity from these monsters and your decisions determine just how this story unfolds. It isn’t as immersive as other VR games, but it still makes for a captivating story worth looking into.
Platformers | Astro Bot: Rescue Mission
Sony have been one of VR’s biggest backers since PSVR’s original launch back in 2016a nd Astro Bot: Rescue Mission was part of their increasing 1st party push. It saw us teaming up with Captain Astro, searching for his lost crew after they become scattered in a spaceship attack as we travelled across 5 separate worlds. Astro Bot made for an excellent platforming experience and by utilizing VR, it offered players a 360° view to help uncover hidden secrets in each level. Setting the standard for platformers that Ven VR Adventure recently attempted to follow, it’s an excellent entry point for younger audiences too and is highly worth going back to.
Beat ‘Em Up | Path of the Warrior
Developed by Twisted Pixel Games, Path of the Warrior was utterly shameless about its influences when it launched in 2019 and if you ever played Streets of Rage (or any 90’s style Beat ‘Em Up to be honest), you’d know exactly what to expect here. Set within Rage City across five levels, the premise is simple: get into fights with bad guys, pick up weapons to assist you, take down bosses and that’s it. Though it felt rather shallow in places, you couldn’t deny the fun concept within and with co-op multiplayer also included, Path of the Warrior is worth checking out.
Obstacle Racing | Sprint Vector
We’ve seen a few racing games come to VR in the last few years, putting us in the driver’s seat with simulators like Project Cars 2 to Sony’s futuristic Wipeout Omega Collection. Arguably though, the most unique take arrived back in 2018 with Sprint Vector on PSVR and PC. Developed by Survios’, this sprinting game has you run through a series of racecourses, swinging your arms to simulate that motion. Coming with cross-platform multiplayer that supports 8 players, it remains a highly enjoyable obstacle-avoidance racer that also provides a great workout in the process.
Battle Royale | POPULATION: ONE
You can’t escape battle royale games these days but despite their growing presence, they’ve largely remained confined to traditional platforms. We’d seen a few VR attempts like Virtual Battlegrounds but the genre doesn’t feel like it ever really came into its own until POPULATION: ONE arrived back in November of last year. Developed by BigBox VR Inc. for Quest and PC, the aim is to become the last team standing, battling it out within 18-player lobbies. Brining us fast-paced gameplay that felt incredibly smooth, it comes with a word of caution if you’re susceptible to motion sickness (and if you are, we have some tips) but otherwise comes recommended.
Sports | The Climb
Crytek’s The Climb is a much older title than the rest here, having released during the Oculus Rift launch window, but it showcased just what VR could achieve early on. Released in 2016 on Oculus Rift and later for Oculus Quest, it allowed players to explore three settings to climb between: Alps, Bay and Canyon. There’s a fine rock-climbing game within, one which won’t be to everyone’s tastes and is likely to be overshadowed once The Climb 2 arrives, but it executes this simple premise beautifully and still holds up in 2021.
What are some of your picks for VR games in genres that you wouldn’t initially think would be a good for VR? Let us know down in the comments below!