Virtual reality gaming is growing at a rapid pace. It made $5.8 billion in 2017 and just shy of $10 billion in 2018. That trend should continue over the next several years. There are a few big VR platforms. They include Google Cardboard, Google Daydream, Samsung Gear VR, Oculus, and the HTC Vive. We haven’t gotten our hands on all of those yet, but we can get this list started anyway. Here are the best VR games currently available for the Samsung Gear VR, Google Daydream, and Google Cardboard (and compatible headsets).
Samsung Gear VR
These are our top five picks for the Samsung Gear VR. These games aren’t in the Play Store like Daydream or Cardboard, but rather the Oculus Store. You can check out our whole list here!
Along Together is an adorable adventure game in VR. You play as an imaginary friend to a couple of kids. Their dog goes missing and you help and defend them along the way. The characters move around the game map with your assistance. You do stuff like move various elements so they can continue walking along. In addition, the simple controls and colorful graphics make for a very positive gaming experience. Plus, it's a good game for kids. The game runs for $9.99 and that's a bit expensive, but we have no real complaints with this one. Good luck finding Rishu!
Minecraft VR is another extremely popular and extremely good VR game. It plays basically like the normal Minecraft game except it's in virtual reality. You can still mine, build, farm, fish, and all of the other fun little activities you normally can. The VR aspect doesn't change the game that much. It's the same old Minecraft you already know and love. The only real difference is being able to look around in virtual reality instead of with a joystick. It does support 3D audio, though, and we thought that was pretty cool. It even costs the same as the mobile version of Minecraft at $6.99. This is also kid friendly. Some people have reported bugs, though, so keep an eye out for those.
Smash Hit VR
Smash Hit VR is a virtual reality version of one of our favorite infinite runners. Smash Hit VR is a first-person runner with some shooting elements. You run forward infinitely much like any endless runner. However, the game tosses various glass panes in your way. You look at them with head-tracking and shoot metal balls at them to break the panels. You have a life total that depletes whenever you throw a ball or hit a glass pane. It's game over if you run out of balls. The game relies mostly on head tracking for camera movement. Given that the game moves constantly, it can get a little tiresome after a while. Otherwise, this is among the best infinite runner experiences in VR along with games like Temple Run VR.
Virtual Virtual Reality
Virtual Virtual Reality one of the most popular and highly-rated games in the Oculus Store. It's a narrative-driven adventure game with some puzzle game elements. You play in a restricted world run (and transformed) by artificial intelligence. The AI gives you a bunch of extra stuff to do because you're a human and that's what humans need. However, players quickly catch on to the farce. You can play the mini-games or break from the pattern and try to reclaim their own humanity. It's almost like Portal, Wall-E, and the Matrix all mixed together, and it's easily one of the most satisfying games on all of the Gear VR (and Oculus) platform. We strongly recommend it.
The Well is the second game on this list by Turtle Rock Studios. This is a rare RPG for the Gear VR platform. It plays like a next generation jRPG. It features turn-by-turn combat, massive dungeons to explore, gear and loot to find, and a story to play through. Players recruit allies and level them up, survive enemy encounters, and defeat the Tesh before they destroy the world. It's nice to see the slower, more relaxing jRPG style represented in something as advanced as virtual reality and we're certainly glad for it. After all, not everything has to be a sensory overload, right? Relaxing is fine too. Some have complained about the controls and the textures, but honestly we couldn't see any problems with them. It's a big game and a positive overall experience.
Google Daydream is the newest VR platform right now. It’s new to the party, so the gaming isn’t quite up to par just yet. We have a whole list of great Google Daydream games here!
Battle Planet is a VR action shooter. The basic premise is that you'll be defending a micro planet from a nearly endless onslaught of bad guys. You'll be armed with a gun along with a robot that also defuses bombs. The game also features tons of bad guys, boss fights, and various power weapons and upgrades. You lose the game if your planet explodes. It's one of the most expensive Daydream games at $10.99, but those who have tried it have had only good things to say so far.
Claro is an atmospheric puzzle game. Your job is to move the sun around in order to help the plants in the level grow. There are 38 levels in total, including an expansion from a while back. Each level has its own set of challenges and design elements to make you think. It won't make your pulse race or anything like that. On the contrary, it's one of the most relaxing VR games we've ever played.
Hunters Gate is a third person shooter for Daydream. Your goal will be to defend yourself from a demon invasion. You'll have a choice between two characters (Forge and Payne). You'll have various things to upgrade and power up to help you survive as long as possible. Perhaps the best feature is its local multiplayer mode. You can play with a friend over your WiFi connection and take on the horde together. VR is, after all, more fun with people than alone. It's $5.99, but there are no in-app purchases. It's one of the better Daydream games for households with multiple devices.
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is a cooperative puzzle game. It's also one of the best multiplayer Daydream games out there. One player will try to diffuse the bomb. The other players will have documents they have to sift through in order to give the proper instructions on making the bomb not blow up. You can play locally with people in your house or online, but you need something like Discord in order to communicate. The only downside is that's rather old. However, it should still work on today's Daydream headsets. This is also available on the Samsung Gear VR and most other VR platforms.
Price: Free / $3.99
Wonderglade is a beautifully done VR game for Google Daydream. It takes place in a theme park and it's actually a bunch of mini-games packaged into one. The games are a mix of puzzle, racing, and arcade style games. It's best to think of it as a big fair or carnival or sorts. You wander around in virtual reality and enjoy yourself. Optionally, you can make some elephant ears for a more sensory accurate experience. Anyway, as you play, you'll earn tickets that you can use to unlock items to re-use in the mini-games. It's nothing super deep or complex. However, it's a good little collection of games to kill an afternoon. It's also kid friendly. It's free to download and check out.
Google Cardboard (and similar VR headsets)
Google Cardboard is one of the oldest VR platforms. However, its simple nature prevented it from having the kind of AAA gaming that you see on something like the Oculus and HTC Vive. In any case, you can check out the rest of our list here!
Price: Free / $1.67
Flats is definitely one of the most colorful VR games out there. It's a FPS game that lets you play both single player and multiplayer. You wander around a map and try to kill people. Your bullets also bounce off of stuff. It adds an additional element to the game and it's also quite fun to just watch. You'll need a controller of some sort to play. There is also Android TV support if you want to go cross-platform with it. You can also cloud save so you can switch devices if needed. The graphics won't win any awards, but the fun factor is definitely there.
Price: Free / $9.99
TrinusVR isn’t a VR game on the face of it, but it does let you play VR games. The general idea is that you can use this to play PC games. Here’s how it works. You’ll connect your device to your PC using this app. It then uses head tracking and integrates it directly into the game that you’re playing. The game is then streamed to your headset. It's not a full-blown VR experience, but it's a neat way to play games with a VR headset without going in on a more expensive VR experience. This gives a pseudo-VR experience that is actually fairly unique. Things can be a bit jumpy when you’re actually using it, so be sure to use the free demo first to make sure your system and device can handle it!
Voxel Fly VR
Price: Free / $3.99
Voxel Fly VR is an endless runner title that puts the thrill of the run right in your face. In this game, you’ll be flying through an endless city while avoiding traffic and various obstacles to see how far you can go. It has leaderboards so you can compare with friends to see who can make it the furthest. You’ll also get various difficulty modes, a 2D mode (if you want to play without the VR headset), support for game pads along with various control schemes, achievements, and support for a wide variety of Cardboard variants. That's a pretty good list of features for a Google Cardboard VR game in 2019. It’s fairly intense which makes it a great experience for VR and it’s completely free to play.
Whispering Eons is one of the few good free Google Cardboard games. It's an adventure game with space opera and puzzle elements. Players move and interact with various elements of the game world to solve puzzles, talk to people, and figure out the story. The cut scenes are actually quite good and the game play is above average. It's only about an hour long, though, so don't expect to spend weeks and weeks with this one. However, it's difficult to complain much about a free VR game. It works best with Google Cardboard and similar VR headsets. However, there is an optional 3D mode to play without one as well. This is about as good as it gets for a free VR game.
VR X-Racer is an infinite runner game where you’re tasked with avoiding obstacles while traveling very quickly. You’ll get points for things like near misses and hitting blue rings that appear in your path and your goal is to get the highest possible score while traveling as far as possible. It’s relatively simple compared to some other games on the list. However, it does give you the option to play with a game pad or with head tracking as your controller. The simplicity also makes it good for kids. It’s free to download and play with the in-app purchases. The in-app purchases remove stuff like advertising.