VRScout’s Best VR Games Of 2019

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From asymmetrical party games to epic sci-fi RPGs, 2019 was one hell of a year for VR gaming.

The final days of 2019 are almost upon us, marking the end of arguably the biggest year for VR gaming so far. With the release of incredible hardware such as the Oculus Quest, the Oculus Rift S, and the Valve Index, the industry has been on fire as of late, offering players what could easily be considered the best VR games to-date.

Before we wrap-up the decade, let’s take a look at some of the most impactful VR releases of 2019. For the sake of simplicity, we’re only including finished titles; which means no early access titles. With that out of the way, let’s take a look at this year’s best of the best… of the best.

Image Credit: ILMxLAB

VADER IMMORTAL – A STAR WARS VR SERIES

First up: Vader Immortal – A Star Wars VR Series. Kicking-off with Episode I this past May, the ILMxLAB developed series has since expanded into a full-blown trilogy, one of the first to be featured in modern VR. The episodes were painfully-short at around 15-20 minutes, however, each of them offered a truly captivating narrative experience unlike anything featured throughout the Star Wars franchise thus far. Thrown into the shoes of a Force-sensitive smuggler forced into apprenticeship by Darth Vader, the episodic adventure takes players throughout Vader’s Mutafarrean Castle, from the cold, dark chambers of Vader’s personal quarters, to the vast underground network of dungeons and tunnels located beneath the massive structure. Players battle Stormtroopers, ancient sentinel droids, and even Vader himself as they seek to save the universe from unimaginable danger.

As if that weren’t enough, alongside each release comes an increasingly-improved version of the Lightsaber Dojo, an accompanying game mode that allows players to go head-to-head with endless waves of enemies with only their lightsabers and Force abilities to defend themselves. While the campaign may have been the primary driving force initially, Lightsaber Dojo has quickly developed its own cult following; so much so that ILMxLAB recently unveiled a standalone arcade release of the game mode. Whether you’re a fan of The Wars or just narrative-driven VR content in general, the Vader Immortal trilogy is an absolute must-try. You can even pick up all episodes for free by purchasing a Quest headset anytime between now and the end of January; if you can find one that is…

Vader Immortal – A Star Wars VR Series is available on Oculus Rift/Rift S and Oculus Quest for $ 9.99 per episode.

Image Credit: Cloudhead Games

PISTOL WHIP

Moving on, we have arguably THE best VR rhythm experience to hit headsets since Beat Saber in 2018. Released just this month for all major platforms, Pistol Whip is an adrenaline-fueled VR rhythm shooter that can best be described as an action movie simulator. Much like past VR rhythm games, players are tasked with hitting a series of “targets” to the beat of a handful of thumping electronica tracks. The only problem is that the difference is that these targets aren’t afraid to shoot back.

Bouncing along to a catalog of heavy tracks provided by Kannibal Records, Pistol Whip offers a refreshing experience that’s equal parts rhythm-runner and VR shooter. Players have their pick of a variety of firearms which they can customize with various paint jobs and audio SFX. While definitely one of the more simple experiences featured on the list, Pistol Whip remains one of the most addictive VR games currently available.

Pistol Whip is available on Oculus Rift/Rift S, Oculus Quest, and SteamVR for $ 24.99.

Image Credit: Oculus Studios

STORMLAND

Following up Pistol Whip we have yet another Oculus Studios showstopper, Stormland. Released this November for The Oculus Rift/Rift S, Stormland blew us away. Fast-paced addictive combat, gorgeous open-world environments, a charismatic cast of likable characters, and a surprisingly emotional narrative are just a few examples of the many different elements that make Stormland a AAA gaming experience. Set during an unknown time in the far future, the game places you in the role of sentient android that was, somehow, brought back to life after your adorable robot community was invaded and destroyed by a mysterious force known as the Tempest.

Over the course of the 5-hour campaign, you travel to multiple locations to learn exactly who this enemy is, why they’re attacking, and where the humans have gone; most importantly, you’ll look to reconnect with your lost friends. Stormland is everything you ever wanted out of a futuristic VR RPG along with several additional elements you didn’t know you needed. Whether you’re effortlessly surfing across serene fields of pitch white clouds, uncovering the mystery behind the unprovoked Tempest attack, or mindlessly looting island after island after island for additional parts and upgrades, Stormland is a VR RPG with a little something for everyone.

Stormland is available on Oculus Rift/Rift S for $ 39.99.

Image Credit: Stress Level Zero

BONEWORKS

Next up, we have the genre-defying sandbox physics simulator, Boneworks. Released just this month on SteamVR, Boneworks makes incredible use of the Valve Index’s “Knuckles” controllers with its hyper-realistic physics-based gameplay. Set within a corrupted operating system run by a massive multi conglomerate, users spend a majority of the experience navigating their way through a series of jaw-dropping puzzles and unique platforming challenges as they battle an increasingly difficult army of “null bodies.” Though we’re only a couple hours deep into the game so far, Boneworks has already proven itself to be one of the most technologically-impressive VR games ever released.

Every interaction in Boneworks–no matter how subtle–feels incredibly satisfying. This is due in large part to its advanced physics mechanics, which add a sense of weight and momentum to every action you make. Say you’re chopping up a wooden crate with a large ax. Because of the “weight” of the tool, swinging with one hand does little damage to the object. However, by gripping the ax evenly across its handle with both hands, you gain much better control over the tool, resulting in more damage. It’s for these reasons, and many others, that Boneworks is aimed primarily at players already familiar with VR. While the new IK body and physics-based interactions are sure to put a smile on the face of even the most cynical VR veteran, those completely new to the medium may actually find themselves becoming bored with the experience after only a couple of hours. That being said, anyone who has dealt with some of the clumsy interactions featured in various modern-day VR games will no doubt appreciate the immense amount of detail put into this groundbreaking title.

Every interaction in Boneworks–no matter how subtle–feels incredibly satisfying. This is due in large part to its advanced physics mechanics, which add a sense of weight and momentum to every action you make. Say you’re chopping up a wooden crate with a large ax. Because of the “weight” of the tool, swinging with one hand does little damage to the object. However, by gripping the ax evenly across its handle with both hands, you gain much better control over the tool, resulting in more damage. It’s for these reasons, and many others, that Boneworks is aimed primarily at players already familiar with VR. While the new IK body and physics-based interactions are sure to put a smile on the face of even the most cynical VR veteran, those completely new to the medium may actually find themselves becoming bored with the experience after only a couple of hours. That being said, anyone who has dealt with some of the clumsy interactions featured in various modern-day VR games will no doubt appreciate the immense amount of detail put into this groundbreaking title.

Boneworks is available on SteamVR for $ 29.99.

Image Credit: Resolution Games

ACRON: ATTACK OF THE SQUIRRELS

And finally, we have Acron: Attack of the Squirrels. Brought to us by Resolution Games, this hilarious asymmetrical party game places one VR user in the role of an enormous sentient tree tasked with guarding a handful of golden acorns from a team of 2 – 8 squirrels controlled via iOS and Android devices. The VR user can use their motion controllers to throw a variety of projectiles at their furry foes, from explosive stones to sticky sap balls. Meanwhile, squirrel players can use a handful of special abilities to evade attacks, grab an acorn, and rush it back to their home base.

Depending on which class they select, players can avoid projectiles and attacks by building ramps, digging tunnels, sprinting from cover to cover, or by generating wooden riot shields. The ability to jump into the action by simply downloading a free app is enough to make this a must-buy experience. Throw in a string of holiday-themed DLC packs, and you have the ultimate VR party-starter.

Acron: Attack of the Squirrels is available on Oculus Rift/Rift S, Oculus Quest, and SteamVR for $ 19.99.

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And there you have it! Just a small example of the many incredible immersive experiences we’ve been lucky enough to enjoy this past year. With headsets such as the Oculus Quest and Valve Index selling like hotcakes this holiday season, there’s no doubt that 2020 is shaping up to be one of the biggest years for VR on record. Now that all of this long-awaited hardware is officially out in the wild, here’s hoping next year is all about the games. So, on that note, have an excellent holiday everybody! I’ll see you all next year in the metaverse.

Feature Image Credit: VRScout

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Source: VRScout