Virtual reality enthusiasts boldly declared from the start that 2016 would be the Year of VR, and it’s certainly lived up to the hype. From the hardware releases of Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, OSVR and Playstation VR to Google’s new Daydream VR platform, we’ve seen an impressive lot of gear to get the revolution underway. Let’s delve into the applications and games that have propelled these platforms and VR to new heights.


  • InCell VR icon

    InCell VR

    One of the very best games for the Google Cardboard platform, InCell provides an engaging, visually rich experience that's very easy to control, while also managing to educate through entertainment. Hailed as an action/racing game, it immerses players into a cellular world with the objective of protecting a cell from the influenza virus. It's an accessible experience for VR newcomers and is available across multiple platforms as well as Google Cardboard. The game was launched through Steam in September of 2015 and along with the developer's similar hit title InMind, has provided a great example of early VR possibilities throughout 2016.

    Free Mac Windows Linux Android iPhone Steam Ugotsta-image  Dec 2016

  • The Lab icon

    The Lab

    A Steam exclusive developed by Valve and launched in April, The Lab offers a fun bunch of room-scale VR experiments like the archery game Longbow or aptly named Robot Repair. The game has received overwhelmingly positive reviews and remains a favorite among Steam VR users.

    Free Windows HTC Vive Steam Oculus Rift Ugotsta-image  Dec 2016

  • Tilt Brush icon

    Tilt Brush

    Few apps created as much VR buzz this year as has Google’s Title Brush. Released early in April through Steam, and exclusively for the HTC Vive, the app has users unleashing their creativity on a virtual canvas, painting in 3D with brush strokes, light and stars. The app sparked tremendous interest in VR, having received nothing but great reviews, and has inspired at least a few similar apps.

    Commercial Windows Steam Ugotsta-image  Dec 2016

  • Space Pirate Trainer icon

    Space Pirate Trainer

    Space Pirate Trainer is the classic, arcade space shooter brought to virtual reality. With an early April launch on Steam and Oculus, the game received scores of great reviews for its success at bringing the experience of shooting wave after wave of enemies to VR. It kept players entertained and set an early standard for VR shooters.

    Commercial Windows HTC Vive Oculus Experiences Steam Oculus Rift Ugotsta-image  Dec 2016

  • Cmoar VR Cinema icon

    Cmoar VR Cinema

    Cmoar VR Cinema is a video player that does one thing better than its competitors, offering an exceptional VR experience with cinematic effects that make it feel like you’re at a movie theater. That experience is available through any Cardboard-compatible device too, so practically anyone with a modern phone can enjoy an outstanding VR video experience. Enhanced desktop versions were launched through Steam and Viveport in September.

    Commercial Windows Android iPhone Android Tablet iPad Steam Viveport Ugotsta-image  Dec 2016

  • Job Simulator icon

    Job Simulator

    Receiving countless praises for its brilliant humor and intuitive gameplay mechanics, Job Simulator offers an outstanding VR experience that’s both approachable for new users and still engaging enough to entertain VR purists. Ever since its April debut, the innovative sandbox game has continued with an excellent track record of reviews and has helped form a foundation of VR playability for others to build on.

    Commercial Windows Oculus Experiences Steam Ugotsta-image  Dec 2016

  • BigScreen VR icon

    BigScreen VR

    Virtual reality has huge potential for desktop use and Bigscreen VR excels at exposing that relatively untapped potential. It provides virtual environments where the user’s desktop is the focal point, adding collaborative elements to allow users to share and experience desktops with others. Launched through Steam in April, Bigscreen continues to innovate and show more of VR’s hidden capabilities.

    Free Windows OSVR HTC Vive Steam Oculus Rift Ugotsta-image  Dec 2016

  • Edge of Nowhere icon

    Edge of Nowhere

    VR may be the best platform for horror games as the June-released Edge of Nowhere helped to illustrate. It's an action-packed platform adventure with a third person perspective that's both intuitive and viable for VR. The game meshes the action with sci-fi horror elements and while it's a bit short, it provides a captivating experience that set a great standard for other games to follow.

    Commercial Windows Oculus Experiences Oculus Rift Ugotsta-image  Dec 2016

  • Sports Bar VR icon

    Sports Bar VR

    Pool Nation already had a great game and physics engine but VR was all it needed to propel it forward. Launched in June, Pool Nation VR entered the next generation with amazingly realistic controls and freedom that let players interact with the virtual pool hall however they wanted, including throwing bottles at AI players or hurling darts at other virtual players. The game struck the perfect balance of control and gameplay and threw in outlandish fun that warranted scores of glowing reviews.

    Commercial Windows Steam Ugotsta-image  Dec 2016

  • Minecraft icon

    Minecraft

    Minecraft already had gameplay of epic proportions but adding VR capabilities to it made those proportions all the more grand. With Gear VR support introduced in April, then full Oculus Rift support in August, fans were finally able to experience their block-filled worlds first hand and see just how large everything really was. The VR experience is still possible for Vive users as well, indirectly, through the Small Vivecraft iconVivecraft mod. VR support for this monumental game has added virtually infinite value to VR as a platform.

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  • Thumper icon

    Thumper

    Pushing the boundaries of rhythm gaming with blistering speed, psychedelic eye candy and thumping ambient sound, Thumper is the game rhythm fans have waited for their whole lives! The game was launched in early October on PSVR and through Steam, with Vive and Oculus support on the way, both versions having been received with waves of outstanding reviews. But only VR provides the in-your-face experience the game was designed for.

    Commercial Windows Playstation VR Steam Ugotsta-image  Dec 2016

  • Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes icon

    Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

    Taking the industry by storm in early October, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes brought a completely original, social gaming experience where a player must defuse a bomb in virtual reality with the help of verbal instructions from other players who have access to a bomb manual but can't see the bomb. It's an amazing party experience, made possible by VR technology, and it's available for multiple platforms through Steam and also for Daydream VR compatible devices, through Google Play Store.

    Commercial Mac Windows Android OSVR HTC Vive Oculus Experiences Steam Daydream ... Oculus Rift Ugotsta-image  Dec 2016

  • YouTube VR icon

    YouTube VR

    A Google Daydream exclusive that launched in November, YouTube VR is so much more than just a YouTube player. It immerses viewers in 360-degree content and provides an interface fit for VR, one that actually makes use of the environment and hardware. The clutter-free view displays context-based controls that simplify interaction, easily accessed with a Daydream controller, and offering a great example of good VR user experience.

    Free Android Android Tablet Ugotsta-image  Dec 2016

  • Land's End icon

    Land's End

    The rave of many recent reviews since its November release, Gear VR exclusive Land’s End offers a short but breathtakingly memorable experience. Controls are intuitive and natural, with scenes flowing smoothly from one captivating, surreal environment to the next. The game presents a notable, successful implementation of VR in a puzzle adventure game.

    Commercial Android Oculus Experiences Ugotsta-image  Dec 2016

  • V icon

    V

    While not technically a VR app itself, V is a dashboard overly for VR games. It helps users stay connected to services like Facebook, Twitch, YouTube and more. A mid-November beta release provided perfect timing for it to be used amidst an influx of new VR titles.

    Commercial Windows Ugotsta-image  Dec 2016

  • The Climb icon

    The Climb

    An Oculus Rift exclusive featuring some of the most gorgeous visuals in VR, The Climb has players in control of virtual hands scaling rocky heights and grappling their way over breathtaking landscapes. The game launched in April and recently received support for the Oculus Touch, adding the ultimate control scheme to already outstanding gameplay mechanics.

    Commercial Windows Oculus Experiences Ugotsta-image  Dec 2016

  • I Expect You To Die icon

    I Expect You To Die

    Escape games have never been as fun and engaging as I Expect You to Die. Released in November for Oculus Rift, the game casts players in the shoes of a secret agent, using Oculus Touch controls to survive devious puzzles. It's a hands-on experience that only VR and touch controls could deliver.

    Commercial Windows Oculus Experiences Ugotsta-image  Dec 2016

  • Arizona Sunshine icon

    Arizona Sunshine

    An early December release, Arizona Sunshine brings us a VR experience of the inevitable zombie apocalypse. It's a polished title that just gets everything right, from gorgeous visuals to intuitive play mechanics designed to make use of HTC Vive and Oculus Touch controllers. The game was built from the ground up for VR and it shows, providing another great example for further titles to follow.

    Commercial Windows HTC Vive Steam Oculus Rift Ugotsta-image  Dec 2016

  • SUPERHOT icon

    SUPERHOT

    SUPERHOT was already an outstanding title, but with the Oculus exclusive SUPERHOT VR release in December, the game got a massive boost. Along with the immersion of virtual reality, the VR version utilizes Oculus Touch controls by pausing time in the game unless the controllers detect movement from the player. It's a mesh of control and gameplay that's unlike anything so far and paves way for more innovative possibilities in the future of VR.

    Commercial Mac Windows Linux Oculus Experiences Steam Ugotsta-image  Dec 2016