2017 is wrapping up and so reflect we must on the year that was. By now you’ve hopefully seen our extensive list of nominees for our Best of 2017 awards, which we think do a pretty great job of representing the VR industry in 2017. But, as with any medium, there are a handful of apps that flew under the radar this year that we really, really don’t think you should be missing out on.
Some of these are already included in our nominations, but we’re still highlighting them here. These are the games and apps that didn’t get Oculus-backed marketing campaigns, prime spots on Viveport, or simply just didn’t make as big of a splash as we thought they should have in 2017. So once you’re done with Lone Echo and have ventured through Skyrim, maybe give some of these a spin.
Statik from Tarsier Studios (PSVR) – Read Our Review
Perhaps it’s fitting that Statik remains an obscure gem in PSVR’s crown, left waiting to be discovered and examined, just like the game’s ambiguous story. In this VR debut from Tarsier Studios, you play as the lab rat of the bizarre Dr. Ingen, solving puzzles that take the form of contraptions locked to your arms, tracked in VR using the DualShock 4 controller. It’s an ingenious design that makes for one of VR’s most curious experiences so far, and something that will leave you picking the pieces of its plot apart for weeks after.
The Invisible Hours from Tequila Works (Rift, Vive, PSVR) – Read Our Review
Rime developer Tequila Works seemingly produced this incredible piece of VR storytelling from thin air, with very little hype leading up to its release. The Invisible Hours is good enough to earn three spots in our best of 2017 nominees, though, telling a fascinating elseworld tale surrounding the mysterious murder of Nikola Tesla. You follow the action in real-time, but can rewind and explore at any point. Step-by-step you piece together a twisted narrative with characters and surprises that won’t soon be forgotten.
Frontier VR/Echo Grotto from Gaugepunk Games (Rift, Vive) – Read Our Review
Gaugepunk Games is a developer you should really be paying attention to. Within the past 12 months the indie studio has released two of VR’s most immersive and wondrous experiences. Frontier VR presented three highly detailed environments that were a joy to lose yourself in, feeling the chill of winter or the heat of the sun as you watched nature at work. Echo Grotto, meanwhile, made for a fascinating caving experience that encouraged you to explore every nook and cranny of its intricate layers. You can get both of these apps together for just over $10 – don’t miss them.
Virtual Virtual-Reality from Tender Claws (Daydream)
Virtual Virtual-Reality is every bit as funny, bizarre and memorable as Accounting, but sadly doesn’t seem to have found the same kind of audience seeing as it’s only available on Daydream. In this surreal vision of the future you use headsets to rapidly travel from one reality to another, interacting with environments as you go. The game has something fresh and exciting to show you around every corner, and its sheer sense of imagination makes it a joy to experience from start to finish.
Form from Charm Games (Rift, Vive, Windows) – Read Our Review
Form is another game that’s got a fair few nods in our nominees for the best of the year, but we still feel like more people need to play it. This is an enchanting VR adventure that takes you on a strange and surreal journey through fantastical environments with puzzles that are easy to solve but a joy to interact with. There are new sights and sounds to fall in love with every few minutes in Form, making for a rollercoaster ride that you won’t soon forget.
Eclipse: Edge of Light from White Elk Studios (Daydream) – Read Our Review
Eclipse is one of the few mobile VR games that I’d suggest anyone with a PC or console-based headset still try and seek out to play. It’s an epic sci-fi adventure in which you crash land on an alien planet and explore the remains of an ancient civilization with some great platforming elements to boot. Eclipse is stunningly immersive, often easily succeeding in convincing you that you’ve touched down on an undiscovered planet. If you happen to have a Daydream-ready smartphone, this is a great reason to pick up a View headset.
Tiny Trax from FuturLab (PSVR) – Read Our Review
Velocity developer FuturLab knows its stuff. The team has built a well-earned reputation for mechanical precision that makes its games hellishly addictive. For its VR debut, FuturLab took its foundation and applied it to multiplayer, creating it’s own brand of Micromachines that was tough to master, but rewarding to play once you got a grip on it. Sadly, there isn’t too much to do outside of multiplayer, so this one you should consider picking up if you can convince a friend to take the plunge with you.