The most effective Oculus Rift and HTC Vive video games for novices

Full disclosure: I’m terrible at video games. It’s not that I don’t enjoy them, it’s just that the controls for most games are way too complicated for me to learn. Plus I’m impatient, and that doesn’t help.

That’s why now is a great time to get into gaming — virtual reality is here, and a lot of titles are perfect for people like me: the controls are intentionally basic to introduce people to VR without freaking them out too much.

With that in mind, we rounded up the best titles for beginners. Consider this your virtual reality primer.

Editors’ note: As you scroll down this article page on a desktop web browser, you should see a table of contents pop up on the left. Be sure to check out our other Must-See VR picks there.

Lucky’s Tale

Playful Corp

Lucky’s Tale (Oculus Rift)

Super Mario-like games can be difficult for beginners to master, because you have to use a complicated gamepad to move the camera around the character in addition to timing your jumps. With Lucky’s Tale, it’s way simpler: just use your head to look! Players follow the wily fox Lucky as he races through forests and dodge’s swamp pits. Way easier than changing the viewing angle with a joystick.

Available: Today

Price: Free (bundled with Oculus Rift)


Fly to Kuma


Fly to Kuma (Oculus Rift)

Fly to Kuma comes to us from the Japanese game developer Colopl, and it’s really easy to play. Remember that old game Lemmings? The gameplay here is similar — a group of cute little pink bears wearing tuxedos rely on you to keep them from falling to their demise, and you manipulate blue boxes to get them to their rocket ship. Along the way, you’ll encounter traps and special stages that challenge your engineering creativity to succeed.

The best part? If you lean in and look at the Kumas, they’ll look back, even give you a wave.

Available: Today

Price: $14.99

Link: Colopl website


AirMech: Command

Carbon Games

AirMech: Command (Oculus Rift)

AirMech: Command is like GI Joe and Transformers brought to life. You control a little robot that transforms into a jet and acts as aerial commander for your army of toy soldiers and tanks. It’s a strategy game, but not a difficult one. The controls are intuitive and you can also team up with another player in online co-op (complete with built-in voice chat) who can teach you the ropes.

Available: Today

Price: $39.99


Dragon Front

High voltage

Dragon Front (Oculus Rift)

Essentially a virtual-reality card game (think Magic or Hearthstone) built for the Oculus Rift. You’re matched up with a competitor based on similar skill levels and you go back and forth summoning minions and casting spells to move forward and defeat your enemy. You play from the perspective of a god looking down from on top of your fortress. The medieval environment and dramatic trailer makes it seem like they’re gunning for the “Game of Thrones” set.

Available: Spring 2016

Price: Unannounced


Adventure Time: Magic Man’s Head Games

Cartoon Network Games

Adventure Time: Magic Man’s Head Games (Oculus Rift)

This platforming game that got its start on the Samsung Gear VR is a no-brainer if you’re a fan of the Cartoon Network show. Featuring the voices from the original cast, Adventure Time: Magic Man’s Head Games puts you alongside Jake and Finn as they try to find the Magic Man that shrunk you down to size. Cartoon Network Digital worked with the developer, Turbo Button, to simplify the controls for younger players, and the characters break the fourth wall to joke around as you move through the levels.

Available: Today

Price: $4.99



Oculus Story Studio

Henry (Oculus Rift)

Imagine watching a movie and all of a sudden the characters become aware that you’re looking at them. That’s the concept behind Henry, one of the first interactive VR short films produced by the Oculus Story Studio. The adventure moves forward when you make eye contact with Henry the Hedgehog, and the movie stars Elijah Wood as the narrator.

Available: Today

Price: Free

Link: Oculus Story Studio website



Target Games

BlazeRush (Oculus Rift)

BlazeRush was one of the first games available for the Oculus Rift’s second development kit back in 2014. Think miniature Mad Max: choose your favorite car and blow up your enemies as you (sometimes literally) rocket around dozens of tracks across three planets. The track seems to float in midair, feet from your face: you can sit back for an overview of the track, or lean in close and turn your head to see more detail.

Available: Today

Price: $4.99

Link (to non-Oculus version): Steam


Pinball FX2

Zen Studios

Pinball FX2 VR (Oculus Rift)

You’ll swear these pinball machines are real. Pinball FX 2 VR gives you three of them, large as life and intricately detailed right down to their pinballs’ mirror finish. If you don’t believe us, lean in to get a closer look — VR lets you do that. Since it’s pinball, the controls are dead simple.

Available: Today

Price: $14.99

Link (to non-Oculus version): Steam


Eagle Flight


Eagle Flight (Oculus Rift / HTC Vive / PlayStation VR)

Eagle Flight transports you to a world 50 years in the future when humans no longer exist, giving you full freedom to soar and explore Paris’s beautifully iconic landmarks like the Notre-Dame Cathedral and the Eiffel Tower. The piloting controls are relatively easy to navigate when you’re just learning to fly, but it gets really challenging once you dive into multiplayer battles. You’ll need to wait a while for this one: originally pegged for spring, it’s actually coming this fall.

Available: Fall, also coming to HTC Vive and PlayStation VR

Price: Unannounced

Link: UPlay Store


Tilt Brush


Tilt Brush (HTC Vive)

Tilt Brush is one of the most unusual experiences you can have on the Vive, partly because it’s not a game. The app presents you with a 3D easel and life-size brushes that you can manipulate using the Vive’s dual controllers. There’s nothing really “difficult” about this app, necessarily, but the templates are set up so you can craft your masterpiece with as much detail as you want. After you’re done, you can share your artwork as giant VR masterpieces for other Vive users to view, or share them with the world as small animated GIFs.

Available: April 5

Price: Free, bundled with the HTC Vive



Owlchemy Labs

The Lab (HTC Vive)

Play fetch with a cute robot dog on top of an eerily realistic mountain, heave Portal personality cores with a giant slingshot, and wage battle with tiny paper men invading your castle using a longbow. Those are just three of the twelve bite-size experiences in The Lab, from Half-Life creator Valve. It’s a simple, fantastic introduction to what virtual reality is all about.

Available: At or shortly after the HTC Vive’s April 5 launch

Price: Free


Space Pirate Trainer

I illusions

Space Pirate Trainer (HTC Vive)

Remember those light gun arcade games like Time Crisis and Area 51? Space Pirate Trainer is similar except you’re put inside a space station inhabited by angry flying droids. The Vive controllers turn into laser pistols in VR, and the beginner’s levels are easy enough to have fun and get lost in the gunplay. Bonus: if you reach behind you and grab, you’ll pull out a transparent shield that reflects enemy lasers.

Available: April 5th

Price: Unannounced

Link: Steam


Cloudlands: VR Mini Golf


Cloudland’s Mini Golf (HTC Vive)

Everyone loves mini golf, right? Now you can do it from home. Cloudlands turns a Vive controller into a virtual putter, while the headset makes you feel like you’ve been transported to aa real minigolf course. Though you can’t quite sense the weight of your club, other physics feel spot-on, and the courses are fantastical without being overwhelming. CNET editor Nate Ralph called it his “gateway drug to virtual reality.”

Available: April 5th

Price: Unannounced

Link: Steam


job simulator


Job Simulator (HTC Vive)

I saved the best for last, because this will absolutely be the title that you’ll laugh about when telling friends about your VR experience. The basic premise is this: “So people hate working desk jobs right? Let’s make a game where you can go to work, but destroy everything in the office.”

You visit a kitchen, an office cubicle, a convenience store, and an auto repair shop where you use the touch controllers to perform the most hilariously simple, everyday tasks like cracking eggs, fixing your computer, and getting advised by your boss.

Available: April 5, also coming to Oculus Touch and PlayStation VR this fall

Price: Unannounced

Link: Steam

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