Fred's VR List — Games for the HTC Vive you'll want to buy

First, a few recent additions to my favorites which I plan to write about when I have time:

A-10 VR ($4.99), Accounting ($0.00), Evolution VR ($9.99), Gnomes & Goblins ($0.00), Google Earth VR ($0.00), L U N E ($2.99), Lazerbait ($0.00), Raw Data ($39.99), Smashbox Arena ($19.99), Space Bit Attack ($4.99), Thumper ($19.99), Trials on Tatooine ($0.00), Unseen Diplomacy ($2.99), Vanishing Realms ($19.99), ZenBade ($14.99), Buzz Aldrin: Cycling Pathways to Mars ($0.00)

Next, the experiences I wrote about awhile back:

Holoball ($9.99) is the best game of tennis or pong I've played In VR thus far. It's not perfect, but it's definitely fun.

Don't play this game on a hot day because you're sure to work up a sweat. And, whatever you do, make sure to keep television sets, glass doors, monitors, small children and large adults well out-of-the-way. You will be swinging your controllers around like a banshee, and you're likely to destroy your television set, knock your partner in the head, poke a hole through your walls and shatter a glass pane, but you're going to come back for it again and again.

Verdict: Must buy. Lot's of fun. Clear out the room, strap those controllers tight to your wrists and have at it!

The Night Cafe: A VR Tribute to Vincent Van Gogh ($0.00) is a short experience, but so, so much fun, and promising look into the future of VR.

It's clear that the developer put a lot of love into this tiny little piece of art, which honors Vincent van Gogh's artistry.

Verdict: Absolutely delightful. You should download this now. It's the closest thing you'll get to knowing what it's like to be inside a painting.

Audioshield ($19.99) is deceptively simple, yet don't let the simplicity fool you.

This app does a better job than most in immersing you into the virtual world. Depending on your choice of music the experience can be relaxing or a bit stressful. Many users find that Daft Punk offers some of the best, so I suggest you start there.

Listen to any music you like, but on your first run start with Daft Punk, which offers some of the best Audioshield game play. The soundtrack itself produces a stream of tron-like colored bubbles, which you must pop using two shields you hold in your hands. Although you may not notice it at first, the popping sensation really comes to life thanks to some very nice haptic feedback. This gives you a real sense of presence which is hard to beat.

Verdict: Everyone should have this app in their library. You will enjoy it. Your friends will enjoy it. Your family will enjoy it. It's simple. It's fun to come back to it time and time again.

Space Pirate Trainer ($14.99) is my all-time favorite.

Looking back, it surprises me that I was initially on the fence about Space Pirate Trainer. I spent a long time deciding. I just couldn't make up my mind whether I should get this game or not.

Initially I wasn't all that impressed with the graphics. However, over time I really come to appreciate the art style. More importantly, though, I now think of this game as my favorite.

I find that there's hours and hours of continued game play. It's fun for the same reason that Pac-Man is fun over and over again. The enemies have have personality, which means each game is unique while not feeling random.

I literally can't wait for the developer to add even more to this already fantastic title.

Verdict: Get this game NOW, unless of course you really don't like any game which involves blowing things up of kind, in which case you should buy it for a friend.

Holopoint ($7.99), despite its shortcomings in how you wield and the bow and shoot arrows, which you do eventually get used to, offers a fun and somewhat challenging training simulation.

After a few rounds of practice, shooting holographic targets and dodging holographic ammunition firing back at you, you move on to holographic enemies charging at you. There's an intensity to it all (enemies come at you both from in front and behind), and a deep satisfaction with you find yourself hitting every enemy in a wave.

The one other thing that bothers me is that, as you try to dodge bullets by moving your head side to side, the heavy headset uncomfortably swings its weight from side to side, making for an uncomfortable experience.

Verdict: Consider purchasing. Despite its user interaction shortcomings, and the uncomfortable dodge action, this game is a lot of fun. You'll likely come back to it often.

VR Battle Grid ($0.00) is my first foray into VR development.

I set out to make a game that uses true spatial audio (headphones or earbuds are an absolute must when playing this game to get the full effect), to deliver what I hope is a pretty fun "rockets flying past you, make your head turn and watch it again" experience. Thanks to your YES votes, this title is coming to Steam soon.

Verdict: Please let me know what you think.

Universe Sandbox ² ($24.99) is still very early and a bit buggy.

It's a bit difficult to give this app a strong recommendation given some the bugs and amount of polish work that's still needed. On the other hand, it's already so much fun, and a really interesting app, already worth spending some time with.

Verdict: If you like something a little more polished you should wait a little longer and check back.On the other hand, if you're will to forego a few bugs and are ready to explore the universe, this app might just be for you.

theBlu ($9.99) is really well done, although it doesn't have a lot of replay-ability.

You'll definitely want your friends and family to have each of experience that you likely want to show your friends and family.

Verdict: the probably end up getting this eventually. Think of it as a movie ticket that you can use over and over again.

Irrational Exuberance: Prologue ($0.00) offers a truly wonderful and precious experience to first time users.

You will long to go back and experience this app for the first time. It's one of the few experiences you'll be eager for your friends and family to have, because it's the closest you'll come to having that first time experience again.

This prologue is an enticing glimpse of what the full experience (Irrational Exuberance) might be like, which I'm really looking forward to once it comes out late 2016.

Verdict: It's great. When you run it for the first time, be sure to take your time, and to wear headphone, so that your first time really counts.

Budget Cuts demo ($0.00) seems to be almost universally liked.

Everyone I've shown this demo to has said it's a lot of fun and has enjoyed trying to solve the puzzle. This is the sort of game that your 14-year-old will complete in two minutes, yet it will give you hours of pleasure as you attempt to unlock all the secrets and make it to the end. The ridiculous task you've been given is to sneak into a building, find your resume, and approve it, so that you will be hired.

While you work through the puzzle and make your way through the building, most of the time you won't be stressed. The game is quite child that way. However, when do you run into one or more of the robot guards your adrenaline is likely to spike in the intense moments as you try to defend yourself before the robots kill you. What I really like about this game is that you get to decide when you walk into robot territory, which means you stay in control of the intensity level.

Although  this demo only offers a peek into the full experience (Budget Cuts - coming 2016), there's a lot of game play here to enjoy. Since a lot of the fun of this game is in the discovery and solving the puzzle yourself, the very last thing you want to do is watch videos of other people playing this game. So, whatever you do, don't spoil it for yourself. Don't even watch while others are playing.

Verdict: You should definitely try this demo. Just make sure you don't watch anyone else play it, until you've made it all the way through.

The Lab ($0.00) offers some of the best experiences for the HTC Vive.

There are ten experiences bundled inside this wonderful package. There are three nice games (Slingshot, Longbow, Xortex) with something for everyone. And, if you're not into games, you'll surely find something to your liking among the three exploration experiences (Postcards, Human Medical Scan, Solar System).

Want something in between? The Lab has you covered as well, with two more interactive rooms (Robot Repair, Secret Shop) for you to escape away to. The final two experiences are provided by the entire lab environment, which is fun to explore and interact with (it even includes a few bonus toys to play with), and the introductory tutorial which is a kick every time you play it.

Verdict: You must try the lab. You will try the lab. And, you'll keep coming back for more.

The Rose and I ($0.00) is (a) short, but so very sweet.

I wish there were a lot more story telling in VR. I like to this of this experience as a visual poem without words. Speaking on poems, if you have Google Cardboard, do yourself a favor and install War of Words VR, which is a a short poem (with words) set in VR.

Verdict: Definitely download this experience and show your friends. The Rose and I makes for a great first time experience, especially for your friend and family who aren't gamers or might be a bit intimidated by handheld controllers with lot of buttons.

Final Approach ($24.99) is easy to like and offers several levels of interesting game play.

It's your job to guide in planes, manage take offs, take care of the occasional disaster and just help get stuff done. Guide planes in by marking the path with your finger, not too steep, or the pilots might crash. An assistant helps you through the entire process, so it's easy for anyone to pick up. Lots of family fun, both in VR, and watching on the big screen.

Verdict: If you think helping landing planes sounds like fun, and you like game play that isn't too demanding, then this one is for you. If you don't get the point, you probably won't enjoy. And, if you're on the fence, just go for it. You'll probably have fun.

Zombie Training Simulator ($19.99) provides all the zombie fun, without the gore and flashlight antics.

Admit it, you like the idea of shooting zombies, but maybe you're not that into all the blood and guts which are usually par for the course. Although there are already far too many zombie shooters out there for the HTC Vive, Zombie Training Simulator offers a fresh take on this genre that's worth checking out. Thanks to the brightly lit cartoon environment and a complete absence of blood or guts, this game makes it easy your friends and family to have all the fun without paying the yuk price.

Verdict: Get it. Well, unless you actually need blood and guts in your zombie sim.

BLARP! ($2.99) has much more to offer than first meets the eye.

Don't be fooled by simple appearances. BLARP! offers levels of depth which you'll only come to appreciate once you start playing it and get into the moments of zen it offers. At first it may take you a few minutes to figure out what exactly it is you're supposed to do, but once you get the hang of it, you'll realize there's an increasing amount of skill and finesse required to stay alive.

These requirements naturally grow with your skill and progress. Along the way the game teaches you something unexpected about a sense of presence and awareness of space that's difficult to explain and would be easy to spoil.

Verdict: Unless you have no patience, and only enjoy games which let you blow things up, this game is a must buy. Don't overthink it.

Poly Runner VR ($0.00) serves up some of the greatest, and some of the most frustrating moments in VR.

After getting used to the head based steering system, I found the game to be quite relaxing and sometimes even a pleasantly hypnotic. I love the sense of accomplishment when I'm on a good run: successfully dodging left, then right, then left again, to avoid towering obstacles along my chosen flight path. The faster I go and the longer my run, the more I feel like I feel that I actually have the power of flight.

However, every good run, no matter how amazing, ends when disappointment. It's not the experience of crashing into a mountainside or seeing my ship explode into shards which makes me feel bad. It's the fact that every single time, no matter how many beautifully rendered low-poly levels I've successfully flown through, I'm always sent all the way back to beginning with exactly zero progress.

I wish the developer would add save points, say at beginning, 1/3rd and 2/3rd of the way through each level. And, if I could have one more wish: I'd love a "collision free" experience mode where I can soar through the world without the fear of crashing.

While I do regularly come back to Poly Runner VR, it's unfortunately never for very long.

Verdict: It's free. You should get it.

Fantastic Contraption ($39.99) easily serves as the family favorite.

There's a lot of replay-ability in this fun family game. After playing through all the level, you'll be eager to come back and build even wackier contraptions than during your first round. This game is also a lot of fun for family and friends to watch along on the big screen while you play.

Verdict: If you didn't get this as part of the pre-order bundle, it should definitely go on your wishlist.

Tilt Brush ($29.99) is a great first time experience for anyone new to VR, and there's always a reason to come back for more.

Friends and family can take their time and learn about VR at their own pace. There's plenty to discover: many types of brushes, more colors than you can imagine, and rich, animated textures, all ready for your creative exploration in different virtual environments. There's no limit to what you can create!

Verdict: If you're the creative type, consider Tilt Brush a must have experience. If you're not, you will be as soon as you pick up that controller and press the trigger.

Job Simulator ($29.99) makes you perform fun, although entirely pointless, tasks in simulated human jobs, all the while being marginally insulted by your robot masters.

The game has a great backstory to match an experience which has no beginning and no end, but as much "middle" as you can stomach, including spoiled donuts is you so desire. The longer you play and explore the more you will discover. If you think photo copying donuts is fun and love the idea of a keyboard with just two buttons ("0" and "1"), then definitely add this title to your shopping cart.

Job Simulator is my 11 year old son's favorite VR experience. When asked why he likes it so much, he replies simply: "It's fun to mess around in." To which I respond: "I just don't get the point".

Verdict: Unless you require that all activities have purpose, you should absolutely get Job Simulator. Watch a few gameplay videos. If you like what you see and are intrigued by the backstory, then you'll likely have hours and hours of fun. If you don't get the point, then this game is definitely not for you, in which case you should buy it for someone younger than you.

Destinations Workshop Tools ($0.00) lets you walk on the surface of Mars.

Even if you book a ticket on the next interplanetary space mission, it'll still be at least a couple of years before you're able to touchdown on the red planet. Yet, Destinations will take you there today. Walk around mars, see the Curiosity rover up close and learn about or sister planet.

Verdict: This is by far the safest, and frankly quickest, way to get to Mars. Start downloading now.

Lightblade VR ($3.99) let's you (safely) play with light sabers that feel pretty darn real.

Can you deflect laser bolts with just a pair of light sabers? It's time to find out! First things first: make sure you have over ear headphones, or ear buds which fit really well. Make sure you can't hear the vibration of the controllers. Then, turn on your light blades and have fun. Cut into the floor. Allow the blades to interact with each other. Feel the force of the feedback. The better your head phones, the more believable the experience.

Verdict: Well worth the price just to hold the light blades. Being able to deflect laser bolts, well that's just bonus fun.

If there's games not on my list that should be, let me know.

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