So it’s the end of the year and what a 12 months it has been for virtual reality (VR) fans. With hardware makers pushing out more and more headsets Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) has taken a far more relaxed approach by letting PlayStation VR continue to do its thing. The headset has had some excellent videogames appear and here is VRFocus’ pick of the best.
First and foremost this is a list of the best PlayStation VR videogames which launched in 2019. Which means there are several titles which appear on other ‘Best of lists’ that won’t appear here. Beat Saber is a prime example. While the highly popular rhythm-action experience left Early Access in May, that was only for PC (including an Oculus Quest edition). The PlayStation VR version launched in November 2018, hence its omission.
The Best PlayStation VR Games of 2019:
Blood & Truth
Hailing from Sony London Studio, Blood & Truth was the biggest PlayStation VR exclusive of the year by a long shot. Mixing intense action gameplay with a tightly interwoven storyline and cinematic cutscenes, the title showcased what could be achieved with PlayStation VR. VRFocus’ review gave it a full five stars, saying: “From start to finish Blood & Truth is one hell of a ride, a finely choreographed John Woo movie that’s all about sheer entertainment.”
Zoink Games’ Ghost Giant, on the other hand, is a very different beast; loveable and kind-hearted. A puzzle adventure where you play the titular Ghost Giant, an invisible friend to a lonely boy named Louis. Placed in the centre of a living cartoon world, you can interact with a lot of the world, helping not only Louis but the other town residents as well.
Perfect for gamers of all ages, Ghost Giant is a relaxed experience full of child-like wonder, being able to open houses and peer inside to see the richly detailed worlds. Great for when you don’t anything too hectic.
No Man’s Sky: Beyond
A summer update adding VR support rather than a dedicated VR videogame, even so, No Man’s Sky: Beyond was a major addition from Hello Games. With a massive procedurally generated universe to explore, new planets to discover, unusual creatures to find and other players to team up with, No Man’s Sky: Beyond offers quite possibly the most VR gameplay for your money. Plus the there’s the added benefit that the update was free for those who already own the original version.
Unless you really don’t like sci-fi and flying around in spaceships, then No Man’s Sky: Beyond is a solid addition to any VR library.
How do you make one of the greatest, most iconic puzzle videogames even better? Give it to a team which includes Enhance Games and let them work their magic. Offering both VR and non-VR gameplay, the core Tetris mechanics remain untouched with some added extras for those well versed in the puzzle title.
The big change comes for the visual and sound design, with a feast for your eyes and ears. Needless to say, while the non-VR version does look and sound nice, the effects are far more pronounced and engaging. And when it comes to addictive gaming Tetris Effect doesn’t disappoint.
Trover Saves the Universe
When the guy who helped co-create Rick & Morty decided to found his own videogame studio and then create a VR title, you know it’s going to be a little different from the rest. Trover Saves the Universe has that weird and zany humour Justin Roiland is known for, combined with a third-person adventure, where you control Trover, a little purple eye-hole monster trying to save the universe from a beaked lunatic named Glorkon, who just so happens to have kidnapped your dogs and put them in his eye sockets. Exactly…
Angry Birds Movie 2 VR: Under Pressure
So what about proper multiplayer titles? While No Man’s Sky: Beyond does feature multiplayer, you can’t enjoy it when a few friends are around. That’s where Angry Birds Movie 2 VR: Under Pressure comes in handy. Exclusive to PlayStation VR, the title uses the social screen (TV) to allow up to four people to play locally, one in VR and three via the TV. The job is to collect treasure and not let the submarine you’re in suffer too much damage.
It’s a fast and frantic videogame where the VR player is the captain, with a different viewpoint and tasks to the other players. Thus encouraging everyone to have a go in VR. There is a single-player mode but Angry Birds Movie 2 VR: Under Pressure is all about the social gameplay.
Five Nights at Freddy’s: Help Wanted
What’s a ‘Best of’ VR list without a horror title thrown in to scare you. Bringing the classic franchise into VR, Five Night’s at Freddy’s: Help Wanted combines all the original mini-game levels with a bunch of new ones. Not for the faint-hearted, Five Night’s at Freddy’s: Help Wanted is full of jump scares as you try to survive the night in the Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza security office, or repair vents in the depths of Circus Baby’s Entertainment and Rental.
When it comes to playing VR horror keeping the lights on won’t help, you need nerves of steel and Five Night’s at Freddy’s: Help Wanted certainly helps test that.
A Fisherman’s Tale
Released all the way back in January by French studio InnerspaceVR, A Fisherman’s Tale is another puzzler for those who like something a little different. Clinching the VR Game of the Year at the VR Awards 2019, A Fisherman’s Tale is an experience about perspective and a little wooden sailor.
Delightfully charming in its design and gameplay, the single-player videogame centres around a lighthouse which you’re both inside and outside of. Confused? Don’t worry as it’s all about picking stuff up and learning how to manipulate your surroundings. Great for new and veteran VR players alike.
A followup to the insanely popular Job Simulator, Vacation Simulator is like one massive toybox split across three different regions, a Beach, Forest and Mountain. Inside each one are loads of mini-games to complete as well as other fun stuff to play with. Challenges range from building sandcastles and making burgers to throwing snowballs and a little skiing.
With light-hearted humour throughout Vacation Simulator is another VR experience suited for all players, designed to showcase how immersive and unique VR technology can be in comparison to standard videogames.
Another title which isn’t purely VR, Concrete Genie’s main campaign isn’t VR compatible. Instead, the title has two ‘VR modes’, the ‘VR Experience’ campaign which has a basic narrative and is required to complete before unlocking ‘Free Paint’, so you can let your creative ideas go wild.
With a visually stunning aesthetic, Concrete Genie offers an interesting mix of VR and non-VR gameplay depending on what you fancy at the time. Plus it’s a creative stop-gap until Dreams eventually arrives in 2020.