Huge fan of video games hoping to inform and entertain people
If you’ve managed to get your hands on a VR headset, chances are you’re looking for some more games to play on it. Hopefully, you have one compatible with Steam VR titles due to the overwhelmingly positive reception of Half-Life: Alyx. But Virtual Reality is a costly pastime and one not without its caveats.
Cheaper headsets come with their own issues, such as reduced tracking and poor rendering. Even the Oculus Quest 2, a low-priced VR headset that can also act without a PC, requires users to create a Facebook account. More expensive headsets will give a better overall experience at the cost of...well, cost. Either way, you’ll be shelling out so much money for the headsets that you might not have any for actual VR games.
Thankfully, there are a lot of options. Steam is one of the widest marketplaces, not just for free VR games but for cheap titles as well. Some of those games even support desktop play, or were regular games that had VR support added later in their life. If you don’t want to go even more overboard with VR spending than you already have, check out these best free (and cheap) VR games on Steam.
All prices listed are in USD, and I’ll only be giving the spotlight to either completely free games or those under $20 at most. This selection should be a great start to your journey if you don’t have much leftover cash.
Rec Room is a title released back in 2016, and it might be one of the best VR games to start out with. It offers numerous gamemodes and environments to play around and hang out in, and it gets constant updates to this day. It does require you to create an account, but it’s a fantastic start for those that want a more robust start to VR than a tech demo.
A more recent title still in early access, Gorilla Tag is a game that makes the most of VR peripherals. Played through online multiplayer, you and numerous other gorillas must avoid getting caught in an acrobatic game of tag. No buttons are used; you move around by swinging your arms and throwing yourself off of floors and walls. If you don’t have room-scale VR set up for yourself, you’re pretty likely to break something after enough rounds. Still, it’s a pretty fun experience that will give you a workout you’ve never seen before.
While comparatively on the pricier side, Blade & Sorcery offers some of the most satisfying melee combat you’ll ever get in VR. The content does lean more on the tech demo side of things, with a pretty small selection of weapons and locales, but one very important thing sets it apart from like-minded games: mods. The vast amount of constantly updated fan-made content combined with the title’s enjoyable physics-based combat makes Blade & Sorcery more than worth its price point.
Much like Blade & Sorcery, this game (that I’ll refer to as H3VR for short) is more akin to a single-player tech demo. Unlike Blade & Sorcery, however, it trades the swords for guns and the modding support for a greater amount of content. There are plenty of gamemodes offering AI-controlled enemies and shooting ranges, and the amount of firearms you can find is probably larger than any other VR game out there. The $24.99 Pavlov VR might offer a greater experience due to allowing multiplayer, but H3VR is a fantastic choice for those that just want to jump in and have some clean fun with creative weapons.
If you’ve ever checked out the free horror game SCP: Containment Breach, you might be very interested in this VR remake. Faced with the goal of escaping a dangerous, monster-infested facility, players of SCP: Labrat are able to interact with deadly environments to points that even the original game doesn’t consider. It’s still in development, but numerous features are planned for the title, including multiplayer! Not only will SCP: Labrat offer some great horror right now, it’ll be even better down the line.
You might be a little surprised to see this game on here; it doesn’t even have official VR support. It does, however, have perhaps the largest modding community of all time. As a result, players can use VRMod to make their own support, though the mod does mention it’s all still very experimental. I wouldn’t recommend getting Garry’s Mod just for the fan-made VR content, but with all the other mods and custom content you can get, it’s definitely a great choice to consider.
Tabletop Simulator was also released as a standard desktop title, but it was updated with official VR not long after. Like Garry’s Mod, it also has a massive modding community, even having its own page on the Steam Workshop to let players try out new card and board games. It might not provide the best immersion ever, seeing as how you’re playing on a virtual tabletop, but it’s sure to give players many hours of fun.
Yet another title that had VR support added later down the line; PAYDAY 2 is a high-action shooter all about fighting against the law and taking what isn’t yours. The support is available as free add-on content for all players. Playing PAYDAY 2 in VR isn’t perfect, but it works well enough for what it is. The game also has almost a decade of updates backing it, resulting in an amount of content that rivals even the biggest Triple-A titles out there. You’re sure to get plenty of fun out of PAYDAY 2, even if you don’t have a VR headset.
VRChat is perhaps the largest VR-focused game on Steam, with an average of over 20,000 players each day. It features custom avatars, custom environments, custom game modes, and overall levels of personalization that outshine any of the other titles on this list. It has an option for desktop mode, but you’re missing out if this isn’t one of the first titles you pick up with a VR headset in hand.
Image via Steam Community
Perhaps surprisingly, the last game on this list isn’t even a game. The SteamVR software itself contains a workshop where players can submit custom environments and even create their own little minigames to play around in. It might just be the default software you launch into when using VR, but a little creativity is able to let you squeeze plenty of enjoyment out of it.
There are plenty of great, cheap ways to enjoy VR outside of these titles as well. HackerNoon has an article about 8 great ways to enjoy VR in Roblox, and Steam’s constant sales can offer amazing deals on even the more expensive titles on its storefront. No matter the price point, anyone jumping into a new VR experience is sure to find something great.
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