Flight VR games, whether immersive simulations or action-packed arcade experiences, need powerful graphical fidelity to produce a fast-paced, nausea-free experience. Thankfully, the Rift S sports powerful lenses and packed pixel density, making it an excellent platform to step into the cockpit for hours on end. Soar from your living room 10,000 feet up or even into space with any of these Rift S-compatible games.
X-Plane 11 (opens in new tab)
This long-running Microsoft Flight Simulator rival caters to plane fanatics with true-to-life 3D cockpits you can fully control with Oculus Touch haptic feedback. Novices can skip the pilot training and simply enjoy navigating through the realistic simmed weather to see world landmarks generated via real-time mapping, before landing (or crashing) at your destination. This game truly gives you a roadmap for learning to fly a modern plane, beyond just tilting a HOTAS joystick.
The final frontier
Most flight games trend towards peaceful realism or a series of missions with rigid objectives. Elite Dangerous, on the other hand, offers a dynamic open-world galaxy where you'll roleplay as an alien hunter, galactic pirate, or bounty hunter. Soaring through the true-to-scale recreation of the Milky Way and battling CPUs is fun on its own. However, you can buy the Commander Deluxe edition on Oculus or Steam to unlock the ongoing multiplayer events and choose your side in an interstellar war shaped by players' choices.
SpaceEngine is an early-access Steam title that takes real NASA probe data to recreate the entire known universe. The game lets you pilot a spaceship (or teleport) around a universe-sized map filled with black holes, galaxies, and other objects that match real star charts. While it's nothing like Elite Dangerous gameplay-wise, it does support a robust modding community that makes famous sci-fi spaceships for you to pilot.
Navigate a violent galaxy
This roguelike arcade flyer wrings tons of stressful action out of a simple story premise. You're an amnesiac piecing together your memory while navigating from one war-torn star system to the next. Plus, you're being pursued continuously by all-powerful aliens that always seem to find you. Everspace offers more crafting, dogfighting, and mindless explosions than most of the sims on this list, which you may see as compelling or generic depending on your tastes.
TIE Fighter reimagined
As an amoral fleet commander destroying your dying empire's foes, you'll switch between classic cockpit-style dogfighting and an overhead tactical view where you can issue orders to your AI troops. Be prepared to replay the 14 campaign missions on higher difficulties with new weapons and deadlier opponents to get the most bang for your buck.
Entry-level sim + minigames
Evoking a classic Pilotwings experience, Ultrawings mixes entry-level simming—use Touch controllers to manipulate dashboard controls or a HOTAS with roll, yaw, and pitch—with cartoonish visuals and gameplay. Flying through ring courses, shooting balloons, and racing AIs will make learning to fly less intimidating and more casually fun than other more "serious" games.
Modern (aerial) warfare
Unlike sims designed initially for screens and point-and-click menuing, VTOL is a VR-native experience with universally acclaimed Touch controls for operating the cockpit. Play the story mode for futuristic plane warfare, then dive into the custom content for more single-player missions highlighted by varied foes (tanks, missiles, etc.) and challenging scenarios like fueling in midair.
Ditch the plane
Wear a virtual wingsuit and enjoy the sensation of soaring downwards around mountainous obstacles, with no cockpit to provide a feeling of safety. Beyond the frantically fun multiplayer, you can challenge time or score leaderboards, or just coast down one of four mountain maps and enjoy the view.
Pilot's license training
Technically a free-to-play digital battlefield, DCS World lets you try out historic planes from famous war eras like WWII or Vietnam, on maps like Normandy or the Persian Gulf. The catch is that each plane, designed to have perfect gameplay fidelity with the real aircraft, will cost as much as a full-priced game, so choose which plane you'll sim carefully: you may know how to fly a real one by the time you're done.
Race in ruined Paris
Explore post-apocalyptic Paris as a majestic eagle in free flight mode, or take on opponents in multiplayer territory matches and dogfight gameplay. Most of the fun of Eagle Flight comes from playing against opponents online, compared to a more feature-limited single-player mode.
If we're making some suggestions
Flight VR games are designed with specific audiences in mind, from hardcore would-be pilots to Rogue Squadron fans that enjoy loud (scientifically implausible) space explosions. With that in mind, we highly recommend X-Plane 11 as an incredibly immersive, yet challenging pilot simulator, while also stressing that it's not for younger or time-strapped gamers with no patience for mastering complicated controls.
On the opposite end, RUSH (opens in new tab) just lets you dive straight into the sensation of dangerous flying by moving your hands or tilting your head, and is more likely something your friends could enjoy easily at a party.
Or, if you're looking for a more complete but less technical experience, you undoubtedly get the most varied and compelling gameplay from Elite Dangerous. Several games on this list give you an "Oh my god, I'm in space" sense of wonder. However, Elite lets you do more than look. You can actually have a major impact on the worlds around you inside an arcade-style cockpit that will let you naturally dive into the action for hours at a time.
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