Strapping on a head-mounted display (HMD), whether it's an HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, or Windows Mixed Reality (WMR) headset, is always a lesson in immersion. You feel like you're inside the game, and motion controllers only add to that experience. But what about games where you're flying? In that case, a quality Hands On Throttle-and-Stick (HOTAS) controller will make you really feel like you're inside a cockpit or cabin. Here are the best VR games that have support for this type of system.
Battlezone (about $35) takes retro elements — design, color, and gameplay — and mixes them with VR to bring an intense tank-fighting game you can enjoy solo with up to three other players online.
Unlock new tanks and fit them with ever more powerful gear and weapons and make a climb on the leaderboard. Battlezone works officially with Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and WMR.
House of the Dying Sun
Although HOTAS controllers are specifically said to not be officially supported, many players have had success with House of the Dying Sun (about $20). You're one of the best pilots the collapsing Empire has to offer, and it's up to you to make a last stand against those who threaten your rule.
Your ship can be fully upgraded, you have a fleet to back you up (which you can also command), and there are 14 scenarios to get through before ramping up to the next level of difficulty. House of the Dying Sun officially works on HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, and WMR should work fine thanks to SteamVR integration.
DCS World (free with paid DLC) is an attempt to create a truly authentic flight simulator that spans decades. Fly the WWII-era TF-51 Mustang, fly the modern A-10C Warthog, and fly just about everything in between. There are millions of miles of landscape to take in below your aircraft, and hundreds of missions to fly while you're at it.
Yes, there is a lot of paid DLC if you want to get to the really good stuff, but if you have a HOTAS controller, the base game is still worth a try. DCS World officially works with HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, and seems to also work with WMR thanks to SteamVR integration.
As far as sheer scale goes, Elite Dangerous (about $30) is at the top of the heap of space-flight simulators. Every player starts with a little ship and not a lot of money, and it's up to them to make it big, either offline or online in a galaxy filled with real players.
Explore, mine, smuggle, trade, upgrade, fight, travel, and take in the living and breathing thing that is Elite Dangerous. It's really up to you how you make money and which new ships you buy and outfit. HTC Vive and Oculus Rift are officially supported, and WMR works through SteamVR integration.
Players mention that Vector 36 (about $25) has a steep learning curve, but once you get things figured out, it's a ton of fun. Mars has been terraformed, and the best thing to do on the red planet is race a Skimmer against other Martians.
Your Skimmer can be completely customized, and there are a number of different tracks and race types to complete. Vector 36 is officially available for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, but doesn't seem to be working with WMR.
Considering you can actually see a HOTAS controller inside the cockpit of your lunar module, Lunar Flight (about $15) is a no-brainer. The moon is slowly being colonized, and you in your little lander have the steep job of delivering supplies between bases, tracking down lost equipment, and gathering survey data at remote labs.
As you progress, you'll be able to buy upgrades for your lander, and when you think you're well practiced, you can head into a combat mode against others who likewise feel that their lander skills are worth something. Lunar Flight is officially available for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, and should work with WMR.
- Best Windows Mixed Reality Games
- Best SteamVR games for Windows Mixed Reality
Cale Hunt is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.
I play Elite Dangerous exclusively these days. Although the core game is only $30, I can't stress enough that you're a fool if you don't also spring for the Horizons additional content. Basically, the full deal costs you no more than any other typical high-end game, and with Horizons you can actually land on and drive around planets and moons. And that experience is about to get some significant upgrades with chapter 4 of the free Beyond updates.
This is no mixed reality this is vr. When will Microsoft stop the false advertising?
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