30+ Best Storytelling Experiences & Games on VR
VR is a fantastic medium for storytelling. Instead of just watching characters on a screen, you get to be with them in person, and live in their fictional worlds.
I’m a huge lover for VR stories and these are the best I’ve come across:
Best Story Driven Games on Oculus Quest
Let’s start with games available on the Oculus/Meta Quest. (Some of these are also available on Steam Store).
Luna is set in a post-apocalyptic world where robots have destroyed humanity – killing all the humans they see. You play as one of those robots who has lost its memory. You wake up to find a little human girl struggling to survive and decide to help her out.
What’s unique about this game is instead of selecting dialogue choices – you get to speak them out. It uses voice recognition to detect what you say so you can act out the scenes, making it feel like you’re actually in the story.
This game is currently in App Lab and currently in its infant stages. The first chapter is free to try out and contains 10 minutes of gameplay. Afterwards, the rest of the episode will cost $1.99.
Absolutely worth it – the storytelling is amazing with several heartfelt moments even in the first episode. There’s a lot of creative interactivity implemented into the story to make this more than just watching a movie. It’s an actual VR story experience.
Highly recommend trying this one out:
VR Animation Player
VR Animation Player is a collection of short stories made from Quill, an illustration and animation tool. All the animations here are ultra high quality with beautiful visuals and atmospheric music.
List of Quill animations that have a good story:
- Tales From Soda Island (Episodic) and anything made by Studio Syro
- Nightmara by So Meta Studios
- The Remedy by Daniel Peixe and all his other animations
(You can add these to ‘watch later’ or find them within the VR Animation Player app on your headset).
These are all free and I put this on top of the list, because they have exceptional production quality and I highly recommend these to everyone!
The Under Presents
The Under Presents is one of the best VR narrative experiences, divided into two modes:
- A multiplayer hub where you interact with other players through body language (there’s no mics). Occasionally, they’ll hold live plays with real actors that you can buy a ticket to attend with other players. The actors talk to you and even try to bring you into the play by getting the audience to act out some characters. This is truly the future of VR storytelling!!
- The single player “story mode” where you follow a lost ship in the arctic oceans doomed for shipwreck. This part has a heavy emphasis on finding mysteries and manipulating time to change destinies.
The Severance Theory
Similar to The Under Presents, The Severance Theory is a live theatrical performance that has live actors and allows you to participate as a character in the narrative itself.
Again, I truly believe this is the future of VR storytelling: being able to participate in plays alongside real actors is such a unique cool experience!
The Key is a 20 minute theatrical experience with wonderful music and voice acting. It’s one of the most immersive and atmospheric games I’ve played and made me wish there was more stories like this.
There’s very limited gameplay in this – only a few choices and interactions, but the experience was breathtaking nonetheless. The game is also free, so it’s a must try!
If you’re an anime fan or like long, lengthy stories that take 20-40 hours, then Tokyo Chronos is one of them. There aren’t too many of these in VR so I thought these guys deserve a special mention for being one of the first to create full-length stories.
Tokyo Chronos is a mystery driven visual novel with a meaningful storyline and loveable (maybe a bit cliched) characters. The mystery was very intriguing and I found myself very hooked into the story and attached to the characters.
I found myself getting really addicted to this game and stayed up late to finish the story, because I badly wanted to know how the story was going to end. And yeh it was a satisfying ending :)
Altdeus: Beyond Chronos
The sequel to Tokyo Chronos, although they are hardly related and you don’t need to play the first in order to play this game.
Like Tokyo Chronos, it’s got a very intriguing mystery that kept me hooked on the game. In terms of gameplay and immersion, it’s a big upgrade from Tokyo Chronos. It feels much more immersive, the production value was higher and the music was brilliant, especially during the mech battles and concerts!
I still think the story in Tokyo Chronos was better, but some people will disagree with me. I highly recommend you check out both games though.
Trover Saves the Universe
A must play for people who enjoy Rick & Morty humor, created by Justin Roiland, the co-creator of Rick & Morty himself.
The game is hilarious!! It does a fantastic job of intertwining gameplay with comedy and made me laugh so hard!
Just read the premise yourself:
“Your dogs have been dognapped by a beaked lunatic who stuffed them into his eye holes and is using their life essence to destroy the universe. You’re partnered with Trover, a little purple eye-hole monster who isn’t a huge fan of working or being put in the position of having to save the universe. Only you and Trover can save everything in this bizarre comedy adventure filled with combat, platforming, puzzles, and morally questionable choices.”
If you enjoy funny stories, I highly recommend you check this out.
Down the Rabbit Hole
A game for the whole family – super wholesome story set in the world of Wonderland – before Alice’s arrival. I love the overall atmosphere of this game – it’s got great music and colorful visuals, and it’s mind blowingly immersive!
This is a great game to show to someone who’s never tried VR before.
If you enjoyed Alice in Wonderland growing up, you’re guaranteed to like this game.
What can I say here? It’s Star Wars in VR, but each episode is like a mini-movie (you’ll have to buy each episode separately).
The game really makes you feel like a Jedi with its intuitive lightsaber combat gameplay. There are hours of fun training in the dojo which is easy to learn, but difficult to master.
The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners
If you enjoy intense action gameplay and bashing zombies over the head, then this is the game for you. The zombies are very terrifying in VR and there’ll be moments where you stealth doesn’t work out and you’ll be panicking when hordes of zombies come at you. It’s also got nice characters with a medium-length story.
I Expect You to Die 1 & 2
Basically James Bond in VR. It’s a light-hearted, puzzle game that puts you in life or death espionage missions which feels like “escape room” gameplay.
The difficulty is pretty easy, but it can get kind of challenging towards the end.
Best Story Driven Games on Steam & PCVR
You can play these games if you have a powerful PC and a PCVR headset like a Valve Index, HTC Vive or Oculus Rift.
Oculus/Meta Quest users can also play these games using Oculus Link or Air Link.
Google Spotlight Stories: Age of Sail
A short VR, disney-like experience about a sailor who rescues a girl who’s fallen overboard. It’s made by academy award winning film maker John Kahrs.
Since the story is so short, I can’t say much else without spoiling it, but it’s free and I guarantee most of you will enjoy it. I also highly recommend you check out the other ‘Google Spotlight Stories.’
VRChat??? Why is VRChat here?
Well, VRChat is more than just a social app. It has a large community of creators, and many of them have created atmospheric worlds with immersive storytelling experiences!
Keep in mind, a lot of these won’t work on the Quest.
Here are my favorite worlds:
- Project: Summer Flare
- The Devouring
- STUDIO GHIBLI WORLD
For a list of worlds to visit, see this spreadsheet.
Also keep an eye out for “VRChat The Movie.”
Dagon: by H. P. Lovecraft
A VR visualization of Lovecraft’s short story: Dagon – which in my opinion is Lovecraft’s best short story.
It’s only a 30 minute game, but it’s free!
The Book of Distance
A short, but free cinematic experience developed by the National Film Board of Canada. Despite its length, it’s one of the best storytelling experiences I’ve got to play in VR. It’s a story about the immigration of the Okita family from Japan to Canada in the 1930s which touches on issues of racism, resilience, hard work and wanting a better life for your family. It’s a touching experience which I recommend you try.
This game needs no introduction – it’s an iconic series that’s made into what’s considered the most immersive VR game ever made. The graphics are ultra realistic and makes you forget about reality.
Only downside is in order to get the most out of this game, you’ll need to play Half-Life 1 & 2.
I’m going to let this game’s store page do the talking because I think it does an excellent job at describing what it’s about:
Wilson’s Heart is an immersive first-person psychological thriller set in a 1940s hospital that has undergone a haunting transformation. In this original VR adventure, you become Robert Wilson, a patient who awakens to the shocking discovery that his heart has been replaced with a mysterious device.
As the hospital hauntings intensify, you and your fellow patients must traverse increasingly maddening corridors, overcome frightening environmental hazards and work together to defeat the sinister inhabitants in your pursuit to reveal who stole your heart…and why.
It’s highly immersive with a great atmosphere: very creepy with a Silent Hill feel to it. I enjoyed the cast of characters in the game and its black & white theme.
What I disliked most was the annoying movement style. It uses teleport locomotion and doesn’t allow you to turn using the controller. I also didn’t like the ending and the puzzles felt too easy. Still, I really enjoyed this game and if you like horror games with a good story, Wilson’s heart will be perfect for you.
A Chair in a Room: Greenwater
A chilling, atmospheric horror game with an intriguing mystery that’ll have you exploring your memories and finding vague clues to piece together the events of what happened. It’s slow paced, but has one of the best atmospheres of any horror game. There’s very few jump scares, but they’re done quite well.
The Invisible Hours
A short, but fun murder mystery where you’re merely an observer who can only walk around the house, alter time and replay the incidents to solve the mystery. This purely an immersive theatre experience as there’s no interaction between you or the characters, but the story is great.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Hellblade tells a personal story about a troubled, schizophrenic, young woman and represents her mental illness so well that you’ll eventually feel what Senua feels and think what she thinks. It really shows the power of VR.
The storytelling is ultra immersive and you really get to connect with the character and understand what she feels and thinks.
A bit slow paced and can feel mundane at times, but it’s INCREDIBLE to be floating in front of Saturn, doing missions.
Lone Echo is a sci-fi story set in space about an artificial intelligence robot named Jack (the player) who is tasked to help captain Olivia Rhodes with basic missions around the ship.
- The voice acting is amazing
- Art and animations are pretty good for VR standards
- Unique locomotion scheme where you’re using your hands to push/pull off objects to move in zero-gravity space
- The physics in the game feel very realistic
If you enjoy space narrative games, this one might just suit your bill.
- Battlescar: Punk was invented by Girls
- Goliath: Playing with Reality
- Resident Evil 4
- Red Matter
- A Fisherman’s Tale
- The Great C
- Eleven Eleven
And that’s it! I’ll be updating this list with more games as they come out (or if I missed some).
Feel free to share with me your best storytelling experiences in VR and I might add them to this list: firstname.lastname@example.org