Most games tend to have puzzles of some sort in them but that doesn’t make them puzzle games. A true puzzler needs to have more than ‘find the switch to open the next door’ ideas. They need to be engaging, thought-provoking and head-scratching all at once. So here are XR Source’s best VR puzzle games.
The Best VR Puzzle Games
Puzzle games need to have a perfectly balanced difficulty curve, drawing you in, getting a hang of the mechanics and then BAM! you’re hit with a real challenge.
The best can employ a range of tactics, from subtle hints to more obvious ‘you can’t see for looking’ suggestions. On the other hand, others use a simple hook approach all the way through. Meaning you know what to expect but that doesn’t make it any easier. Below you’ll find titles covering both of these routes, playable across a variety of VR headsets.
The title gives you a big clue as to what to expect from this game. Puzzling Places brings classic jigsaw puzzling into VR, albeit with a twist. Photogrammetry has been employed to scan real-world locations and turn them into 3D puzzles for you to put together.
They look stunning, and you can adjust the difficulty so puzzles have 25, 50, 100, 200 or 400 pieces! But this is VR, so each one has its own spatial soundscape to complement the imagery. The Meta Quest 2 edition even has an experimental Passthrough Mode so you can enjoy your normal surroundings at the same time.
Love games like Tetris but want something more modern that you can directly control with your hands? Then Cubism is your answer! A delightfully simple puzzle game, all you have to do is assemble complex shapes with a selection of colourful blocks.
Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well, it is and it isn’t. In a nice zen environment – or your own home with passthrough mode – there are 90 puzzles to complete. Grab the blocks and try and make them fit inside the B&W shape, you can even pop the controllers down and use hand tracing on the Quest 2 version.
A Fisherman’s Tale
The first game from Innerspace VR, A Fisherman’s Tale is the first puzzle title on our list to weave in a narrative. And it does so exceptionally well, winning the VR Awards Game of the Year 2019.
You play a tiny fisherman puppet manning a lighthouse during a storm only to find not everything is as it seems. Utilising some great physics-based puzzles that make use of VR’s ability to control perspective, A Fisherman’s Tale has plenty of mind-bending puzzles. It is a short experience but still great for VR puzzle fans.
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
The oldest game on this list, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is considered by XR Source to be a VR gem. From back when VR developers were experimenting with multiplayer gameplay, this is all about trying to disarm a bomb, without the VR player knowing how to do it.
Filling in those gaps are all the non-VR players (or Experts) who have a printed bomb disposal manual. Depending on the difficulty, each “bomb” can have a range of puzzles to solve, such as cutting the correct wire on inputting a certain code. Both the VR and non-VR players have to carefully coordinate, relaying information to defuse the bomb in time. It’s a great laugh with several friends and family members as shouting and screaming naturally eschews.
The Room VR: A Dark Matter
A VR version of the excellent mobile videogame series The Room from Fireproof Games. The Room VR: A Dark Matter is full of clever puzzles and deep narrative. You’re in The British Institute of Archaeology, London, circa 1908 to investigate the disappearance of an Egyptologist.
Exploring creepy locations to discover cryptic secrets, you’ll encounter fantastic gadgets and enter otherworldly realms that blur between reality and illusion. If you’ve played the original games, The Room VR: A Dark Matter still keeps their same level of intrigue and mystery, whilst expanding upon the premise. This is one thoroughly engrossing adventure.
Down the Rabbit Hole
A superb puzzle game for all ages is Down the Rabbit Hole. Based on Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, this game actually takes place before the legendary tale.
You play an unnamed girl in search of her lost pet, Patches, who just so happens to have ventured into Wonderland. Each area is designed like a rich diorama, where you can poke your head in and look for hidden secrets. You’ll meet some famous faces from the book, of course, whilst trying to unravel some of the elaborate puzzles within.
The Last Clockwinder
Another award winner having been voted Meta Quest’s Best Game of 2022, The Last Clockwinder is all about cloning yourself and creating clockwork contraptions.
Set inside one giant ancient tree, you have to grow and harvest seeds to reach new areas. But to do this effectively, many hands make light work as they say. Or more accurately, lots of your own hands. You can create multiple clones of yourself to pick and harvest, however, you need to be conservative with how many you create. Thus, you need to come up with clever solutions to the really tricky puzzles. One of, if not the most challenging titles on this list!
And there you have it. That wraps up our picks for the seven best VR puzzle games! What are your thoughts? Any that we missed? Let us know in the comments below!
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