22 stress-free VR games for all ages
We present a number of particularly successful and accessible VR games that neither challenge you physically nor scare you with complicated game mechanics or shock moments.
A Fisherman’s Tale
A Fisherman’s Tale is a beautiful Disney-style VR fairy tale in which you play the lighthouse keeper Bob and have to solve exciting room puzzles.
Space puzzles? Yes, because Bob’s lighthouse exists in different dimensions, where everything is smaller or much bigger than in reality. Only by cleverly switching between these dimensions and combining objects can you make it to the top of the lighthouse. There, the story about Bob, told with a lot of charm and depth, is resolved.
Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs
In this successful VR adaptation of the smartphone original, you find yourself in the middle of the colorful cartoon world of pigs and birds for the first time and operate the slingshot with your own hands. It doesn’t get more intuitive and natural than this.
Isle of Pigs takes players to the vacation island of the green pigs. Here Red, Chuck, Bomb as well as the trio Jim, Jake and Jay, are available as projectiles. A large part of the game’s fun is the physics simulation of the collapsing buildings.
As in the original, it provides a pinch of coincidence and delights with partly unpredictable gameplay, for example when a building collapses at the last moment.
There are no annoying microtransactions in the VR version, but plenty of free content from developers and players. Those who like the original will love the VR version.
Astro Bot: Rescue Mission
Platforms: Playstation VR
Astro Bot masterfully transfers the jump’n’run genre to virtual reality.
You use the gamepad to control a cute little Mario-style robot through a variety of colorful worlds in order to save his robot friends. The controller is artfully integrated into the game experience and appears as a tool with which you interact with the environment and help your little hero.
Astro Bot is full of life and wit and lets you see at every turn how much fun the game designers had during development. Playfully and technically absolutely brilliant, the title is a milestone of VR gaming. A gaming experience that simply makes you happy.
Platforms: Meta Quest 2
Do you still remember the good old Battle Chess? 33 years after that stroke of genius comes a new variant, this time for virtual reality. You can indulge in the game of kings in two scenarios: in the normal chess version in a majestic mansion or in the Stonehenge version with fantasy figures.
The latter is especially fun, because the chess pieces are animated and beat the virtual hell out of each other when hitting other pieces. The heavily armored king kicks around, the queen shoots magic crystals and the pawns swing war hammers. Chess Club can be played against the AI or against other players.
This puzzle game is as simple as it is beautiful: you grab different colored 3D puzzle pieces and put them together to form a given shape, which appears as a transparent template. The puzzle is accompanied by classical piano music and has a relaxing effect.
As the level of difficulty increases, so does the number of components and the size and complexity of the target shape. Once you have assembled the first shapes in a few seconds, the puzzle tasks later become quite demanding. Don’t worry: there is no time pressure when solving the puzzles.
3D puzzles, relaxation, and virtual reality: Cubism (review) proves that these three things complement each other perfectly. Thanks to a recent update, you can play Cubism with hand tracking and put the VR controllers aside.
Demeo skillfully simulates a tabletop game night with friends. Here, up to four players simultaneously explore a dark dungeon by strategically moving their character across a playing field crammed with fire-dangerous goblins, wizards, and trolls. There are four character classes with unique abilities to choose from.
Thanks to clever hand controls, you can rotate and zoom in and out of the game board at will to keep an overview of the battlefield or experience battles up close. The game can therefore be played comfortably while sitting or lying down.
Demeo combines co-op fun, fantasy role-playing and game-like ambition into an addictive mix. If you want, you can also play the title alone and control all four characters yourself.
Want to learn more about the game? Then read our demo test.
In this enchanting puzzle game, you take on the role of a life-giving water creature who creates a thriving oasis on an alien planet amidst the darkness of space. As a reward, you’ll receive various types of seeds and special items, such as wind chimes, with which you can plant and decorate your own magic garden.
Fujii is aware of the strengths of virtual reality and brings its own hands into play for interactions wherever possible: You water, touch and pull on plants and feel all the closer to the world as a result.
Gnog confronts VR players with a game world that is both abstract and colorful, inspired by toy designs. In the game, you solve mostly simple puzzles by interacting with boxes and the wonder worlds they contain. Gnog has a distinctly tactile quality, as you have to push, grab, poke, pinch, and pull objects – and never know what will happen next.
There’s no need to rush: you have as much time as you want and can soak up the whimsical environments, which are a true feast for the senses, both visually and sonically.
I Expect You To Die
In this early VR cult game, you take on the role of a super spy who uses telekinesis and smarts to get himself out of all sorts of dicey situations. The title fully relies on hand interactions and thus offers a gaming experience that cannot be realized in classic gaming media.
The sequel, I Expect You To Die 2: The Spy and The Liar, released in summer 2021.
Robots have taken over and taken over all human work. So that humanity doesn’t get bored, it embarks on a simulation of everyday capitalist working life in the 20th and 21st centuries. Sounds like a good opportunity for a lot of black humor? That’s right.
With its biting social criticism and witty situation comedy, the colorful graphic style and plenty of hand interaction, Job Simulator quickly became a VR classic. If you like it, you should also try the successor Vacation Simulator.
Platforms: Meta Quest 2
Mare is about a girl who wakes up in the ruins of an unknown city. You control a bird that must guide the child past numerous obstacles and dangers to get out of the city and to her destination. Along the way, you’ll have to solve puzzles and find hidden artifacts to unravel the mystery of this strange place.
Mechanically and visually, Mare is reminiscent of classics such as Ico and The Last Guardian, and not by chance: lead developer Rui Guerreiro worked at Team Ico for four years, during which time he shaped the visual style of The Last Guardian.
If you’ve been playing VR games for years, you’re getting used to their effects. But, every now and then, a title comes along that manages to awaken the old fascination, demand awe once again, and elicit rows and rows of “Ahs!” and “Ohs!”. Maskmaker is such a game. In this title, you explore a fairytale world, become a virtuoso mask craftsman bit-by-bit, and solve cleverly crafted puzzles.
All of these elements come together in the game to form an atmospheric whole that sometimes makes you forget that you’re playing a game instead of living a fairy tale. Maskmaker is an excellent example of the strengths of virtual reality, its ability to transport us to other, foreign places and tell stories as if they were happening to you.
Moss is a successful mixture of platform game, action-adventure and puzzle game. Here, you guide the cute but formidable mouse wanderer Quill through a fairytale forest and intervene in the gameplay with your own hands as a magical companion and guardian angel.
You can move stones out of the way, stop objects and even manipulate the minds of aggressive animals to give Quill an advantage in battle. Of course, you can also heal and pet Quill. The game thrives on the relationship between mouse character and player. Moss is the classic that started the story, but we are also huge fans of Moss Book II.
Platforms: Meta Quest 2
Shadow Point is more than just a puzzle game: it also tells a touching story. Using a cable car, you head high up into a world-away observatory to find a girl who disappeared many years ago. Soon you realize that the observatory is a portal to another world.
In search of the girl, you’ll travel through different time dimensions and solve challenging puzzles that will challenge your conception of space and time. Thanks to a great synchronization, you’ll be able to experience the adventure, which lasts several hours, completely in German.
Skyworld: Kingdom Brawl
This is a multiplayer online battle arena game (MOBA). In it, you command your army against that of an opponent on various tabletop maps. The objective is to send different units to attack the enemy’s towers on three different lanes and finally destroy the enemy’s fortress.
It is important to counter the enemy units as effectively as possible. You earn gold from the battles, which you can spend on buying improvements and new troops. The game is extremely entertaining and a blast, especially against friends. The online mode, however, is unfortunately a bit deserted.
Platforms: Playstation VR
You wake up in a dreary research institute. Your virtual body is tied to a chair, your hands clamped in a mysterious device.
The goal is to find out how this and other devices work by pressing the buttons on the gamepad and watching how parts of the device start to move. In the process, you are closely studied by researchers.
The fact that the comparatively simple kind of interaction feels so exciting is due to the great puzzle design and the oppressive frame narrative, in which you become the guinea pig of a mysterious research project. Statik cleverly mimics the real game situation (you sit and hold a gamepad in your hand) for maximum immersion and goosebumps.
Warning: Due to its eerie atmosphere including language and violence, Statik is rated T for Teen by the ESRB.
The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets
In this gem of a game, you interact with floating islands lovingly designed in the style of old cartoons and stop-motion films. The goal: find coins and hidden or lost animals.
Each world offers a variety of interaction options and its own character: there’s a Christmas winter wonderland, a prehistoric world, a coral reef, and more. The puzzles are simple enough that even children can solve them, but require close observation and experimentation. There is no time pressure, so you can relax as you play.
The story embedded in the game is touching: a grandfather takes his adult grandson on an imaginary journey back to childhood. The miniature worlds stand metaphorically for childhood experiences in which the difficult relationship with his sister is illuminated.
The Talos Principle VR
Platforms: Steam VR
Here you slip into the role of a humanoid robot that finds itself in a Mediterranean landscape amidst Greek ruins. Accompanied by a voice that seems to be of divine origin, you explore the environment, solve puzzles and unlock further areas. In the process, you gradually learn what the mysterious world and your own robot’s fate are all about.
The Talos Principle was originally released for PC and consoles and was critically acclaimed for its puzzle design and philosophical dimension. In 2017, a VR adaptation was released that doesn’t change anything significant about the game and is excellently implemented. The DLC Road to Gehenna is included for free.
Synesthesia game designer Tetsuya Mizuguchi impressively brought the classic game to virtual reality in 2018. Tetris Effect features two game modes: Campaign mode lets players travel through a galaxy and complete more than 30 custom Tetris levels on one of three difficulty levels, while Effect mode varies the game mechanics using 15 game scenarios that have their own rules.
Each level has its own theme, graphics and music, and the variety is great. The music always reacts to inputs: If you rotate Tetrominos or drop them, you’ll hear a sound that blends harmoniously into the sonic tapestry. This works especially well in the jazz level. Here you listen to a jazz piece and improvise your own piano sounds while playing – very cool.
If you like Tetris Effect (review), you might also like Mizuguchi’s VR game Rez Infinite.
Trover Saves The Universe
This platform title was developed by Rick and Morty creator Justin Roiland’s studio. Like the well-known series, Trover Saves the Universe features crude adult humor and an abundance of expletives.
Trover Saves The Universe transports players to an alien planet where humans move through the world using only floating chairs and a gamepad. The player takes on the role of a planet dweller who short-circuits with the alien Trover via mind control and steers him through the landscape with the gamepad to rescue two kidnapped puppies.
Fans of Roiland should try out the VR game Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality right afterwards.
Walkabout Mini Golf
Platforms: Meta Quest 2
This Quest hit skillfully focuses on what makes mini golf so accessible in real life: uncomplicated fun. The mini-golf worlds are all designed in such a way that you can hole out even if you’re a complete beginner.
Walkabout is most enjoyable with up to four friends. If no one is available at the moment, there is a matchmaking system where you are thrown together with players from all over the world.
Walkabout Mini Golf currently offers seven worlds, each with 18 courses in two difficulty levels. So there is plenty of content. You don’t have to walk much, since you can wander through the pretty course worlds via teleportation or fluid locomotion.
Waltz of the Wizard: Natural Magic
Have you always wanted to know what it’s like to be a wizard? Then Waltz of the Wizard is the game for you.
In this sandbox title, you’ll find yourself in a medieval tower room full of magical paraphernalia. You’ll throw various ingredients into a magic cauldron and gradually discover new spells with which you’ll be able to hurl fireballs, summon butterflies or cast levitation spells on furnishings.
In the summer of 2021, the major expansion Natural Magic released, adding new areas and a more dynamic magic system to the game. Waltz of the Wizard can also be played with bare hands on Meta Quest 2.