Virtual Reality (VR) is becoming ever more popular among gamers, whether it’s with an Oculus, PlayStation VR, or even your Android or iPhone paired with Google Cardboard.
However, what if you’re looking for some cool VR games that don’t require controllers? Don’t worry, they exist. We’ve rounded up the best VR games you can play without a controller.
The Best On-Rails Shooter: Smash Hit
Smash Hit started out as a mobile game, but it’s definitely a great option for VR too. For those unfamiliar with Smash Hit, it’s an on-rails shooter type experience, where you glide through an abstract dimension that’s full of soothing colors, glass structures and obstacles, physics, and relaxing music.
As you’re flying through the space, the shiny glass structures will get in the way. This is when you smash your way through by firing chrome marbles at the glass, shattering it to pieces in a realistic fashion. But you only have so many balls to shoot, so use them wisely and try not to miss. You can only take so many crashes before it’s game over too.
This game can be played in its entirety without any controllers besides your headset. All you need are quick eyes, reflexes, and a finger that’s ready to push the single button on your headset to fire a ball.
The Best Roller Coaster Simulator: VR Roller Coaster
Do you love roller coasters, but don’t live close enough to a theme park to experience them as often as you want? That’s why VR was invented! VR Roller Coaster lets you become a roller coaster conductor by designing your own coasters and then testing them out in a simulation that mimics real life rollercoasters.
VR Roller Coaster gives players over 60 tracks to work with, and you can choose a park that matches your tastes. There are over 10 unique rollercoaster trains that you can build with, linking them together as you please.
When you’re ready to test your dream coaster, just strap on your Google Cardboard headset and take it for a spin! Having the VR mode allows you to see from a first-person perspective what it’s like riding the coaster that you built, and it’s a great adrenaline rush. And the best part is that no controller is needed to get the full enjoyment out of this game.
Download: VR Roller Coaster on Android (Free)
The Best Space Shooter: Deep Space Battle VR
In the mood for some space ship shootouts? Then Deep Space Battle VR will satisfy that craving on your Android device. You’re a lone space pilot who must fend off the invading Shadow Fleet. As you’re the only hope for Earth, get ready for colorful galactic landscapes filled with bold lasers and mighty explosions.
Deep Space Battle VR is designed and optimized for Google Cardboard VR, and specifically without a controller. Once you get an enemy ship in your crosshairs, your ship automatically fires. That’s it. Just move your head around to get the aiming right, and pew pew! Your enemies are toast.
Download: Deep Space Battle VR on Android (Free)
The Best iOS Shooter: End Space VR for Cardboard
If you’re an iOS user who wants deep space VR battles, don’t worry. Even though Deep Space Battle VR isn’t available on iOS, there is End Space VR for Cardboard.
End Space VR fully immerses players into the game world with console-quality 3D graphics and sound. You’ll be facing off against increasingly more difficult waves of enemies. The game is designed to shoot with the trigger button on your VR headset. If there is no button, then you’ll want to disable that in the options and use the head gaze-based shooting.
Download: End Space VR for Cardboard on iOS ($0.99)
The Best VR Racing Game: VR X-Racer
Seeking some VR racing thrills? VR X-Racer is a nice option to consider. The game features a low-poly voxel aesthetic (think of Minecraft, which we have covered extensively in our beginner’s guide to Minecraft) that should please most people. There are different color themes and stunning, immersive 3D visuals that pull you into the world of intense, fast-paced racing.
With VR X-Racer, no controllers are needed for the VR mode. Just put it into your headset and tilt your head to steer the ship. You’ll want to have some fast reflexes though, because those obstacles aren’t going to move out of the way while you’re closing in at breakneck speeds.
The Best First-Person Shooter: Trooper 2
When you think of a first-person shooter in VR, you may think that it’s only possible with a controller. But that’s where Trooper 2 proves you wrong! Even if you’re usually not good at FPS games, Trooper 2 is designed to be accessible for everyone.
In Trooper 2, you’ll face off against an army of invading green block men in a vector-like block world. It’s simple and barebones, but it works. To control your character, you just stand up, walk around, and press the button on your VR headset to fire. It offers a full 360 degrees of view, so you have complete freedom over your movement.
Download: Trooper 2 on Android (Free)
The Best Tower Defense Game: Snow Strike VR
Whatever the time of year, there’s always room for a virtual snow fight, especially for those who live in warmer climates. Snow Strike VR is a tower-defense style game where you’ll defend your own snow fort from invaders with a 180 degree view of the environment.
To play this game without additional controllers and just your VR headset, just align yourself with your foe and then push the button on the headset. This lets you throw a single snowball at the enemy, and you can dodge incoming snowballs by weaving your head away.
The Best VR Puzzle Game: Darknet
Ever wish you could be a super cool cyber hacker? Darknet is a cyberpunk hacking puzzle game that makes you feel like one. You’ll enter cyberspace and infiltrate the web with viruses, worms, and exploits to steal data and money before your signal gets traced by the authorities. Do you have what it takes?
This is a fantastic strategy puzzle VR game that can be played without a controller. You just move your headset to look around with gaze controls, and interact with cyber nodes with a push of the button on a headset like Gear VR or Oculus.
The Best Crossy Road Clone: VR Street Jump
Remember Frogger and Crossy Road? VR Street Jump is just like that, except you’re seeing it from the first person perspective. Use your headset to look around, making sure there’s no traffic for the next second or two. Then, just push the button on the headset to move forward.
VR Street Jump has full 360 degrees for viewing, so you’ll be fully immersed. It starts off easy enough with pretty and lush green scenery, but you’ll soon find more vehicles and traffic are waiting for you.
Download: VR Street Jump on iOS (Free) | Android (Free)
The Best Street Racer: VR Racer – Highway Traffic 360
Seeking the thrills of street racing but don’t want to get in trouble with the law? VR Racer – Highway Traffic 360 is worth a look. This game features realistic locales from all over the world and you can take your pick from multiple cars and upgrades. The frame rates are smooth, and you’ll feel like you’re truly in an intense race.
This game was designed to be played without a controller. All you need to do to steer is tilt your head left and right. To select items on the menu, you just gaze at the option you want until the red bar fills up to confirm your choice.
Download: VR Racer – Highway Traffic 360 on Android (Free)
Enjoy VR With or Without a Controller
Virtual reality is an immersive and high-tech gaming experience, but you don’t always need a fancy setup to play and enjoy it. If you don’t feel like using your Bluetooth gamepad or motion control joysticks to get some VR gaming in, these are some of the better VR games that don’t require controllers.
So just strap your headset on and relax. These games allow you to get your gaming in without any fuss or bother. However, if you’re serious about virtual reality, we have some tips on creating the perfect VR room too.