With superior audio-visual hardware and a ballooning games catalog, the Valve Index remains one of the VR industry’s most beloved headsets to this day.
The crisp display, 144 Hz refresh rate, and ultra-wide field of view are not the only things that make the Index so great. Valve’s knuckle controllers also add to the gaming experience, creating a naturalistic hand presence that oozes comfort.
That said, all this fancy technology is for naught if there are no games to play on it.
To help you out, we’ve put together a list of 20 of the best Valve Index games currently available. Whether you’re a fan of fast-paced action or co-op with friends, you’re bound to find something here to delight you.
If you want to discover some hidden gems that we may not have covered, it’s as easy as hopping over to the Steam store VR page and taking your pick. There are a lot of titles to pick from, and they can all be sorted by category if required.
That’s enough talk; let’s get into the games!
List of Best Valve Index Games
Without further ado, here are 20 of the best Valve Index games in 2022.
Half-Life: Alyx is a prequel story that takes place between the events of Half-Life and Half-Life 2. You play as Alyx Vance, a member of the resistance movement fighting against the alien Combine forces in City 17.
Half-Life: Alyx is an immersive and groundbreaking VR game that makes full use of the Valve Index hardware. Not only is the game a masterfully told work of art, but the game is produced and published by the very same makers as this VR system.
What makes Half-Life: Alyx one of the best VR games is its production and level design. Some numerous set pieces and locations will have your jaw on the floor, and the game is expertly paced to ensure that there’s never a dull moment.
If you’re a fan of the Half-Life series or are simply looking for one of the best Valve Index games, this game should be on the first of your list.
With the futuristic capabilities of virtual reality, it may seem as if arcade games like Beat Saber have no space to thrive.
That assumption, however, can’t be further from the truth.
For the uninitiated, Beat Saber is a VR rhythm game that lets you slice and dice colored blocks in time with the music. While the premise sounds simplistic—maybe even a little generic—there’s a surprising amount of depth and challenge in this engrossing title.
The beauty of the game is how immersive it is. The fast-paced nature of the gameplay combined with the infectious tunes is something that can sweep you up for hours on end. There’s also a healthy dose of customization and community support, with player-made songs and mods being readily available through their website.
It’s the perfect game to pick up and play for a quick VR fix, but it’s also something you can sink hours into perfecting your scores.
Tetris® Effect: Connected
Fusing effortless style and old-fashioned fun, Tetris® Effect: Connected is a concoction that appeals to both Tetris fans and new VR players alike.
Tetris® Effect: Connected enhances the nostalgic Tetris formula by reimagining the game from the bottom-up, augmenting the community experience with new modes like local multiplayer and online competitive play. On top of that, 30 new single-player stages and 10 challenge modes ensure this timeless classic doesn’t get stale, allowing players to spend countless hours dazzled in its vibrant and entrancing world.
But the biggest selling point of the game is undoubtedly its hypnotizing auditory-visual experience. With an incredible soundtrack and some of the most enthralling visuals in any VR game, Tetris® Effect: Connected is a true feast for the senses. While normal consoles like the Nintendo Switch can run the game, it’s best enjoyed on the Valve Index with its trippy audio and visuals.
No Man’s Sky VR
Does the thought of exploring a universe filled with an infinite array of planets and galaxies sound appealing to you? If so, hop on to the No Man’s Sky hype train!
No Man’s Sky VR is not a game unknown to the average gamer’s purview. With its initial release back in 2016, No Man’s Sky was mired with controversy and was seen as a broken and rushed game by many.
However, the game has since been patched and updated to a point where it’s not only playable but delightfully enjoyable. Aside from multiplayer and cross-play support, the addition of VR has elevated the game to new heights and made it a game that’s set out exactly as it should be—a space exploration game where players can lose themselves for hours on end.
While more of a social experience than a game, VRChat entertains Valve Index and other VR owners in a revolutionary way.
In VRChat, you’ll be immersed in a simulated environment where you can interact with people from all over the world for free. You can enter various servers, take part in community-run mini-games, or just fight or make friends with strangers.
Depending on who you interact with, VRChat can be full of color and absurdity. One day you could be talking to a politician’s son from India, and the next day you could be talking to a father-of-three from Berlin. No two experiences are the same, and that degree of variability in social interactions can lead to friendships and memories that last a lifetime.
With an electrifying EDM soundtrack and gorgeous cinematic visuals, Pistol Whip is one of the most stylish VR games out there.
Pistol Whip has you blasting your way through hordes of enemies in slow motion. It’s an exhilarating and empowering experience that makes you feel like an epic action hero. With thirty hand-crafted scenes and music from renowned artists like HVDES and Black Tiger Machine, there’s a unique charm this game offers that’s not found anywhere else.
Be warned though, as this game can make you work up a sweat! You’ll be dodging bullets, ducking under obstacles, and leaping over chasms as if your life depends on it. Luckily, the Valve Index’s controllers are equipped with haptic feedback (as is the PSVR, which has its own set of fun PSVR games), so you’ll be able to feel every heart-pounding moment.
The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners
To make matters worse, Saints & Sinners puts the player’s choices at the forefront. The game asks you to make tough decisions that will determine the fate of your character. Want to smash through zombie hordes guns blazing? Maybe you’d prefer taking out enemies without being seen? Saints & Sinners gives you the agency to play how you want.
With an arsenal of weapons and a crafting system that allows you to fashion your own gear, the game also gives you the freedom to modify your zombie-killing approaches, all in a realistic virtual reality setting. With 15+ hours of cutting-edge gameplay and a New Orleans setting that’s dripping with atmosphere, The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners is a must-play for any Valve Index owner.
You may be familiar with Superhot from its non-VR release back in early 2016. The game quickly became a hit with gamers for its unique premise—time only moves when you do.
In Superhot VR, the same strategic concept is brought alive, the only difference is that it’s through a virtual reality lens. Each bullet follows a straight li, allowing you to predict its exact trajectory. This gives you the power to dodge and weave your way through the level at your own pace.
The cool thing about Superhot VR is that it doesn’t rely on high-end laptop graphics or big-budget set pieces to captivate its audience. The game’s minimalist art style is refreshing and its distinct mechanics are enough to keep you on your toes.
With Superhot VR, dodging bullets Matrix-style and making your way through each level like a life-and-death chess game never feels like a chore.
Blade and Sorcery
One category of games that’s known for being divisive is those that don’t shy away from utilizing gore. Some people love these titles for their over-the-top violence, while others are repulsed by the gore and find them to be nothing more than unnecessary bloodsport.
But if you find yourself landing in the former camp, Blade and Sorcery is a VR game that revels in its graphic violence, and it does its job exceptionally well. The game’s combat system features realistic physics and dismemberment, making each battle feel visceral and brutal.
With the freedom to choose between being a warrior, ranger, or sorcerer, Blade and Sorcery is a game that provides plenty of options for players to toy around with. The game also features an extensive modding community with a plethora of custom content, ensuring a degree of replayability that adds new flavor to the game.
Another game that excels in making use of virtual reality’s physics system is BONEWORKS. This physics-based sandbox game grants players absolute liberty to experiment with the various objects scattered throughout its world.
With an arsenal of weapons and tools at your disposal, the game encourages you to find creative ways to take on various enemies and traverse the environment. A portion of these weapons consists of your typical game weaponry: axes, guns, swords, and hammers. However, BONEWORKS also introduces anomalous and unique weaponry to spice up the abundant combat scenarios that can occur in-game.
If you’re the type of player who enjoys tinkering with physics-based systems in a virtual reality setting, BONEWORKS is a fun way to let your creative bone run loose. There’s also a story to uncover, so don’t worry about the game feeling like one big playground with no purpose.
Think of Pavlov VR as your standard first-person shooter game, similar to games like VALORANT or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive on the PC. The only difference is that this one is the king of virtual reality shooters.
Set in both a modern and WW2 environment, Pavlov VR features blood-pumping gunplay with a large arsenal of WW2-inspired guns to choose from. There are plenty of modes that players can enjoy in-game—Deathmatch, Search And Destroy, King of the Hill, and Gun Game, to name a few.
Proximity voice chat and custom game mode support also add to the game’s appeal, giving players the ability to create their own ruleset and play with friends.
And if that wasn’t enough, there’s also an active modding community that continues to push the envelope with custom game modes and maps. So if you’re looking for the best shooter in virtual reality, Pavlov VR’s hard to outrank.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR
The game features a massive world to explore with plenty of side quests and missions to keep you busy. And if going off the beaten path and doing your own thing is more your style, you’ll find that the game gives you that same degree of freedom that it always did, all improved on a virtual reality screen.
That said, as with Minecraft, mods are your friend here. There are a ton of great mods that greatly improve the game’s visuals and performance. These community mods also add tons of new content to the base game. If you want to enjoy Skyrim to the fullest and immerse hundreds of hours into its glorious VR world, ditch the base game and install a good modpack, stat!
COMPOUND is a rogue-lite game that attempts to offer a more in-depth VR shooter experience compared to the “wave shooter” indie games that dominate the VR space. It does this by including free-roam motion to the gameplay, granting players the ability to traverse through rooms and dungeons of their own volition, dealing with enemies in the process.
While this game isn’t the most beginner-friendly VR title out there, the smooth mechanics, pixelized graphics, and Doom-esque gameplay make COMPOUND one of the more interesting new additions to the virtual reality catalog. And if you’re still on the fence about getting this game, you’ll be pleased to know that the Steam page offers a free demo for any curious individual who wants to try it out.
Does gathering a squadron of players, dropping into a massive map, scouring the land to optimize your loadout, and duking it out until only one team is left standing sound like fun to you?
If you’re not sick of the battle royale genre just yet, you’ll definitely enjoy what POPULATION: ONE has to offer. This VR battle royale game features all the trappings of a standard BR title, with the added immersion that only VR can provide.
The fluidity of movement, the ability to build structures to gain a tactical advantage Fortnite-style, and the large 1-square kilometer map make for some very intense firefights. With 18-player matches, this is one of the biggest VR games out there. And with cross-play between Oculus Quest 2, HTC Vive, and Valve Index headsets, you’ll not have to wait long to jump into a match either!
Onward may seem similar to Pavlov VR at a glance, but it’s far more tactical and realistic in its approach to the virtual reality shooter genre.
This is a Mil-Sim game through and through, with players being dropped into large maps with up to 32 other players. There are no respawns in most game modes, so once you’re dead, you’re out for the rest of the round.
With its large maps, modern militaristic weapons, and lack of respawns, Onward provides a thrilling and unique VR experience that’s perfect for players who want to try something different. An offline mode is also available for low-stake training and practice.
On top of that, custom content gives players the ability to tailor the game to their liking, adding new maps, weapons, and game modes.
Zenith: The Last City
Zenith: The Last City is one of the best exclusive VR MMORPG games out there. While it’s not completely out yet, this surprisingly substantial game offers players a staggering amount of content that craves attention.
For starters, the game features a neat art style, with anime-inspired graphics and brightly-colored settings that are pleasing to the eye. From snow-capped mountains to grassy fields, the environment you can take in from the VR lens is expansive and varied.
The combat is also exhilarating, with features like parrying, combos, and exciting weaponry all working together to give players a rush of adrenaline after each swing. The community within the game is also great, as there are numerous guilds and parties players can join to work together to destroy bosses and fulfill missions.
This game doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is perfectly fine considering the over-the-top nature of the game. With a variety of weaponry at their disposal, players drop into an arena and must fulfill the mission of eliminating the opposing gladiators by any means possible.
Fights are bloody and gory, with limbs severed and heads decapitated as you please. That said, GORN is not like Blade & Sorcery in its realistic presence. Far from it. The game is more amusing than destructive, with cartoony enemies and an overall goofy experience.
That said, GORN’s movement mechanics are awkward and somewhat clumsy at times. You don’t press a button to move forward. Instead, you have to swing your arms back and forth in a motion that’s not unlike rowing a boat. It’s a silly but intentional design choice that makes the game feel ridiculous in the best way possible.
Do you often find yourself wishing that you could work longer than 40 hours a week? Unemployed and looking for that magical thing called experience? Want to work in a company that has “Infinite Overtime” in place?
If you fit either crowd, then Job Simulator is the game for you!
In all seriousness, Job Simulator is a game where robots have replaced humans in the workforce. As such, you are learning—through a robot—how to do various jobs that humans used to do in the past.
But the key difference here is you don’t actually have to work the desk job. Instead, you’re smashing objects, throwing things around, and being as much of a nuisance as possible. If you’re into goofing around, this is a hilarious game that works exceptionally well in a VR setting.
This game is a digital board where you can play virtually any kind of tabletop game with friends. In this game, several official board games mirror their real-life counterpart, from King of Tokyo to Secret Hitler.
But the beauty of Tabletop Simulator is that you can dictate the rules however you want. Want to flip the table out of sheer frustration? You absolutely can!
The sky’s the limit in terms of what you can play. And while there is a standard console version of the game, the VR experience enhances the immersion considerably. This is a wonderful feature, as it allows you to feel and grasp the board game pieces as if they’re really there.
The Thrill of the Fight
Similar to how Microsoft Flight Simulator VR allows people to fly a plane realistically, The Thrill of the Fight is all about promoting that authentic boxing experience.
And, without a doubt, this game does an excellent job at it. The in-game physics are top-notch, the AI is challenging yet fair, and the whole game runs smoothly in a Valve Index.
In addition, there’s a great sense of scale in Thrill of the Fight. You’ll be throwing punches at rookies at first, but as you progress, you’ll be taking on experienced AI boxers that become increasingly more difficult.
If you want a quick workout, or just want to release some pent-up aggression, The Thrill of the Fight is an excellent VR game. Just be sure to have a play area size of at least 2m by 1.5m for your game space for your safety.