Though VR gaming is rightly lauded for its immersive qualities, it can be an isolating experience: dimming the lights, donning a headset, and shutting out the outside world for hours on end can leave even the most self-sufficient gamers longing for a bit of company.
Fortunately, alongside fantastic solo VR games like Half-Life: Alyx, there’s a growing library of equally enjoyable multiplayer titles. These inject a welcome dose of interaction, some collective goals, and plenty of fun into the mix, all in a shared virtual playground. After all, most things are better with friends.
From tactical shooters to sports sims by way of devilishly challenging co-op puzzle games and RPGs, there are VR multiplayer games that fall pretty much under every genre out there. So, if you and your friends have recently picked up headsets and are looking for your first challenge, read on as we share our picks for the best multiplayer VR games you can jump into right now.
‘Best’ is a highly subjective term, so our recommendations reflect the games where we’ve had the most fun with others. We’ve also factored in positive reviews, sales, and player bases to guide us towards the best multiplayer VR games.
We’ve handpicked five titles covering a range of genres, skill levels, and platforms to cater to as many players and headsets as possible. We’ll introduce you to each game and explain why they are worth firing up with others. Further down, a ‘Things to Consider’ is there to share a few top tips we’ve amassed as we searched for the best multiplayer VR games.
With so many multiplayer VR games out there, we’ll invariably have missed a few. No slight intended if we missed out on your top pick. Please do jump into the comments section at the end to let us know about any multiplayer VR gems we might have missed.
Best Multiplayer VR Games in 2021
Realistic military sim
Three 5v5 multiplayer objective-based modes
Competitive multiplayer scene
Valve Index, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift/Quest, WMD headset compatible
Graphics downgrade on Oculus
Channeling in equal parts Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Insurgency while eschewing the bombastic run’n’gun of Call of Duty, ultra-realistic military sim Onward grants VR players a competitive shooter to call their own.
Onward is a highly strategic game that requires cooperation and carefully considered tactics with realistic weapon mechanics and unforgiving hardcore combat. You won’t need to empty an entire magazine to down an enemy. Instead, a deftly aimed shot will do. Every bullet and manoeuvre counts—no gun-ho running into the heat of battle here lest you are longing for a swift death.
Use your controllers to raise and lower a weapon as you would in real life and judge the judiciousness of each step for a realistic experience that, when coupled with the immersion of VR, makes you feel like you’re there. Each movement has an impact on noise levels, movement speed, and accuracy.
Onward features three multiplayer modes for up to ten players. These are objective-based affairs ranging from a dicey escort mission to tense location control firefights. Players can choose from two factions; a highly-equipped military faction decked out with the latest in modern weaponry and a scrappy insurgent force toting AK47s and RPG launchers.
As the premier VR military shooter, Onward boasts a reasonably large player, so you can jump into the action easily enough. Additionally, headset support extends to Valve Index, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift/Quest, and WMD with full crossplay whether you’re jumping in via the Oculus Store or Steam. Compared to the full PC VR version, the Oculus version suffers from a noticeable graphical downgrade. Developer Downpour Interactive has promised a fix in the future, but it’s a point to consider if you plan on playing Onward untethered to a PC using the Oculus Quest 2, for example.
Fortnite-style VR battle royale
Three-person squad play
Verticality and building mechanics
Full crossplay between all versions and headsets
Matches capped at 18 players
Four words suffice to describe Population: One: virtual reality battle royale. Unabashedly inspired by the gaming phenomenon Fortnite, it’s a VR take on the popular genre and one that’s an awful lot of fun.
The format is familiar: a shrinking safe zone, a mad scramble to loot weapons, and the last team standing wins. But Population: One jazzes up the recipe with a hefty dollop of verticality. Every structure and building is scalable, and each player is equipped with a jetpack of sorts that makes easy work of darting across vast distances in no time at all. It makes for a fast-paced experience that also incorporates some of the building mechanics found in Fortnite, though limited to just walls, which can be erected as cover or to dupe enemies.
Much like Fortnite, Population: One is a one map deal. It is not necessarily a bad thing, notably for those eager to explore and memorize every nook and cranny of each region to spring surprise ambushes on their opponents and get the upper hand through map knowledge. But, due to the high movement speed at the core of Population: One and the reasonably limited scale of the map, the lack of variety may hamper your experience, especially if you prize variety.
Another point to consider is the 18 player cap per match. While this does cater better to the vastly reduced VR player base and means you’ll find matches quicker, each bout is a relatively snappy affair as a consequence. Compatibility with Valve Index, the Oculus headsets, HTC Vive, and WMD headsets, and full cross-play between all versions of the game guarantee you won’t be queuing for long to find a match, though.
Novel premise and mechanics
High energy, zero-gravity gameplay
Only available on Oculus headsets
Switching gears away from shooters, we have Echo VR. This curious VR game from developer Ready At Dawn and published by Oculus Studios takes the basic two-goals point-scoring formula of Rocket League and supercharges it with a zero-gravity arena.
Instead of a ball, players must guide a disc to the opposition’s goal, using obstacles and objects to propel themselves forward, resulting in some unique gameplay that’s bolstered by a good dose of skill. Pass the disc to teammates, dodge fast-moving opponents, blind other players to disorient them, and orchestrate daring manoeuvres to get off that perfect shot; there’s a deep mastery to the game elevating its replayability chops. Equally, Echo VR is easy to pick up and enjoy for more casual players looking for a good time in VR.
Echo VR’s hyper-futuristic setting lends itself well to VR. The experience of darting in zero gravity between obstacles at a rapid pace is one of the most thrilling the platform has to offer. There’s genuinely nothing out there quite like it.
A competitive multiplayer scene fuels a vibrant and decently-sized community of players. A battle pass season-based structure dangles plenty of rewards and content to keep players interested, too. On top of offering a novel experience, Echo VR is entirely free. The only catch is that the game is only compatible with Oculus headsets and available via the Oculus Store. There are currently no plans for a SteamVR port nor any cross-play in the pipeline, so sadly, not one for Index or Vive owners.
Realistic table tennis sim in VR
Superb ball physics
Full crossplay between Steam VR and Oculus
Limited replayability for casual players
A simple premise executed to perfection, Eleven Table Tennis brings the surprisingly thrilling and deceptively deep gameplay of everyone’s favorite holiday sport to VR.
While there aren’t as many, say football fans, as ping pong fans clamoring for a VR game to fill their leisure time, Eleven Table Tennis is a game anyone with a VR headset should try out, if only for how much fun it is.
Part of the appeal is just how well it captures the feel and experience of playing table tennis with ultra-realistic ball physics, responsive racket mechanics, and a skill ceiling that should suit even the most demanding purists out there. The AI, too, is a force to be reckoned with and delivers a surprising challenge.
With a headset on, you genuinely get the sense of standing at the end of a ping pong table, rendered in full scale in a variety of locales. As for the controls, they couldn’t be simpler; swing and bat as you would with a real racket in hand. Just watch out for real-world obstacles and walls. As for multiplayer, there’s a fully-fledged rating system in Eleven Table Tennis to match you with equally skilled opponents, you can even play over a local network, and there’s full cross-play for both SteamVR and Oculus players. The only real gripe we have with Eleven Table Tennis is that mileage will vary significantly depending on whether you are a casual player or a die-hard table tennis player. Casuals may succumb to the monotony of repetition rather rapidly.
Realistic fishing sim
Available on SteamVR and Oculus
Cozy, social experience
Not one for those that want a high-energy, action-packed experience
Finally, we have Real VR Fishing. As the name suggests, it’s the tranquil joy of fishing in virtual reality with a multiplayer component. It’s an extremely basic premise, but one that beautifully mimics sitting alongside a gently rippling pond, beer in hand, with a fellow budding angler by your side.
Rather than a fiercely competitive component, Real VR Fishing multiplayer is more of a cooperative experience where you head down to a fishing spot alongside some friends, catch up, share some jokes, and relax. It’s a surprisingly social affair where the fishing aspect, while important, isn’t necessarily the central focus.
Popular with older gamers and genuine anglers, a Real Fishing VR multiplayer session can cough up all manner of intriguing real tales and anecdotes, leisurely woven by strangers from both Steam VR and Oculus that can easily become friends. Compatibility and cross-play between SteamVR and Oculus help in that respect, drawing in players of all ages and from all walks of life.
Throw in various difficulty levels for novices to seasoned anglers alike, and Real Fishing VR adapts to the player, sided by realistic environments, deep sim elements for those who want them, and plenty of fish to catch and add to your trophy case. And, with many unable to head out to fish IRL at the moment due to pandemic-linked restrictions, it’s a surprisingly satisfying and wholesome alternative.
Things To Consider
Valve Index, Oculus Quest 2, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR, Vive Cosmos Elite, HP Reverb G2, and so on; there are roughly a dozen major headsets currently available. While great for innovation and pushing VR tech forward, it does mean that there can be compatibility issues with games, notably when we factor in different storefronts like Steam, the Oculus Store, and the PlayStation Store.
The issue isn’t as pronounced as it once was, with developers and headset manufacturers going to length to deliver the broadest compatibility possible. To avoid any nasty compatibility surprises, we highly recommend checking that your headset is indeed compatible with any multiplayer VR games you have your eye on before buying.
With various disparate platforms, VR has a scattered player base divided up between SteamVR, Oculus, and PSVR. VR remains a relatively niche technology, so this means already anemic player bases are even smaller.
Multiplayer VR games that support crossplay allow all players from these different platforms and with different headsets to play together. And in some cases, this even extends to regular ‘flat’ version players on PC or PlayStation 4 and 5. Doing so increases the number of available players significantly, so finding a game is much quicker. In the same vein, this allows for friends on different platforms to play together.
Sadly, not all multiplayer VR games support crossplay, so we highly recommend double-checking before buying if it’s an important feature for you. Game listings on Steam and the like generally offer the required information, so it’s worth checking there first. Above, we’ve highlighted whether our recommendations have the feature or not to make things easier for you.
Free Multiplayer VR Games
A VR headset involves quite an investment, so a reluctance to fork out yet more cash for a multiplayer VR game is entirely understandable. Fortunately, there are quite a few great free VR multiplayer games: Rec Room, Echo VR (which we cover above), and The Playroom VR, to name but a few.
And, of course, we can’t talk about free multiplayer VR games without mentioning the cult hit VRChat. More social sandbox than a game (although there are loads of mini-games, activities, and user-generated experiences to discover), VRChat allows you to converse, collaborate, play, or simply relax and watch some YouTube videos with friends or new acquaintances. It’s a unique experience highlighting how VR can bring people together and one every headset owner should sample.Free VR upgrades to games you may already own are another great way to jump into multiplayer VR on the cheap, too. Entirely free VR modes for games such as the expansive No Man’s Sky and cannibalistic survival horror game The Forest spring to mind.
Devilishly realistic, Onward grants VR it’s very own standout shooter, and not just a run-of-the-mill variant; a deep, hardcore experience where cunning, tactics, and cooperation win games. Jump in with up to 10 players with full crossplay across SteamVR and Oculus for one of the most intense VR multiplayer games out there.
Fortnite for VR? Population: One delivers just that, mimicking many of the elements that catapulted Epic Games’ flagship title to the forefront of the gaming world a few years back. Throw in breakneck flying and construction mechanics, and Population: One is a must-play for multiplayer VR fans.
While Echo VR should be on your radar because it’s completely free for Oculus players, it also deserves our attention because it delivers a unique premise and unusual gameplay. Vaguely similar to Rocket League in zero gravity, Echo VR is one of the most memorable VR experiences out there and is a must-play for anyone with a compatible headset.
Eleven Table Tennis is exactly what it says on the tin; ping pong VR, but with beautifully responsive and crafted mechanics, a competitive rating system, and disconcertingly immersive gameplay.
Real VR Fishing is much more than a simple fishing sim in VR. It’s an extremely tranquil yet social game that perfectly captures the joy of a gentle fishing expedition bathed in laughs and compelling stories told by strangers. Real Fishing VR comes highly recommended to those hungry for something entirely opposed to the high-energy gameplay and furious action of most games.
We’ll now wrap up our guide to the best multiplayer VR games. The comments section is open for any questions or suggestions you may want to send our way.