Ask VR purists, and you’ll invariably get a lengthy tirade about the proper way to experience VR, the importance of a full-body room-scale experience, and the physical benefits of darting to and fro across a room and waving your arms about.
But, what of those that prefer settling into their favorite couch after a long day and still want to enjoy VR Games, not to speak of accessibility for those unable to play standing up or those that simply don’t have space for a room-scale setup?
Contrary to what you’d expect and has been drilled into our heads through glossy marketing shots, there are games primed to deliver as thrilling an experience sitting down as standing up, perfect for when all that physical exertion feels a bit too much to handle.
To that end, we’ve handpicked some of the best seated VR games you can play right now. Despite being off your feet, you’ll still have the full, deeply immersive experience VR is known for with our top game recommendations without having to flail across a room.
VR games you can play seated and don’t ask too much from the player in a physical sense are one thing, but they have to offer an enjoyable experience and, for lack of a better term, be ‘good’ games. To that end, we picked games that make the most of everything VR has to offer, even if you are sitting down.
We’ve earmarked five VR games you can enjoy in a seated position. We’ve tried to cover several genres and paces, from more high-energy options to cozy, relaxing games to cater to as many tastes as possible. Read on to find out a bit about each game, why they are worthy of your attention, and a quick ‘Things to Consider’ section to help you hone in on the best seated VR games.
At the risk of stating the obvious, our recommendations are just that, recommendations. As such, there’s some personal preference thrown into the mix from our end, an avoidable facet of ‘best’ guides. If there’s a must-play seated VR game you think people should sample, don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments section.
Best Seated VR Games in 2021
Simple, clever premise
As enjoyable sitting down as standing up
Available on most headsets and platforms
Standing up does provide a better experience
Before Half-Life: Alyx arrived last year and convinced everyone and their mother that VR was worth paying attention to, Beat Saber carried the baton for the platform, becoming one if not the most talked-about VR game out there.
It’s a simple premise; slash cubes with two virtual sabers to the beat of a music track in a virtual world seemingly modeled on the neon-bathed world of Tron. The concept is almost hypnotic, reminiscent of modern rhythm game pioneers such as Guitar Hero, and involves quite a bit of skill, especially when carving time to songs pushing higher BPMs and complex rhythmic elements.
While Beat Saber is most known for highly-circulated clips of standing people working up a sweat as they dice and swipe, the game can be played sitting down. Indeed, the gameplay centers on the VR controllers and not much else, other than some minor head movements to peek about Beat Saber’s virtual stage, all of which translate perfectly to a seated position. As such, it’s just as enjoyable and challenging whether you are prancing around your living room or reclining comfortably in a deck chair.
There are other strings to Beat Saber’s bow, not least the simplicity of the concept and how well this lends itself to green first-timers understanding the game within seconds of their first session. Additionally, Beat Saber is available on virtually any headset and platform from Steam to the Oculus Store through to PSVR.
Although easy to play, Beat Saber is hard to master. At its core, it is a game that challenges the player to put in the work to refine their skills and is hands down one of the most replayable VR games, seated or otherwise.
Award-winning single-player VR action-adventure
Charming and compelling story
Seated play recommended
Available for all major headsets
Moss appears to have been tailored-made not just for VR as developer Polyarc proudly states, but also for those seeking a more delicate experience, one none more suited for a late-night session in your favorite comfy chair.
As a single-player action-adventure, Moss is very much about the story, and it’s a doozy: an energetic young mouse, Quill, embarks on a journey to save her uncle from a nefarious fire-breathing snake. But rather than putting you in the shoes of protagonist Quill, Moss has the player act as a guide, a companion of sorts, appearing in-game as a floating orb, able to manipulate the environment, move objects, and direct Quill to solve puzzles.
You’ll tackle these puzzles, battle the odd enemy, navigate gorgeous 3D environments, and overcome obstacles. This is achieved through simple, intuitive controls that don’t require any sudden movements or fancy standing footwork. Of course, the headset allows you to reach perspectives impossible in ‘flat’ gaming and appreciate a carefully crafted world that oozes with splendor and charm.
You’ll still find action-packed fighting sequences, and there’s plenty of excitement bundled into the game, but Moss is overall a gentler experience, one that’s best savored for its soft, compelling story beats and endearing characters than repetitive, high-octane VR flailing.
Moss boasts extensive headset compatibility, from the Valve Index, HTC Vive, Windows Mixed Reality, and Oculus headsets on PC to PlayStation VR on console. It’s also often on sale given that it’s now a few years old, having been released back in early 2018.
Translates well to seated play
Satisfying arcade-style gunplay
Hordes of evil robots to gun down
Only available on Oculus Rift and Oculus Quest
Robo Recall isn’t just one of the most fun first-person shooters on VR, but also one of the most polished and visually stunning, delivering ample helpings of awe and excitement in both the fast-paced gameplay and beautifully Unreal Engine 4-crafted environments.
Rather than an ultra-realistic shooter, Robo Recall adopts an arcade-style structure with point bonuses, killstreaks, and plenty of explosive chaos. It’s simple, to the point, and an incredibly satisfying example of how VR can enhance even the most entrenched gaming genres and add something new to a well-dialed recipe.
While such a frenetic shooter, whose premise involves hordes of robots from bionic arachnids to drones gone rogue with you, a lone recall agent as the last obstacle to total mayhem, you’d expect Robo Recall to be a standing affair. You can certainly play it that way, but the game is designed to work equally well sitting down.
You’ll naturally need your hands to aim weapons, grab and dismantle enemies, throw back projectiles, and dispatch those pesky robots in various creative ways, but movement teleporting is wired to a tap of the controller thumbstick. There’s no shifting around the play area on your feet required to enjoy Robo Recall fully.
With rave reviews and the backing of Epic Games as a developer, Robo Recall certainly ranks up there as one of the best VR games, seated or otherwise. Unfortunately, it’s an Oculus exclusive, meaning you’ll need either an Oculus Rift or Oculus Quest headset to sample its arcade shooter delights, with no exceptions.
Spy-themed VR puzzle game
Compatible with Oculus, Valve, PSVR, and HTC headsets
Perfect for seated VR gaming
A little outdated at this point
Unabashedly inspired by the likes of James Bond, notably Goldfinger as the title references, I Expect You To Die brings all the glamor and humor of the special agent spy world to VR in an endearing and interactive puzzle game.
You jump in as an elite secret agent endowed with a telekinetic implant that allows them to move and position objects free of their hands – a perfect way of weaving in the unique mechanics of VR. Your mission: scupper the plans of a super-villain who won’t go down without a fight.
I Expect You To Die’s gameplay revolves around a series of locked-room puzzles. The player must problem-solve using items and resources from the environment to concoct an escape plan, all within a set time limit. These are framed as set-piece operations as varied as extracting a car from a cargo plane and fashioning a cure for a pernicious lab-made super-virus, among others.
With much of the puzzle-solving focused on simple teleportation around environments in search of resources and standing still to solve puzzles and the like, I Expect You To Die works beautifully from a seated position.
I Expect You To Die is compatible with the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Valve Index, Oculus Quest, and PlayStation VR.
Action-packed space flight sim
Designed for seated play
Compatible with all major headsets
Here’s a spaceship, some cash, and off you go to explore a recreation of the entire Milky Way; that’s pretty much Elite Dangerous in a nutshell.
From there, how the game unfolds is up to you; join factions, explore distant solar systems, make a buck in galactic trading, or make your fortune gunning down bounties in intense celestial dogfights. An MMO experience at its core, Elite Dangerous throws you in alongside a rich community of other players, all vying to survive the harsh depths of space, delivering hours upon hours of varied, interactive gameplay.
Elite Dangerous VR requires the use of a mouse/keyboard or gamepad, highlighting that the VR mode was very much designed to be played sitting at a desk, much like the ‘flat’ version of the game. Indeed, beyond the immersion of gazing out of a cockpit at millions of distant stars with a headset on, Elite Dangerous requires no physical movement. With this in mind, Elite Dangerous ranks among the most seated play-friendly VR games around.
Elite Dangerous also features fairly broad headset compatibility: Valve Index, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Windows Mixed Reality headsets. It’s also available on Steam and the Epic Game Store, although the latter does involve some third-party software like SteamVR to play the game in virtual reality.
Due to the nature of dashing and darting through open space, Elite Dangerous can trigger motion sickness in some VR players. We suggest short bursts to ease your body into the experience and avoid nausea.
Things To Consider
Headsets and Platforms
For better or worse, VR games are generally locked to certain headsets and platforms, and, naturally, this extends to seated VR games. On the platform front, the bulk of games are divided up between Steam, the Oculus Store, and PlayStation VR. As for headsets, there are roughly a dozen major options, ranging from premium kits like the Valve Index to comparatively more affordable models like the Oculus Quest 2.
When buying and downloading your favored seated VR game, a cursory check that it is compatible with your headset and is sold on the appropriate platform is a small and quick way to avoid compatibility issues.
More and more games are appearing for a broader selection of headsets and platforms, but this is still far from the norm right now. For each of our top recommended seated VR games, we’ve noted their headset compatibility and platform to make things that much easier for you.
Seated VR Experiences
Though our focus here centers on games and how they enhance traditional gaming, VR experiences and apps offer those that prefer a seated experience plenty of superb content that’s not quite as interactive, but just as immersive, not to say entertaining, and often educational and instructional.
A visit to Anne Frank’s war-time hidden shelter in Anne Frank House VR, live TV show audience-style experiences like The Foo Show or courtside NBA games in NextVR, virtual tours of landmarks across the globe, artistic playgrounds like Kingspray Graffiti, Quill, Gravity Sketch, and Tilt Brush, and even socially-oriented games such as the wildly popular VRChat, are but a small smattering of VR options that are best experienced from the comfort of a cushioned seat.
Much like regular entertainment apps and creative tools, a seated position is the best way to experience everything they have to offer. Indeed, when visiting a major landmark such as the Great Sphinx of Giza and taking in the sights through your VR headset, there’s no need to be standing.
If your curiosity about seated VR games is motivated by a hunger for something a little gentler to relax at the end of the day, VR experiences and apps are a great option that is well worth exploring alongside the games we’ve highlighted above.
Video games still have a way to go when it comes to accessibility for all types of players, and sadly the issue is even more pronounced for VR. In a sense, VR is inherently a physical form of gaming where players are encouraged to stand and move in ways unseen in traditional gaming, but as seated VR games show, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy the immersion of VR without the standing, physical aspect.
As the platform matures, we’ll likely see a push towards more accessible games as we’ve seen recently in regular gaming with the likes of The Last of Us: Part 2, Marvel’s Spider-Man, and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla incorporating robust accessibility options.
A staple of the VR gaming scene, Beat Saber translates equally well to seated play. High re-playability rooted in a simple yet addictive concept ensures hours of seated fun whether you are on SteamVR, Oculus, or PSVR.
A charming single-player action-adventure that’s as gentle and compelling as it is tailored-made for VR, Moss and its unique companion-based puzzle-solving will delight those that like to sit back and relax when they game.
Despite its action-packed first-person shooter gameplay, Robo Recall is a pleasure to play from the comfort of a couch. Fast, thrilling, and visually stunning, it’s easily one of the best shooters VR’s produced to date.
I Expect You To Die is not just a fun and humor-packed spy game but a challenging puzzler that offers an immersive experience, all while limiting the need to stand and move around. Perfect for seated gamers.
Charting your own course across a recreation of the Milky Way aboard a starship in Elite Dangerous sounds excellent as it is, but in VR, the glow of distant stars and the intensity of space combat feel as immersive as it gets.
We’ll now end our guide to the best seated VR games. Send any questions, suggestions, or comments our way via the comments section below.