The 10 Best VR Puzzle and Escape Room Games

Enhance your gaming experience with virtual reality

Man in a maze
Photo: Stewart Sutton / Getty

Advancements in VR headsets and the content that pushes what these devices can do has ushered in a new generation of games

In the early 1990s, CD-ROM puzzle games such as Myst and Riven made use of the added storage capacity of this new storage medium by adding graphical elements that went well beyond those of traditional games of the time. Much as the advent of the CD-ROM helped to further the puzzle game genre, virtual reality is reinvigorating puzzle games by immersing the player in the puzzle environment.

When you feel like you’re present in the environment, the game is enhanced on many levels. For puzzle-type games, the mechanics of VR connect you to the puzzle elements. 

Live-action escape room gaming arcades have been popping up all over the world. They provide team-building immersive puzzle-solving experiences to customers. At these locations, you pay a fee to be trapped in a room that you must escape. Escaping usually involves solving a series of logic puzzles.

These live-action escape room experiences have inspired the creation of VR escape room game counterparts. In VR, you’re not bound by the limitations of the real world, so VR escape rooms can be anything you can imagine. Maybe you have to escape a medieval dungeon or perhaps a space station.

Check out these VR puzzle games and escape room games to find out just how immersive VR gaming can be.

01
of 10

The Gallery - Episode 1: Call of the Starseed

Screenshot from The Gallery - Episode 1: Call of the Starseed
Photo: Cloudhead Games Ltd.

The Gallery - Episode 1: Call of the Star Seed is part puzzle game, part mystery, with escape room elements. In Call of the Star Seed, your quest is to find your missing sister. You start on a mysterious island and follow clues left by your sister on a series of audio cassette tapes. The developers call the game a “built-for-VR game inspired by dark '80s fantasy films.”

This game is reminiscent of the television show "Lost," with its eerie island-based science lab theme. Logic puzzles abound throughout. The attention to detail in the environments creates an excellent sense of immersion, which is probably one of the reasons that HTC Vive picked this game as one of its content bundle selections.

The whole game feels well planned and polished. The VR teleportation mechanics are excellent, especially for people who only have small VR play spaces available. This game is a must-have title if you’re into VR puzzle and adventure games.

The environments of this game are extremely lush and detailed, and the backpack inventory mechanic is how adventure games should do inventory from now on.

VR Platform(s): HTC Vive, Oculus Rift

02
of 10

I Expect You To Die

Screenshot from I Expect You To Die VR game
Photo: Schnell Games

Did you ever pretend that you were James Bond or some other famous secret agent when you were a kid? 007 is always put in dire situations that seem to guarantee his almost certain death, yet he always survives through his ingenuity.

I Expect You To Die is a VR puzzle game that distills the whole secret-agent-caught-in-a-trap plot device and makes a fun game out of it.

You play as a secret agent with telekinetic abilities. Your mission is to stop a nefarious weapons and pharmaceutical company.

One of the scenarios has you in a fancy Bond-esque gadget-filled car that is in an airplane. Your goal is to escape the airplane by starting the car and somehow getting it out of the airplane. Bonus (or spoiler): missiles are involved.

If you like having to solve puzzles as if your life depended on it, then this game is for you.

VR Platform(s): HTC Vive, Oculus Rift

03
of 10

Obduction

Screenshot from Obduction VR game
Photo: Cyan Inc.

If you wondered what happened to the team behind the classic puzzle game Myst, one of the most famous puzzle adventure games of all time, wonder no more. The team was working on Obduction.

That’s right, Cyan, the team behind the legendary Myst, created another otherworldly puzzle game, and this time it’s built from the ground up for virtual reality. Obduction has been called “the spiritual successor to Myst and Riven.”

This game is an escape room game on a grand scale with puzzles throughout. You’re not trying to escape only a room, but an entire planet to find your way home.

Unlike many other puzzle titles that can be completed in an hour or two, Obduction is meant to take longer. Some reviewers said it took them two and a half days or so to complete.

VR Platform(s): HTC Vive, Oculus Rift

04
of 10

Fantastic Contraption

Screenshot of Fantastic Contraption VR game
Photo: Northway Games, Radial Games Corp

If you like hands-on physics puzzle games that make you feel like an inventor and pit crew member at the same time, then Fantastic Contraption might be right up your alley.

Fantastic Contraption is a whimsical puzzle game with lots of characters and tons of levels to keep you busy. The basic premise of the game is to build an invention to move a puzzle piece from point A to point B. The terrain between point A and B could be an incline, a flight of stairs, or any number of crazy possibilities.

You must build a simple machine to move your puzzle piece through the terrain obstacle. You are given various machine parts, some that act as motors, some that act as wheels, and some that add support to other parts. You combine these parts in VR by virtually snapping them together. When you think you’ve built the perfect machine, you press the play button and see if it works. If it does, great; move on to the next level. If it doesn’t, then it’s back to the virtual drawing board to tweak your machine and try again.

This puzzle game is definitely for creative types of all ages. The developer added a level editor for creating user-generated content. Users can download and play levels built by other users, which greatly increases the replay value for this game.

VR Platform(s): HTC Vive, Oculus Rift

05
of 10

SVRVIVE: The Deus Helix

Screenshot of SVRVIVE VR game
Photo: SVRVIVE Studios

If alien-themed puzzles are your thing, SVRVIVE is a title worth your consideration. This game has you playing a forced recruit whose mission is to obtain helix pieces by solving puzzles at various alien locations to which you are teleported. Solve all the puzzles, and the aliens say they’ll give you your life back. Fail to solve them, and you’ll be ... well … just try not to fail.

To get your feet wet, you start in a basic escape-the-room scenario for the first mission, and then the game gradually moves to larger and more varied alien locales.

If you’re looking for challenging puzzles where you can take your time to work things out, then this game is worth a try.

VR Platform(s): HTC Vive, Oculus Rift

06
of 10

Conductor

Screenshot of Conductor VR game
Photo: Overflow

Conductor is from the makers of Abode, another puzzle game on this list. While Abode is a good, but short, escape room game, Conductor is more of a puzzle-adventure game.

Conductor features multiple locations and has the unique game mechanic of having to operate a train to transport you to the next location. The game also features the use of a weapon of sorts, a gravity cannon, which can be used to move things around or grab onto things and smash them into walls to disable them.

Conductor operates with “lo-fi” graphics rather than flashy photorealism. The choice works well, as it lets you focus on the puzzle tasks at hand and makes for a less resource-demanding game.

VR Platform(s): HTC Vive, Oculus Rift

07
of 10

Statik

Screenshot from Statik VR game
Photo: Tarsier Studios

Take the fidget cubes all the kids are playing with, make them into complex puzzles, and then add a portal-esque lab setting, and you have Statik for PS VR. This game is a PS VR exclusive and for good reason, as it was designed to use just about every button of the PS4’s DualShock 4 controller.

In Statik, you are a test subject in a lab where you must solve puzzles that are strapped to your hands. You can flip the puzzle around to just about any angle you want to see puzzle elements on each side. You must figure out the puzzle through trial and error and by using clues, which are often found in the environment around you.

While you’re trying to figure out the puzzle, the game adds a bit of stress and distraction in the form of scientists who appear to be analyzing your every move and writing notes on their clipboards. You don’t know what they are looking for or what the purpose of the experiments are, but the whole thing makes you feel like a guinea pig and inspires a bit of paranoia.

Statik is a must-have if you own PlayStation VR and love puzzle games.

VR Platform(s): PlayStation VR

08
of 10

Abode

Screenshot of ABODE VR game
Photo: Overflow

Abode is an indie puzzle title that has character. It’s a short title, having only one room to escape from, but its price reflects this.

Abode is a classic escape room title. Solve multiple puzzles to find keys and such to solve other puzzles until you finally get a code to let you escape the room. Most of the puzzles aren't terribly hard, but they're fun and require at least a little bit of thinking.

The graphics are lo-fi, but the game is all about the puzzles, and Abode delivers on those. The game is a short experience, but a fun one.

VR Platform(s): HTC Vive, Oculus Rift

09
of 10

Nevrosa: Prelude

Screenshot of Nevrosa: Prelude VR game
Photo: GexagonVR

If you like your puzzle games with a heaping dose of scary, then you should check out Nevrosa: Prelude.

Nevrosa is so terrifying that it doesn't need to resort to using cheap jumpscares. This game is a creepy experience.

One unique element of Nevrosa: Prelude is that, while most escape room puzzle games don’t put you in any virtual physical danger, Nevrosa adds the element of this-puzzle-could-actually-hurt-me to its escape room game. It is reminiscent of the "Saw" movies.

Nevrosa: Prelude is a free-to-play game. As the title implies, this is just an intro and not a full-fledged game. The free experience is designed to whet your appetite for the full game. Download Nevrosa: Prelude if you dare.

If you survive Prelude, you may be interested in the full game, Nevrosa: Escape, which isn't free to play.

VR Platform(s): HTC Vive, Oculus Rift

10
of 10

Belko VR: An Escape Room Experiment

Screenshot from Belko VR Game
Photo: Top Right Corner, Yarvo Productions, Paper Crane Games

Typically, movie tie-in games are terrible. Surprisingly, The Belko VR game is pretty good for a movie tie-in game.

It’s not a game for kids, and, given the premise, adults might not find the whole thing appealing either, but it makes for an interesting escape room game that ties nicely to the premise of the movie for which it’s named, "The Belko Experiment."

This escape room game comes with a 15-minute timer. If you fail to complete the goal in time, you die. 

The timer in this game adds an element of stress to the whole situation by creating a sense of urgency and makes it a puzzle/escape room game that gets your blood pumping.

The price is right: The game is free because it was created to promote "The Belko Experiment" movie. If you think you can handle the stress, give this game a try. Players may experience different endings depending on the choice they make toward the end.

VR Platform(s): HTC Vive, Oculus Rift