Among more than 9,000 games on Steam, Valve’s VR title The Lab is heading the platform’s list of top rated games.

Valve’s The Lab is a free VR-only title that offers players eight short room-scale experiences which range from photogrammetry to castle defense with a bow and arrow. For many with the HTC Vive, the game has become a go-to starting point to introduce friends and family to VR thanks to its polish and breadth of experiences.

valve the lab longbow

The Lab has topped Steam’s list of top rated titles, beating out other Valve classics like Portal (2007) and Portal 2 (2011). To date, 99% of the game’s 717 reviews are positive, giving the game a review rating of “Overwhelming Positive”.

Top 10 Steam games sorted by ‘User Reviews’ as of 7/20/2016

The game is currently joined among Steam’s top 10 best rated games by Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, a well regarded title that also supports VR, though not exclusively. Just last week, VR exclusive title Raw Data found itself at the top of the Steam Top Sellers list.

There’s a number of arguments could be made to challenge The Lab’s appearance in the top rated spot on Steam. For one, it has the least reviews of any game in the top 10 and its ratings are likely helped by the fact that it’s free. However, we can see that it’s still managed to beat out the free game Iron Snout, and doesn’t have that many fewer reviews than the next fewest of the top 10 (Bit Blaster XL) which has 933 reviews at the time of writing. In the end, the most simple explanation may be the right one: people like VR.

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See Also: 4 Videos That Take You Inside Valve’s ‘The Lab’

Valve says they’re continuing to work on their own first-party VR content, but they’re not saying what exactly will come next.

“We are certainly continuing our work to expand Steam VR for developers and aspiring content creators, and working on our VR content. But we have no specific announcements to make today,” Doug Lombardi, Valve’s VP of Marketing, tells Road to VR.

Last month The Lab saw a feature update which added leaderboards and unlimited play to several of the title’s minigames, adding significant replayability for those who like to battle for the top score.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Michael Davidson

    This is because this is an amazing application (I hazard to call it a “game”).

    • Steve Biegun

      What in your mind is a “game” then?

      • Michael Davidson

        Good point, I was thinking about TheBlu, which I had just played.

        • Trooper Gooner

          I love the Blue and still go back to it, plus it a great demo for showing friends who have not tried VR before. I feel though that it falls into the ‘experience’ bracket like Apollo 11 rather than game.

          • Michael Davidson

            I got it mixed up with The Lab, it was early in the morning. In any case I agree, marvelous experience. The Lab has a good set of mini-games and experiences combined.

          • Sebastien Mathieu

            yes me too the blue is ALWAYS the first thing i’m showing gamers and non-gamers, it’s really impressive

  • Peter

    Some of the experience aren’t games like the photorealistic environments and the human body thing, some clearly are like Xortex and defending the castle. But it’s still definitely one of the best VR apps out there – I continue to play Xortex on a regular basis. It would be great if Steam came out with more high quality VR software.

  • bschuler

    Deservedly so.It’s a true 10/10 game. My first week in VR, I spent 90% of my time in The Lab. I still think it is the best example of the power of VR and what is possible.

    • Sebastien Mathieu

      agreed the lab is awesome!!!, and a tru testament of the potential of VR

    • RFC_VR

      It’s simply brilliant, a Sublime mixture of fantastic Design for Virtual Reality, and programming nous. Their AQ SS rendering tech is top notch.

      I have spent more time in The Lab than any other VR title simply because its the most fully realised and immersive experience currently available, and the portal/games are brilliant. I seem to spend more time really getting into the games on offer, and experimenting with The Lab gamespace.

  • DiGiCT Ltd

    Its not a real full blown game but it is the best showcase room on which direction you can go with VR.
    We are working on a game based on Xortex from the LAB.
    It was for me the best game but many other people also like the bow shooting one.
    Those mini games are already huge fun but ofcourse not full blown.
    That was also not the purpose, but rather to show devs some nice prototypes and also consumers on what kinda games could be expected in VR.

    Our game is planned for steam and will be early access within 2 months.
    First for vive but also will support rift later on as it needs motion tracked controllers to be able to play it.

    • J.C.

      Well, I’m interested. Big fan of Xortex, excited to see if someone can really take the idea further. The only other title similar is Chamber 19, and that one has a heavy dose of Amateur Hour going on. Then again, compared to The Lab, pretty much EVERY other title out so far feels…comparatively weak. Not only did Valve nail “making a fun set of mini games”, but visually they’re literally several generations ahead of everyone else, visually. It’s not a case of engine familiarity; they used Unity. I’m hoping that since they handed out a lot of “how we pulled off this voodoo” for free on the Unity store, we’ll start seeing games that at least can stand in the same room with The Lab.

      • DiGiCT Ltd Ha ha, me too, thats why its my 1st choice.
        Yes it has much more added for the gameplay.

        1. It is similar with just 1 controller can play, but we decided to add something to the controller touchpad like .e.g. 4-8 special weapons as xortex dont have it. That means different pickups during gameplay.
        2. The room is more like xortex but with one huge difference, the total room will unfold at the end of a wave and you going to battle the BIG boss, and with BIG i really mean BIG. Even bigger as the room you stand in during the wave.
        3. Also the boss wil become harder and harder wave after wave and eventually it even will be different bosses.
        4. The game is vive first but we plan also for Rift and later on for Google daydream ready devices if possible, and who knows even to psvr if we can do.

        Maybe this enlighten you a little on what we are building.

        The game is just single player ofcourse and we would like to add the leaderboards as xortex has into it.
        Xortex is already cool for a demo, just a full game needs a lot of work as we model all from scratch.
        August is our plan to try to get it greenlit on steam as early access if all progresses as it does atm.

        I hope our game can become the replacement xortex game for you in future.

        SneakPeak pic on top added for you. One of the models we want to use as enemy (untextured + early prototype)

    • Voodoo12

      Made an account just so I could say that your game sounds awesome. Does it have a name so I know what to look out for?

      • DiGiCT Ltd

        It is not yet online for info but the name would probably be ” XoRoX” as it is the working title atm

        Modelling takes a lot of time but here an other pic of current player model WIP.
        As you can see not just a copy game but real new models and environment compared to xortex.
        There is one game on steam atm and its a try copy clone and far from good, not worth buying.

        The only part i recreate is the tiled screen which shows the scores, as i felt it was the most awesome screen i ever seen till now in VR.
        Only ours has even more added to it compared to the one in XorTex.

        Cant say too much till going on steam as i want to keep some stuff as surprise :)
        We want to have it to be extended on gameplay but also the art should be good.
        The game should not become just an hurry product, but a finished polished game instead.

        SteamID: DiGiCT it’s going to be launched with as soon as it comes.
        Just add to friends list and you will be updated.

  • Pistol Pete

    The lab is one amazing experience! We have probably 20hrs so far logged in there.

  • JustNiz

    Yep it deserves it. I’m actually amazed that as many as 1% of reviews are negative. I can’t imagine what there is to whine about. Those idiots must have REALLY tried hard to find something.

  • DougP

    Valve –

    Yes please, Valve, creator new titles for VR – we shall open our wallets!

  • usherjerksoffsonyfanboys

    Valve Portal 3…VR….now plz and thank you