Looking to dust off your flying skills before jumping into the cockpit of an X-wing or TIE fighter? Before EA’s upcoming space combat game Star Wars: Squadrons launches on PC VR and PSVR October 2nd, you may consider popping into a few of these VR-compatible flight combat games to get a head start on the competition.

Star Wars: Squadrons will have a few modes at launch, including a single-player campaign, and both a 5v5 multiplayer dogfighting deathmatch and objective-based battle mode. That said, there’s sure to be plenty of room for novice and pro dogfighters across all game modes. Check out the gameplay trailer to learn more.

Anyway, here’s our roundup of a few great VR flight games, which span simulator and arcade subgenres. We’ve listed both PC VR and PSVR games below.

PC VR

VTOL VR

VTOL VR is the quintessential VR-native flight combat game, which includes multi-role jets and an immersive, interactive cockpit that lets you flip switches, press buttons, and manipulate the virtual flight controls with your own two hands. That’s something that probably won’t be possible in Squadrons, so you might as well enjoy it.

  • Developer: Boundless Dynamics, LLC
  • Platforms: SteamVR
  • Price: $26

War Thunder

Free is a good price—especially for this full-featured MMO that puts you in basically any plane you can imagine, past and present. You don’t have to pay anything to jump right into a number of military-style jets and helicopters from some of the biggest battles in history. Arcadey controls for novice players, and bespoke ‘realistic mode’ designed for more experienced players.

  • Developer: Gaijin Entertainment
  • Platforms: SteamVR
  • Price: Free to play

DCS World

Digital Combat Simulator World is another great free-to-play title focusing on authentic and realistic simulation of military aircraft, tanks, ground vehicles and ships. There may not be any X-wings, but there’s a bustling playerbase ready to hunt you down.

  • Developer: Eagle Dynamics
  • Platforms: SteamVR
  • Price: Free to play

IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad

IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad is definitely on the simulator side of things, but also approachable enough for new players. If you’re not well versed in flight combat games, you may be better off playing DCS World or War Thunder first before you throw down the cash for this one, which features detailed recreations of some Soviet/Nazi battles of WWII. Although released on Steam for PC in 2014, its VR implementation is on par with other retrofits.

  • Developer: 1C Game Studios, 777 Studios
  • Platforms: SteamVR
  • Price: $60

Elite Dangerous

Elite Dangerous is an MMO space sim that definitely has dogfighting. Will you be able to dogfight in space immediately? Not a chance. You’ll need to work for it, build out your ship, and learn the complex controls before you’re ready to cruise the universe.

Cross-platform

EVE: Vakyrie

EVE: Valkyrie is a space-based dogfighter that brings team-based battles to both SteamVR and PSVR platforms. It’s a multiplayer-only affair, which was its biggest stumbling block in the beginning, although its developers CCP eventually added support for traditional monitors in effort to pad out its largely empty servers.

From what we know about Squadrons so far, Valkyrie would have probably been one of the best jumping off points to get you used to team-based aerial combat. CCP has since abandoned the game about a year ago and some users have reported an inability to find matches. When you can, it’s probably one of the best training tools for Squadrons.

End Space

This single-player space dogfighter puts you in a Minos Starfighter where you lay down law at the mysterious edge of inhabited space. Complete increasingly difficult contracts for the United Trade Consortium and try to stay alive.

Ultrawings

This arcade-style flight game isn’t a dogfighter in the slightest, although it does offer a casual entry point into the genre without being frenetic or violent. Perform tight maneuvers through rings, shoot down balloons, and make precision landings. It’s all good fun in Ultrawings.

PSVR

Star Wars Battlefront Rogue One VR Mission

Think of this one as a big, big step towards the first proper Star Wars VR game. EA’s Criterion Games did the legwork implementing VR into the company’s Frostbite engine, and Motive Studios took that and ran with it, creating Star Wars: Squadrons. It’s a taster, not competitive, and well worth exploring. It’s also free.

  • Developer: EA, Criterion Games
  • Platforms: PSVR
  • Price: Free

Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown

You’re not getting the full fat arcade-style combat experience here in PSVR; it’s only a VR mode that features three missions not seen in the campaign and online modes. It’s typical Ace Combat fun, but way too short to drop the $60 on its own merit.


Know of any great dogfighters or flight games we missed? Let us know your favorite in the comments below!

This article may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product we may receive a small commission which helps support the publication. See here for more information.


  • Raphael

    IL-2 is amazing in VR. DCS badly needs VR performance acceleration. If only the devs would support VRworks or at the very least – single pass stereo. DCS Supercarrier is ground-breaking but it’s bolted on to a single-threaded engine that can’t handle it. People are going to extreme measures to try and reach base-line performance: shader mod, 2080ti, 5ghz+ Intel core etc. All in an effort to reach stable baseline performance.

  • Anonymous

    War Thunder?
    No way… the game is optimized for mouse controls with ridiculously unfair stability assist in both Arcade and Realistic matches, where 99% of the player base are. With mouse you can have laser accuracy and do stunts that will make even other arcade flight sims feel realistic in comparison.

    It’s a shame because the flight model itself is indeed on the realistic side, but there is no way to thrive on controllers or joysticks unless you are willing to wait hours to enter a match in Simulator mode that no one plays.

    • Kyokushin

      They similar did to Elite Dangerous – aiming on mouse comes extremely easy with one change in game in comparison to joystick.

    • david vincent

      What about the single player experience ?

      • Anonymous

        There is barely any, as War Thunder is (in theory) a health bar-less, more realistic version of the Wargaming series – typical F2P MMO grind genre.

        Of those small amount of single player campaigns, all are fairly shallow. No story, no dialogues, fixed planes, very poorly executed. Nothing like DCS or Ace Combat.

        War Thunder has an impressive collection of aircrafts, but unless you want to pay your entire way into the tree, you must unlock them one by one. And if you are someone like me who refuses to accept playing flight sim on mouse, it pretty much means you would be stuck with low tier aircraft for a long long time.

        So for this reason, WT to me is a tank game, not air.

        • david vincent

          Ok thanks, I will stay with IL-2 then. SP modes are OK and no “mouse pilots” (oxymoron) online (tho fighting against non-VR pilots is still a slight handicap, as they can ID you from further away than you).

  • EVE Valkyrie is a dead game. Last time I played it was 5 months ago, and I literally sat in the lobby for 25 minutes without finding a single match. Ended up playing with bots which is neither fun nor challenging. Not worth the purchase AT ALL at this point.

    • david vincent

      Yeah the gameplay was too basic, especially after Elite:D…

      • I didn’t mind the style of gameplay, it was actually pretty fun to just get in and blast around, but the studio just didn’t give it the attention it needed and it died.

  • Gleam

    Elite Dangerous will always be one of my favorite games of all time, so it’s always good to see it on a list, lol. Ultrawings is also an excellent game, so good choices overall!

    I really don’t understand why Ace Combat 7 on PC didn’t have any sort of VR content though, the game is amazing otherwise.

  • Breeze1138

    I’m getting ready playing X-Wing Alliance with mod upgrades and SteamVR support from https://xwaupgrade.com/

    • david vincent

      Oh yeah that game has been modded to death by some coding geniuses (and also some great 3D modellers)
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BBFVMD-PrU
      I recommend Prof Butts channel (the guy who added VR support, dynamic and clickable cockpits and plenty of other amazing stuff) https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAOAKfuzIhzSaR64G-f1-Jg

      • Breeze1138

        Yup, I’ve watched his videos and used the mods. It is amazing! I’ve kinda been using the xwaupgrade and other stuff since they started.

  • Dracono

    Indie title “House of the Dying Sun” is also worth mentioning. Simple and fun space combat, $20 on Steam.

  • JesuSaveSouls

    I’d mention xplane11 and NMS too.

  • Pablo C

    IMO the most realistic space fight experience so far (realistic in terms of how small ships will probably be controlled in the far future) is achieved by XRebirth VR. You just point where you want to go or shoot.

  • Nicolas Lauber
  • Boston

    Elite Dangerous is my favorite by far. The combat, BGS, player factions and now squadrons are so much fun.