If you already know about virtual reality
, you’ve probably realized its potential for making gaming pretty exciting. How can you know the best ways to play? There are many apps on the market designed to show off the best of what virtual reality has to offer, including apps outside of the gaming category. Here are the best virtual reality apps available on Android and iPhone.
Free virtual reality apps
The best things in life are often free, and that rings true with virtual reality apps. While many free apps allow you to purchase in-game tokens, gear, and upgrades, most have plenty of levels and features available at no additional charge. Here are some of the most popular virtual reality apps you can find in app stores for the low, low price of zero dollars:
1. VR Roller Coaster: GALAXY 360 in Deep Space
Can you imagine anything more thrilling than a roller coaster in space? This app will put you there with its stellar graphics. It’s made for all ages and is a unique way to discover what it would be like to defy gravity. It’s available in the Google Play store
2. The Bet VR Haunted House Game
While players have little control of where they go in this tale, the horror elements and scares create an entertaining experience. The Bet VR Haunted House Game
takes you through a short story of a haunted house with a surprise ending. This free scare is available from Google Play.
3. NYT VR
Not all the good apps are only about playtime. The new app from the New York Times
gives viewers a unique look at top news stories. Discover an immersive way to learn about the world around you with this app from Google Play, iTunes, and Samsung VR.
4. Netflix VR
While Netflix doesn’t currently have much in the lineup of actual virtual reality content, it’s made a VR app available for Google users
and those with Oculus goggles. The virtual reality environment
allows you to view your TV in an immersive “living room” environment, where you can choose a film or TV episode and get up-close-and-personal with your pick.
5. VR Archery Master 3D: Shooting Games
One of the highest-rated sports virtual reality apps in the Apple store
, this archery game puts you into the action. VR Archery Master has more than 100 free levels with opportunities to win challenges and earn rewards. Use these to make upgrades and buy more bows and arrows.
Best paid virtual reality apps
If you don’t love the idea of buying upgrades little by little or you want to play a more advanced game with a serious community of players, you should consider paid apps. These games vary in price from just a dollar to $10 or more. Here are the virtual reality apps that buyers like the most.
6. Relax VR
Are you stressed out? Enjoy a relaxing environment away from it all in the Relax VR app. You can choose from ten locations, such as relaxing a tropical beach in the Philippines or viewing the Northern Lights. You’ll experience music, optional guided meditation, and your choice of a male or female voice guide. The app costs just $2.99 from the Google Play store
for either the Daydream or Cardboard versions.
7. Minos Starfighter VR
Fans of futuristic first-person shooter games will find this space-themed virtual reality app delightful. For just $.99 you get never-ending gameplay, three unique worlds, and the ability to share scores with friends. It’s a Google Play product
at the moment and you can play in non-VR mode as well as with the intended Cardboard headset.
8. IT: Escape from Pennywise
Virtual reality meets escape rooms meets creepy terror in this Stephen King-inspired game from Google Play and the Apple Store. Your goal is simple: get out of the house before Pennywise gets you. Choose from Cardboard
. All versions are just $.99 each.
9. World Traveler VR
Imagine being dropped in a random place on the planet and then using clues to find out where you actually are. This challenging game teaches geography and builds critical thinking skills in players of all ages. It’s available in the Google Play store
for just $.99.
10. Blade Runner: Revelations
With more than three hours of immersive gameplay, this app is the most expensive one on our list. It’s rated M for Mature and ideal for older teens and adults. Get it from the Google Play store
for $8.99. It’s a must-have for anyone who wants to experience the upper limits of mobile virtual reality apps and who loves the Blade Runner movie franchise.
Virtual reality apps for kids
While no one wants their kids gaming all day, apps have benefits for skill development and hand-eye coordination when played in moderation. These virtual reality apps are ranked highly by kids of all ages.
11. Google Expeditions
Kids need more than games, and this amazing app from Google gives kids ages 10 and up a chance to view the wonders of the world in full virtual reality. See Buckingham Palace or tour the inside of the human body. It’s a popular free tool for classrooms available in the Google Play Store
12. Jurassic VR
Rated T for Teen, this is a solid pick for older kids. Scout out dinosaurs, interact with them, and try out a roller-coaster, too. This app has in-game purchases and is available from the Google Play Store
for Google Cardboard.
13. Goosebumps: Night of Scares
For kids who love the famous Goosebumps
books and movies, this app brings the legends to life. Experience mild jump-scares, solve riddles, and listen to the spooky music in this free game
. It’s available for iOS, Android, Kindle (mobile version only), and Oculus Rift.
14. Baobab VR - Animated Stories
The makers of the Madagascar movies bring you this app that’s perfect for kids who love to hear stories. With amazing characters and Emmy award-winning storylines, you’ll never experience virtual reality the same way again. Free stories are added to the bookshelf regularly in this free app for iOS
15. InCell VR
Google Cardboard fans of all ages will love this free part-game, part-classroom app that lets you learn about the human body by going inside it. Experience what it’s like to fight infections as you race through this game that teaches kids about biology, now available in the Google Play Store
. It has a non-VR mode as well for younger kids and those without a headset.
Which VR app is best?
When choosing between virtual reality apps for Android or iPhone, it will likely depend on your device preferences. Most apps that are available on both formats have similar functionality. Remember, too, that Google Play often has two versions for the same game: one for Cardboard and the other for their DayDream app. Most app descriptions will tell you which technology they support, so read the details carefully to ensure you’re getting the right option.
The real difference in gameplay between apps of the same title is most likely attributed to your phone, headset, or tablet features and not to the game itself. For maximum value, some people look for games that can also be played in non-VR mode. This is great for trying out a game before you buy the full version, or for when kids who are too young to safely use virtual reality glasses want to join in on the fun.
The future of VR tech looks bright. Expect to see more movie tie-in apps, escape rooms, first person shooters, and educational immersion environments in the coming months.