Roundup: Newest games in the Gear VR library

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A roundup of the newest games for the GearVR

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If your Samsung phone hasn't exploded or been recalled in real life, maybe you'll enjoy using it to blow up things in virtual reality. Here's a roundup of this month's new games for the Gear VR.

One Man Vurger

Hurry to cook and assemble burgers to customers' specifications before they lose patience and leave your restaurant. Use the touchpad to select and place ingredients while frantically checking the buns, meat and toppings. It's an easy-to-understand non-combative game, though it may not be a very welcome diversion if you've ever worked food service.

Free. Single user, touchpad only.

HEX: Heavy Encounter Exosuit

This game has a lot of things in common with other VR content: You're on an extraterrestrial planet shooting enemy craft out of the sky. But in this one, you're stationary, and you need to use transporters and solve riddles to escape each area. It's a good mix of hurry-up-and-blast-'em and "Hmm, now what?", as well as a welcome departure from constant motion.

Despite its somewhat plain graphics, this might be my favorite game from this roundup. It's easy enough to become immersed in right away, but varied enough to keep things interesting. Plus, the game makes good use of the 360-degree field, and you can play with or without a controller. You can play more comfortably, for longer, than games where you only crane your neck and tap.

$2.99. Single user, touchpad or gamepad.

Free Flighter

Yet another space shooter game. While it may not have a very unique premise, it does stand out as particularly challenging. Expect to stand up and move your head a lot to steer your craft through intergalactic caverns and tunnels; fire using the touchpad. If the combative robots don't zap you into oblivion, crashing into the twisting and turning course will.

Free. Single user, touchpad only.

Street Champ

This is a version of the arcade classic Frogger where you are the frog. Use the touchpad to advance over lanes and lanes of traffic, while constantly moving your head left and right to see what's coming. Rack up points while narrowly avoiding school buses. One false move, and you'll experience getting hit by a car in VR.

Evoking this kind of real-life danger is a novel way to get the most impact from the nascent capabilities of smartphone-powered VR. It's a shortcut to a more immersive experience – it might even be a little too stressful for traffic-averse players to enjoy.

$0.99. Single user, touchpad only.

Relaxing VR Games: Mahjong

I had doubts that any game requiring a headset to play could possibly be relaxing, but this one comes close. A 3D-mahjong board rises up in front of you amidst a Chinese garden; just tap matching tiles to clear them away. It's not "real" mahjong, since it's just a single player pairing game, but if you're the type to enjoy a game of computer solitaire, then you might enjoy this take.

$2.99. Single user, touchpad or gamepad.

Free Throw Bomber

This basketball game is simple but well-executed. Start by hitting free throws; progress into more difficult stages and you'll venture to exotic off-court locales. The twist? Basketballs occasionally turn into bombs, which you have to dispose of properly – by tossing them in a trash can, of course. If you miss or chuck them elsewhere, the bomb explosions throw off your game and any balls you might have in the air. There's also a few amusing opportunities to knock over bystanders in full ragdoll physics glory.

$2.99. Single user, touchpad only.

Mr. Cat's Adventure

This turn-based riddle game still appears to have some wrinkles to smooth out, but it's free, so it could still be worth a try. With its fairy-tale looks and puss-in-boots cat avatar, it's visually unlike most other Gear VR games. In each level, you need to figure out how to navigate to the finish while destroying enemies along the way. It's clever, but there's a lack of instructions. We had a little trouble maintaining a comfortable point-of-view and getting weapons to work as they are supposed to.

Free. Single user, touchpad only.

Dopamine

If you're prone to VR-induced nausea, be cautioned against this one: It's one of the most dizzying we've tried. In this fast-paced game, you take on the role of a chirpy anime character catapulting through space shooting lasers at diamonds and collecting stars as they appear. Use the gamepad to move yourself through space and fire your weapon; move your head to aim. It's an ambitious use of all of VR's possible controls, but I couldn't handle the intensity long enough to try facing an opponent.

$3.99. Single user or multiplayer, requires gamepad.

BalloonShooter

BalloonShooter, another top pick, is an imaginative take on a constant-motion shooting game. You're afloat on a balloon and armed with a bow and arrow, drifting through mystical cartoon lands rife with villains like slime monsters, axe-throwers and arrow shooters. They pop up above, below, and on either side of you, so you're looking around constantly – not to steer, but to spot and shoot your adversaries.

Try to make it as far as you can without letting the bad guys pop your balloon. You'll collect power ups, coins and special weapons along the way. This game does not require a controller, but we found it makes shooting much easier. It also progresses at a nice pace – fast enough to keep you engrossed, but stopping short of turning you green.

$4.99. Single user, touchpad or gamepad.

Hypercade

Hypercade reimagines low-bit retro games in VR, but don't expect anything revolutionary. It's actually a set of four arcade-style games – Space Swarm, Crazy Critters, Robo Rush and Breaker Blaster – with a VR skin. With the exception of Breaker Blaster, which is a paddle-based game where you're ping-ponging a crystal into blocks, the rest are all constant-motion, constant shooters.

$2.99. Single user, touchpad or gamepad.

Wrath of Loki

In this game, you take on the role of Thor trying to defeat Loki and Ragnarok. To do so, you explore a mythical Nordic world looking for hidden objects. Find each object, complete a riddle, and progress into the next land. The puzzles are not particularly difficult (you can access hints at anytime) but you do need to put in the work to advance. The scenery is beautiful and it makes full use of the 360° space – you may want to clear a safe zone in your house for this one, so you can stand and spin as needed.

$2.99. Single user, touchpad only.

Gem Monster

This game doesn't have the most impressive graphics, but it gets high points for addictiveness. Each "Gem Monster" is composed of different color gems. To destroy them, shoot out pairs of matching colored gems as the monster twists, flies away and shoots missiles at you. It's almost like the Mahjong game in the sense that selecting two like tiles makes them disappear – except in Gem Monster, the game board is flying around and fighting back.

$4.99. Single user, touchpad only.

If these games sound fun but you're not Gear VR-equipped yet, you'll need a late model Samsung phone (either the Galaxy S6, S6 edge, S7, S7 edge, or the Note 7) and a Gear VR headset.

Of course, mobile VR hasn't made many strides recently beyond adding titles to its library, so you may wish to opt for a PC-based VR experience like the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift. This comparison puts the two devices toe-to-toe.

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