With excitement building around the awesome PC-based VR headsets that are right around the corner, it's almost easy to put the mobile Gear VR on the back burner. But Oculus' entry-level headset still has some solid content coming out every week. Read on for our turbo reviews of the latest Gear VR games.
It's clear that, up to this point, Oculus and Samsung timed much of the best Gear VR content to come right around the time of the headset's consumer launch, in that November and December window (along with the year's worth of Innovator Edition releases before that). There's been some exciting stuff since then, including AltSpaceVR, LeBron James: Striving for Greatness and the fun demo Archer E. Bowman (all covered in our last roundup), but we have noticed fewer Buy This Right Now! types of titles in the first months of 2016. That isn't a criticism, so much as an observation of a natural cycle: every platform has peaks and valleys of quality content releases, the peaks usually converging around high-traffic shopping seasons and new hardware launches. It just looks like we're in more of a valley at the moment. That will change.
... still, there's been some decent stuff that's worth a look. Read on.
The latest in a long line of tilt your head to pilot a spaceship arcade games for the Gear VR, Space Agent plays that role as well as most. There appears to be a random level creation element, putting obstacles and rewards in slightly different places every time, to keep things fairly fresh.
Samsung School of Rugby
Surprisingly fun considering its simplicity, this game is a 360° video of some rugby players tossing around a ball. Keep your eye on the ball as much as possible to rack up points (and watch out for fakes – these blokes are good!).
It's a clever, fairly effective, way of turning a simple VR video into something interactive.
First-person shooters aren't supposed to work in VR, but this one gets the job done ... at least for a very basic mobile game. You can roam freely around old west camps (good) using only head movement and the Gear VR's trackpad (not so good ... where's the gamepad support?).
This isn't one you'll want to get lost in for hours, but it's fun for a quick blast the cartoon cowboys to smithereens kind of fix.
Escape Room VR
This game ticks the boxes for our two biggest Gear VR pet peeves: click-to-move navigation and trackpad only (no gamepad) controls. But if those things don't bother you as much as they do us, it's a pretty fun entry in the solve the puzzles to find a way out of this mysterious, godforsaken place genre.
Air Hockey VR
As you'd expect, this one is, well, air hockey ... in VR. Using the analog stick on your gamepad to slide the paddle around the air hockey table doesn't, however, make for a great control scheme. This kind of game will be infinitely better using motion controllers like Oculus Touch on the Rift or the Vive's controllers on HTC's headset.
Still, not a terrible arcade game, given the Gear VR's lack of motion controls and positional (upper body) tracking.
Hidden Temple - VR Adventure
As we mentioned, we rarely find much joy in click-to-move types of VR games (the point is feeling like you're someplace else, and clicking a dot to automatically move forward takes something away from that). But Hidden Temple's approach, stare for a few seconds to interact, works a little better.
This one is like a simplified adventure game, as you pick up objects, stash them in your inventory and use them to interact with other objects, collect gold and (once again) find a way out of this mysterious, godforsaken place!
Check back soon, as we'll be covering new releases for the Gear VR and other big VR platforms as they make their way into the wild. For a recap of what you can expect from the platform as a whole, you can hit up our full review of the (consumer) Gear VR.