The best Google Daydream games and apps
If you've already got your hands on a Google Daydream View headset, then you are probably an enthusiastic early adopter. Here are New Atlas' picks for the best games and apps to download as you prepare to lose yourself through the power of mobile VR.
At this point, Daydream content is limited, since the headsets only recently started shipping. We are keeping our fingers crossed for more well-developed content in the near future, but we do think the titles included here meet or surpass many of the top titles for Daydream's main competitor, the Samsung Gear VR (though some are available on both platforms). Of course, no mobile VR matches the level of PC-based systems like the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, but they are fun and accessible entry points into virtual reality.
Danger Goat is a puzzle platformer where you're guiding a goat through each level, triggering traps and avoiding obstacles along the way. One wrong move, and your goat friend might be blasted off on a rocket or blown up by a landmine.
This is one of the most polished 3D puzzle games we've seen on mobile VR. It boasts rich graphics and sound effects that actually add something to the experience, and a variety of challenges to keep you engrossed.
While it would be possible to play this type of game without a VR headset, the wand movements and immersive views do occasionally enhance the play. US$5.99.
Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them
Fantastic Beasts is a potion-making, spell-casting, beast-petting game set in the Harry Potter universe. It's not fast-paced or challenging by any stretch of the imagination, but its high-end presentation with lovely visuals and voiceovers should be enough to satisfy the franchise's younger, more fervent fans. Since it's peaceful and relatable, it could also provide a good orientation for VR first-timers.
It would be truly exciting to see a more developed version of this game where the Daydream View's gyroscope controller is integrated more heavily. Its wand-like properties coupled with the otherworldly experience of VR seems like a match made in heaven for a wizarding world, but this free app is not that developed.
Wonderglade is another kid-centric free title that showcases the type of gameplay you can expect from the Daydream headset and controller. Within the download, there are four carnival-style games that intuitively harness the gyroscope controller and first-person 3D views, without any potentially nauseating intensity.
The childish graphics and sound effects are vivid and detailed, if a little cloying. The good thing about mobile VR is that your kid can don headphones and keep it all to himself. Plus, Wonderglade is free.
The Arcslinger ($7.99) is a Wild West first person-shooter enhanced by a cartoony storyline, imaginative weapons and silly foes. With 15 different levels, there's plenty of slingin' and shootin' to be had. Resume and continue options were just added, you can also put it down and pick up where you left off.
Sometimes the story segues in between stages are boring, but you can skip those by holding down the button on your controller.
While the previous games had a 3D premise with some VR functionality thrown in, Drift ($9.99) is entirely reliant on VR. Also found on the Gear VR, it's one of the most conceptually advanced and challenging mobile VR titles we've played.
You play a bullet hurtling through futuristic, minimally rendered scenes. Your goal is to find and hit your target using only your head motions to steer. If you hit any obstacles, you'll have to start at the beginning of the level and try again.
You have two main resources to aid you: Walter, an artificially intelligent assistant that gives voice and text instructions to help you learn the game, and slow motion mode. In slow motion mode (accessed by holding down the button on the controller) you can force yourself to slow down long enough to get a good look around and dodge any obstacles. However, you can only be in slow motion mode for five seconds at a time, and it's possible to run out of slow motion allotments for the level. Collecting green squares along the way helps to regenerate your slow motion time.
This is a unique, fast-paced game with endearing details. The downside? It's less than comfortable to play. If you're prone to motion sickness, it may be difficult to stay in the Drift world for too long.
It's not just gamers that are throwing themselves into VR. The media is just one of the major industries embracing this technology with an eye on the future.
This free app from the Wall Street Journal lets you visualize the vicissitudes of the stock market in virtual reality, as well as view the latest news and a selection of immersive, interactive stories and documentaries.
Even if you're not interested in using your headset to catch up on current events, WSJ VR provides insight on the expressive, educational possibilities for this medium. Free.
If VR filmmaking has caught your interest, this is a tremendous jumping-off point for exploring it via Daydream. Jaunt VR is a free app that puts dozens of original cinematic VR titles in one place. Areas of interest include politics, style, art, culture, sports, horror, music, travel and more.
Headlining content includes Invisible, an original series created just for VR, several different concerts, and Disney's Lion King musical, but there are films and documentaries to suit every taste.