Mobile VR is growing up: The best new Gear VR games
Maybe the folks behind Samsung Gear VR are bracing for competition from Google Daydream, because the newest batch of game content is all-around better than the last time we did a new release roundup. Here are the latest mobile VR diversions from the Oculus store.
Sneaky Bears VR
You're trapped in a toy factory where an evil teddy bear overlord and his minions are out to get you. Clearly influenced by the Five Nights at Freddy's series, this spirited game is fun and immersive despite its simple gameplay. It does a lot with a little, and continues the trend of making teddy bears seem menacing.
You enter different rooms with various themes and layout, where you're sure to be mobbed by vicious toy bears. There's no real navigation or technique, you just stand in one place constantly looking around. Swipe the touchpad to destroy bears before they destroy you. US$4.99.
Drop Dead doesn't have a groundbreaking premise, but it has some of the best visuals and story development that we've seen on mobile VR. It's not quite on par with Oculus Rift content, but it might be the best shooter on the Gear.
You play a zombie-killing special agent equipped with an information visor, time-traveling DNA (so you can come back to life if you end up as lunch for a zombie) and all kinds of weaponry. Developers thoughtfully included pause and save options between missions, as well as two different movement modes. The full mode is less comfortable, but you have more control over your movements through space. In the comfort mode, you're teleported from place to place.
Use touchpad or gamepad. Multi-player modes are also supported. $9.99.
Twobit is a puzzle game that frankly, fails to hold my attention. You move your head to guide a ball-shaped robot through a maze within a locked room, before the countdown clock on the wall expires. It appears the goal is to release trapped creatures from their cages, but after I failed to do so, a giant bird swooped in and soared around ominously. I was left scratching my head and unenthused. The description in the Oculus store says the game is "enigmatic." I concur, tongue-in-cheek. Free.
Face Your Fears
This isn't really a game – more of a haunted house re-imagined in VR. You stay in place while freaky things happen around you. There's one option centered on fear of heights where you're standing in a crumbling skyscraper, and then on top of a creaky radio antennae, while robots and aliens destroy the surrounding metropolis. In another setting, you're nestled in bed while being plagued by creepy ghost children and their ilk. A good way to give kids nightmares, but probably underwhelming for most adults. Free.
Overflight is another comparatively strong mobile VR take on a classic premise. You're piloting a WWII-era fighter jet and battling other pilots in flight. The visuals are a notch above most Gear VR plane fighter games, plus there's single and multiplayer modes. If you want to try a fighter-plane game you can play with friends, this would probably be our first pick.
The comfort level is listed as moderate, but that sounds a little generous to me. The cockpit view and quick maneuvering yielded queasiness that kept me from playing for too long. Gamepad supported but not required. $3.99.
Age of Diamonds
I'm always skeptical of arcade-style games recreated in VR. Why use 21st century technology to make lackluster versions of 30 year old games? But Age of Diamonds is the rare old-school block-blasting game that boasts unique physics and a novel concept that justifies its use of VR. Free; touchpad only.
Panzer Panic VR
This tank battler is another title that's not exactly groundbreaking, but is refreshingly well-developed for a mobile VR game. Captain a customizable tank while capturing enemy flags. You can play solo, but the multiplayer option is probably more engrossing, since you can play cooperatively or in battle mode. Multiple stages, options and weapons keep it interesting.
The only drawback is that it's a bit of a stomach churner. Expect to play this one standing up, and clear away objects nearby objects ahead of time. You'll do a lot of turning and looking as you get the lay of the land. Gamepad compatible, but it's not required. $4.99.