Best VR Games To Try With Google Cardboard
What’s the first thought that came into your head after you have heard VR was coming? 99 out of 100 that it was about gaming. But the first VR apps were quite different. They were rather about demonstrating what VR should look like, some of them were dazzling spectacular, but rarely brought any sense into your presence.
Right, it’s not that easy as it would seem with Google Cardboard. The main control element of modern smartphones is touchscreen, and while in Cardboard it’s totally out of reach. What you have at your disposal is a gyroscope, magnet trigger, and optionally a Bluetooth or OTG joystick. In theory, you could as well use volume buttons. That’s all.
It takes a lot of fantasy to invent a game that would work with this Spartan controls set. It looks like we’re back in The Golden Age of Videogames when developers had to rely on their inventiveness rather than astonishing graphic power.
Highway Stunt Bike Rider VR
A runner is the kind of game that can be adapted for VR devices with no loss at all. The controls in the runner are already tilt-based or gesture-based that can be transformed into tilting. It all depends on how you make the game. And HSBR developers did rather well.
Your character is a cruel street biker that rides a crowded street with cars and other bikers. You gain score by outrunning cars or kicking your rivals off their saddles. It’s all controlled by tilting. Move your head left or right to change lanes, bow down to speed up, that’s all.
The game has several levels of different difficulty. The graphics are raw and a kind of primitive, and even 2K screens don’t solve it, but it has some original charm. Maybe the biggest flaw is the lack of real surround; you’re limited by what you see ahead though it’s in the real 3D.
And this game seems taken from the next generation of VR games. It’s a relatively simple platformer-like game like it’s seen from today. Hardcode reminds us of early puzzle games you had to go through. Your character is on the mission in some complicated underground rooms where he has to collect keys to pass the rooms. Sometimes you have to jump up to get on a higher level, sometimes it takes a good shot. Fortunately, you’ll be able to use virtually any gamepad for playing.
While the gameplay itself is rather easy, it seems that sky’s the limit to the developers’ ambitions. The Hardcoders position their masterpiece as the first multiplayer shooter for VR, and it seems true. Though multiplayer features are only in the beginning, the game itself has a lot to surprise. One of the joysticks is the one you hold in your hand, the other is your head or whole body you have to turn to change your view direction.
Before playing you have to connect and calibrate your gamepad. The app recognizes almost any gamepad, from expensive exclusive models to affordable Chinese no-name devices. So if you like more advanced games, you better not miss Hardcode.
Swivel Gun! VR Log Ride
One of the most popular (and least interesting) sorts of VR apps is rollercoaster simulators. These apps can be spectacular and well-drawn, but they’re only interesting for the first time. OK, well, you can launch them again to introduce someone to VR, that’s all.
The Swivel Gun app has turned this kind of attraction into a full-featured game. You don’t only ride a tropical water rollercoaster but also control a swivel gun at the nose of your small boat. Your mission is to shoot as many barrels on your way as you can. Well, you’ll need a gamepad for that, but you wanted a game, not a rollercoaster sim?
Though the sim part of the game is great too, you ride through air and water, rise high and fall low, and even dive into underwater caves at the end of the ride! And yes, you can look around to see that beautiful environment, and even have to, when you aim your swivel.
So forget all those simple sims, this game does its job even better. And don’t forget to look all around you while riding!
If you are laughing as you uncover the anagram, well, congrats, you’re right. This game is a VR take on Pac-Man, one of the most epic game characters ever.
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be the Pac-Man? Well, the name is a bit different, due to copyright issues, but the rest is just the same. You are a round toothy creature running all around the maze and eating all white balls. And there are those colored ghosts after you, so beware and turn around as often as you can!
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be Pac-Man?
The game has three levels so far, maybe later there’ll be more. It seems hard to play without that 2D map view, but it seems promising to see it develop further. And yes, it requires a gamepad for selecting levels, but you can play with built-in phone controls.
Space fantasy shooters have been among the developers’ favorite genres in Golden Age as well as now. No wonder it’s a space shooter developed by Proton Pulse that deserves to be mentioned among the most remarkable VR games.
The plot is as simple as it’s been in early space adventures. Your heroine is the space suit is flying among the asteroids surrounding the planet, and you use your head movement to control her flight. It looks a bit retro-futuristic with all the space clichés we used to see in post-Lucasfilm production, but here it looks OK.
Though we have used an FHD phone to check this game, it looks great, though a bit cartoony. The space around is alive, it breathes, it blooms with explosions and shots, it shocks you with asteroids coming up from the deep, and that’s impressing.
The game is still in its beta phase, and it feels as it’s not ready for gamepad control (it only sets the game on pause). You’re supposed to make shots with your magnet trigger, but it doesn’t always work, and it’s not a hardware issue. Besides that, this game needs some deeper plot and more diversity. But anyway it looks great even now, so we recommend Vanguard V as a window into the nearest future of VR gaming.
Just think of how suddenly real life quest became an obsession! The VR quest puzzles can fill the gap between quest rooms and traditional quest games; they’re available at home and still provide that environmental realism.
So, here is a quest game for horror lovers, so if you’re subject to death from oozing blood you better skip this game.
Imagine: you’re alone in the dark room, caught by a thunderstorm that keeps you in. And there’s a couple of girl dolls you can’t take your eyes away from. They’re deadly attractive and mystically silent. And is it for good that both of them suddenly disappear? Yes, if you’re a freak about The Child’s Game, The Puppet Master and other B-franchises like that, you’ll be creepily delighted. And yes, the authors know you’re ready for boo surprises, and still they manage to scare the soul out of you.
The atmosphere of Sisters is made of fear and darkness all 360 around you. If you haven’t bought a dimensional headset yet, we recommend you don’t linger with it. The game gains a lot if you play it with 3D sound.
VR Crazy Rollercoaster
Well, they have talked us into pulling out another rollercoaster simulator. We have tried several ones and selected this one as the most interesting. The developers created a real attraction experience that makes you dazzle from fast movement and changing directions. You’re sitting in a rollercoaster vagon and move along the rails put up high in an entertainment park.
The environment of Crazy Rollercoaster is made to astonish. Trees and buildings in the background, people walking down below, birds and big balloons flying in the sky just a reach away, all that adds realism to the cartoony 360 picture. You can turn your head in all directions, and there will always be some eye-catcher for you.
And there are two settings, a daylight environment and nighttime one. They share the same mechanics but provide quite different visual experience, so we recommend you try both of them.
House of Terror VR Free
So if you like dark quests, already have Sisters installed and want more of this stuff, we’d recommend you the House of Terror. This game takes you into a lost and abandoned house full of strange and dangerous creatures. Hmmm, already shivering? That’s what you’ll feel when you enter.
Before starting this game prepare your gamepad, it’s necessary. Put your best headphones on. Go out to the center of your room, and make sure there’s no furniture around. Turn off your lights. Close your doors and windows if you’re playing in the night or you may wake somebody up as you scream. You’ll have to turn your body around as your character does and use a joystick to control the movements.
Put your best headphones on. Go out to the center of your room, and make sure there’s no furniture around!
This game unveils the potential of what virtual reality can be. And don’t pay much attention to negative reviews by some users. Some of them didn’t even realize that the game requires some additional equipment. Believe us, it’s worth diving into.
VR Flappy for Cardboard
Yes, it’s exactly what you think about. The Flappy Bird is no more an obsession but a new classic of casual games. So no wonder there’s a VR remake of it made for Google Cardboard. In fact, there’s not much difference between the original Flappy Bird a 360 remake when it comes to content. But due to VR, it looks completely different. Now you don’t control the bird, you ARE the bird.
The environment is just as simple and rude as it’s been in the original, but the game is just as addictive, and the only reason to put the Cardboard away is your neck tired of constant turning. It looks 8-bit like early representations of virtual reality, as it was shown in The Lawnmower Man and other 90s’ movies. But the charm of these easy-to-learn-hard-to-master games is beyond time.
The only warning we need to claim is to be careful. Though the obstacles in VR Flappy are virtual, a chance to run into a wall or some furniture is quite real.
Lamper VR: First Flight
As we have said, so far runner is the easiest type of games to transfer to VR. Its easy controls and dynamic action are the reasons why there’re so many runners among first decent VR games. Lamper series by Archiact is a running game where you have to control a little firebug flying inside a long tube.
Like in most popular runners, you have to avoid obstacles, collect coins, and react to unexpected situations. But this time, you have to tilt your head instead of swiping the screen.
The app has an elaborate game menu that’s easy to manage even if you have no gamepad or joystick. You need to tilt you head to select the line you need and then wait for about a second until it fills with a confirming color. Controlling your character while playing is just as easy. There are three Lamper games so far, and all of them are compatible with most VR devices though the one named Lamper Cardboard: First Flight is claimed to be made especially for Google Cardboard.
Deep Space Battle VR
Yet another game by Archiact is a space shooter packed with action. And yes, it’s as environmental as should be! Have you ever wondered why a three-dimensional space is represented as plain even in most advanced games? Deep Space Battle is not the case, here you’ll have to turn your head all around to spot your enemies and shoot them!
Of course, there’s always a compromise, but just a little bit of it. You start firing automatically as soon as you have aimed at the target. But the game looks incredibly great! Deep dark space and bright planets around you, stars pulsating in the background, enemy starships attacking you from everywhere! Explosion animation looks very impressing. And the app doesn’t require the strongest chipsets to run, all that spectacular cosmic action works well even on smartphones of 2012.
Archiact developers did their best again to provide the best experience with no gamepad required. Deep Space Battle reacts immediately when you pull the magnet trigger or tilt your head. The menu is hung up in the game space and is easily accessible.
The Bottom Line
So have you already bought or made yourself a Google Cardboard? There’s an entire world of games already set to expand explosively soon. So go on and order a gamepad if you haven’t yet! But even while you’re awaiting delivery, you can find some decent and even great games to play without separate controllers.
We’ll keep tracking VR news and reviewing the most prominent apps and games released. Have anything to add or share? Pour it out in the comments!