10 best iPhone VR apps and games
Update: Apple could be getting close to showing its hand in the virtual reality space. At WWDC 2017, it unveiled ARKit, the company's own platform to bring new, immersive experiences to everyone who owns an iPhone.
The next step for Apple could be to unveil its own VR headset, which would be a welcomed move. It still seems rather far off, but as Apple has adopted VR development on Macs moving forward, VR on your iPhone with Apple's own tech seems closer than ever.
Original article follows below.
Getting yourself into the exciting world of iPhone virtual reality is easy. All you need is your iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus – or any iPhone running iOS 10. The necessary motion sensors, processing power and crisp screen resolution are right inside the phone.
Oh, and you'll need a headset. But don't worry, those are relatively cheap.
Google Cardboard goes for $20 (£15, AU$25), though the price goes on up if you want one that can strap to your head. Each headset has lenses and a mechanism to secure your phone, so that when you move your head in the real world, you can look around in the virtual one.
There's a vast selection of VR-ready apps on the App Store and we've narrowed it down to the fifteen apps and games that shouldn't be missed.
VR Roller Coaster
There's nothing quite like a roller coaster in virtual reality. For someone like me, who hates roller coasters in real life, getting to experience the ups and downs of one in VR is quite the escape.
With a headset attached, you'll probably find yourself laughing and squealing the time away, much like you would on a normal roller coaster.
VR Roller Coaster is one of the de facto apps to download if you just bought a Google Cardboard. It's fun, a little bit scary and completely sells you on the power of VR.
Be careful: you'll find a ton of mimic apps like this one, but this is definitely one of the better ones on iOS.
You know what would make Discovery's trove of content even better? Seeing it VR. Well, today's your lucky day.
You can look around in immersive 360-degrees from within acclaimed television specials like Shark Week and Mythbusters through the lens of your Google Cardboard headset for the easy price of free.
High-quality 360-degree video is somewhat of a rarity in the virtual reality space, so having a dedicated channel for nothing but that is something great to have in your library.
It doesn't get much more perfect than this. YouTube is an app you probably already have and is free to download if you don't. Now that it has embraced 360-degree videos the amount of VR content is growing by the day.
Inside a YouTube 360-degree video you can look around as if you were really there. Thanks to more 360-degree cameras hitting the market, like the Samsung Gear 360, Moto 360 Camera Mod for the Moto Z2 Force and the Essential Phone to name a few, both professionals and amateurs alike are uploading footage. This is a great place to dip your virtual toes into the excitingly immersive digital world of VR.
Zombie Shooter VR
Despite originally costing a little bit of money, Zombie Shooter VR is now free - a sure sign the competition is heating up. The name gives the game away really, it's all about shooting zombies – you guessed it – in VR.
Look-to-shoot controls make it immersive in its simplicity, allowing you to focus on the myriad post-apocalyptic tunnels you can explore on the hunt for the undead.
Ever wondered what it would feel like to be shrunk down small enough to enter the human body? If you've seen the Inner Space movie you'll probably have ideas of what that's like but InCell VR shatters them brilliantly.
This simple game has a basic story about protecting a human at the cellular level but in reality, or virtual reality rather, you're playing a racing game where you dodge or collect objects. It's fun, addictive and jaw dropping in its size and beautiful colours. Plus you can pretend you're doing good, not just goofing off in a VR headset.
And now, for something completely different.
The New York Times' virtual reality app is a new, experimental branch of its award-winning coverage. In this video-focused app, the publication has bottled up deep dives and investigative journalism that takes you across the world.
Downloading this app gives you access to plenty of 360-videos that will satisfy the curious viewer who's looking to learn something new and interesting.
Within (formerly known as Vrse) is like a platform within virtual reality. Except in this case a lot of the content created is produced by Within, making it a bit more like Netflix with its original programming, only in VR.
Everything is laid out nicely and keeps content varied from investigative journalism videos in VR to immersive music videos.
One excellent collaboration features Michael Fassbender and Kristen Wiig in a film called Take Flight, which was created with support from The New York Times. This is a growing platform that's not to be missed.
Final Kick VR
While playing soccer/football in VR seems like a pretty involved thing, but thankfully, Final Kick VR is as simple as lining up your kick by aiming your head.
The app is filled with different modes and challenges, all of which invite you to test your reflexes to best a tough goalie, or hit tricky moving targets with a curved kick.
As is the beauty of the sport, Final Kick VR is fun and simple to dig into, but difficult to master.
Lamper VR: Firefly Rescue
Price: $0.99 (£0.79, AU$1.49)
Lamper returns in this sequel that offers a polished and entertaining VR experience. Control Lamper the firefly as you navigate stunning worlds using fireballs and power-ups to get by enemies.
Flight is controlled with simple head movements, making enemy targeting and object evasion a doddle. Collect enough coins and you'll kick into high speed flight with Rainbow mode. Lamper VR: Firefly Rescue both takes you back to classic gaming while pulling you into the future of VR all at once.
End Space VR
Price: $0.99 (£0.99, AU$1.99)
Take control of a spacecraft, with guns, and unleash on enemy space fighters. It's a sci-fi dream come true.
Since space is the ultimate 360 experience End Space VR takes advantage of the virtual reality world perfectly, allowing you to look and go in all directions. Thanks to top graphics and 3D immersive audio you'll be forgiven for getting totally lost in this one. Upgrade your ships and weapons to take on the ever more difficult waves of enemies. Rinse and repeat.
Trail World VR
There's nothing like a little outdoor exploration. But then again, there's nothing like exploring the outdoors from within your fancy VR headset. That's exactly what you'll do while playing Trail World VR, a fun and easy exploration game available now for Google Cardboard on iOS.
Trail World VR is a low-intensity experience, meaning there won't be any jump-scares or unwanted surprises for those who are looking for a relaxing time in a virtual world. It's just a fun trail filled with surprises.
Romans From Mars 360
This one would have made it onto the list for the name alone. It's just a bonus that it's a great game and it's free.
In Romans From Mars 360 you're a Roman soldier fighting off an invading alien army using arrows and elemental powers of fire, ice, lightning and more. Weapon upgrades and enemy waves make this highly addictive. The fact it's Google Cardboard compatible just makes it even more accessible.
Fractal Combat X
This fighter jet shooter was created primarily as a normal game and has had VR support added. This is a good thing, as the original Fractal Combat X was graphically stunning and the gameplay was fast-paced and addictive. Making it VR-friendly just adds to the awesome.
New missions are added daily and MFi gaming controllers are supported, as are Google Cardboard-style VR visors. While the game is free be warned there are in-app purchases to be had. That said, any purchase will disable ads so it could be worth it.
Google Street View
Google Street View already has nearly the entire planet photographed in 360-degree photos. What better app to adapt for virtual reality?
Strap on your VR headset and you can go anywhere in the world and look around as if you were really there. Imagine classrooms in the future taking children all over the planet to explore, rather than just seeing sites in a textbook. Very exciting stuff indeed, and of course it's all free.
Roller Coaster VR
You didn't think we'd stop at having just one roller coaster simulator on this list, did you? The combo of virtual reality and roller coasters is a match made in technology heaven.
Roller Coaster VR differs from our first recommendation in that this one takes you to exotic locations on a tropical island. So not only will you be shaken up, you'll also be mildly stirred by the beauty of nature at the same time.