Marvel’s first immersive story for the Apple Vision Pro is the most fun I’ve had on the device

What If…? – An Immersive Story Logo
(Image credit: Future)

Yes, the Apple Vision Pro has established itself as an entertainment powerhouse. It easily places a massive IMAX (or Dolby Cinema) quality screen directly in front of you. I’ve enjoyed watching The Eras Tour, a classic Springsteen film, any type of Star Wars content, Moana, and even Endgame on the $3,500 headset.

But I was very intrigued when Marvel announced What If…? – An Immersive Story – partly because it’s a show that instantly evokes mystery, but also because it promises to tap into the full potential of the Vision Pro. Spatial Audio, check. Eye tracking, check. Hand tracking, check. 

For the last few days, I’ve jumped into the What If...? Universe, complete with the Marvel Studios opening credits flying around me. That was quite the start. From there, I hit start, and I’m greeted by The Watcher, a being who appears larger than life in my living room and quickly gives me the lowdown. 

In this immersive story, you assume the role of a new hero or chosen one, if you will, that The Watcher entrusts to help collect Infinity Stones. Along the way, you’ll come face to face with iconic characters from the Marvel universes.

It’s an interactive experience – part film and part game

Marvel's What If…? – An Immersive Story

(Image credit: Future/Jacob Krol)

As you progress through the chapters and the full experience, which lasts about an hour, you’ll quickly learn that What If…? An Immersive Story feels like a crossover between a movie and a game. You’re presented with a scenario, maybe a villain plotting to steal something, and then the screen will flip, and you’ll be pulled into that universe.

For instance, I was in my living room with The Watcher and Sorcerer Supreme Wong before a portal opened, and it switched from augmented reality to virtual reality. I quickly had to work on learning the mystic arts in this location. Here, I got my first taste of the gestures. I was curious how this experience would onboard for gestures, and the trick is a template that appears, and you place your hands, mimicking them. 

It’s fairly easy to get the hang of, and as long as you’re in good conditions, aka not super dim light, so that Vision Pro’s tracking is in full swing, it’s fairly easy to get the hang of. This template will appear throughout the chapters and guide you to forming a shield, opening a portal, and even locking someone away with a sealing spell. It’s pretty neat and, to a degree, lets you live or at least taste the dream of being a Marvel hero. 

I will try not to spoil too much, but the general playthrough is getting a setup and joining the scene. In this case, The Watcher clues you into something happening on a timeline, and a screen appears hovering in your space. It’s a moment in time, maybe Thanos or Red Skull in an alternative universe, when a pivotal event happens, and you must go in and assist. In one of them, I meet with a version of a familiar hero and am there to help. This is where I hope this immersive story offers a taste of the future, as you’re locked to a path to a degree. 

Marvel What If Immersive Apple Vision Pro App

(Image credit: Future/Jacob Krol)

In this case, to stop Thanos from getting away with the Reality Stone, I work with a variant of Danvers to fight him, using my telekinesis – aka a gesture with my hands – to pull parts of it from the sky and then eventually sealing the villain away with what is possibly my favorite gesture. Well, maybe second to opening portals. It’s a compelling experience that is choose-your-own-adventure-like but also very much controlled by the experience that the developers have programmed. You can’t necessarily fail with these missions; you’re guided back along, almost like a ride at Disney World, but not just there observing.

The outlook

What If…? – An Immersive Story Opening Credits

(Image credit: Future/Jacob Krol)

As I progressed through the experience, I concluded that What If…? – An Immersive Story is probably the most interactive fun I’ve had on the Apple Vision Pro. I was a fan of the show going in and watching the first season, but it really speaks to the types of entertainment that can rock on this device. It’s clearly a step further than just watching an immersive format. 

For now, Marvel Studios x Disney Plus x ILM Immersive, What If…? – An Immersive Story, feels like the tip of the iceberg. It’s a free experience that everyone with a Vision Pro should at least give a go; it’s not super long – which also may be by design for comfort and battery life – but it does feel like a compelling experience. You’ll battle alongside famous heroes and fight against villains from the middle of the action. 

Considering some of the other experiences that ILM Immersive has created, I have no doubt there will be more titles and possibly an expansion of this story. It feels like, for now, they wanted to dabble with all the elements of a Vision Pro and get something out fairly quickly after launch, but with this out and them likely eventually seeing user reaction, it can really let them know what levers to pull in the future. 

Maybe it’s more like a classic role-playing game that lets you walk around an environment, or it’s more complex gestures or even larger battles. But if this is the free experience, at least for a limited time after launch, the trio has set the bar high for what's to come next and what could cost money. I can only hope we have a Jedi experience and more Marvel ones on the horizon for Vision Pro. 

Lastly, while I won’t spoil it, the ending here – and the required decision – will be a treat for Marvel fans. 

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Jacob Krol
US Managing Editor News

Jacob Krol is the US Managing Editor, News for TechRadar. He’s been writing about technology since he was 14 when he started his own tech blog. Since then Jacob has worked for a plethora of publications including CNN Underscored, TheStreet, Parade, Men’s Journal, Mashable, CNET, and CNBC among others. 

He specializes in covering companies like Apple, Samsung, and Google and going hands-on with mobile devices, smart home gadgets, TVs, and wearables. In his spare time, you can find Jacob listening to Bruce Springsteen, building a Lego set, or binge-watching the latest from Disney, Marvel, or Star Wars.