10 Microsoft HoloLens games and apps we want to see

Some Microsoft gamers might assume HoloLens will act as a simple accessory to Xbox One games - basically a chance to play Halo inside Master Chief's helmet with a few optional Kinect features.

But Microsoft is treating HoloLens as its own gaming platform, and is developing games designed specifically to blend gaming with reality. We decided to judge which current One and PC games already fit this model, and if ported to HoloLens would be a fun fit for AR gaming.



If any game can showcase the capabilities of HoloLens and Kinect 2.0, it's Microsoft's beloved racing simulator franchise. Ideally, the smart glasses would project a car dashboard in front of you adjusted to match your height, with a virtual wheel and gas pedal in lieu of a controller, and the road would extend through the wall in front of you.

To preserve realism as you drive, Microsoft could let you gesture to adjust your mirrors, change the radio station, honk your horn, or pull out the driver's manual from the glove box - well, maybe not that realistic, but this game could certainly emulate the arcade racing experience, minus the tokens and tactile feedback.

Similar games: Need for Speed, The Crew

Roller Coaster Tycoon

Roller Coaster Tycoon

With Microsoft pushing hand-crafted engineering designs and including 3D printing as a major HoloLens perk, the company should incorporate as many construction simulation games as possible that show the headset's potential for fun experimentation beyond a work environment.

This classic franchise would fill this niche perfectly. First, hand-design your best physics-breaking coaster schematics and overall park layout across your carpet. Then you can 3D print your designs, or enter a friend's park at "real size" to explore and ride the attractions.

Admittedly, the last idea might fit VR more than AR. But a simple projection with HoloLens's surround sound screaming in your ears could still provide a decently immersive experience.

Similar games: Besiege, Kerbal Space Station



Imagine Alexander's Macedonians fighting Napoleon's legions at the Battle of Ikea Coffee Table. HoloLens could combine the user interface and gameplay of strategy games with the intimacy of tabletop role playing.

With an augmented reality edition of Civilization, you could survey the entire battlefield from above with ease, place your units manually on the battlefield, and direct troop movements with hand gestures. Outside of battles, you could virtually paint and customize your units, then use 3D printing hardware to save your favorite creations.

Similar games: Starcraft, Total War

Angry Birds

Angry Birds

Whether you still love the series or not, Angry Birds remains a global phenomenon to this day, and Microsoft needs to target casual gamers as much as hardcore ones.

Angry Birds appears on almost every device currently available, but HoloLens can take it to the next level by simulating a bird launching across your living room to crash into simulated pigs oinking on the kitchen floor or along your wall. Of course, the game hasn't transitioned into 3D yet, but Rovio could incorporate designs from the upcoming Angry Birds movie to give gamers updated 2.5-D graphics for familiar, linear gameplay.

Similar games: Crush the Castle, Plants vs. Zombies, Fruit Ninja

An interactive adventure game

Secret of Monkey Island

Point-and-click adventure games, once popular way back in the '90s, no longer enjoy much popularity outside of games like The Walking Dead, which focus more on action than interaction these days. But interactive AR could revitalize the genre: instead of randomly clicking objects to see what happens, you could interact with virtual objects with your bare hands and see what you discover.

Microsoft's take on the genre could place images of objects and the game's environment in your room, and let you interact with your surroundings by placing items in your inventory and combining them with other inventory items, or interacting with safes, clues and traps. When you leave the room in-game, new images could superimpose on the same room to show the change in venue.

A launch game could focus on procedural CSI work, have you investigate a historical dig site à la Tomb Raider, or channel the "escape the room" genre common to online flash games.

Michael Hicks

Michael Hicks began his freelance writing career with TechRadar in 2016, covering emerging tech like VR and self-driving cars. Nowadays, he works as a staff editor for Android Central, but still writes occasional TR reviews, how-tos and explainers on phones, tablets, smart home devices, and other tech.