Iphone Virtual Reality VR AppsJanuary 20, 2015
I recently acquired a simple stereoscopic phone headset, which have been getting pretty popular lately with things like Google Cardboard and the Duravis Dive. You pop in your phone, the headset simply splits your vision and the phone presents a separate image to each eye giving the illusion of multidimensionality. Once I started playing with it though I realized it was pretty hard to find a list of iPhone apps that support the headset so as I explored the App Store I figured I'd note down all of the ones I've found and tried with my notes about them:
COSMIC ERROR - FREE:
Definitely the coolest VR game I came across on the app store. You direct a spaceship with the movement of your head to collect points and avoid asteroids as they shoot past you. Certainly worth getting and one of the few apps with any replay value.
Homido Player - FREE:
This app offers an internet browser that you can use with your Stereoscopic Goggles and it actually works pretty well. Open the app and select Browser. If you shake the phone/goggles up and down it will give you a crosshair that you can use to interact with the website (click on links/photos/etc.), just hold the crosshair steady on whatever you want to click on for about 2-3 secs. If you bring it to the top of the browser page it will scroll up and vice versa for down and there are some navigation buttons at the very bottom and top of the screen. I was really pleasantly surprised and it actually does give a slight depth to some websites that created a really unique browsing experience. Also keep in mind that if you need to touch the screen to type a web address/etc. only the left half of the screen works (they tell you this but it was easy to forget).
Casa Maracanã - FREE (you can search Casa Maracana without the tilde and it will show up in the App Store):
I really enjoyed this one, it was the best house/area exploration app. It's a simple tour around a beautiful house and it moves at a slow pleasant pace that won't make you dizzy like some other VR walking apps. Doors open for you as you approach them and you won't find yourself walking through walls like a lot of the other apps. Look all the way down at your feet to start or stop walking. At first it might seem like there's no way into the house but look around a bit and you'll find your way in.
HOLO Virtual Reality - FREE:
This app has 3 modes: 3D, Video, and Live.
In Video mode you're standing in the middle of a crowded square and there are real people passing all around you and you can turn 360 degrees.
In 3D mode you're walking around a strange virtual city with an inception-like quality, some strange faceless beings and some other interesting touches that I'll leave for you to discover. Apparently there's some way to jump because it happened to me accidentally a couple of times. While trying to figure out how I slammed my knee into my desk and almost knocked over my monitor.
The Live mode is a really cool idea, you record video stereoscopically with the camera taking a separate frame for each eye. The objects that pop out in these VR applications do so because they are shifted differently, so I was curious how it would determine those objects in this video app. It doesn't really succeed in that but there are glorious moments when it all comes together for a second or two.
Overall, with it's 3 distinct applications of the technology (but mostly for the very unique 3D mode) this app was worth checking out.
Volvo Reality - FREE:
A really simple app that puts you in the driver's seat as a Volvo XC90 drives around in nature. It's a promotional tool certainly, but I'd say a pretty clever and effective one. It's a strangely soothing experience being passively driven around through beautiful natural scenery. It's not particularly long, but give it a quick watch.
Visit VR - FREE:
This one is very missable. It's just some photos with very little dimensionality or effect.
Appartement - FREE:
A missable house exploration app. You walk through walls a lot, none of the stairs work. etc.
Timpaan Verandawoning - FREE:
Another missable house exploration app for all the same reasons.
Refugio3D - FREE:
A space station exploration app that looks cool but the app was stuck in portrait mode and there was no way to get it to the correct landscape orientation. A lot of people were complaining about it in the App Store comments but it still wasn't fixed. I'll update if it ever gets corrected.
London VR - FREE:
I pretty simple app that takes you to beautiful stationary positions in London where you can look around in a freeze framed 360 degree view. To enable dual view VR click the settings icon in the upper right corner of the main menu.
Beenoculus Flight Simulator - FREE:
This looked really good, but it was kinda disappointing because it seemed like there was potentially a way to actually fly the plane. It shows a control binding menu at the beginning but only allows you to bind them to a joystick, so I don't know.
Beenoculus Tuscany - FREE:
This company cracks me up. This app is upside-down and there doesn't seem to be any way to right it. The place looks beautiful but unless you like walking around on your hands, this app probably won't be particularly enjoyable to you.
Beenoculus Orinthalian - FREE:
Alright finally one that works. It's simple, but a fun little hut and surrounding area to explore.
Beenoculus SmartCity - FREE:
You stand on top of a pillar and look around at a city. If you look at one part for a couple of seconds it will zoom in on that part a little bit. If you look down at your feet it will zoom back out. Not particularly exciting.
DINOTOWN - FREE:
This one was pretty comical, but worth a watch. It's a small town filled with awkwardly moving 3D dinosaurs. It's not a free roam app, it takes you on a ride through it.
Microgaming Mobile VR - FREE:
You stand in a dark world and spin a roulette wheel. Not my idea of a good time.
Defend Santa's Grotto - FREE:
Little snowmen are coming to steal from Santa's Grotto and you must stop them with snowballs. The game is fun and offers dual view VR but there's no mechanism for throwing other than touching the screen so you can't actually play it on a headset. Quite frustrating.
FastHit VR $.99
VR BasketBall $.99