Google Cardboard is an accessible and cheap way to experience VR without having to buy an expensive computer and headset. While the headset is only made from cardboard (though plastic options exist) and uses your phone for the VR experience, it’s a perfect way to dip your toes into virtual reality. Maybe once you’re hooked on VR, you’ll want to buy an HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, or a PlayStation VR headset to enjoy games, movies, and other VR entertainment.
VR is still in its infancy, and studies show consumer adoption of VR still years away. It could become the next way we consume all or most of our entertainment. In this feature, we have gathered up some of the top VR games you can use with Google Cardboard.
Most Cardboard titles tend to be on the cheap side, largely because they are meant to be previews that give folks a taste of VR, rather than full experiences. Adventure Time is an exception when it comes to pricing, though unfortunately not when it comes to length. Basically this is just two VR mini cams and a puzzle, but on the bright side they are really well done and if you are a fan of the Adventure Time series you’ll likely find this worth a look.
Imagine traveling across neural pathways of the brain, looking for physical abnormalities. Sounds like some kind of doctor game, eh? Nope, this unique arcade shooter has you neutralizing problems in order to make the brain in question nice and healthy, using runner mechanics along the way. Although the title supports Google Cardboard, it’s also worth noting that you don’t need a VR headset in order to enjoy it. Best of all, it’s totally free and yet void of in-app purchases.
BombSquad VR for Cardboard is an arcade game with platformer elements where you must avoid all kinds of bombs, capture flags, and have a good time. You play with up to eight players and you must complete each level competitively. Think of it like Mario Party but with more explosions.
The app costs $2.99 but you’ll also get the regular BombSquad Pro game unlocker included so you can play the non-VR version as well. With this game, you’ll need a second device running as a controller or a separate, third party controller.
A Chair in a Room takes the limited controls of the Google Cardboard and turns them into something terrifying. You begin the game in a room with a single light and a chair at the table; that’s it. You’ll spend the entire game in this room, but that’s where the true terror begins. As you examine newspaper clippings and follow the story of a young girl who was kidnapped, the light begins to flicker and you’re forced to turn to your not-so-trusty flashlight. However, it requires periods of recharging, during which you’re in the pitch black room. Strange, eerie sounds emanate from all around. A Chair in a Room does a wonderful job of ratcheting up the creep factor with its limited control scheme and ominous setting.
Proton Pulse uses head tracking to control a paddle around the game screen. Sounds like Pong right? Well, the core concept is similar, but this is certainly the most extreme version of Pong ever created! Your objective is to bounce various objects back to where they came from. Certainly a great game for showcasing what Cardboard is capable of, and at only $2, it’s worth picking up and will help fund the studios future game development efforts as well.
BattleZ VR is a first person zombie shooter, that also happens to have dragons thrown in for some reason that I’m sure makes complete sense — or not. As you’d expect, the story mode is pretty light and the gameplay is pretty basic, with you utilizing the headset in conjunction with a special “realcontrol’ remote, which you can buy or build yourself. In addition to single player shooting, there’s also an online mode too. Aside from the costs of buying/building your controller, the game is absolutely free.
The game’s tagline says it all: “Be careful where you look, because something doesn’t want you here.” That sets the tone for the entirety of this game — okay, so really it’s more of a tech demo, since it only lasts a few minutes. Nonetheless, if you want to show off Cardboard to friends and family, this is a perfect showcase. Sisters works using binaural sound, so it seems like the noises you hear come from your left or right instead of all around. Combined with the immersion and surprising graphical fidelity the Cardboard puts out, this game is a great way to scare the pants off yourself or anyone who wants to experience it. While there isn’t much ‘gameplay,’ so to speak, Sisters lets you look around and watch supernatural horror unfold right beside you.
Caaaaardboard! is a VR game that works perfectly with Google Cardobard. This is a custom made version of the game AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! made specifically for VR headsets. Silly names aside, this is a fun, immersive experience that has you diving off of buildings while performing stunts. The game utilizes tilt controls so it’s totally hands free and one of the more intense gaming experiences you can get on VR. It’s a bit tedious sometimes according to user reviews, but otherwise, this is a great place to start.
End Space VR is a space shooter that places you in the cockpit as you take on enemies in outer space fights. The game is endless in nature, and as you progress you’ll be put through various waves of increasingly difficult enemies. The game also gives you the power to upgrade your ship along the way and more. Best of all, there are no in-app purchases and this is probably one of the most well thought out Cardboard VR games on the market.
Brought to you by the same developers as Proton Pulse, Vanguard V is a VR shoot ’em up rail shooter set in the 3rd person. The game itself has you flying around gorgeous space environments, taking out the enemies along the way. Probably the most impressive thing about the game though is how much polish you get for the price tag: zero. Even better, no in-app purchases in sight.
We’re not going to beat around the bush, this VR reimagining of the NES Duck Hunt classic is strange as hell. That said, it’s quirky humor and visuals are a large part of its charm. Cyclops Duck Hunt takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where alien ducks have come down with one purpose: to wreck havoc. In the title, the player assumes the role of a cyclops who has woken from his slumber to find this brave new world in chaos, and must do everything he can to stop the alien ducks from destroying everything he holds dear.
So that’s just some of our favorites. Did we miss any good ones? Tell us in the comments below what games or apps you enjoyed the most or the ones you think we missed.