Looking for the best apps for VR?
Virtual reality applications are designed for more than just gaming, so think again. Developers are creating VR apps that deliver fantastic experiences, from playing immersive video games to exploring landmarks in stunning 360-degree environments.
With products such as the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Sony PlayStation VR on the market, VR headsets are more accessible than ever before.
You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for new apps to try with your VR headset. Check out our list of the best VR apps available right now.
Google Expeditions | Review | Best apps for VR
Travel is one of the joys of globalization, as it opens up countless opportunities for people who, a century ago, might not have had access to them.
Traveling can also be extremely expensive and incredibly harmful to the environment.
Instead of flying to Everest to stand in line behind a cavalcade of wealthy tourists hiring sherpas to guide them up the mountain. This is in search of a killer selfie. Instead, why not check out Google Expeditions?
Expeditions offer virtual reality tours of iconic landmarks like Mount Everest or Teotihuacan, as well as educational tours on topics like the recycling industry and human anatomy. Each 360-degree image is highly detailed.
While Expeditions cannot provide the same atmosphere as ancient ruins or towering mountains, it does offer excellent learning experiences that won’t break the bank or destroy the environment.
Allumette | Review | Best apps for VR
Pennrose Studios’ free-to-play, stop-motion VR film that tells the story of a girl living in a cloud-borne village is simply amazing.
In Allumette, you are the camera, and you explore the beautifully drawn world however you wish – even ignoring the main storyline if you wish. But this is no game, it’s a narrative.
Allumette’s characters don’t actually speak, but these forms of communication (emotive, Sims-like noises, mostly) successfully convey emotion and intent.
As for the story itself, it is based loosely on a poem by Hans Christian Andersen-it is both charming and heartbreaking, though we won’t reveal too much more.
Virtual reality experiences rarely create the same sense of weight and presence for viewers, but in Allumette, you will feel as if you’ve entered a storybook universe.
Even though 20 minutes is a long time relative to most VR narrative experiences – few even reach 10 – Penrose CEO Eugene Chung believes virtual and augmented reality is the future of storytelling.
Pushing boundaries is the only way to change paradigms, he said. Allumette exists somewhere between filmic narrative and video games, but it rises above genre as a truly great experience.
If you enjoyed Allumette and you have access to an Oculus Rift, Henry is also worth checking out.
Colosse | Review | Best apps for VR
With brilliant sound design and excellent animation, Colosse is a short-story VR experience that moves forward seamlessly with the gaze of the rooted player.
Developer Fire Panda described Colosse as a virtual reality storytelling experience that revels in its sense of scale.
As an example, the character of the “hunter” only uses 12 frames per second while the rest of the film uses 60 frames per second, which contributes to its unique atmosphere.
It uses audio and visual cues to direct the player’s gaze, while objects gradually activate as the player looks at them, creating a sense of flow.
Depending on how you face it, different events will occur, so you’ll never get stuck looking for the next clue.
As a demo for the Oculus Mobile VRJam, Colosse isn’t quite as complete as Allumette, but it is certainly an impressive display of the ways VR can change storytelling. It is also free.
Titans of Space Plus | Review | Best apps for VR
If you stand at night and look into the night sky, marveling at the nothingness, time, and space of everything, you probably wonder if there is any VR app for this? Fortunately, there is!
Titans of Space takes you on a journey through our solar system’s planets and moons. Despite its highly enlightening content, it will not bore you.
With a VR headset, you can fly through the cosmos in an exciting and educational way. In addition to guided educational activities, you can also do your own extravehicular activity (EVA).
Did you ever think learning about Saturn’s 82 moons could be entertaining? You’re right.
As your tour guide “Flying Professor” takes you through the gravitational pull of different planets, you’ll experience the effects of their gravitational pull.
You’ll examine each planet’s radar, topography, and more. From the comfort of your living room, discover the wonders of our solar system.
Google Earth VR | Review | Best apps for VR
In the early days of VR, one of our first thoughts was: “Google Earth is going to be super freaking cool.” We were right.
It is enjoyable and educational to fly around the world like a hypersonic eagle, especially if you are interested in geography.
Even if you don’t, you can still explore landmarks such as the Sphinx or the Golden Gate Bridge, or even visit Djibouti from a distance via the quick-navigation menu.
Many of the landscapes and areas look like little more than smudges (especially if you’re using Google Cardboard), but it’s free, so what can you expect?
It is thrilling to zoom across vast distances in a matter of seconds and descend to mammoth structures like the Hoover Dam. However, you can’t see the individual cars that drive across it.
Most likely, you have used Google Earth before. You can have more fun in virtual reality, but don’t expect to see a lot of detail.
Kingspray Graffiti VR | Review | Best apps for VR
Have you ever fancied yourself a street artist? No, it’s not like the guy who paints himself gold and stands still for a few hours.
Like Banksy or Shepard Fairey, a true street artist would scale overpasses and windy rooftops to let her inner Rembrandt loose for urban passersby to admire (or mock).
Kingspray lets you realize such dreams by spray painting (virtual) paint on five different digital surfaces, ranging from rooftops to laboratories.
With realistic drip and spray effects, as well as different can caps and pressures, Kingspray allows you to completely customize your masterpiece.
The software lets you project images onto paint surfaces and use them as stencils, capture 360-degree video, and even paint online with up to three friends.
Would you want anything more? You can also pick up loose objects like bricks and bottles to throw at each other in true VR fashion. It’s so fun.
Littlstar | Review | Best apps for VR
You can enjoy watching Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube content with your VR headset.
This is like having your own personal IMAX theater, which you can visit whenever you like without having to pay outrageous prices for popcorn and cookie dough bites.
The Lightstar VR Cinema revolutionizes the cinematic experience by providing 360-degree videos in which you feel as if you are the cameraman.
Whether you’re interested in learning about Nepal’s post-quake situation or just enjoying some music videos, Littlstar provides a unique perspective that can’t be found anywhere else.
This VR experience is one of the best ones out there with Broadway theater content, sports content, and content for kids. The best of all, it is free.
It’s smoother on some platforms than on others – like Rift – but that’s a relatively minor complaint. It is even possible to create and upload your own 360-degree content for others to view.
Ocean Rift | Review | Best apps for VR
Open waters are a terrifying and yet glorious place, and Ocean Rift displays their full depths. You’ll feel like you’re on an African safari, only you’ll be free to wander wherever you want – and you will be underwater.
Explore any of the 12 open habitats at your leisure, watching dolphins, manatees, sharks, and other marine life.
Swim near the surface to see sea turtles or dive deeper to find more dangerous – and possibly deadly – animals.
Observing the fish pass you by is calming and therapeutic when playing Ocean Rift. The game can almost become a survival horror game with a few surprises hidden up its watery sleeves if you choose to explore it to the fullest extent.
It’s the little touches, such as the outline of a diving mask around the screen’s edge, that make this a memorable experience. You can check out the Gear VR demo if you’re not interested in paying.
The Foo Show | Review | Best apps for VR
Of all the fantastical possibilities virtual reality will open up for the commercial world, talk shows are extremely low on the list.
Who really wants to imagine themselves as an audience member on Oprah without even receiving a free gift?
As it turns out, though, it’s not all bad. Tested co-founder Will Smith, aka Foo, is the host of the Foo Show, a talk show that is so much more than that.
Powered by motion-capture technology, the show features a digitized Smith talking about gaming and tech culture with digitized guests.
“Why is this in virtual reality?” That’s a smart question! Foo Show uses VR in a creative way to transport viewers directly into game environments that are being discussed onscreen.
In the first episode (technically, Episode 0), the viewer is transported to Firewatch, where he can explore his surroundings, experiment with objects, and listen to the insightful commentary.
In this episode, Smith speaks with Blendo Games’ Brendon Chung about the hacker-puzzle game Quadrilateral Cowboy, where part of the interview takes place in one of the game’s environments.
Honestly, we’re not sure what kind of schedule the show will follow – if any – but it’s an innovative concept that gamers should love.
Tilt Brush | Review | Best apps for VR
Even if you’re not a fan of arts and crafts, Tilt Brush may surprise you.
With the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift Touch controllers, the app lets you paint in three-dimensional space to create absolutely stunning artworks, in any color you choose.
Thanks to the digital medium, you can simply go back and undo any mistakes you may have made. Whether you’re naturally creative or not, Tilt Brush will make you discover a new side to yourself.
You can add cool effects like sparkling stars or smoke trails to your painting to enhance its elements.
It is equally enjoyable on either platform, but the Oculus Rift version offers a cool “preview” feature. Currently, Google (the creators of Tilt Brush) has chosen not to bring the game to PSVR due to a lack of precision in the tracking software.
However, if you own a Vive or Rift, you can’t miss Tilt Brush. At the moment, it’s one of the best VR experiences out there, offering a whole new artistic medium for creatives and non-creatives alike.
Virtual Desktop | Review | Best apps for VR
How would it feel to navigate your computer in virtual reality, like in the episode of The Fairly Odd Parents where Timmy goes inside the internet?
That may sound interesting to you, but we have some exciting news to share! With a Virtual Desktop, you can browse the internet, watch Netflix, or play games in virtual reality.
Even spreadsheets can be managed in VR, though we think that would be more of a hindrance than anything.
It works well with multi-monitor setups, and the headset allows you to switch screens easily.
Within | Review | Best apps for VR
You can view a wide variety of VR content on Within, from crazy on-rails fantasy rides to 360-degree music videos.
Several new experiences are added regularly, including a 13-minute video based on the hit TV show Mr. Robot, to educate and entertain you as best as possible.
Access content from organizations like NBC, Apple, Vice Media, and the New York Times, as well as music groups and movie studios.
VR headset provides the lens through which you explore The Possible, a video series from Within the team. The episodes cover a wide range of tech-centric topics, such as hovercrafts and robotic dogs.
New episodes of the show are released regularly, and it is directed by David Gelb (Chef’s Table). Within is free, so don’t hesitate to download. There are several reasons why you should download the app.
However, even if some of the current content doesn’t interest you, the available library will only grow over time.
The video quality varies a bit, and animated content seems smoother than live-action. That doesn’t mean you can’t experience the Within (especially when it’s free).
Fulldive VR | Review | Best apps for VR
Fulldive VR calls itself a “Social All-in-One VR Platform” that offers a VR experience that is intuitive and easy to use.
On the Fulldive platform, gamers can browse VR content from many different sources, and they can also share content with their friends.
Additionally, the game is compatible with Google Cardboard, making access to it incredibly easy. The Fulldive VR app can be downloaded from Google Play or the App Store.
The app’s 3D interface allows you to browse menus, adjust settings, and view your friends’ lists. You can navigate Cardboard apps by looking at selected icons.
Fulldive provides a “Trending” category to get you started, but it takes a unique approach to sort content.
You can also search for other themes such as “Cute” or “Scary,” but you’ll find that the categories are pretty subjective.
Several sources contribute to the content, including The New York Times and Discovery.
You can jump from a short, CGI film about fleeing a giant squid to first-person documentaries on elephants in Fulldive, making it an excellent resource for keeping a wide selection of VR content handy.
You will need some time and practice to become familiar with the platform’s interface if you are new to VR. You will benefit in the long run.