Here’s our pick of the VR apps to download first.
VR Street Jump
A total timewaster but hey, iPhone VR deserves those too. This is a fun, Frogger-style mobile port of Crossy Road that’s available for iPhone. All you have to do is not get hit by the lanes of cars and trucks, made more thrilling by the fact it’s in VR. Godspeed.
While the tech world settles on one VR social network – probably Facebook’s – take the time to explore your options, like the free, cross platform vTime. Basically you can create avatars and chat in a bunch of 3D, 360 environments. Your non headset-owning friends can join in on their phones via the Magic Window feature too.
Hidden Temple Adventure
A lot of the VR games you’ll see for iPhone and Cardboard are arcade space shooters but it’s nice to mix it up. Try Hidden Temple, a nice looking puzzle game set in mythical temples. It’s not exactly ground breaking but it’s entertaining and well made enough to give a whirl.
The Jaunt app has tons of 360-videos for you to peruse. Whether it’s short documentaries, tie-ins with movies and TV shows or ‘VR tourism’ exploring different places like Machu Picchu, you’ll find it in this app. A must download.
You’ll need the latest YouTube for iOS app to take advantage of this one (if you’re having no luck, reinstall the app). Then type #360video into YouTube, look for the VR icon and strap on a viewer to see 2D online vids via your headset. This is one to watch as 360-degree camera rigs are now available for budding internet stars at YouTube Space studios around the world.
End Space VR
A cheap and fun arcade space shooter with three space worlds to fight in. You can shoot with gaze-based controls or a paired accessory, and if you play enough you can upgrade ships and weapons.
If you’re familiar with the Discovery channel and have enjoyed tuning in, then you should be excited to know that there’s also a VR app for the iPhone (along with other headsets including Oculus Rift). Just like other video apps, you’ll get your fill of short films and documentaries, Mythbusters, Wildlife and more.
An intense little neon endless runner game, Spirit Runner sees you sprinting over the gaps between rooftops, collecting power-ups to go faster and faster. You can switch between the normal game mode and VR, and best of all, it’s free.
This selection of 360 degree videos and experiences is all really interesting stuff. It’s updated fairly frequently and all the live action films Within (formerly known as VRSE) produces are of the absolute highest quality you’ll find on mobile VR. We’re talking films made for the UN about Syria, Bjork’s Stonemilker VR music video, immersive journalism from Vice News and more.
The New York Times is enhancing and expanding its print and online stories with its own VR app. 360-degree stories include The Displaced, which looks at three children who have been forced to flee their homes and there’s a mix of short videos daily and longer term projects. There’s a smartphone viewing mode too.
VR can be used as a soothing getaway, not just a fast paced gaming device. The idea here is to give you a bunch of live action ocean and beach scenes that calm you down and can help you with yoga/meditation, with voices to guide you or simply music and the sound of crashing waves.
Google Street View
Street View’s Cardboard mode for photo spheres can be used on iPhone so you can choose where you want to virtual travel and look around 360-degree snaps from around the world. It might not match Google Earth on the Vive but boy, is this fun to play with.
If you liked the Gear VR’s Gone series then you’ll love VR Noir. You play as Veronica Coltrane, a private detective forced to take a job for money but things start getting messy in the mystery thriller experience. The only problem with this game is that it ends too soon.
Can’t get enough horror from VR games? Then VR Horror should be right up your alley. Don’t forget some good headphones to keep yourself immersed. We won’t say anything more to avoid spoilers but we’ll leave you with two words: derelict hospital.
Fractal Combat X
If you’re into VR shooters, the Fractal Combat X is the game for you. New missions are added daily and it supports gaming controllers too. The landscapes are lovely while the gameplay is fast paced. There are in-app purchases but the game itself is free.
One of the creepiest apps for Cardboard on Android is also now available for iPhone users. Otherworld Interactive’s experience is a first-person ghost story for mobile VR in which you find yourself alone (kinda) in a haunted mansion in the middle of a storm. We won’t ruin anything else.
As ever, if you’re willing to stump up just a little bit of cash you will be rewarded. InCell has elements of both racing and strategy gameplay in a weirdly pretty micro world of cells and viruses.
Zombie Shooter VR
This game does what it sets out to do – lets you shoot zombies in VR. It’s mindless fun set in subway labyrinths after some sort of apocalypse, so nothing groundbreaking but the graphics are nice, you don’t need a controller (just look to shoot) and it’s is good to see free VR games hitting the App Store.
When you’re done with the undead, the desert based VR Tank Training is another simple shooter with no controller necessary, though this one does cost $1.99.
There are plenty of CG experiences to try out on iPhone too. This one is good for families – though it’s up to you if you want to stick a Cardboard viewer in front of your kids’ face. It basically lets you get in the middle of some awesome dinosaur action whether that’s fighting or just chilling. Yes, there’s a T. rex.
This is similar to the Oculus photo viewer that you get on the Rift and Gear VR and shows that VR doesn’t have to mean video – in fact, some people who experience simulation sickness will prefer still images. Explore 360-degree PhotoSpheres in this simple app which works with Cardboard, iOS and – in theory – any VR viewer from third-party makers such as DodoCase. Glastonbury, the Northern Lights, Mars, it’s all there to gawp at.