10 fun VR apps for Android

For iPhone owners who have the Google Cardboard or an equivalent headset, we had the 29 fun VR apps for the iPhone article.

Now it’s Android’s turn. You can find out where to get the older version of the Google Cardboard headset here, and the new version, released last last month, here.

Cosmic Roller Coaster

Photo courtesy Tyler Brabo

Photo courtesy Tyler Brabo

A fun roller coaster that takes you through galaxies and past space stations as you fly next to planets. For those who get dizzy really easily, I would not recommend you try this. I did it for like five minutes and my head was spinning. Overall, a lot of fun to try and is really cool.

Sea World VR

Photo courtesy Tyler Brabo

Photo courtesy Tyler Brabo

An underwater adventure awaits with the Sea World VR. Watch sharks, fish and dolphins swim right next you. Even a a whale with swim right over you. Definitely a cool one to see for those trying out their Google Cardboard. Not too much going on that you can’t focus, and not too little going on that it gets boring. It’s the perfect combination for beginners.

Google Earth Demo

Photo courtesy Tyler Brabo

Photo courtesy Tyler Brabo

One of the demos inside the Google Cardboard app is the Google Earth app. This was the first app that I tried and I was entertained for a good 30 minutes just flying around the world. Go through cities and fly in the sky. It really immerses you and basically lets you go anywhere you’d like too. That demo reminded me that this could be the base for future games where you use VR headsets like Google Cardboard but in an open world environment. I highly recommend everyone try the Google Earth demo.

Battle360VR

Photo courtesy Tyler Brabo

Photo courtesy Tyler Brabo

The most fun I’ve had with my Google Cardboard so far. Defend your naval ship and shoot down enemy planes with your turret. I tried playing this app while sitting down, forgot they could come from behind me, and died trying to turn around. So much fun. If your looking for a game that is constantly updated and provides lots of fun, this is the app for you.

VR Cinema

Photo courtesy Tyler Brabo

Photo courtesy Tyler Brabo

Ever wanted to watch your favorite movies in your own private movie theatre? Well now you can with VR Cinema. Kick back in your theatre and display your favorite videos or movies on the big screen? Easily navigate the menu by just looking at the button you want to press. The ease of navigation is what I loved about the app. Kick back, relax, and grab some popcorn and enjoy your personal cinema!

Shadowgun VR

Photo courtesy Tyler Brabo

Photo courtesy Tyler Brabo

While I didn’t have a Bluetooth controller to play all of the game, from what I did see it was really amazing. The Unity engine shines with the Google Cardboard and you’re able to get a complete virtual reality experience. For a mobile app, the ability to be able to play a game from a first person perspective through your point of view on a PHONE is phenomenal. If you like first person shooters and have a Bluetooth controller, definitely get this.

Fish School VR

Photo courtesy Tyler Brabo

Photo courtesy Tyler Brabo

This is like Sea World VR 2.0. The graphics are much better and the fish move as one like a school so the AI is much better. For me it was extremely relaxing, and will probably be using that app more. You can watch yourself be surrounded by a school of fish and then watch them get scared off by the menacing shark that comes through. It’s like a scuba diving trip in your phone, just a lot less expensive.

Subway Surfers VR

Photo courtesy Tyler Brabo

Photo courtesy Tyler Brabo

Stemming from the original Subway Surfers, they created the VR version to be paired with the Google Cardboard. Extremely fun app but did leave me a bit dizzy by the end. Lots of tilting your head but still a lot of fun. It’s an app that is more then just a demo for the Cardboard, and has some content behind so I really like it. I would play for hours if I didn’t get so dizzy.

Dreamizer 3D VR

Photo courtesy Tyler Brabo

Photo courtesy Tyler Brabo

I think this app really shows off the prettiness of virtual reality. You’re taken through a tour of some Korean home but everything is so gorgeous you just wish you could live there. You can choose a photo tour or a CGI tour. The CGI tour is a digitally made home while the photo tour is actual photos turned into that tour. If the app had more then just house, I’d think it would be a lot better. For now, I’ll just keep checking out this amazing Korean house.

Lost In The Kismet

Out of the 10 apps I’ve reviewed, this one had the best concept. You awake in a cell and have to solve puzzles to get out. To pick up and move objects you stare at them, which makes for easy control. Tons of content for a mobile app, and it’s free. I would recommend this if you like a challenge.

Tyler Brabo

Tyler Brabo is a freelance writer and researcher based in Florida.

  • Delana Quinn

    I have a couple questions about this. For the record, I’ve not been super impressed or swayed by google cardboard but if I’m being honest, I haven’t looked into it. I guess the idea of “cardboard” for real was a turn off. The idea of sticking my cellphone to cardboard goggles just struck me as retarded and not likely to be truly immersive. It made me feel like I’d just see the screen an inch from my eyes (and I’m farsighted anyway so it’d be like looking under water) with cardboard blocking out the light.

    It’s hard to get a true idea what it’ll look like with these double squared images.

    // does it work with any Android enabled phone or a specific phone?
    // are any of them OAR worlds and if so how was it set up?
    // how immersive is it really?
    // for the environments that were like/or were OAR worlds, is it interactive at all the way it is in opensim? Is there any way to manipulate prim objects, open doors, ride things, etc as you would in an OAR world or it is more like iMax where it’s just all around you and you just stand there and check it out?

    I want to check it out but I have a Galaxy S3 and not in the market for another phone for VR when I’m waiting on Rift and Gear and Hive ;-p The “real” VR goggles.

    Thanks!

    • Delana —

      To find out if it will run on your phone, just go download one of these apps and see if you can bring up the side-by-side VR view.

      It will work with any smartphone that can display the side-by-side view, as long as it can physically fit in the headset. Different headsets can take different sizes of phones.

      You *can* export an OpenSim OAR into Unity, then onto an Android phone. You can *also* run it on a monitor using CtrlAltStudio viewer in VR view and just duplicate that monitor on your Android. I’ve read about people doing this, and I tried doing it on the iPhone, but so far I’ve been able to duplicate my monitor OR run CtrlAltStudio viewer, not both at the same time. (I’ll keep trying!)

      It is pretty darn immersive! For a little piece of cardboard, it impresses the HELL out of people I’ve shown it to. It really puts you in the middle of the simulation, 3D video, whatever. Some apps are much, much better than others, though. Some apps I tried were fantastic, totally immersive, no nausea, while others made me feel seasick right from the start.

      Yes, it’s a narrow field of view. Yes, the lenses aren’t adjustable to your eyes. Yes, it’s made of cardboard and absorbs sweat and oil.

      But you can get a V1 version for around $4 on Amazon right now, and V2 for $15. If you just want to see how it works, I suggest the $4 one just to try it out. If you like it, for $20 or so you can get one of plastic, with foam cushioning, adjustable lenses, etc…

      It’s not an Oculus Rift. It’s not particularly interactive. It’s not multi-user. Smartphones right now don’t have the computing power to handle interactivity, nor the networking speed to handle multi-user.

      But it’s GREAT for quick marketing apps, like the Stitchers game (available on both Android and iPhone), 3D music videos, virtual trips, 360-degree GoPro videos, that kind of thing.

      And it’s also great for showing your friends and relatives what VR is like, and why its totally different from anything they’ve ever seen before.

      • Delana Quinn

        Thanks!

        I’m persuaded by your comment alone, I do believe. I’ll check the compatibility and if it’s a go, I’ll give it a shot and report back.

        The idea of converting an OAR to Unity makes my brain hurt though….but hopefully the process isn’t too convoluted or a pain in the butt. Is it doable with a different engine, like UE?

        I’ve got a particular region I built that I’ve wished for so long that I could go there, be in it. If it’s possible to “visit” it or enter it (what’s the term?) in 3D, I may never leave the house again!

        • It might be easier to duplicate your monitor. You can do it wirelessly. I’ve done it on the iPhone, and it’s even easier on the Android.

          Here are some apps:

          http://www.nirmaltv.com/2014/12/13/android-phone-or-tablet-as-a-second-monitor/

          Then download the CtrlAltDel Studio viewer, run it in VR mode — ignore the part where it tells you that you don’t have an Oculus Rift connected, just get it so that you’ve got the side-by-side view — and then you should be able to visit ANY place in Second Life or OpenSim virtually.

          • Delana Quinn

            Downloading now. Thanks!

            I still love you! ;p

            VR 2016 is going to rock, don’t ya know it! I’m so excited. I remember in the 80s when VR tried and died. It’s just *right* now. But I wasn’t lying about not leaving the house again…which is why I downgraded my job and decided to devote real energies in my VR venture. It’s going to be huge. I’ll need an income while playing in my VR world! ;p

          • I think it’s going to be bigger than the dot-com boom. Definitely way bigger than the mobile one.

            What the Web did for sharing data, VR is going to do for sharing experiences. I think its going to be truly transformative.

          • And here’s the link to the CtrlAltStudio viewer: http://ctrlaltstudio.com/viewer

            If you get it to work, please share the combination of app and viewer settings that worked! Thanks!