We review the best mobile VR games that you can play in 2017 on your Android phone or iPhone, using a basic VR headset. From terrifying horror titles to fast-paced action and multiplayer games, these are our favourite virtual reality games for your phone right now.
Mobile gaming is getting huge in 2017. Loads of us now have a smartphone stashed in our pocket or bag that’s capable of playing great games, which comes in particularly handy during that dull commute/wedding/dinner with the in-laws.
Of course one of the most exciting genres right now is mobile VR gaming. By slotting your handset into a virtual reality headset, you can enjoy immersive titles in your front room or wherever else you roam. Mobile VR gaming is set to get even more exciting in 2017 too, thanks to the latest innovations which allow full freedom of movement and even hand tracking in games.
So what are the best mobile VR games you can play with your Android phone or iPhone right now? Here we cover our picks for Android, iOS, Google’s Pixel phones and Samsung’s Galaxy handsets, including the S8, S8+ and other flagship devices.
How do I play VR games on my mobile phone?
If you want to get started with VR gaming on your smartphone but you have no idea where to start, fear not. We’ve compiled a handy guide to VR gaming on your mobile to help out.
You’ll of course need a VR headset to play any of the following games. Pretty much any mobile phone can make use of Google’s Cardboard headset, which is cheap as chips and also works with Android or iPhone handsets. However, you can also get more premium VR helmets for your mobile with improved design and features, while the likes of the Pixel phones and Samsung’s Galaxy S8 boast their own special VR headsets.
Check out our guide to the best mobile VR headsets for all you need to know.
Best mobile VR games for Android or iPhone
If you own an iPhone or Android device, head to the App Store or Google Play Store. Here you’ll find a growing selection of VR-ready titles, including our picks of the very best.
Deep Space Battle VR
If you’re after a brain-free game which basically just demands that you blow up everything you see, look no further. Deep Space Battle VR is a thrilling action VR title with very simple controls and some very hairy dogfights. Blast your enemies just by looking at them, while dodging anything that comes at you. Nice and easy.
If you take lots of damage, your screen starts to crack and glow a sinister red hue. Definitely a good way to get the adrenaline pumping!
Lamper VR Firefly Rescue
Lamper is one of those addictive mobile VR games that demands a quick go every now and then, to see if you can get that little bit further. The concept is once again pretty simple: just fly through each level, collecting power ups while dodging or blasting any foes. The gaze-based controls are pleasingly simple and work wonderfully.
However, it’s Lamper’s presentation which really impresses. Each level has its own distinctive look, with crisp and colourful graphics to gawp at as you hurtle along. Definitely a worthy VR download.
You may well have played Pong back in 1972, or one of the many clones or remakes that have emerged since. Proton Pulse takes the same concept, adds another dimension and throws it into the world of VR.
Rather than facing off against another paddle as an opponent however, you have to aim the ball at moving obstacles in more a 3D brick-breaking game experience. There are 50 levels to complete, power-ups that add extra balls or slow down time and a banging techno soundtrack to accompany the neon-coloured visuals.
Not fussed by action-packed VR games on your phone? Try this puzzle adventure title instead.
Hidden Temple is a mobile VR game that has you exploring a creepy labyrinth, solving tricky brain-teasers in order to progress. All you need to do is glance around; no need for a controller. The puzzles themselves aren’t too tricky, so you shouldn’t find yourself stuck for long at any point. Yet the detailed locations and variety should keep you hooked until the end.
Best horror VR games for Android or iPhone
If you’re into scary games, mobile VR will prove to be a truly nerve-shredding (not to mention underwear-ruining) experience. Check out our round-up of the very best mobile VR horror games to get started.
Best VR games for the Samsung Galaxy S8, S8+, S7 and other Galaxy phones
Samsung’s smartphones – at least, the more expensive models – support the company’s own Gear VR headset. The Gear VR viewer has evolved through a few different incarnations since its launch and is a great way to enjoy mobile virtual reality titles, using your S8, S8+ or other premium Samsung phone as the screen.
Check out our complete guide to Gear VR for more info and read on for our pick of the best VR games for your Samsung device.
An addictive mobile title in its conventional 2D incarnation, adding VR into the mix takes Smash Hit to the next level. Best of all, it’s still completely free to play. Hooray!
It’s an on-rails shooter of sorts that has you progress down an endless corridor filled with glass obstacles to smash using giant metal ball bearings. Tapping the touchpad fires one in the direction you’re looking and provided you don’t miss or run into any obstacles you’ll receive a ball multiplier to more effectively smash on as the difficulty ramps up.
You’ll also encounter power-ups to assist you and levels that actually rotate or ones with altered states of gravity, to hinder you. The level of challenge is steady, but you’ll need to be able to cope with the risk of motion sickness and have quick reflexes to stay alive.
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
Possibly one of the most talked about titles in the world of VR is the Steel Crate Games’ Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, as it beautifully merges the worlds of VR and tabletop gaming into one ingenious multiplayer experience.
One player (whoever’s wearing the VR headset) needs to be willing to run the (realistically high) risk of getting blown up, whilst the other players serve as the brains of the operation, tasked with educating the wearer on how to defuse the bomb, laden with randomly generated puzzles, using an equally challenging manual.
The guide itself is written in such a way and the puzzles are structured to clearly throw both technician(s) and diffuser for a loop. The rules and behaviours of certain puzzles change depending on small details like whether the bomb’s serial number features a vowel or the number of batteries mounted on the casing – things can get messy, very quickly and that all adds to the fun and hilarity of the situation.
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes deftly handles how to offer up a compelling multiplayer VR experience, brings one of the strongest VR titles in the business to the mobile space and teaches us all a thing or two about game design in the process.
If it’s an immersive horror game you’re after, Dreadhalls was one of the first quality titles to make itself available to Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition users, in demo form at least, and the full game adds greater depth to the nightmare.
Set in narrow stone corridors, left in near darkness with only one exit and an array of different horrors to run into with only the fading light of your lantern to see by, is a pretty terrifying experience, but one that we keep coming back to.
Unlike Smash Hit and KTaNE, you’ll need to pair a gamepad of some sort to your smartphone in order to walk the hallways, peek around corners and refill your lamp, but aside from that barrier to entry (and a strong heart), there’s little reason not to check out this truly terrifying VR title on mobile.
Ustwo games built its reputation with innovative isometric platform puzzler, Monument Valley and the company’s first VR outing – Lands’ End offers a similar sense of mystery as you traverse diverse, remote landscapes, solve puzzles and use other-worldly powers to uncover the secrets of an ancient civilisation.
The cel shaded visual style paired to beautiful sound design make for a particularly immersive game world that offers enough challenge to keep your focused whilst also giving you time to stop and appreciate the artistry of the world around you. As much a piece of art as is it a game.
Check out our Land’s End review for Gear VR.
Best mobile VR games for Daydream VR (Google Pixel phones and others)
Google also has its own mobile VR platform to rival Samsung’s Gear VR, known as Daydream VR. This offers an exclusive range of immersive virtual reality titles via the Google Daydream View headset, which boasts its own special controller for smooth interaction. Sadly not many phones are Daydream compatible right now – just the Pixel handsets and a handful of others.
You can already download and try out a great selection of games on the system, despite Daydream being a sprog still. Check out our pick of the best Daydream VR games for all the essential titles you need to check out.