Augmented reality (AR) brings a new element of fun to games. And to experience it, you don’t need any special hardware. All you need is a smartphone with a camera.
There’s an abundance of AR games you can download from the app store. And here are the best augmented reality games for Android and iOS to get you started.
1. Pokemon Go
The sensational Pokemon Go remains one of the best augmented reality games you can play right now. Pokemon Go transforms the real world into a Pokemon adventure. Your job, as a trainer, is to physically cover as much ground as possible on foot and capture the Pokemon scattered across your city.
Whenever you stumble upon a Pokemon, the game will superimpose it in front of you through your phone’s camera. You can throw a Pokeball to catch it on the screen. Pokemon Go also places gyms throughout the map where you can collect resources and prove the might of your Pokemon in battles to win territories.
If you’re new to Pokemon Go, here are the Pokemon Go tips everyone needs to know .
2. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite
If you’re more of a Potterhead, Pokemon Go’s developer Niantic has you covered too. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite builds upon the same engine with a magical theme.
Unlike Pokemon Go, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite has a sharper narrative. Your ultimate goal is to put an end to a calamity and punish the ones responsible for it. To fix the damage caused, you will have to actually walk around looking for traces of magic.
Of course, you can still occasionally go off track for fun. At specific locations, you’ll encounter portals that let you virtually enter one of the many iconic places from the franchise.
As you progress, you’ll also earn rewards which will help you level up and strengthen your wand. Plus, you’ll get to meet some of the favorite Harry Potter characters (such as Hagrid) in AR.
Brickscape is an arcade title which puts your brain through its paces. You’re presented with a puzzle at every level and you have to figure out an exit passage for a particular block from the box.
You do that by relocating the bricks obstructing its path. Brickscape features an immersive soundtrack that allows you to concentrate on the task at hand. You can play Brickscape normally or switch on the AR mode to bring the bricks to life.
4. The Walking Dead: Our World
If you’ve ever fantasized about being a gunslinger in a world overrun by zombies, this game could be your best bet.
The Walking Dead: Our World uses a similar concept as Pokemon Go. Instead of cute creatures, however, you’re gunning for brain-eating zombies. Based on the popular TV show and comic book series, the survival AR game requires you to step outside and explore to accumulate supplies, discover valuable items, and save survivors.
You can unlock new characters, each of which have different abilities and personalities. In addition, you can team up with your friends for co-op challenges. The Walking Dead: Our World also allows you to record AR highlights of fights and missions which you can then share on social media.
5. Stack AR
In Stack AR, the objective is to, well, stack the blocks as high as you can. For that, you will have to drop them at just the right moment so that they’re properly aligned. Otherwise, Stack will scrape off the protruding surface and eventually, you will be left with nothing to place more sheets on.
Stack AR is a simple and minimalistic game. All you have to worry about is the high score. You can play it in an augmented reality mode but if you’re running low on power, you can switch back to the 2D background.
Download: Stack AR for iOS (Free, premium version available)
6. Smash Tanks!
Smash Tanks! bills itself as an AR board game. But here, you won’t be rolling a pair of dice. Instead, when it’s your turn, you will be engaging in a battle of tanks. To aim, you need to drag the projectile arrow and shoot at your enemy’s weakest points.
You can either charge against computer bots or another human player in the multiplayer mode. You have the option to choose from a wide variety of weapons and participate in weekly modes to earn rewards.
Download: Smash Tanks! for Android | iOS ($1.99)
7. Jurassic World Alive
Using your phone’s camera, you can also experience Jurassic World and project dinosaurs into your surroundings. The movie series’ official game, Jurassic World Alive lets you take up the role of a dinosaur scientist and catch the loose monsters by roaming the real world.
Once you have enough in your arsenal, you can head over to arenas and pit your pack of dinosaurs against other players. What’s more, you have the ability to upgrade your dinosaurs and create new, hybrid ones in the Lab section of the game.
Jurassic World Alive is free-to-play but for $9.99 a month, you can sign up for the membership which gets you access to a few additional perks like better loot boxes.
8. Kings of Pool
Kings of Pool brings the classic game of pool to your living room. It features fairly standard gameplay with global leaderboards and championships. Apart from taking shots against a computer, there’s a multiplayer mode if you’d like to compete with your friends.
You can also invite other online users to a match. Kings of Pool supports trick shots as well. Kings of Pool’s developers claim their engine resembles real-life pool when you’re in the augmented reality mode. This is a little hyperbolic, but if you’re familiar with the sport, Kings of Pool doesn’t have a steep learning curve.
9. Ghost ‘n Guns
Ghost ‘n Guns is a first-person alien shooter. However, unlike other FPS games, here you’ll be looking at what’s actually in front of you instead of a virtual space.
Ghost ‘n Guns is a straightforward game where you can position a portal gate anywhere around you and soon, pixelated ghosts will begin emerging from it. You need to shoot them down before they overwhelm you.
To aim, you will have to point your phone towards a ghost and tap the screen for firing. Ghost ‘n Guns is a level-based game. Therefore, as you move up the ladder, you will face stronger enemies who will start spawning more quickly.
10. Angry Birds AR: Isle of Pigs
The pigs are back at it again. In the latest edition of Angry Birds, they come out of your phone and invade the world around you. Obviously, the birds are angry and they want your help to retrieve their eggs back.
Angry Birds AR: Isle of Pigs places the pigs army’s palaces in your living room or wherever else you choose to fight them. To demolish these structures, you have a slingshot which you can drag to aim and launch the projectile.
There are over 40 levels and Rovio promises more in future updates. Since this game can be played in augmented reality, you have the advantage of precisely inspecting the structure to figure out its most vulnerable spots.
Download: Angry Birds AR: Isle of Pigs for iOS (Free, in-app purchases available)
The Best Augmented Reality Games Are Still to Come
Augmented Reality has the potential to make even the most mundane genres of games much more immersive and exciting. While the ones we have discussed are currently the best augmented reality games available, you should expect a lot more to be released in the future.
Microsoft has already announced Minecraft Earth, a new augmented reality mobile app that brings the iconic game to the real world. At the time of writing, it wasn’t available for download but you can sign up to try Minecraft Earth as soon as it’s released.