There’s no doubt that virtual reality gaming headsets are expensive. Even when discounted, you can still expect to spend hundreds of dollars on a headset. However, for VR gaming on a budget, the best VR games for Android and iOS offer an alternative.
With Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear, Daydream, and even standalone VR headsets like the Oculus Go, cheap VR gaming is totally feasible. Here are the best VR games for your smartphone.
A Word on Mobile VR Gaming
While it’s likely you have a smartphone capable of virtual reality, you’ll want to double-check this. Even if your phone is compatible, you’ll still need a headset, and possibly a controller as well. If you want to avoid the extra cost of a controller, you should check out the VR games that you can play without a controller instead.
As for mobile VR headsets, they can range from inexpensive options like the Google Cardboard which you can buy or even build, to pricier alternatives such as the Samsung Gear VR or Google Daydream. Even the Daydream and Gear VR are fairly cheap when compared to the Vive and Oculus. The following mobile VR games are specifically for the Samsung Gear VR, Google Daydream, and Google Cardboard.
1. Hidden Temple VR Adventure (Cardboard, Gear VR)
Don’t get too excited by the title of this game. Although Hidden Temple Adventure includes the phrase “Hidden Temple,” it’s not related to Nickelodeon’s classic Legends of the Hidden Temple game show.
Nevertheless, Hidden Temple Adventure offers a point-and-click experience in virtual reality. Its immersive gameplay and beautifully-rendered visuals make Hidden Temple VR Adventure one of the best VR games for Android and iOS.
2. VR Noir (Cardboard, Gear VR)
Although virtual reality is visually stimulating, gaming is often best when it’s story-driven as well. Enter VR Noir, an immersive VR game where you play as a private detective.
VR Noir delivers a cinematic experience and almost transcends pure gaming. The voice acting is top-notch, and the narrative is engrossing. Because of this engaging format, VR Noir is one of the top VR games for Android and iOS.
3. Vanguard V (Cardboard, Gear VR)
If you’re looking for an excellent VR game for iOS, check out Vanguard V. This game is a rail shooter that employs a third-person perspective. It’s one of the best VR iPhone apps for Google Cardboard. This epic title is fast-paced, but it’s a bit on the shorter side. Since many VR mobile games don’t take much time to beat, that’s not terribly shocking.
The visuals and audio are phenomenal—even the voice acting and soundtrack really stand out. As reviews note, controls are slightly challenging and require lots of neck muscles. Better hit the gym before trying Vanguard V.
Download: Vanguard V for iOS (Free)
4. Proton Pulse (Cardboard, Gear VR)
This intense brick breaker plays just like an arcade game. Even though it looks simple, it still comes with an interesting backstory.
In Proton Pulse, you have to defend the world from something called a M.O.A.I. Smack the proton with your paddle to destroy the M.O.A.I.’s core. Proton Pulse’s intuitive controls, mesmerizing colors, and eardrum-melting audio make this a must-download VR smartphone game.
5. Sisters (Cardboard, Gear VR)
Sisters is a survival horror title for Android and iOS. This game is creepy, but tons of fun. It’s a bit like playing Resident Evil without the archaic fixed camera angles. Instead, you benefit from a first-person perspective.
As you traverse through an old house, you’ll soon realize some things just aren’t right. Try not to get too scared when playing this thriller!
6. Zombie Shooter VR (Cardboard)
Zombie Shooter VR appears like a retro arcade game and plays like one as well. The subway setting and zombie shoot ’em up format makes for tons of bloody fun. Note that while it’s a free game, Zombie Shooter VR operates on a freemium model.
7. InCell VR (Cardboard)
Not only is InCell VR an amazing racing and action game, but it’s also educational. You race at high speeds through the human body, attempting to avoid any obstacles along the way. You might even learn some biology facts as you play.
8. vTime XR (Cardboard)
vTime XR is the VR version of Facebook. This game is one of the most unique virtual reality games for Android and iOS, as it allows you to connect with users from over 190 different countries.
After you create your own avatar, you can choose the virtual environment to spawn in. Chat with other users, meet new people, and expand your network of vTime friends.
9. InMind VR (Cardboard)
InMind comes from the creators of InCell, so you can expect a similar style of gameplay. It’s currently one of the best mobile VR games that’s available for free.
Instead of exploring the human body (like in InCell), you’re submerged inside the human brain. During your journey through the patient’s mind, you must locate the neurons that cause their mental illness.
10. VR Wrong Voyage (Cardboard)
VR Wrong Voyage seamlessly combines the puzzle and FPS genre. This VR game for Android requires a controller, but it’s still worth it. You play as a character who has gotten lost in an unknown location. As you explore the strange temple, you’ll soon figure out the meaning behind the structure, as well as your own role in the world.
Download: VR Wrong Voyage for Android (Free)
11. Hunters Gate (Daydream)
In this arcade-style Android VR game, you play as a mage or gunslinger fighting your way through the town of Hunters Gate. It’s a basic but extremely fun game which includes a local co-op feature for multiplayer action.
Download: Hunters Gate for Android ($5.99)
12. Twilight Pioneers (Daydream)
Action role-playing game (ARPG) buffs, check out Twilight Pioneers. It’s a remarkably immersive VR title. As an ARPG, Twilight Pioneers remains unique in its gameplay with a mix of narrative, boss battles, and more. The mechanics are simple and Twilight Princess brilliantly showcases the capabilities of VR. It gets bonus points for being one of the few awesome free VR Android games.
Download: Twilight Pioneers for Android (Free)
13. Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes (Daydream, Gear VR)
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes stands out as one of the best VR smartphone games on account of its cartoonish animation and wacky puzzle-solving.
In the game, you’re trapped in a room with a bomb that you must defuse with the help of other players. There’s also local multiplayer if you want to play with a group of friends.
Download: Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes for Android ($9.99)
14. Need for Speed No Limits VR (Daydream)
This is by far the priciest VR mobile game on this list. But it’s also one of the few which you’re likely familiar with. Hailing from the EA series Need for Speed, this virtual reality game puts you in the driver’s seat. The graphics are stunning, and it’s a triple-AAA gaming experience on your smartphone.
Download: Need for Speed No Limits VR for Android ($14.99)
15. Horizons (Daydream)
This rhythm game uses the Daydream controller to play music. The music that you play dictates the colors that appear, offering an excellent experience for both your eyes and ears.
You should really use headphones with any VR game. With Horizons, you’ll want to experience it using one of the best wired headphones rather than speakers.
Download: Horizons for Android (Free)
The Best VR Games for Android and iPhone
Although VR has been around for a while, it’s just beginning to make its foray into the mainstream. With VR headsets such as the Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR, and HTC Vive catering to hardcore gamers, mobile VR gaming sees the widest adoption among the general population.
If you’ve got a Cardboard-compatible phone or headset like the Gear VR or a DIY VR headset, you’re all set to play most of these games. And if you’re looking for more VR content then download some of the best VR apps for Android.
Interested in AR as well? Take a look at these augmented reality apps you’ve got to see to believe.