You might be tempted by an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, but that plus-£500 price tag is very off-putting. Thankfully, there are cheaper ways to get a bit of a taste of VR without selling a kidney.
Even nabbing yourself a Google Cardboard and your trusty iPhone will get you a fairly acceptable VR experience for an inexpensive price – Google Cardboard is only about £10 after all.
Of course, nothing compares to the real Oculus Rift or HTC Vive – or eventually PlayStation VR – but it will certainly give you an idea of what you could be playing or watching.
Here are our nine favourite iPhone VR experiences you can have right now – in no particular order.
1. INMIND VR (FREE)
Ever wondered what’s going on in someone else’s head? Wondered what they’re thinking right at that very moment? Well, we know we have, andInMind VR takes that idea and makes it into a VR game. Sort of.
You’re actually inside someone’s brain, floating about and zapping bad neurons. We’re not quite sure what these neurons have done to make them so bad – perhaps they’re a representation of all those distracting thoughts you’ve had over the years – but if you concentrate your gaze on them they’ll turn back to grey, boring, neurons.
It’s a little repetitive, but it’s a nice example of VR that won’t make your tummy feel funny.
2. VRSE (FREE)
VRSE is a fantastic app if you’re not interested in VR gaming. It’s full of 360-degree videos and experiences that are all produced to the highest quality. It’s not anything frivolous either, we’re talking immersive journalism from the likes of Vice News, UN pieces about Syria and even the odd Bjork video.
We’re particularly fond of the piece called Take Flight from The New York Times which features the likes of Michael Fassbender – who even looks good in VR.
3. SISTERS (FREE)
We don’t often recommend scary games in VR, especially after being left whimpering from playing Capcom’s The Kitchen on PlayStation VR, but Sisters VR is actually pretty awesome. It’s basically a first-person ghost story where you’re alone – almost – in a creepy mansion, complete with thundery storm outside for added pathetic-fallacy atmospherics.
We won’t ruin anything, but it’s not suitable for anyone who can’t cope with boo scares.
If you do like feeling like your heart is about to burst out of your chest with fear, you might also want to try Insidious VR too.
4. NYT VR (FREE)
A bit like VRSE, virtual reality doesn’t always need to be about games. The New York Times has started supplementing its news and other content with some 360-degree videos.
NYT VR is a rather spiffing app that collects all this content together. It’s well done and all the videos are high quality, as you’d expect from the NYT. We’d recommend that you give The Displaced a watch – a story about three children who are forced to flee from their home.
It certainly gives the term virtual reality a new perspective.
5. ZOMBIE SHOOTER VR (FREE)
As you might guess by the title, this game lets you shoot zombies in VR. It’s simple, it’s not graphically intensive, but it sure is a laugh. You don’t need a controller, you simply look at a zombie to unload a shotgun shell into his lifeless brain. It starts off fairly slow, but really picks up the pace once you get going.
Zombie Shooter VR is basically an on-rails shooter, but it’s worth a quick run and is family-friendly (ish).
6. VIRTUAL KAIJU 3D (79p)
If you forget that awful Godzilla game from last year and focus on the movies, there isn’t any doubt in our mind that stomping around a city fighting giant monsters – as Godzilla – would be awesome. Virtual Kaiju 3D plays on this childhood dream and lets you play as one of these beasties. Use your fiery breath and huge tail to take out a city – pretty much what Godzillas do best.
It’s certainly not something that you’ll play for hours, but it’s silly and you can hear yourself roaring like the giant dinosaur you are inside. Plus, kids will love it.
7. YOUTUBE (FREE)
If you’ve downloaded the latest version of the YouTube iOS app, and we’re sure you have, you actually have access to a ton of 360-degree videos already.
All you need to do is type #360video into YouTube and look out for a VR symbol to see all the content you can view in virtual reality. There are some absolutely amazing visual feats to marvel at, including Star Wars experiences, GoPro content, skydiving and more.
Go on, go lose yourself in 360-degree YouTube.
8. END SPACE VR (99p)
End Space VR is an excellent space arcade shooter made specifically for VR. You simply use your head to move about and then shoot just by looking at the enemy ships – make sure to activate gaze shooting in the main menu first, though.
It’s actually one of the best VR experiences visually you can have on your iPhone in VR. Chuck on some headphones and there’s 3D sound too, as well as three lovely environments to fly through. There’s plenty to play through too, with waves upon waves of enemies and lots of ship upgrades.
It’s probably the longest we’ve played iPhone VR for.
9. HIDDEN TEMPLE VR ADVENTURES (£1.49)
Okay, so it’s not quite Tomb Raider or Uncharted, but with Hidden Temple VR Adventures, you do get to become an intrepid treasure hunter/explorer.
At its core, it’s a classic point-and-click adventure, but this time you’re right in the middle of the adventure. You’ll need to think fast too, as it won’t take long before this temple becomes your tomb.