Paris, Mars Or The Human Body? – The Best VR Apps For Android 2017
Virtual reality has never been trendier than it is right now. From the Google’s DIY project – Google Cardboard – to futuristic mixed reality technologies such as Microsoft Hololens, virtual reality has finally gone mainstream. If you want to take part in this immersive novelty, here is our selection of the best VR apps for Android users. Feel free to add other notable ones in the comments below.
Best VR Apps For Android
1. Google Cardboard
For anyone starting out with Google Cardboard, this is the first app you should get. The best thing about it is that it comes loaded with ready VR content. You can enjoy guided tours of earth through Google Earth, view cultural artifacts as if you were in a museum, fly to the arctic and so much more.
If you want to expand beyond the available demos, Cardboard also functions as a video player and photo viewer. So you can also enjoy your own content.
YouTube is not a dedicated VR app but it has an increasingly huge amount of VR content. This includes virtual reality and 360-degree videos. If you are looking for stunning VR content, YouTube is one of the best sources. While you can view most of the videos without a headset, the best experience requires Google Cardboard or any other mobile VR headset.
We are talking about Android apps in this column but for any iOS users who may be reading, you will be glad to know that the iOS YouTube app also supports VR and 360-degree videos. Some of the best VR videos to look for include Notes on Blindness and Valen’s Reef. You can see more recommendations here.
3. GoPro VR
GoPro VR brings you a rich variety of 360-degree experiences from base jumping to concerts and much more. You can watch the videos on your phone, turning your phone to see other angles. But the best experience requires a headset. The app comes with a VR mode that splits the screen to create an immersive experience. All you need is any mobile VR headset like Google Cardboard.
The best thing about GoPro VR is the amount of variety of content available. You can watch exhilarating VR videos on motor racing, flying, landscape, fashion and entertainment. You need Android 4.1 and above to install and use the app.
4. ARTE360 VR
The Franco-German cultural TV network, Arte, is behind this mobile app. The aim is to create immersive cinematic experiences through 360-degree and VR videos. Like most apps, you can simply use your Smartphone to view 360-degree videos. But for total immersion we recommend you switch to VR mode and use a VR headset.
You can explore beautiful sceneries, see iconic cultural artifacts and explore old buildings. Like the Network behind its development, ARTE360 VR is dedicated to content that promotes Franco-German culture and arts.
The app is free and requires Android 4.1 and later.
5. Refugio 3D Space Station
If you love Sci-Fi, then you are going to enjoy this app. You are in deep space in a space station nearby Planet Refugio. The beautiful planet sprawls with unimaginable beauty below you. The accompanying music makes the experience so real that you will forget you are back on humble earth.
The space station is vast and field with explore-worthy discoveries. It has glass floors and viewing windows, allowing you to enjoy the beauty around you at every moment. It is a fun virtual exploration, showing you the power of VR.
A storm is setting in, the winds are howling and you find yourself in a haunted mansion. Ominous looking objects are scattered around the room and creepy sounds emanate from the rooms beyond. Something does not want you here.
If you love a good horror story, download Sisters on Google Play and grab your VR headset. You will be taken on a scary adventure, complete with directional audio and look-based controls. The virtual environment is recreated digitally to look ominously real. It feels like you are there.
With a simple Google Cardboard headset and your Smartphone, you are good to go with this interactive horror story. It requires Android 4.1 and above to work and is rated 12+ years. If you are a Goosebumps lover, this is right up your alley.
7. ExxonMobil Virtual Reality
It may not seem like an ExxonMobil VR app would provide much but the experience is actually fascinating. The app takes you on a VR journey to the depths of the ocean where the company employs the latest technology to produce oil.
The VR tours also include on-land oil production locations in the remotest of jungles and a virtual ride at the wheel of a Formula 1 car. If you are interested in the future of oil production technology, this is a must have app. It is free and requires Android 4.0 and above.
8. InMind VR
Have you ever wanted to get inside your own mind? Well, now you can, at least virtually. With InMind VR, you can explore the inside of a human brain. The purpose of the adventure is to look for neurons causing mental disorders. This is one of the most fun VR adventures/games you will find. It is educative but also very exciting. Go inside a virtual human brain, zoom past neurons and other parts and see what makes the brain one of the most unique aspects of the human body.
The app is compatible with a variety of headsets including Google Cardboard and View Master. You need to have Android 4.2 and above to use the app.
9. 360 VR Player
This is essentially a video player for VR content. Using the app, you can watch videos either in 3D mode or immerse yourself using the VR mode. It comes with features such as gryo sensor capability for easy navigation, 4K video capability and Panoramic mode.
You can stream videos online from sources like Facebook and YouTube. You can also share your favorite VR videos with friends. The app can be used with a number of headsets including Oculus, HoloLens, Cardboard and GearVR.
The app is free and requires you to have Android 4.1 and later installed in your Smartphone.
10. InCell VR
The makers behind InCell VR are the same ones responsible for InMind VR. The game/adventure/educational tour gives you a chance to explore the inside of a human cell. The app mixes action/racing elements with bits of science to create an exhilarating yet informative experience.
If you do not have a VR headset, you can still enjoy the game in your Smartphone. To use a headset, just switch over to VR mode and enjoy the adventure inside the smallest unit of the human body. It can be used with a wide range of headsets and requires Android 4.2 and up to work.
11. VR Forest Animals Adventure
To see wildlife up close, no need to go to the zoo or book a Safari trip. You can now see the jungle while sitting in the comfort of your home. That is the miracle of VR brought to you by VR Forest Animals Adventure.
The app, which works with Android 2.3 and up, shows you a VR simulation of the jungle. You can view various wild animals such as Fox, Stag, Elephant and many others. Make sure that your Smartphone has a gyroscope sensor in it to help you navigate inside the virtual jungle.
You can move around or turn in a revolving chair to see from various angles. To walk or stop, just look between your feet. The experience can be especially fun for children but is just as exciting for adults too. Just grab your headset and you are perfectly equipped for a visit to the jungle.
12. Planner 5D
3D has for years been the most advanced way to visualize an interior design plan. With the rise of virtual reality, now you can see your home in a whole new way. Using Planner 5D’s VR app, you can design and explore your virtual home, seeing how everything fits together.
You can choose a floor plan, fill up a room with furniture, paint different colors and generally play around with different looks and styles. When you are done, you can see what your new home will look like and even share the virtual design on the app.
The incredibly popular app has already clinched over 3.5 million users globally. It is free to install.
13. Goosebumps Night of Scares
If you have already tried out Sisters, mentioned further above, you will love this one too. Based on books by R.L. Stine, the adventure is most exhilarating. You will encounter mysteries that you have to solve, encounter monsters, learn how to hide and survive and get used to scares at every turn.
It is a virtual reality adventure packed with so much fun and excitement, perfect for kids (7+ years) as well as adults. It is free to install and works on Smartphones with Android 4.1 and above.
14. NYT VR
In an age where traditional journalism has been facing a rough challenge from technology, The New York Times has invested a lot in staying ahead of the curve. In addition to creating an aggressive online presence, they have also gone into virtual reality.
The NYT VR app is one of the best, most real and most immersive journalism platforms you will ever experience. They put the viewers at the center of captivating stories happening in various parts of the world. If you have ever wanted to experience journalism at its best, this app is worth a try.
It is free to install and requires Android 4.3 and above to work on your Smartphone. For iPhone users reading this, you can also get the app on iTunes.
Have you ever wanted to explore cities like Paris but never had the time or money. Now, you can just sit at home and explore the world as if you are actually doing it in person. You can view pictures or videos and even upload your own content.
The app can be used with a variety of headsets including Google Cardboard, Zeiss VR One and others. It is free to install but your Android version must be 4.0 or later. If you have always wanted to travel the world, use VR Cities to get a taste of what the biggest cities in the world look like.
16. Golf VR
There are plenty of sports VR apps available for Android users. One of the best is Golf VR, in part because of its extremely realistic graphics and user experience. You can fly over a pristine gold course and using headphones, include the sounds of bird singing and water flowing.
Whether you are a pro or an amateur at Golf, you can enjoy this game. You can download the app with any Smartphone running Android 4.1 and up and use it with most mobile headsets such as Cardboard, GearVR and Visus VR.
The game itself could do with a few improvements here and there but overall, it is a really fun app.
17. Mars Virtual Reality
Unlike most VR apps and games, which are free, you have to pay a dollar for this exploration adventure on the red planet. There is also a free version, though you have to contend with ads. Using Google Cardboard, or any other mobile headset, you can walk on the surface of mars, exploring beautiful sights across the barren landscape.
To start walking, you just need to look down and auto walk will be automatically activated. It is rated 3+ years and needs Android 4.1 or later to work on your Smartphone. The app would be especially educative for kids interested in the solar system and space science.
A Whole New (Virtual) World
VR is getting bigger and bigger and we could not be more excited. There is so much potential that this technology brings along. From fun games to serious science research, there is plenty we can do with virtual reality.
If you are just starting out in the world of VR, the above are the essential starter apps you need to get acquainted with this whole new virtual world. The best thing is that you do not need any expensive setup to enjoy VR. With just your Smartphone and a cheap pair of headsets like Cardboard, you are good to go.
Which of the above apps are your favorites? Leave your comments below.
See recommended VR headsets on Amazon
Sony Playstation VR
Samsung Gear VR