It's that time of year again; time to start checking things off your christmas list. And while you may be wondering what the best new present for your beau or teenage kid is, there's really only one gift worth giving this holiday season: The Samsung Gear VR. Having knocked the price down from $199 to $99, the Samsung Gear VR is the only gift for your family they don't even know they want yet.
Once you get the Samsung Gear VR headset and phone (it's only compatible with the newer generations of Samsung phones) on lockdown, here's a breakdown of your current VR experiential options:
Jurassic World - Apatosaurus
Jurassic World - Apatosaurus is a short production by Felix & Paul in which you encounter a dinosaur, one of which you come to discover is a mother protecting her eggs. The sound effects - produced by LucasFilms - are extremely well done and add to the realistic nature of the dinosaur. My only complaint is that you don't have the option to walk around and further explore your surroundings or the dinosaur.
Winners of the Oculus Mobile VR Jam, this is a lovely illustrated short narrative, animated by Nelson Boles. The narrative follows a boy whose fishing expedition is interrupted by a large 'Colosse' giant, which we later come to discover is a long lost Great Spirit, as documented by the boys ancestors. The animation is quite stunning. Driven by gaze-driven mechanics, the systematic development of the short ensures you don't miss a beat of the story.
This is one of the most beautiful VR experiences available. As the player, you're surrounded by pink oceans, flying birds and lovely rockscapes. You're led through a journey through this otherworldly landscape by looking at key points, at which point you're transported to the next hot spot. Throughout the game, you use the power of telekinesis to move objects and connect pieces of puzzles. A low-pressure, relaxing game which displays the beauty of VR. Ustwo's Land's End is a winning VR experience.
Yana Virtual Relaxation
If you're not much into games and puzzles, then The Campfire Union's Yana is the app for you. A relaxation-driven experience, you sit on the beach and watch the course of an entire day pass before you, experiencing a beautiful sunset, the stars coming out and more. The music puts you in a very meditative state, and adds a lot to the experience. Stick around long enough to see the boatsman and a meteor shower.
Titans of Space
Are you or your family passionate about planets, moons and space? Titans of Space puts you in the front seat of a small spacecraft while you tour the planets, moons and stars in our galaxy. There's really no better way to learn about the planets than by experiencing Titans of Space in VR.
Another educational VR experience, TheBluVR teaches you tidbits about the animals in our oceans. From The Pacific to the Arctic, TheBluVR takes you on a swimming journey to see the oceans biggest and coolest creatures. Though you can't control where you swim to, the experience of being surrounded by the large beauties of the ocean is a fun time!
This topdown shooter game places you inside your childhood nightmares. Using different weapons, you fight against your childhood toys before they kill you! If you last long enough, different weapons/tools drop down from the sky to aid you in your quest against these dark creatures.
This one is a huge hit with the kids. Strap on a jet pack and fly around futuristic cities, while practicing hitting targets and completing difficult missions. In order to play Omega Agent, you have to have a blue tooth game pad, and that in itself is a bit of a learning curve. But once you've got the controls mastered, this is a fun game for all ages.
Daydream Blue is a sweet, mellow game in which you build a camp, reel for fish and essentially live in the woods. Eventually, you gain a camping pal: a robot which follows commands. This is a fun interactive game for almost any member of your family.
I'm a huge fan of solving mysteries and Dead Secret is a great addition to the VR world. This mystery thriller puts you in the place of a reporter, looking for clues to aid you in unveiling the murderer of Harris Bullard. This game makes it extremely easy to navigate, look closer at potential clues and find hidden compartments/secrets. An intense and thrilling experience in the VR realm!
Herobound: Spirit Champion
In this action/adventure game you're a goblin looking to save the world. Utilizing your sword, you fight for the goodness of your planet. Beautiful music; cool scenes. Definitely worth playing.
Adventure Time: Magic Man's Head Games
Based on the Cartoon Network show Adventure Time, TurboButton has adapted the show into a great VR game. Explore the Land of Ooo with Finn and Jake as you track down the Magic Man. TurboButton did a great job keeping true to the spirit of the original cartoon.
Acting as your Youtube of the virtual world, Milk VR is a platform in which you can view 360° videos. The content currently available is sparse at the moment, but you can see a couple of fun clips including the trailer for Invasion - an animated short about alien invasion, the interactive experience connected to Robert Stromberg's The Martian and some of the gripping 360° pieces produced by the nonprofit RYOT.
New York Times teamed up with VR content creation team VRSE to create the finest piece of VR documentary-style filming I've yet to see. Covering the stories of three displaced children, The Displaced uses text and music to pull you into the sordid lives of these lost children. Be careful with this one; it's heavy!
There are other games and videos available in the Oculus Menu available after the purchase of the Gear VR. These are what we viewed as the highlights!
Keep your eyes open for more additions as the content and games keeps rolling in. We, personally, are really looking forward to the release of Minecraft for VR.
Suggestion: VR is most easily experienced in a swivel chair. Happy holidays and enjoy your VR perusing!