Google today is showing off seven new apps that can be used with its Daydream high-end mobile virtual reality (VR) system for devices that work with Daydream, including Google’s Pixel smartphones and Lenovo’s Moto Z and Moto Z Force phones.
After taking the Daydream for a spin last month, I walked away feeling impressed with the basic hardware but underwhelmed by the relatively small library of apps and content that you can use with it. Other reviewers felt that way, too. Now Google has more apps to challenge that sentiment. (Plus, Google is now selling the Daydream headset in crimson and snow colors, not just the original heather gray.)
After spending some time with all seven of the new apps, I’m left with the hunch that month by month, Google is aiming to build up its VR catalog, just as it did with Google Cardboard. And the new titles aren’t novelty throwaways; some really could keep users coming back for more.
CCP’s Gunjack is a game that sits you behind a turret on the perimeter of a spaceship and has you shoot incoming planes that try to attack you. It’s very comfortable, more so than Eve: Valkyrie, one of the two games that you get for free when you buy the Oculus Rift desktop VR headset. “Shift completed. Thank you for not dying,” you’re told when you complete a level. The words provide a brief feeling of relief.
This app lets you watch TV shows and movies in a comfortable way. You are placed in a seat inside a virtual movie theater, and video plays on a big screen in front of you. It’s like YouTube VR in that sense, but it’s lacking the Google video service’s utterly engaging 360-degree videos and the seemingly unlimited supply of content. Then again, the content that is available is high quality. Westworld, anyone?
Every VR platform needs horror games, and now Daydream has one, from Aspyr.
This game lets you follow the language-agnostic instructions — just like with real Legos! — to put pieces together and make things happen.
This classic racing game from EA has a tale that keeps you coming back to see what happens next. And that’s good, because driving around a track with a limited field of view can get a bit tiring.
This game from Otherside Entertainment lets you command monsters to kill animated “heroes.” It’s not my type of thing, but at least it does put you in a world that you’re probably not used to.
This game, from Nux Studios, seems strange to me but maybe that’s because I’m not that into wizards that can shoot stuff out of their magic wands and fight other wizards. But, like Layers of Fear and Underworld Overlord, this expands the range of what you can do with Daydream.