So, you have an Android smartphone, but it doesn’t support Google’s Daydream platform nor is it a Galaxy-branded device. If you’re an iPhone owner, we feel your pain given Apple will never serve up a hot steaming plate of VR to its customers. But Google has your back with its clever use of cardboard, and we have your back with our list of the best Google Cardboard games and apps.

But there’s an underlying problem with this concept: Not every Cardboard kit relies entirely on Google’s design. You may need to alter the kit to better support the apps – such as moving the magnetic trigger based on your phone – and some apps only support specific Cardboard designs. We weeded through the apps to find great experiences with very little restrictions, physical interactions and price.

Note that these games and apps work on both Android and iPhones.

GAMES

Flats
Price: Free
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For starters, Flats is the only app in our list that requires a controller for VR mode. Otherwise, it’s a colorful first-person shooter that’s simplistic in appearance, sporting absolutely no environment, player or weapon details. Instead, Flats presents everything in solid, flat colors, hence the name. While that may sound awkward, this design actually works, even more so when you’re playing in a Google Cardboard headset. For a free-to-play shooter, Flats is loaded with content although you’re required to suffer through ads. The single-player aspect alone includes a survival mode, headshot challenges, an “assortment” mode with various challenges and more. The multiplayer side includes open and closed online and local matches with game modes such as Capture the Flag, Blow up the Base, Deathmatch, Zombie and many more. You can get the game for iPhones here.
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Flats

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Hidden Temple - VR Adventure
Price: $4
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If you’re in the mood for adventure, grab your Fedora and whip, and jump right into this little treasure with your cardboard headset. You’re an explorer that dropped down into an underground temple in search of its mythical treasure. You bring nothing but your eyeballs and a virtual fanny pack that floats just under your chin. There’s no need for a controller or any other type of input as the game relies entirely on your gaze for interaction and movement. Hidden Temple focuses on exploration and puzzle solving despite the temple’s lurking inhabitants. For instance, when you first drop down into the first chamber, you’re guided to glance at a pile of sand. Once collected, you place this pile on a platform to open a secret door. In another room, you glance at a dead bush to grab a twig, and if you venture back to the previous room, you can grab and ignite a dry tapestry to create a torch. You can get the game for iPhones here.
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Hidden Temple - VR Adventure

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InMind VR
Price: Free
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At its heart, InMind is a rail-based shooter, meaning you’re in a ship with a single destination to the end. But rather than shoot aliens or zombies (or a combination of the two), you’re in someone’s brain zapping defective neurons that cause a depressive disorder. There’s nothing specific you need to do physically save for locking onto these red, evil neurons with just your eyeballs. That said, the premise is simple: Sit back in your ship and stare at the neurons until the targeting circle completes and the ship zaps them out of existence. The task is easy at first until your roller coaster-style trip picks up speed and you’re swinging your head like a mace trying to zap all the neurons. Your only reward is an obsessive need to replay InMind to figure out the pattern and nuke all 50 neurons. You can get the game for iPhones here.
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InMind VR

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Proton Pulse
Price: $3
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At its heart, Proton Pulse is a nifty 2018 clone of Breakout, only you’re viewing the action in a first-person perspective and armed with a shield instead of a paddle. The object is to break “bricks” in more than 50 levels by bouncing an energy-based “proton” ball off the walls of a giant monolith named M.O.A.I. traveling through space. As with any paddle-based arcade game, how you send the ball hurdling towards the bricks depends on how it’s deflected from your shield. At times you can hit power-ups that add lasers to your shield to make the “breakout” easer, or turn your proton into a giant metal ball. There’s no major input on your part save for turning your head to position the shield appropriately at your end of the stage. You can get the game for iPhones here.
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Proton Pulse

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Voxel Fly VR
Price: Free
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Here’s a first-person starfighter “shooter” that’s playable with or without the trigger. Given it’s a free app, you’ll have limitations on the type of ships you can fly until you watch specific advertisements for specific ships. Overall, the same is seemingly inspired by the Death Star trench run in Star Wars Episode IV, complete with the TIE Fighter-style cockpit installed in your first ship. This game consists of two components: Arcade and Missions. With the former, you can test and unlock ships with the goal merely to survive as long as you can by dodging blocky Death Star-like structures, enemy ships and stationary canons. A multitude of ships are at your disposal in the Explorer, Madness, Destroyer, Attacker, Canon and Horizon classes. Meanwhile, the Mission mode includes ship-specific tasks such as staying alive for 150 points, crashing into enemy ships, destroying turrets and more. You can get the game for iPhones here.
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Voxel Fly VR

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Zombie Shooter VR
Price: $2
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As the name implies, this is a first-person shooter on rails that requires no physical interaction on your part save for moving your head to aim weapons. The game’s premise resides within your typical zombie-infested post-apocalyptic world, placing you in a deserted subway packed with the walking dead. The game isn’t designed for exploration, pulling you through scripted shootouts like a carnival ride. That said, you start with one of three guns, and once you enter the subway, you’re pulled through the tunnels shooting doors, locks and zombies. Your gun automatically fires and reloads, thus to conserve bullets, you must not look at zombies until they’re in range. Your health level spans five notches, meaning you’ll become tasty zombie munchies once they're depleted. The game is “free” until you reach the electrified gate, requiring $2 to continue. You can get the game for iPhones here.
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Zombie Shooter VR

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APPS

CINEVR - The Movie Theater
Price: Free
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As the name states, you sit in a dark movie theater filled with other humans. Ahead of you is the theater’s screen broken into four categories: 3D videos, HD trailers, 360-degree videos and File Explorer, the latter of which accesses video stored on your device. Near your lap is a toolbar that provides in-app controls for your phone’s microphone, sound, connecting to friends on Facebook and more. At its heart, CINEVR is merely a video player for VR with social features. Up to nine individuals can gather in a single theater – strangers or friends - although you can’t watch the same content unless you invite them through the Facebook social features. The 3D videos and HD trailers are based on American movies, but the 360-degree videos are all in French. So far there’s no sign on the Video On Demand and YouTube additions as shown on the website. You can get the app for iPhones here.
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CINEVR - The Movie Theater

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Discovery VR
Price: Free
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This is awesome to see all of these sharks! the diver says, and then a Mako shark bites your face. If you’re afraid of sharks, this app isn’t for you… at least, not these specific 360-degree experiences. But there’s plenty more to behold other than becoming Discovery’s shark bait, such as Journey to the Edge of Space, which straps you to a weather balloon and sends you more than 90,000 feet above the Earth at 60 miles per hour. Categories you’ll find in Discovery’s app include Thrills & Adventure, Science & Innovation, Nature & Wildlife, Lifestyle, Crime & Investigation, Travel, and Our World. Shark Week is also included for now, providing videos such as Understanding Sharks, The Meg: Submersive VR Experience, Shark Puppies and several others. You can get the app for iPhones here.
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Discovery VR

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Google Cardboard
Price: Free
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Consider this platform as Google’s introduction to carboard-based VR. Google breaks this app down into five demos: Explorer, Exhibit, Urban Hike, Kaleidoscope and Arctic Journey. The first demo, Explorer, is a sample of locations shot with a 360-degree camera. These include the hangar storing the Endeavor Space Shuttle, a panoramic view of Mars from the Spirit Rover and four other locations. Meanwhile, Exhibit showcases various objects rendered in 3D such as the Hawke Rattle, the Vatican Mask and so on. Urban Hike is similar to Explorer only that you can move through locations via Google Maps. Kaleidoscope is probably the coolest demo of the group as you break apart Google’s name and shuffle the shattered pieces into cool designs by moving your head. In Arctic Journey, you can fly over frigid terrain, catch fish on icy waters and more. You can get the app for iPhones here.
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Google Cardboard

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Jaunt VR
Price: Free
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This is a platform that provides original cinematic content for VR. For instance, the current feature video is Ray, a story about a ball of energy that invades the bedroom of a teen girl (played by not-so-teen Laia Manzanares). You stand in the middle of the room while the human and “ray” interact. You can’t move, but merely turn your head to watch the full 360-degree story. You can find similar experiences through multiple categories including horror, music, sports, travel, film and more. Notable channels include the Intel Extreme Masters, the Olympics, ESPN and ABC News. There are even behind-the-scenes looks at The Four TV show on FOX featuring contestants Ali Caldwell, Evvie McKinney and four others. You can get the app for iPhones here.
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Jaunt VR

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Sisters: A VR Ghost Story
Price: Free
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This more of an “experience” than it is a game. You’re planted on a couch in a creepy mansion’s living room, and there you stay for the entire encounter. A large fireplace resides to your right, complete with two slumping dolls resting on the mantle. That should be a good indication of where this experience will lead: Something scary will involve these two sisters. This free encounter is short and serves as a good entry point to creeps and scares in VR. You do absolutely nothing in this experience save for turning your head, meaning to get the full 360-degree scare as designed, you’ll need to stand or get comfortable turning your head 180 degrees. If you can’t handle evil spooks and dolls in your face, then you may need to look elsewhere. You can get the app for smartphones here.
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Sisters: A VR Ghost Story

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YouTube
Price: Free
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This app really needs no introduction. Unfortunately, Google doesn’t simply provide a Cardboard option within the app. Instead, you must navigate to YouTube’s Virtual Reality channel. To find it, type “virtual reality channel” in the search box and select the channel sporting a red icon with a white YouTube logo against a white globe. Google’s channel provides a treasure trove of 360-degree videos provided by PBS, CNN, BBC News, Elton John, Getty Images TV and so much more. The playlist section strings videos together so you’re not constantly ripping out your smartphone to load another experience. For instance, one playlist is called Best of VR consisting of videos provided by CNN, Syfy Wire, Red Bull Music and many others. You can get the app for iPhones here.
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YouTube

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