The best Samsung Gear VR apps: Games, videos and experiences to download first

It's on my face - now what?
The Samsung Gear VR apps to try first

The amount of truly awesome apps, games and shorts for the Gear VR just keeps getting bigger. And with the Samsung Gear VR (2016) on sale, everything has clicked into place for Samsung's (and Facebook's) mobile VR plans even with the PlayStation VR and Daydream View for competition.

Here's our roundup of the best apps, games, demos, short films and interactive experiences available right now. The list will continue to grow, so we'll update this feature as and when demos become games and teasers become full experiences.

The verdict: Samsung Gear VR (2016) review

These can all be downloaded from the Oculus Store, either directly from your smartphone or once it's slotted into the headset.

Best Samsung Gear VR games

Let's face it, you probably bought this as a gaming device, so your first stop will be games you've heard of from mobile or titles with environments and characters you want to experience in VR.

Micro Machines VR Racer

The best Samsung Gear VR apps: Games, videos and experiences to download first

The table-top racing favourite has been brought into virtual reality, but don't worry, it looks just how you remember it. You still play with a bird's-eye view, but with the added immersion of VR. The main drawback is the lack of multiplayer, but it's still as addictive as hell, with some inspired tracks to pick from.

$9.99

Hitman Go: VR Edition

A kind of third person, turn-based strategy board game, Hitman Go in VR is more fun that it sounds. It looks amazing, as anyone who has played the Square Enix game on PC or console will know and is downright tricky as you help Agent 47 navigate around a grid layered on top of model-like environments. You can get it on the Oculus Rift (where it's slightly more expensive) as well as the Gear VR. Supports both the trackpad and Bluetooth controllers.

$7.99

Sing Space

The best Samsung Gear VR apps: Games, videos and experiences to download first

Do your best Gloria Gaynor rendition in this new multiplayer karaoke title from Harmonix, the name behind Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Using the built-in mic and a pair of headphones, you can sing your heart out in a virtual karaoke room with a bunch of pals. It's not as terrifying as it sounds when you're all embarrassing yourself equally (apart from that one person who nails it every time). It also comes with support for the new Gear VR controller.

$4.99

Please Don't Touch Anything

More than just a brilliant premise and name, PDTA is a reworking of a 2D puzzle game and it's a hoot in VR. It's a little short, especially if you race through the puzzles (looking for clues, solving riddles, pushing buttons), but there's new ones for fans of the original and gameplay is littered with geeky easter eggs/references.

$8.99

Drop Dead

The best Samsung Gear VR apps: Games, videos and experiences to download first

There aren't many really great first-person shooters in VR right now, but Drop Dead is definitely one of the best on Gear VR. Yes, it's a wave shooter, but there's a good amount of variety, while gameplay is smooth and you have the added bonus of multiplayer. Not one of the priciest titles out there, so we'd recommend giving it a look.

$6.99

Minecraft: Gear VR

Minecraft in virtual reality isn't a perfect experience yet, but with a bit of patience and a controller (you need one of those here) this will blow Minecraft fans' minds with Pocket Edition modes like Creative and Survival. If the full on immersion isn't what you're after, you can choose to play in 2D i.e. viewing your blocky gameplay on a 'display'.

$6.99

BombSquad VR

best samsung gear vr apps games videos experiences

Also on Google Cardboard, BombSquad VR belongs to the type of third person, god's eye board game-style title that we're seeing made for VR - with a splash here of Super Smash Bros. It's cheap, it's cute and it's great fun with (local) multiplayer options including co-op, teams and free for all for things like capture the flag. Oh and the explosions are the bomb.

$2.99

Smash Hit VR

An example of a VR arcade game from Mediocre Games that we could play for days, this is a great transition from the smartphone game of the same name. You'll have to get used to shifting your head from side to side to hit all your targets but when you get in the zone, Smash Hit VR can be actually pretty relaxing with alternately hued environments to experience. Plus, you might find gazing and tapping easier than the mobile version.

Free

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

Most of the apps and games on the list can be passed around the group pretty easily but Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is an example of a game that's designed for a bunch of you to play.

Only one person needs to wear the Gear VR and the rest give the headset wearer instructions (via pages and pages of a printed manual) to defuse the bomb they're trapped in a room with. Also on regular Steam but comes into its own in VR. A special treat rather than an everyday go-to. Who said VR is anti-social?

$9.99

Land's End

Ustwo's first VR game is mesmerising and to fans of Monument Valley, that should be no surprise. It's a slow, relaxing puzzle game over five chapters (for now), which makes lovely use of the Gear VR's head tracking as controls.

Serene sunsets, blocky mountains and a range of easy peasy to slightly head scratching - but always mysterious - puzzles. It's best played while standing or on a swivel chair.

$9.99

Gunjack

This CCP Games VR game started life as Project Nemesis, which we played way back in early 2015. It's an arcade space shooter with big attention to detail. You get a body to look down at in your fixed cock-pit and there's cracks in the glass as you get hit by enemies.

It's set in the EVE universe so the sequences are pretty and it's quick to get the hang of the controls, like sliding back on the touchpad to reload. A game game for those who just want to bash a controller.

$9.99

Oculus Arcade

best samsung gear vr apps games videos experiences

This is another virtual environment in which you do things in 2D but hey, it's a virtual arcade so shut up. Play Pac-Man, Sonic, Galaga and more in three arcade rooms. Everything is free for a while but you have to pay to unlock unlimited play.

Free

Esper/Esper 2

Esper shows off the potential of VR for puzzle games, not just first person shooters. If you liked Portal, you'll have the patience to play along with the puzzles here with your 'telepathic' powers using the Gear VR's touchpad as well as appreciate the intriguing 70s visuals and playful dialogue. Plus, once you've played this, you can play Esper 2 - slightly more expensive at $9.99.

$4.99

Dreadhalls

First person is where VR really comes into its own and the Gear VR is no exception. The journey through creepy dungeons in Dreadhalls, picking locks, opening doors, keeping your lamp going and checking behind you is damn scary especially considering how long it makes you wait to get attacked. Then you run away, heart genuinely pumping. Super terrifying. Also being developed for the Oculus Rift.

$4.99

Darknet

An arcade-style, strategy hacking game with neon visuals and a stern voice giving you instructions, Darknet sees you spread viruses through a network of nodes, banking the Bitcoins and causing carefully constructed mayhem.

The hacking takes place in more of a 2D game environment and a lot of Darknet reminds us of any well-crafted smartphone game that doesn't just rely on graphics.

$9.99

Anshar Wars 2

There's two Anshar Wars games on the Gear VR now. It's a neat space shooter in which you control the direction your ship is going with your head movements. Firing missiles is taken care of through a Bluetooth controller or the headset's touchpad. One more thing - it's games like this that make you realise you need to invest in a good swivelling office chair to get the most out of the Gear VR.

$14.99

Temple Run VR

The best Samsung Gear VR apps: Games, videos and experiences to download first

Making the graduation from smartphones to the realm of virtual reality, Temple Run is back at it again and forcing you to run away from wild beasts while racking up points.

Turning your head will allow you to see the Arctic Gorilla Monkey hunting you down, with tilts helping you pick up coins and avoid blocks on the winding path. If you can tolerate consistent motion and happen to enjoy free things, this is a no-brainer download.

And for the brave and co-ordinated among you, we imagine combining this with a treadmill makes evading the monster all the more satisfying.

Free

Samsung Gear VR Apps

It's not all about games, here's a few surprising things you might not have realised you can try out in virtual reality.

Jaunt

The best Samsung Gear VR apps: Games, videos and experiences to download first

Make Jaunt one of your first Gear VR app downloads, it's one of a few live action libraries but the quality here is really high. Stream short experiences from backstage at concerts to 360-degree journalism from ABC News.

Free

Facebook 360

The best Samsung Gear VR apps: Games, videos and experiences to download first

Earlier this year Facebook launched its first dedicated VR app, a new way to view 360-degree photos and videos on the Gear VR. Facebook 360 surfaces 360 content from your news feed and plonks it in front of your face, with a bunch of different 'feeds' to choose from, including content not within your own network. And best of all, it costs nothing.

Free

Streetview VR

best samsung gear vr apps games videos experiences

A nice choice to get a hit of that travel rush without leaving the sofa, Streetview in VR is surprisingly easy to navigate with really great controls for selecting tourist attractions or natural beauty spots around the world and looking around the area. They are stills, of course, but it's still freaky when you re-visit a panorama that you've visited before.

It's not made by Google but don't let that put you off - there's 3,000 locations and the ability to bookmark images and even lead a group via audio chat. Also on Oculus Rift.

Free

Samsung Internet

best samsung gear vr apps games videos experiences

Lots of people have complained that there's no way they would pick up a mobile VR headset without a browser and Samsung has listened. You can open up sites via voice or by selecting from favourites like YouTube. Use Gaze mode to select stuff but there's an onscreen keyboard too. It's in beta but works exactly as you would expect.

Free

Oculus Rooms and Parties

The best Samsung Gear VR apps: Games, videos and experiences to download first

Facebook knows that VR is going to be social - that's why it bought it - and Oculus Rooms is about demonstrating the power of shared virtual reality. It's essentially just a hangout space where you and your friends can mess about, play minigames, watch a virtual TV, or jump into one of the more substantial multiplayer games mentioned above. Parties is the name of Oculus' built-in voice chat that lets you see what friends are up to and add them to your party if you so wish.

Free

NextVR

best samsung gear vr apps games videos experiences

If you really want to feel like you're at a sports or news event, download NextVR. It livestreams events to VR headsets like the Gear VR in 180 degrees and has tested its system out on the US Open and NASCAR. Last October it livestreamed the US Presidential debate in collaboration with CNN. Many more live sports events are to follow.

Free

Read this: We speak to NextVR about how TV will transition to VR

Soundscape

One for music makers, Soundscape is a very cool experience that lets you tap to add musical notes, change effects, add drums. Jam alone or with two random people in a multiplayer mode. The theory is that because the notes are based on a pentatonic scale, no matter what you do, it'll sound good-ish.

$2.99

Netflix

Yep, Netflix. You can now download and view the movie and TV streaming service on a Samsung Gear VR. Like Oculus Cinema, it simply gives you a private, virtual space (a luxe/rustic cabin living room with a big screen) in which to watch regular 2D content. Still, people are very much spending their time doing this.

Free (with subscription)

AltSpace VR

best samsung gear vr apps games videos experiences

The social platform AltSpace VR is pretty exciting. It's cross-platform (Gear VR, Oculus, HTC Vive) so it's a virtual hang out space that one-ups Oculus Social. You can watch streamed videos with other headset wearers and even share virtual web browsers. Well worth a look.

Free

Video/Animation

There's interactive games then there's interactive experiences. Many of the below VR apps blur the lines between active and passive consumption. All are pretty magic.

Affected: The Manor

best samsung gear vr apps games videos experiences

We don't want to spoil the VR horror scares too much but if you want something jumpy and squealy, give Affected a go. Try it out in the privacy of your own home then subject your mates to it and make sure you have a spare phone to capture the reactions.

$2.99

Notes on Blindness

best samsung gear vr apps games videos experiences
One of our VR highlights from the selection at Cannes in May, Notes on Blindness is a must download. It's a meditative VR experience that uses minimalist animation and sound to put you in the shoes of a professor who lost his sight and documented becoming blind. Note: it's 2GB so clear some phone storage.
Free

The Night Cafe

This one is nestled in the 'Concepts' area of the Oculus store. Part animation, part VR experience, it is a wholly odd way to spend a few minutes - or more. The Night Cafe is a tribute to Vincent Van Gogh and his oil paintings - sunflowers, the chair in his bedroom, self portraits - from Borrowed Light Studios and this VR app lets you well, walk around inside them. It's somewhat surreal (lower case 's') and feels a little like intruding on someone else's dream.

Free

GONE

This is a big deal and well worth checking out, via the Milk VR store (Samsung's). Gone is a episodic thriller from the creators of The Walking Dead and it shows.

It's a TV show-style narrative, which enfolds in front of you but you can follow 'hotspots' via your gaze to zoom over to a clue or conversations that might be relevant. So it's interactive but you don't seem to impact the plot. The storyline and 'clues' are very much in the True Detective style, which is not a bad thing. You'll race through the episodes.

Free

Cirque du Soleil - Inside the box of Kurios

This is a great intro for someone who is putting on a VR headset for the first time. A classy Felix & Paul Studios production, you get a private performance of Cirque du Soleil's steampunky Kurios show and it's pretty magical. Everything is perfectly choreographed to stun and unlike the previous Zarkana effort, it's a decent length too. You'll be clapping to yourself by the end.

Free

Rose

This app is designed to be the home for CG animated VR shorts and the first one - Rosebud - is blooming adorable. It's by Penrose Studios which was founded by ex Oculus Story Studio head Eugene Chung.

We won't give away the plot too much, but do the tutorial first to get the hang of zooming in and out for the charming action in front of you. You can also hold to 'grab' an object to make it and anchor point and rotate round it, which you should try out towards the end of this short.

Free

Within (VRSE)

best samsung gear vr apps games videos experiences

Within (previously VRSE) is a must if you're looking for quality. You can watch some of the most impressive VR vids made so far, including Vice News and Spike Jonze's VR broadcast from a NYC protest - it's rough around the edges but you really do feel like you're right there in the middle of it - and Evolution of Verse, the beautiful short film by Chris Milk which debuted at this year's Sundance.

Also, in the Within collection is the collaboration with the UN which includes the short films Clouds over Sidra and Waves of Grace.

Free

Oculus 360 tours - world, Iceland

These are the (short) demos that you show to your mates and your mum who want to see what all the fuss is about with the virtual reality thing. They will give newbies a bit of vertigo, though, as a lot of the 360 degree footage is filmed from helicopters. It's still early days for virtual tourism but even the relatively low res footage here will elicit cries of 'Oh I'm in Petra, I always wanted to go here!'

Free

Let us know your favourite apps, games, shorts and experiences for the Gear VR in the comments.

57 Comments

  • fb_102048 says:

    no  Nightterror Terror on that list?

    • putmoregames says:

      plz very little selection...

      • Neomancer says:

        He/she is curating so of course the list will end at some point. Go make your own list and make it as long as you want. 

  • Pauline says:

    Where and how did you download these apps/games?

    • abeezy_here says:

      The Oculus app has most of these apps you can download... I never saw Ikarus on there. 

    • Monty4211 says:

      where and how did I download apps/games to my gear vr

  • famadorian says:

    Seriously, I was there since Lawnmower man, but I will not buy this crap without a normal browser. 

    • asielcode7 says:

      It has a browser and it works great.  Just buy it dude, it's amazing!

    • Carlosmarkic says:

      what kind of a retard buys a vr device for web browsing? Your parent must be cousins...

      • Neomancer says:

        You'd be surprised how useful it is for looking up hints mid game or something.

  • cobrasixtysix says:

    Because of the relatively low resolutions (figuratively speaking) of using phones for VR headsets, has anyone ever thought of doing a kind of SLI thing where you would create a headset that could house not one, but two phones, one for each eye and sync the outputs on both screens? Sure you would need two phones, but It would increase the resolution dramatically from what we have now.

    • Judge says:

      Current GPU architecture would make this a not very economical bump in power. Hence why NVidia and AMD are changing their architectures this year. The headset will improve but they need our support. So buy one as they are loads of fun! 

      I do miss head tracking though. When you get used to the PC consumer and Dev products this feels like a big step backwards. But unlike those I can use this on my commute

    • MDragon says:

      Having 2 phones would look exactly the same. The low res is a limitation of how Phone screens are made and the current level of tech we have to work with. We also need to consider the current pixel density in relation to the lenses and being that close to the screen, it's call the 'Screen Door' effect, as you are actually viewing the pixels and the diamond like pattern that divides them (diamond like -at least in AMOLED).   

      Everyone is working on solution to this problem. But ultimately it's going to take a new type of AMOLED screen design with perhaps even higher resolutions and pixel density and techniques to hide or eliminate the pixel grid. I know there is software in the works to blend the screen door effects to smudge or blur them so it is less apparent but these aren't perfect solutions. 

      New lens technology is an important part of the equation, better lenses can zoom into a portion of the phones screen without needing to be close enough to see the screen door and at the same time allow thinner VR headsets. 

      Realistically the ultimate VR experience might be to use another technology altogether.  Like beaming laser images directly on to the eye, contact lenses, eye and brain implants. 

    • Kitch says:

      Two phones, seriously??

      To make this technology work (financially I mean), it has to be accessible and economical.

      We all walk around with HD screens in our pockets now.  What a fantastic concept the VR Headset from Samsung is.  Now it just needs to made for all phones, so that our lesser technical friends with Apple devices can enjoy it too.

  • tota5 says:

    Check Finding Monsters Jake & Tess Adventures, I feel it should be on that list ;)

  • Aileen says:

    Can you watch amazon prime movies on it?

    • EBHamptonVA says:

      So far, the answer is no.  I downloaded 2 movies to the phone and have been searching for them to move into my library,  but can't seem to find them.  There is no app that works with the vr goggles and amazon movies yet.  If I locate the movies,  I'll post in here,  however amazon prime movies streaming will not work at all as of now. 

      • Uncle_Fester says:

        Can you not watch prime movies through the browser? I'm a bit of a noob when it comes to amazon prime. I've found I can download any vid, dump it in a folder and access it through MilkVR. This includes regular video, 3d movies and the 180 and 360 degree VR video. If you're in the wrong region to grab Milk from the store there are tutorials everywhere how to fudge your region to go in and get it.

  • pdconner says:

    Curious.... I cant find the Oculus Cinema or most of these apps.. I am confused about what to download on my Samsung Note 5 and from where (Play Store or Samsung Store).. I just ordered the Samsung Gear VR today and it will be here on Tuesday and wanted to get the phone ready.. Anyone care to explain.. or help me..  

    • mopycat says:

      The Oculus Cinema and apps are available via Oculus Store, which is ONLY available after you connect your handset to the Gear VR. Once the Gear VR is connected, the phone will then download the Store and you'll be able to search/install these.

    • Lumen8ight says:

      Hello, pdconner. The only way to get the Oculus store is from the actual headset. Once you initially plug it in, it will immediately download the necessary programs etc...You can download right from the gear or even after you disconnect from the gear. Just open the app on your phone (it will then be installed already), and browse and download what you wish. I have one and love it! Enjoy mate!

    • s.charara says:

      Afraid you can't prep just yet. When the Gear VR arrives, follow the instructions in the booklet and connect your Note 5 to the headset. It then prompts you to download the Oculus and Samsung apps and you'll be good from there. Have fun!

  • Afiso says:

    I can't add my creditcard. I'm from Holland. 

    • Michellevr says:

      I cannot add my payment info either and it shuts my phone off 

  • Cupcakeimissyou says:

    I downloaded apps from the play store and I'm not sure how to play it on the gear vr? 

    • asielcode7 says:

      Just plug it in to the vr headset and then go to Library.

    • tyardley says:

      You don't download games from the google playstore. Those are for google cardboard. You can disable the GearVR service which then you can use the apps from the playstore. Look up the app Package disabler. 

  • max_meister says:

    Eine Frage: Ist das Spiel Gunjack überhaupt schon draußen...Wenn ja ist es mit der Samsung Gear VR kompatibel?

    Danke 

  • Lizbeth-r says:

    How come I cannot find the dreadhalls game on the app store? 

  • Prizeguy says:

    just wondering why the arcade ent installing.any 1 no..not many good games on gear vr. Carnt see the vr coaster.???

  • streetmember says:

    is there a way to use you'r phone normaly while wearing the Headset?  that would make the experence complete for me, to just switch to another app in 2D.
    also what about youtube?

    • dfennell says:

      I 2nd this I have been looking for this kind of app since I got my headset you would think it would be an easy thing to do. I'd gladly pay for it.

      I'm waiting with you.....

      • grag37 says:

        you can watch youtube in normal 2D, 3D or 360 inside the samsung internet app. just go to te youtube url and you're set

  • Shuvani says:

    Too bad 'Titans of Space' contains some major mistakes in information about the age of stars. No way a read giant can just be about 10 million years old. Its a pity and makes no sense at all if you consider the high tech standards of the app itself.

  • raider says:

    How do we download the FREE games we are suppose to get with the VR and what are they?  No directions or anything on where to go for this.

    • CaptainJester says:

      Once you recieve the headset and connect it, your phone will download the oculus app. After you create an account it will give you the option to dl the 6 free games

  • Vank2u says:

    I have the VR but can't access the apps that I have download on my phone. I will love to use my phone normally why wearing the VR.

    • Nighthawk610 says:

      You can't use the non-vr apps your phone has installed on it because there is no way to split the images into two separate screens, one for each eye.  You would need some sort of wrapper that could take your phones screen and split the images.  Even if you did split the images they would appear flat and floating in front of you because they were not made to wrap around you in full 360 degree 3D video.  Also, how would touch the screen to control it?  The touchpad only allows you to do up down left right and click.  There is no cursor in cell phone apps.

      As an example of this, check out the YouTube app.  If you watch a video you will see a cardboard app icon in the bottom corner. When you press that the app splits the screen into two images so you can watch it through Google cardboard.  Unless an app has been developed to do that it won't work.

  • pete1061 says:

    When you embed videos on a page, please include all the controls for that video, like volume, play/pause, etc.

    Very unprofessional web design. 

  • RalphVojvoda says:

    I opened the Oculus store on my note 5 and was unable to locate the Oculus Arcade. Any suggestions?

  • Jungleboy1121 says:

    I want to watch 3D movies like avengers and just whatever on galaxy 7, how do I

  • MDragon says:

    Adventure Time: Magic Man's Head Games 

    Should be on the list!!

  • Streamingsteve says:

    why wasn't a headphone jack included on the helmet?  Stereo sound or simulated surround would have been nice vs phone speaker.

    • LinShakka says:

      You just plug your headphones on your phone's headphone jack.(say that 3 times fast, lol)

      The plastic cover of the Gear VR even has a hole for it.

      You should plug the headphones in the phone, before putting the phone in the Gear.

  • trlehman74 says:

    Can anyone help? I cannot locate the Oculus Arcade on the Gear VR? If they took it away, does anyone know when they will get it back?

  • Breezyan says:

    Great article! I just got my Gear and this list was perfect for me since I didn't know where to start. Now a have plenty of great content. Thanks for sharing!

  • Maureen123 says:

    looks good

  • mikster says:

    can you watch any movies from Netflix on it?

    • Cloaker says:

      Yeah, there's a Netflix app which essentially is like the Netflix TV app except you're in a virtual lounge room. On paper, it sounds stupid. In practise? I actually really like it.

  • kalaxus says:

    Can you play Five Nights at Freddy's on Gear?

  • Stui says:

    can I use this device on my 6 edge ?? 

  • vitoriateofilo says:

    Please check newest version of VR Gallery. I think it is a candidate for a list update.

  • ssmithers says:

    I want to know if I can play Kim Kardashian Hollywood on the gear VR Oculus

  • kathyten says:

    do I set up my account on computer first and then connect my phone to the vr

  • noga says:

    I'm so hyped. so many games i wanna try... think I'm going to have to hire a VR headset off of Fat Lama this weekend... yet to decide if i will try PS4VR or HTC Vive...

  • iambixby says:

    What is the best zombie game for Samsung VR?

  • digitaldeez says:

    does Gear VR have a desktop app or a windows app that we can use to work on spreadsheet or power point presentations...??? or drawing apps?

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