The primary weakness of Google’s Daydream VR is still a lack of content, but the young platform got a bunch of new software today, including a sizeable list of new games. I tried out a bunch, and here’s a look at what I thought of a few and which ones might help further popularize Android’s built-in VR environment.
1. Gunjack: End of Shift
This sci-fi shooter is a follow-up to the original Gunjack, a title for Samsung Gear VR that puts you in a turret seat shooting stuff by pointing your face at it. It’s actually much-improved on Daydream VR, with controls that are built around the Daydream VR controller instead of you having to crane your neck in all directions.
The controller aim feels incredibly good and accurate in terms of tracking your movement, and the swipe system for using different items is smart, if not entirely easy to get to grips with at first. I really enjoy the new bounce-back shield mechanic, which makes for much more complex and pleasantly strategic gameplay.
The original was great for casual VR gameplay, the sequel is better; this is at the top of the list for this new crop.
2. Underworld Overlord
Tower defense and war strategy are weirdly great for use in VR, and Underworld Overlord is no exception. This dungeon defense game puts you in command of stopping heroes from taking away the source of your evil power, and you get the usual complement of unlockable traps and units to make it happen.
The graphics and humor are fun, and the mechanics are what you’d expect from a good tower defense game. Negotiating the environments in VR is actually pretty great, and again the Daydream controller shines in this kind of gameplay.
3. Need for Speed (coming soon)
Car racing is a natural fit for VR in some ways, and so it’s no surprise EA would take its longstanding mobile franchise Need for Speed and put it into Daydream VR. Daydream started out with a cart racer, but this is more of a traditional fast sports car thing, which puts you right in the cockpit.
The best part of this game is that you can adjust your seat height and depth for max comfort. The graphics are alright, too, and the controls are okay, considering the limitations, but ultimately it’s not anything to write home about. Still worthwhile if you’re looking for some casual distraction, but don’t expect Gran Turismo.
This is like a Harry Potter fanfic thing mixed with a Lightsaber construction sim, set in some alternate 1880s London. It’s honestly pretty drab, and the most interesting part is assembling your wand; using it is clunky, awkward and ultimately unsatisfying. It’s a skip, but it also made me think about how cool it would be to have a similar game with Star Wars IP and actual Lightsabers, so that’s something.
There’s also a new HBO Now Daydream app, which Lucas took for a spin, as well as a fun LEGO building experience and a horror game from Aspyr that I was honestly too afraid to check out. Daydream still needs to expand its library considerably, but it’s good that many of the things arriving on the platform are fun to use. Plus, Google says Netflix is coming soon, too, which is great news.