I love the Gear VR. Though often overlooked, the mobile headset offers a great, accessible experience that can be used either to introduce people to VR for the first time, or for your own fun gaming sessions. But it’s hard to deny that, as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive have slowly seeped their way into people’s homes, the device has taken a backseat. Unable to compete with the high-fidelity visuals a PC offers, or the immersion of roomscale tracking, it’s easy to pass the kit off as a has been.
I’ll admit even I find myself telling people to pass on picking one up when they ask. Yes, it’s cheap, but many of the games for it aren’t. But, today, I’ve decided I’m going to change my stance on that question.
Following this week’s Gear VR drama, I decided to dig a little deeper into the library of Oculus and Samsung’s headset. If you didn’t already hear, a game named HeadMaster released a few days back, which was pretty much an exact copy of Headmaster (yes, there is a different in the title), which is coming to PlayStation VR. I wondered if there were any more copy cats out there, so I took a dive into the first major VR headset’s back catalog.
I didn’t find what I was looking for, but what I did discover was something much better.
As I looked back through the Gear VR’s library I found myself fondly recalling a lot of games I’d simply forgotten about, despite really liking them. It felt as if I was diving through a collection of old SNES titles and picking out lost favorites, even though I had only played some of them over the past year.
First there were the obvious entries: I have always had a particular soft spot for Ustwo’s Land’s End, a worthy follow up to the developer’s brilliant Monument Valley that proves Samsung’s smartphones are plenty powerful, delivering jaw dropping sights through stunning art direction and scale that rivals even some Rift and Vive games.
More interesting, though are the quirky experiments and experiences that sort to use VR in different ways. I had a frighteningly good time playing through SANBAE’s Dim Light, which is a horror experience unlike any other, while Neverout surprised me with its inventive puzzles that defied gravity. Annie Amber was a thoughtful and whimsical follow-up to Mind: Path to Thalamus, and Smash Hit was something of a technical marvel.
Then there are titles I haven’t even had the chance to sink my teeth into myself yet. Minecraft was always a no-brainer for VR, but it was Gear that got it first, whilst I also really want to try Dark Days and Heroes of the Seven Seas, but haven’t had the chance to try them out yet.
Rounding the platform out are a swarm of rock solid, entirely dependable games like Hitman: GO, Evil Robot Traffic Jam and the Esper series. Simply put, if you were to get into Gear VR now, you’d have a lot to play. And that’s without mentioning the plethora of other apps and experiences like Netflix.
I could go on (and on): Escape Velocity is one of my favorite VR bits, Please, Don’t Touch Anything is hilarious, and Orion Trial shows how you can port a 2D experience to VR. The thing is stacked with worthwhile games.
So, if you were to ask me if you should get a Gear VR today (and you already had a Samsung phone), I’d have no problem telling you to seek one out. It might be wise to find a bundle with some games, of course, but I honestly think this is now a great headset that’s worth your investment.