Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
VR might shut you off from the outside world, but it doesn't have to be a completely solitary experience. In fact, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes might be the most hilarious example yet of how to put that awkward scenario to brilliant use.
With the headset on, you'll stare at a randomly generated bomb covered with wires and buttons – and your nearby friends (without headsets) are looking at a manual, either printed out or on another screen, and must walk you through the disarming process as you describe a bomb that they cannot see. Who knew one VR headset could power an awesomely social party game?
In these early days of VR filmmaking, Within (formerly VRSE) is setting the standard, delivering experimental short films, music videos, and captivating mini-documentaries that both benefit from and drive the 360-degree format. Grab the Within app and you'll find plenty of free, intriguing video content to savour.
A particular highlight is Evolution of Verse, a fabulously weird CG short with a train that chugs across water and explodes into a swarm of bugs (and then gets weirder still). Muse and U2 both contribute music videos, meanwhile, and there are several bits of video journalism courtesy of The New York Times.
The Gear VR may lack the impressive EVE Valkyrie from other headsets, but End Space is the next best thing. It's a deep-space dogfighter that finds you commanding your spaceship in head-to-head shootouts against the stars.
The action is intense – and potentially dizzying; be careful out there! – and the backdrops are beautiful, making this one of the true showcase titles for Samsung's headset. You might be surprised that your smartphone can even contain an experience like this.
VR is all about breaking through the limits of flat screens – and amazingly, that's true of painting as well. Paint VR opens up the 360-degree environment around you for your virtual brush, but you won't be limited to walls or canvasses: you can paint right onto the air.
And then you can move around a bit and turn your initial brush strokes into the 3D masterpiece of your dreams. It's best with the Gear VR Controller, which doubles as your brush – and while Paint VR isn't as expansive as Tilt Brush on the Vive and Rift, it's less than two quid.
Rangi – not to be confused with Rango – is a first-person puzzler than finds you exploring environments filled with switches and movable objects. You'll need to shift and manipulate those items to guide streams of light around and open up a portal to the next area.
This Gear VR original is inspired by African culture and has a deeply intriguing mystical feel to it, along with surreal moments like riding in the hand of a giant or being surrounded by chanting guardians. It's best with the Gear VR Controller, but this appealing atmosphere is worth soaking up even without it.