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A screenshot from the game Land's End. Photo by: Matthew McGuire
A screenshot from the game Land's End. Photo by: Matthew McGuire

Strap on a Wingsuit and fly down Mountains, Play Poker, Go Fishing in VR, Ride a Rollercoaster and Watch Live Music in 3D

Gear VR is a headset with an optional controller that is in partnership with Oculus and Samsung. The hardware works in connection with software available via the Oculus Store.

After experiencing Google Cardboard and YouTube 360 content, I wanted to take the next step in virtual reality without investing too much into the platform. When the Galaxy S8+ was on pre-order, I was able to connect with a deal that provided a free headset and controller. Samsung currently has the product available for $130 before taxes (with the controller). Which is a fair price in comparison to the other virtual reality hardware on the market.

It took me close to an hour to setup the headset and software. Watch Gear VR in action.

The reviews behind the product show that Samsung has been working to refine the user experience.

Currently Gear VR is compatible with the Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, Galaxy S7, and the Galaxy S7 edge.

In comparison to the Oculus Rift, Gear VR offers less functionality for less cost. Virtual reality is an area where users typically pay for what they receive. Gear VR users can experience virtual reality with just the headset, or also acquire the controller for additional interactivity. If users find themselves extremely interested in the digital environments, Oculus Rift + Touch offers two controllers with even more depth. An example can be shown with the gameplay of Dead and Buried on YouTube.

Drop Dead

The first title I checked out was Drop Dead by Pixel Toys. Along with the pre-order, Samsung and Oculus also provided a package of games to try out. Even though I am not big into blasting away zombies, I wanted to see if this game delivered as an action shooter.

This game did have comical dialogue, but might be more enjoyable for science-fiction gamers. When first playing this game I did feel a sense of pressure as the fictional zombies moved closer.

Land’s End

The next title I reviewed was Land’s End. It looked more relaxing and calming overall. When one of our editors tried out this game, he mentioned the camera position and movement made his stomach uncomfortable. I personally did not experience this with Land’s End, but did notice it with other titles such as the rollercoaster experience with Rilix VR.

A screenshot from the game Land's End. Photo by: Matthew McGuire
A screenshot from the game Land’s End. Photo by: Matthew McGuire

The title connects the beauty of virtual reality with fictitious cultural landmarks. It creates puzzles for users to solve along the virtual journey.

Paint VR

During my childhood, I was first introduced to art with paint and watercolors. As many parents understand, this can get messy. In comparison to physical paint, this application provides users to create artwork in a three dimensional environment.

The workspace allows users to pan left to right, as well as forward and backward. The brush connects with the controller to give users the ability to paint in different directions. Google’s Tilt Brush may have more functionality, but Paint VR is also a solid first step to understanding how space and movement works in virtual reality.

Rush

This application provides an adrenaline-pumping experience that allows users to put on a wingsuit and fly across digital landscapes. Rush was one of my favorite experiences. Recently, I have been thinking about flying with a wingsuit in real life, and this digital thrill ride was able to give me a look into the recreational sport.

A Night’s Sky

When I first saw the overview to A Night’s Sky I assumed it was going to have in-depth information of astrology. I have a friend that really gets into the structure of stars, and the gravity from the moon, so I was hoping this game would deliver on an adult level.

It does deliver for a younger demographic that might be using virtual reality for the first time. Both myself and the other main editor found this game to be cute for children, but lacked substance for adults.

Overall, each title does have an experience level that a user should have before interacting with the application. A Night’s Sky is excellent for younger people, in comparison to Drop Dead of Dead and Buried.

NextVR

One of the more exciting applications for sports fans is NextVR. Explore different viewpoints of your favorite arenas, watch live performances via Live Nation in 360, and much more.

It is important to note that violent games do display violent imagery. They have the user engage in violent behavior. This is in a fictional setting, but it is important to note and explain to younger people the clear separation between fiction and non-fiction.

The headset and software is not for everyone. It can be unhealthy for some that have heart conditions, epilepsy, and children under the age of 13.

Watch over a list of trailers for Gear VR with YouTube, and stay connected to social media for updates.