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Augmented reality games are becoming a front-runners of gaming industry. Nowadays, this is not just the fantastical concept. AR games allow you to fight aliens, capture fantastical creatures, defend kingdoms in the real world. And all of this is possible without super expensive headsets – just an AR-enabled smartphone or console is required.
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Adventure Augmented Reality Games
Geolocation games / Adventure AR games are the most exciting genre in the world of augmented reality games. They use the real world maps and locations as the gaming environment augmenting them with unique plot, fantastic creatures and amazing quests.
Using the GPS enabled smartphone the player moves around the neighborhood and completes different tasks. This is a great opportunity to immerse the invented worlds in reality.
1. Pokemon GO
Price: Free. downloads: 100M.Requires: Android 5.0, iOS 10.0 or up.Size: 200 Mb Android, 312 Mb iOS.
This legendary project by Niantic which has made Augmented Reality games a real thing popular among millions of users, is still going strong. The nostalgia of players enabled Pokemon GO to hold several Guinness records and gain incredible earnings. The role of this AR game in terms of making Augmented Reality technology known to millions of people is hard to overstate.
Pokémon GO is an adventure type of mobile game, which places the battlefield on the real surroundings and superimposes virtual animate objects into user’s environment. Millions or maybe even billions of Pokemons have been caught in years since 2016. Many new things have been since added, e.g. Battle League, Pokedex tournaments, Raid battles, social networking. And the fun still continues.
Price: Free. downloads: 1,000+.Requires: Android 5.0, iOS 9.0 or up.Size: 85 Mb Android, 121 Mb iOS.
A virtual paintball, an outdoor lasertag, or simply a mobile game played by real physical movement and team work? Well, Neyon Clash by Reaktor Berlin (a team of developers focused on mobile gaming) is essentially all of those. It is a new and highly-promising AR multiplayer game, promoting both physical and social activity. In-game player character is tied to real-life movements, visible for all participants, and the goal is to tag opponents and capture the area.
As you start the game, you can decide to either create a map first or just play right away with your friends. Game modes include Last Man Standing (classic), Domination (collect points for conquering strategic areas), King of Items (get the powerful King-Item) and Capture the Flag. Neyon Clash is available in 6 languages (English, German, French, Russian, Polish and Hindi), requires Android 5.0/or later, iOS 9.0/or later.The game is still at a very early stage and will be released in its final version until 2021.
Something more addictive than Pockemon Go? Well, for fans of prehistoric wild creatures running around modern cities it just could be. Explore the spots around you on a map and stumble upon wolly mammoths, velociraptors, pteranodons. Collect enough items and you’ll be able to create your own raptor and share it with other players. If you’re in a competitive vibe, fight other creatures in real-time PvP battles.
Game mechanics are well-crafted, and factors like speed, hits, collecting supply drops really add to player excitement. But also be ready to face dinos much more potent and dangerous than yours. The game is free but offers in-app purchases and VIP membership. Also, keep in mind that constant GPS use affects the phone battery life.
Join a war to control a mysterious newly-discovered substance around numerous sites across the globe, called Exotic Matter, or just XM. Is it a threat or a new hope to unlock humanity’s full potential? It’s a collaborative AR game with 2 factions competing in exploring and uncovering the truth. Public installations, monuments, squares – scan places with the app scanner to find resources.
You will compete against the other team in capturing more virtual territory, linking sites and portals together and then defending it. Overall, it is nice team experience to go on exploratory missions, kill time and possibly find new friends too. It is still being activelly developed and improved since its launch in 2012. Although, many players still complain about bugs, graphics and lack of strict rules.
A small chicken farm inside your living room as a click-through simulator game, which will draw players to their screens with each egg hatched. Yes, more chickens, more eggs, more hatch houses, more sales. Soon there will be no free place left in your room. Sharp 3D graphics and funny chicks will be a nice family time with kids for sure.
Upgrade, grow a farm, go on missions, research building materials, progress normally for free or go faster with paying items. The background music makes it all more captivating. Ads and purchases are not that intrusive. The in-game currency is golden eggs, by the way. Egg Inc. is an addictive game for patient players.
How about playing your favorite Angry Birds on real physical surfaces and make people wonder what’s going on? Also, how about popping little green piggies instead of birdies? This is a nice funny mobile Augmented Reality adventure game with 70 levels, laying an action over real environments, as seen through a smartphone screen. Go through levels with different pigsty buildings, fit them into odd surroundings and then attack it with a slingshot!
Walk through different angles, adjust the game screen size, tap to take shots. It is a pleasant and funny simple game appropriate for all ages. It could also be a starting point for those who are going to learn to interact with 3D elements. The app requires a phone with AR features, namely camera, gyroscope, Internet connectivity.
This Augmented Reality game combines geolocation AR tech with fun social activities. Friends and colleagues can leave hidden messages to one another in a teasing fun way. App users take a picture of a real physical place (streets, walls, etc.) and then add texts, images or hand-drawn sketches over it. Afterwards, they can share it with friends or anyone so that friends may come by and discover those hidden messages.
What’s also great is that there’s no ads or in-app purchases. Totally free to enjoy! Messages can be private or public. On the other hand, only users of the AR app can view the messages. WallaMe comes with AR/geolocation, stickers, drawing tools, social sharing, commenting, camera. All in all, a nice and fun adventure game to try out.
P.S. The last update was introduced in July 2019, and we hope it won’t be abandoned by developers.
AR shooting games
Shooters are considered to be the most popular genre in the gaming world. Fans of Counter Strike and Call of Duty are now able to face their enemies in the real world, and not just on the computer screen. Placing the enemy in the real environment, AR first person shooting games enable you to defend your neighborhood and feel the fantastic emotions.
8. The Walking Dead: Our World
A first-person zombie shooting AR game with spectacular fights on display in physical surroundings. Actually, no movement is even required, the app brings the shootout straight where you are to play. Be cautious with other people outside as they do not see what you see happening on the screen. Point a camera to random spots and when zombies appear shoot them in the head.
Team up with friends if you’d like a mupliplayer shooter action. Get as many points as possible to win, a sniper rifle would help a lot, by the way. Take pictures with famous The Walking Dead series characters and share it on social media. Age rating is 17+ as there might be elements of horror and realistic violence.
Similar principle of exploring the environment, spotting the enemy and shooting in a stand-off, Reality Clash is one prime examples of Augmented Reality shooter games. It is free to play game using geo-location, where players with smartphones participate in real-time battles, turning real places into virtuals sites, navigating a 3D map of a city, mining resources at special locations.
To play the game the following will be required: geo-location, network connection, GPS, ARKit support for iPhone 6 and higher. Fans of unique in-game weapons, avatars, combat dynamics, real-time battles, as well as AR games in general, will definitely love this. With real money one can buy blueprints and silver.
Price: Free. downloads: 1M.Requires: Android 4.4, iOS 10.3.3 or up.
Size: 100 Mb Android, 230 Mb iOS.
A laser tag multiplayer battles brought to you via a AR mobile game. This first-person shooter though requires a special AR device called Inceptor by the same vendor that is aimed at gameplay enhancement, as not all phones possess AR capability. With it mounted players can locate other players with GPS location, hit enemies up to 50 meters, and do headshots at up to 15 meters distance.
4 different weapon types (assault rifle, sniper rifle, submachine gun, handgun) are available to choose from, each with own shooting range, accuracy, damage potential. You can play the game indoor our outdoor, up to 16 vs 16 teams, or individually. Unfortunately, the last update was made in 2018, so the future of this project is unclear.
Another fascinating AR zombie shooting game with you at a wheel of military helicopter with lots of ammo to hunt down zombies being airborne. Fly a helicopter with your body movement, switch to infra-red camera mode for night vision, arm yourself with guns, missiles, rockets, sniper pods.
Note: For Zombie Gunship one requires a device using ARCore. And then the action begins – you can expect highly intense battles, realistic powerful shooting, great graphics. Simple inteface, equip the weapons to be able to fire, although many users complain about the controls and camera AR mode.
The world of templar knights and battled represented as an Augmented Reality experience, combining strategy, adventure and combat games into one. The Holy Grail is virtually defended by Mamluk warriors guarding castle walls and you have to outwit or fight them with arrows and fireballs. All characters are placed in user environment and the scene is displayed on the screen.
On the other hand, it has a demo feel to it, very simplistic and with a few controls only. And there’s no multi-player mode, just a single mode. But there’s also the Photo mode, so that one can place and/or scale characters, add animations, take pictures and then share it with friends on social media channels.
Another laser tag game possible via a smartphone camera and Internet. Aim and shoot other players that are caught in camera range, out it. It is simplistic, there’s no choice of weapon and users have to use the same Wi-fi to play. There’s only a version for Android devices so far. Also, it is developed by a private single coder, yet it has a fine potential.
Sport AR games / Quests
Being a sport fan in real life you’ll definitely like the possibility to go in for it in Augmented Reality. With sport AR games Android/iOS you’ll be able to play basketball, racing or add some more adrenaline into morning run. Even more stunning are quests in the real life. You search through your neighborhood, travel across the country, find treasures meeting new people and getting to know the world better.
14. Zombies, Run!
Here comes the augmented reality game, which will make your morning jog into a fascinating adventure! Your protagonist with the name “Player 5” survives the zombie attack on the city. You will listen to music and different narrations in your headphones.
The main aim is to complete different missions through walking or running. You collect items and run from zombies chasing you. There are several seasons of the game released now, so that you never lose the motivation to exercise in the morning!
The iOS augmented reality game AR Sports Basketball by the Belgian Triangle factory tech company allows you to shoot hoops just like a basketball player, in any location or time. Its a simple game with basic level AR, comes with different game modes (desk, normal, multiplayer) and also different hoop sizes. In fact, the game is so plain simple that users ask for more features already.
This basketball AR game works on iOS 11.0 or later devices (compatible with ARKit), i.e. iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch. Point your phone, find the area to place the hoop, it will appear on your screen, aim and shoot the ball individually or between Player 1 and 2. In desk mode you can do the same but with downgraded size hoop placed on a table, for example.
Luckily, there are Android versions of a similar ball game too. Place a phone wherever you like, see the hoop on the screen and flick to throw endless balls to score points. It’s a good little AR game to take the mind off for a few minutes, though it still could be quite addictive. No images, no QR codes, no markers needed – just launch the app and through virtual balls. Swipe right to choose a difficulty level, there’s up to 50 of those.
Here comes a treasure hunting game in AR mode. It has its followers in almost every country of the world and encourages you to explore the hidden places of the planet. How it works? Through an AR app you get the instructions of where to look for a geocache. It can be in the next building or on the top of the mountain. You find it, log the photo in, and hide another item for next gamers.
Gameplay features: recent activity, hints for geocaches, a map, a compass, real-time nearby geocaches as a player moves, messaging between players, navigational and distance settings, etc. One can choose map options according to preference: by sreet, by satellite, or hybrid.
In the Premium version treasures can be found with an offline map. Surely, such an intricate mobile app can’t perform smoothly and without glitches here and there, but its developers from Seattle are making bug fixes constantly, the current version is already 8.30.1.
AR board and educational games, networking apps
This type of games is suitable both for one or several players. Your table or floor is the battlefield, and your smartphone is the actual game. Short augmented reality games for Android and iOS allow to enjoy every free minute.
18. Augmented Class
An educational app in beta stage so far, yet quite fascinating and interactive. It lets you create own AR contents and projects through a plain interface, this can be of benefit to teachers, students and kids. Upload models of items, animals, cars, etc. and place them in your environments to see and explore. For full feature access register as a beta user.
Devar is a family-friendly “edutainment” AR platform with a variety of diverse content for kids: books, lessons, characters, space models and more. What better way to motivate and interest children to learn and discover new things? For example, to see what dinosaurs looked like, point a phone camera at a flat surface, place a spot, see an animal there on the screen, move it around. Then swipe left and right for more animals and physical items.
This way, via an AR camera mode kids can draw, meet dragons, robots, historical figures, make photos with them, play mini-games, color books and spawn an AR representations of it, learn about the Solar System, human anatomy, etc. Augmented Reality books with publishers from many countries deserve a special shoutout. Internet connection is required.
A slingshot shooter in Augmented Reality with a twist – shoot a fruit on your friend’s or girlfriend’s head with a stone. Advance further and unlock new fruits and animated face masks and filters, share all the funny experiences on social media as pictures. Dynamic sound effects go along with it, and, by the way, no Internet connection is required to play.
Learn about cosmic objects, planets and the Solar System on interactive cards. The Sun, Earth, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and more at the palm of your hand and in detail. download and print it special cards, install the app, point a camera onto a card and view planets in AR mode. A collection set is available for purchase too.
Also, check out other projects by LunarEx Games (Atlanta, US) such as AR aquarium, dinosaurs, Leia 3D, entertaining mobile apps and games.
If you’d like an alternative Solar system AR experience, and for Android devices in particular, here’s the app by the US private developer, created with Vuforia AR development platform and Unity engine. All one has to do is to print the target sheet with marks, point a smartphone camera onto it and view the planets and orbits. Navigate through scenes with red and blue buttons.
Dinosaurs and prehistoric animals seem to be an admirable theme both by app developers and consumers. Unsurprisingly, when you get to place a reptile monster in a kitchen, the out-of-place and eerie feeling is created. Then you make pictures of it and send to friends and family to get them quite astonished at what’s happening.
Moreover, we can listen those creatures growl and see them move around us, as well as change their skin color or pattern. Scale them up or down too. Note that only T-Rex is available in the basic free version, other animals should be purchased. Triceratops or scolopendra – what’s the most exciting for you?
Creating own interactive objects, characters or visual effects could be both entertaining and educatiobal in its owb way. That what Metaverse projects does: compile AR experiences in Metaverse Studio desktop app and then view it in the Metaverse mobile app, or show it to kinds, friends, students, co-workers.
One can introduce AR objects in classrooms for kids, in marketing for gamification and customer engagement (e.g. virtual watches to try out on a hand through a phone), or just for fun friends – scavenger hunts with QR codes and AR markers, liven the photos, etc.). Make use of huge library of items, and visit Metaverse YouTube channel for tutorials.
Can there be a more pleasant and calming way to finish up this material or any other task, than petting a kitty? I say, no. Place a virutal small furry pal on any surface and play with it, feed or train it to do things. There are different cats each with its own character and preferences to learn about. There are also 21 famous cats to collect.
So, this was our massive overview of the Augmented Reality games that are on the market right now and the ones, that are going to hit the app stores in the nearest future. We hope some of them will really strike a chord with you. Anything missing? If you have your own favorite or upcoming AR game, Augmented Reality apps, etc., feel free to tell everyone in comments. Or maybe you like retro console games, say Mario Kart or Animal Crossing, preserved as ROMs at Gamulator.
Read more: 20 best AR development companies
Chief editor at hoanhtao3d.vn, analyst and business advisor at large.
Victor Mangur is hoanhtao3d.vn” long-serving analyst, writer and editor, devoted to software and all things digital. Before that he worked in media, publishing, advertising agencies from Ukraine, Hungary and Austria. Victor is an expert in SaaS, enterprise applications and optimization tools, sharing insights from the world of software development and marketing. He values and rigorously sticks to pragmatism, clarity, open-mindedness, efficiency and business ethics.