I know what I'm planning to do on Christmas Day: Get my family believing in the dream that is Google's Daydream.

I've been having tons of fun exploring the different virtual reality apps offered in the Play Store and there are a surprising number of ready-to-go games and movies available. If you're like me and you're planning to evangelize wonder of virtual reality at the holiday dinner time, here are five apps to load up on your smartphone before you start the showcase.


If you're going to convince someone of the worthiness of a virtual reality headset, the first thing you have to do is help them ease into it. I'm of the belief that it's a bad idea to jump into a game or anything overly immersive. Instead, start off with a short film that uses virtual reality's mechanics but doesn't send your pal into a tailspin.

Within is a particularly great starter app because it's one of the least jarring. Its interface is easy to navigate with just the Daydream controller, and you can pick from a variety of independently-made movies and documentaries, the bulk of which have received accolades from film festivals around the world. My favorite is The Click Effect, which takes you underwater to understand the language of dolphins and whales. Be sure to use a pair of headphones or earbuds for the full 3D spatial VR experience.

Download Within (Free)


One of the best things about VR is being able to immerse yourself in make believe. If you have watched Harry Potter, and let's face it, everyone has, then you have also wished you could wield a magic wand and duel a Death Eater. Well with Wands from Nux Studios you can.

Wands set's you as a budding wizards apprentice battling evil in various places in the not-actually-Harry-Potter wizarding world where you duel other wizards using your Daydream controller to draw mstic spells in the air. As a starter app it really shows off the Daydream Controller and how intuitive it is to play VR games standing, and spinning like crazy.

Download Wands ($5.99)

The Turning Forest

The Turning Forest's half-elephant, half-camel dragon.

Anyone who says virtual reality isn't creative expression is out of touch. BBC's The Turning Forest is visually and audibly stunning. It originally premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and it follows the young child's journey on a half-elephant, half-camel's back. To get the most out of this app, grab a pair of headphones, put yourself in a comfortable swivel chair, and use the controller to make music with the monster's teeth, the birds, the fish, and the icicles. The Turning Forest is truly a work of art.

Download The Turning Forest (Free)

Hello Mars

Hello Mars is neat.

The "up in space" simulation of Daydream VR is phenomenal, made even more so with the aid of an impressive pair of headphones. Equip yourself with your favorite pair and hang tight in Hello Mars, a realistic space simulation which takes you through the Mars vehicle landing procedure. The experience was recreated using NASA's public data and Hello Mars exists as a dedication to those who work on aerospace science & technologies.

Download Hello Mars ($0.99)


Another game that makes you feel like the hero of a movie is The Arcslinger by Big Red Button Entertainment. Set in an alien Wild West, it lets you play as a Gun slinging, cowboy hero, saving the planet from varmin! Arcslinger uses the Daydream Controller to full effect, and although it can be difficult to master, once you do it's quick draw, wild west action all the way. The Arcslinger is great for showing off your new Daydream Purchase to others, and, just plain fun to play. Get it, You'll like it, I promise.

Download Arcslinger ($3.49)

Bonus: Netflix VR

While Netflix isn't essential as a starter app for VR, if you have a Netflix account it's a great way to spend some free time. Seeing your shows on a massive screen, surrounded by a chalet is a calming experience and introduces you to the idea of how you could use it while traveling. On a plane, train, or bus, using a VR headset to watch a movie is very escapist. Especially if you can use headphones.

Did your first Daydream app not make the list? Share your first Daydream experiences with us in the comments!

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