In this post, I want to share with you what in my opinion are the best augmented reality apps and games for both iOS and Android in 2018. 2018 was an incredible year for AR. It’s the year when we saw many developers diving into the world of AR and trying so many different types of apps as they try to explore this uncharted territory.
Of course, like many other types of apps, some were more successful than others in understanding the right formula that was translated into a better experience in this medium. It’s not easy trying to figure out what works, and in many times, just porting a title into AR doesn’t yield good results and therefore failed to impress.
In fact, most of the apps that were able to deliver great experiences are those who were developed from the ground up to AR and I personally admire for those who try to think of ideas that are in their mind, great for AR and they went for a fully-pledged AR title rather than trying to use AR as a small part of the app, although I respect and embrace everything AR related. Of course, I understand the business reasoning and risk assessment, but if you want to make a difference, you need to put all your mind into it and build something that fully utilizes these medium capabilities.
Well, let’s take a look at those augmented realities (AR) apps and games that stood out from the rest and were able to deliver a great AR experience. All the AR apps and games here were fully tested by myself, and represent my own opinion about them.
The apps are listed in no particular order.
1. Sketch AR
Sketch AR is an extraordinary educational AR app and a fantastic showcase of how useful AR is for that exact purpose. This app kindled my interest in learning how to draw and encouraged me to begin drawing and dive into that exciting creative domain. Sketch AR is definitely one of the more interesting and unique AR apps that I’ve got to use in 2018, great use of AR technology to improve and enhance the drawing learning experience. It also won AR Critic’s Editor’s Choice Award for 2018.
2. Blue Sky Paint
Blue Sky Paint is an AR app like no other. A simple yet brilliant idea that executed beautifully and accurately. It’s such a fascinating idea that it also brings up high expectations and the need for many more features that aren’t yet implemented especially social-related ones. Having said that, I think this is an essential app delivery path to introduce new technology, make it very easy to use and accessible so more people will opt trying it out. I can’t recommend it enough, Download it!
3. HADO Dodgeball (On-location AR Game, I had to add it)
HADO (HADO Digital Dodgeball is the full name of the game) is an AR sports game developed by Meleap Inc. In fact, when I visited the Hado arena at The 3rd Planet arcade gaming venue in Tokyo, there were two experiences there: Hado Kart and Hado Digital Dodgeball (PvP). HADO was one of the most exciting AR experienced I’ve ever tried. A competitive team-based FPS using AR goggles, a game like no other. I recommend visiting the official HADO website and checking out where you can try it yourself, an amazing AR gaming experience like no other.
4. The Birdcage
The Birdcage is the best puzzle augmented reality game that I’ve played to date. For me, it will definitely be remembered as an amazing puzzler. The Birdcage is one of those AR games that shakes our ground and makes us think again about what kind of games we should develop for augmented reality and it does it so superbly well with its surprisingly simplistic design. This is a must have AR game not just for puzzle fans but for any AR game fan. It really makes you rethink your own ideas and I’m sure that this game will inspire other developers as well.
5. Defend It! AR
Defend It! AR was among the first to make great use of ARKit 1.5 vertical surface detection feature. An app that makes good use of the AR framework features to deliver an immersive and exciting AR experience. Defend It! AR definitely made fantastic impressions and was among the first to deliver a compelling gameplay experience. How amazing it to see enemies coming out of the walls. This app inspired other developers to follow suit and after that app was released, many other developers went out with the same idea or at least was inspired to start making use of the vertical surface detection feature. This lead to amazing AR experience with this game being among the more impressive ones.
6. Lightstream Racer
Lightstream racer is a futuristic anti-gravity racing augmented reality game developed using Apple’s ARKit. The game features beautiful slick sci-fi graphics and fast-paced racing action with 360° racing tracks. In this game, players control a racing car and try to break time records of either other online players in the online mode or break a default time in the offline mode to unlock higher difficulty tracks for online and offline modes and progress in rank.
7. Space Blastards
In this explosive ARKit game called Blastards, you fight to repel an alien invasion, you unlock powerful weapons, upgrade them and go fight aliens in two different games modes: the first one is a 20-level campaign, which after half of his completion, you unlock the survival mode. The game has a unique vacuum-like grab mechanic which allow the player to grab power-ups and items to power-up his abilities and help him survive longer during those tough engagement.
8. Ghostbusters World
Ghostbusters World has so many good things going for it. It has great depth, you always have something to do, the AR ghost battles are amazing with addictive capture gameplay, there is a story mode, JRPG-style turn-based game modes, good feeling of progression, there are tons of ghosts to collect, many game modes, satisfying progression system, multiplayer raids, great visuals, addicting gameplay mechanics and more.
9. ARia’s Legacy
ARia’s Legacy is a real-world scale augmented reality escape room game for iOS. The idea was to give users a similar escape room experience as those on-location based ones.. It is among my top favorite AR games to date. I love large-scale AR games, but many of them were done improperly and therefore made the experience much less exciting and even annoying. ARia’S Legacy, on the other hand, was designed with a good understanding of the accessibility aspect of designing such a game.
10. Pest Invasion
Pest Invasion is a colorful and vibrant wave-based action shoot’em up augmented reality game for iOS, developed using ARKit. You need to defend a cute little cupcake from being destroyed by an invasion of creepy little (some are not that small) pests that try to destroy it. Pest Invasion is an entertaining game in general but it reaches its plateau, high peak, relatively quickly that being said, it still will be remembered one of the more cheerful and vibrant AR games that I”ve played in 2018 and I think you should definitely check it out, kids will love it.
11. Tibb AR
Tibb AR is a wacky 360-degree Egg Hunt Battle Augmented Reality arcade game where the goal is to try to survive as long as possible while collecting magic eggs, and avoid touching rotten eggs. Players will need to tap or swipe through colorful eggs which are spread around them. At the top, you see your total score and your health bar. If that bar reaches zero, the game ends. A fun and colorful AR game for all ages!
12. Rampage: AR Unleashed
Rampage: AR Unleashed is probably my most used AR app during my travels. I had so much fun today playing with the official augmented reality app of the upcoming movie Rampage. It’s one of the best promotional movie apps that I’ve tried to date. I was emotional while reviewing this app, as it brought up some really pleasant childhood memories. Because of that, I enjoyed using this app more than I enjoyed the other AR scene creator apps that I’ve previously used.
13. Untamed ARena (Toys & App)
Untamed Arena is a game that utilized Untamed Fingerlings toys to bring dinosaur toys to life in augmented reality. It’s a great AR game for children. To make the best use of it and be able to unlock more features, you need to scan one of the physical toys, that will bring different dinos to life in AR, where you use them to fight other dinos in fun fighting gameplay. You can view my Untamed Fingerlings unboxing video to learn more about the toys.
Wonderscope is a fantastic story app for kids that encourages interaction and evolvement thus delivering an exceptional storytelling experience. This includes high-quality narration, voice acting, and visuals, wrapped around with great AR features that make the experience even more entertaining, fresh and exciting. Wonderscope is available on the App Store for iOS for free, with unlockable paid chapters. If you have kids, I highly recommend downloading this app. Just keep in mind that the app is, designed in English (voice-recognition spoke words and narration is in English).
Didn’t imagine that after reviewing so many AR apps, that I will be so fascinated with what had seemed to be a little gimmicky app. The magic lies in its simplicity and computer vision and AR technology utilization ingenuity. It’s a marvelous idea that just works so well in AR. Even if you are not a Star Wars fan, you’ll love that powerful feeling of holding this iconic and beautiful glowing sword in your hand. You really have to try Instasaber out, it gives you a glimpse of what can be achieved in AR with some creative thinking and great use of current technologies.
Other names worth mentioning: Ghosts ‘n Guns, LightSpace, Kings of Pool AR mode, Monsters Park AR Dino World, Night Sky, Snapchat Lenses, Plank!, Hello Mars AR, Piano 3D, Guns of Boom AR real-time match viewing experience, and others. Make sure you read my blog to find out more about some other amazing AR apps and games.
These are my top augmented reality AR apps and games for 2018. If you are a developer and think that I might have missed your app, please tweet me and I’ll check it out. I had an incredible year because I was able to try out, review and share all these amazing augmented reality apps. I also know that this is just the start, and things will just get better and better, with mixed reality glasses and having ARKit and ARcore getting more updates and improvements. In 2019 I hope we’ll have an occlusion feature in most frameworks, so we can create even more exciting AR apps and games. Computer vision, Machine Learning, AR Cloud and AI will further help enhance these experience and will allow developers to realize their amazing ideas, what wasn’t possible a year before.
I’ll be there to share with you those amazing moments. I always appreciate the support. If you want to support me, check out my pinned Tweet. Thank you so much for everyone, all the devs, visitors, subscribers, Patreon supporters and the amazing people in this community, have a great year and Merry Christmas!