Pokemon GO isn't like most mobile games -- it puts collectible creatures out in the real world for you to find, and you can only see them through your iPhone or iPad's cameras. But it's not the onlymore
Pokemon GO isn't like most mobile games -- it puts collectible creatures out in the real world for you to find, and you can only see them through your iPhone or iPad's cameras. But it's not the only game that takes computer graphics and adds them to what your cameras can see, a process called augmented reality or AR. It turns out that you can get a bunch of other cool AR games for just a few bucks each, or even free. Here are some of the best augmented reality entertainment for iOS devices.
ARise is basically like an AR version of the Monument Valley puzzle games, where you manipulate a maze of optical illusions to get your character to the exit. In ARise, though, the maze is projected into the real world in front of you. You can still move it around with touchscreen controls, but AR lets you walk around the puzzle itself, zoom in and out, and see angles that are otherwise hidden from view. It's not something you can play easily on the subway or bus, but it's fun if you have a coffee table and some room to walk around it. ARise is just $3 and has no ads or in-app purchases.
This one is also similar to Monument Valley, with the added challenge of some light combat in the style of Lara Croft GO playing into your manipulation of the game world. As you rotate blocks to get to your exit, you have to make sure that you don't put yourself right in front of a maze guard, who will attack you on sight.
We recommend having some open space to move around in, like a living room, because you'll need to see the mazes in AR from multiple angles to solve their puzzles and avoid getting flanked by the bad guys. The AR mode is also an optional feature, if you prefer not to move around while playing. Euclidean Lands costs just $4 and has no ads or in-app purchases.
This whimsical shooter pits you against waves of increasingly challenging floating creatures that look like escapees from a vintage '80s arcade game. They'll swirl all around you, so you'll need to be prepared to spin 360 degrees to get them in your sights before they attack you. You get a health bar, and you can get hit several times before it's game over. The radar in the upper right will help you track them.
Once you've taken out a wave of ghoulies, a boss creature will appear, and defeating them will start a new wave. You can also quit and come back to where you left off, rather than having to start from the beginning every time. The game is free and shows occasional ads, which you can remove with a one-time $1.99 fee.
If The Machines looks familiar, that's because Apple used it in its launch presentation of the iPhone 8 and X. It's kind of like a real-time strategy game, with its map projected ideally onto a table in front of your phone. You win by attacking the enemy's base and destroying its headquarters, which is protected by two towers that must be destroyed first. Success comes from calling in the right resources at the right time (like airstrikes and air-dropped turrets). The visual details are also very sharp -- this doesn't look or feel like a budget game that's just leveraging a tech gimmick. The Machines is $5 total, with no ads or in-app transactions.
This popular and charming side-scrolling puzzle game has you slice across the screen with a finger to cut the game world into separate chunks, which is necessary to create pathways to the exit. Like Euclidean Lands, you can play it in regular 2D mode, or you can switch to AR mode. With the latter, the game world gets put inside a cube that gets projected in front of you. You don't get any special gameplay advantages this way, but AR does let you zoom in, play in portrait mode, and take some fun screenshots to share with friends. It costs just $3 and has no ads or in-app purchases.