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Best augmented reality (AR) games for Android

June 11, 2012

Augment Reality (AR) became a realization way back in the 70’s, when Morton Heilig created the Sensorama, a device that can render 3D images, sound, wind, as well as aromas, to create a virtual reality for the user.

Fast forward to the present age–augmented reality is now a possible feat and almost anyone can enjoy the thrill and excitement just by having an Android smartphone.  Have you ever wished that you could experience augmented reality? Here are some of the best augmented reality games that you can experience firsthand on your smartphone.

WARNING: Some of the games featured on this list contain violence, blood, gore, and such other content that may be inappropriate for young users.

One of the most downloaded augmented reality games is Droid Shooting. Turn any real-life boring background into a real life shooting fest as you deal with waves upon waves of droids that will come and attack you. Droid Shooting utilizes your phone’s camera and makes it a viewfinder or HUD (Heads-up-display) for the battlefield. You will also find a radar at your disposal, so you’ll always know where those vicious droids plan to attack.

As a shoot-em-up game, players will be treated to a wide variety of guns to choose from. To make it more challenging, you need to use your phone’s accelerometer to navigate and shoot droids from the screen, making you tilt your phone in all directions. If you are a casual gamer who needs a dose of entertainment in your day, then Droid Shooting could just be the best partner for your trigger-happy hands.

One of the most sought-after games for Android is Parallel Kingdom by PerBlue. Parallel Kingdom was nominated for a couple of awards, including best MMO, creative use of hardware, best use of location service, and best augmented reality game.

From the name itself, the game places players in a parallel universe that turns Google Maps into a large-scale medieval map of kingdoms, dungeons, and castles. The game’s idea is simple; players just need to slay monsters in dark dungeons or battle dragons in the player’s own backyard.

Players can travel to far away lands and conquer chunks of land, claiming them as their own territory. Along the way, you’ll be able to gather items and food, upgrade a set of skills, and coordinate with your allies through the game’s massive inter-connectivity.

Paint your friends in an awesome frag fest in this virtual world of paintball battles. Dive into the action with Paintball as you experience heart-pumping action, playing a game of paintball with your friends just by using your Android smartphone. Players will be able to choose from a variety of paintball weapons, starting from a standard marker to full-fledge industrial paintball grenade launchers that cause a massive amount of damage to your friends.

Whenever you are successfully hit by a paintball, your phone’s screen will flash, indicating a hit by one of your enemies. You can’t play by yourself, but once you get to the game with a couple of your friends then it’s basically an all-out war. Take the game in a free-for-all death match or partner with a friend for a team match-up via Wi-Fi. Make every shot count as the score really matters.

Have you ever thought of a zombie breakout in your neighborhood? If the answer is yes, then all you need is Zombie, Run, a neat little application that turns your worst nightmare into a reality. Zombie, Run will let players run for their lives as the app turns Google Maps into a nightmarish land of the dead with zombies roaming around in search of the living.

Players need to choose the Zombie Count for how many zombies populate the area. Once you’re done with setting the zombies, then you’re ready to play the game. The objective of the game is simple, all you need to do is reach the endpoint without bumping those red dots; those represent the game’s zombies. The game may sound like child’s play, but it is really addictive and fun once you go up a few levels.

Have you always wanted to go ghost hunting? SpeckTrek can help you make your wish come true. The app is clever enough to recognize your location and places where it can spawn digital ghosts and other bonuses on your phone. The object of the game is to find ghosts and capture them, a la Ghostbusters. In order to catch one successfully, you need to get as close to the specters as possible so you can aim a special net at them.

SpecTrek uses your phone’s camera and turns it into a ghost-capturing mechanism. SpecTrek is great for goofing around the house. The game becomes harder as you progress through the levels. The more you play, the more area you have to cover, and the game becomes a real-life adventure you can experience on your smartphone.

Turn your phone into full-fledge sniper rifle and get into the boots of a sniper. iSnipeYou is an augmented reality game that will let you play the role of a professionally trained marksman. If you are bored of the standard shooting games that only let you shoot virtual targets on the screen, then iSnipeYou will definitely change the way you play games.

In iSnipe, players will use their phone’s camera as the game transforms it into a sniper rifle’s precise and sensitive scope. Your targets are real-life objects. Aim your sights and hit the fire button to shoot your target down. If a headshot has been made, you’ll be awarded with extra points.

The game is realistic enough with blood splatter effects. Players can also save in-game screenshots and share them with friends via social networking sites such as Facebook.

If you’ve got the passion for shooting down things but still can’t afford to get a real gun and a license, you can always practice using your Android smartphone. AR Shooting is a shooting application that lets you wield a gun and shoot as if you were holding one in your hands. The app is straightforward; the app lets you use first-person view with your hand and a gun visible.

All the controls can be done through the use of your phone’s accelerometer. To shoot, all you need to do is tap the screen and it automatically fires your weapon with corresponding sound effects. Players can also change what type of gun they can shoot with, being able to choose from a Colt Python to an M16 Assault Rifle.

Compared to Parallel Kingdom that involves a flair of strategy and a good dedication of your time, Skeeter Beater is a fairly easy game for casual players. Simply put, the game is a beat-em-up smash fest to kill mosquitoes, or, as the game calls them, Skeeters. Fully interactive, the game takes place in augmented reality as it allows you to use your fingers to squash those insects as you move your phone from side to side to find more Skeeters.

In each round, players are required to kill a certain number of Skeeters. As the game progresses, it becomes more challenging and Skeeters fly faster. Bonus mode can be entered by earning a number of points in a round. The game also has a 3D mode that allows your phone sensors to keep track of those pesky Skeeters in full 360-degree motion. 2D Mode, on the other hand, allows restricted movement of the Skeeters to the proximity of the screen.

Transform your camera into one real-looking gun. If you’re a Call of Duty fan or you simply want to relieve some stress, then CamGun can turn your fantasies into a reality. CamGun is a fun way to use your phone’s camera, turning it into a first-person shooter. Shoot your friends or inanimate objects with a wide variety of weapons, ranging from a dual-wielding SOCOM Mark23 to a Star Wars blue Light Saber.

The latest version of CamGun includes special effects with blood spatters, not to mention realistic headshots. To fire the gun, all you need to do is point and tap the screen to fire. CamGun is also a great tool to play fantasy games of Zombies vs Humans or use Google Latitude to document your kills.

Basketball will never be the same again once you try out NBA: King of the Court. If you always have been a basketball fan in your life, be sure not to miss out an interesting basketball game that takes your game up to the next level. NBA: King of the Court is not your typical basket ball game but rather a location-based, augmented reality game.

Become the “King” of the ring as you play in real world locations. Players will be able to use their phones as a locator to search for local courts and challenge the players in that location in an “Augmented Reality” browser camera game. Players can even customize and defend their personal turf with power-ups to add spunk to their kingdom.

Compete in weekly contests and players can gain additional rewards and badges to add to their collection. As the player progresses in later levels, they can also unlock cool power-ups, collect royalties, and even earn bonus points.

Live the life of a criminal mastermind in Life is Crime, an augmented reality game like no other. Compared to other simulation crime city games in the Google Play Store, Life is Crime takes pride in being unique, as players actually engage in “crime” in a real-life neighborhood. Play where you live and build a strong reputation as the next king of the criminal empire. Players can start their criminal gang or gang-up with other players to become notorious.

Dominate real coffee shops, restaurants, or international airports, as the game literally transforms any real-life places into a digital contested territory. Players will have the ability to customize their avatar and equip themselves with over 200 guns, gear and other items.

Aside from that, the game map continuously grows every time, making the game dynamically challenging and fun as you play. Complete missions and grow your criminal empire in this one epic game of cops and robbers.

Have you always wanted to own a gun and shoot? If you’re still a minor or just want to have fun, then 3D Weapons is just the right application to wreak havoc without causing real-life damage to human life and property. Shoot with realistic 3D weapons as the application transforms any ordinary ndroid phone into a virtual gun that you could point and shoot.

Compared to other virtual weapon applications, 3D Weapons takes the full advantage of creating realistic weapons. Players can choose from a wide variety of weapons to choose from, including pistols, shotguns, assault rifles, and even an ultra powerful mini gun. Players can even render a picture, which they can frantically shoot to their heart’s content.

3D Weapons can be great for relieving stress or just for plain old crazy fun to kill time.

With all these augmented reality (AR) games for your Android device, spice up that boring period between classes or that long commute home. Download one or all of them today.