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Google Daydream VR adds HBO, virtual Lego, and more games

Google Daydream VR adds HBO, virtual Lego, and more games

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Google’s Daydream virtual reality headset is getting a new slate of games and apps. Today, seven more titles are padding out the library, putting Google closer to the 50 Daydream apps it’s promised by the end of the year. Two of these are video services: there’s NextVR, known for streaming concerts and sporting events in virtual reality, and HBO, which will let HBO Now and Go subscribers watch TV on a virtual big screen in Daydream. As we’ve heard before, Netflix has an app on the way, too, and that’s now listed as coming later this month.

On the gaming side, Lego is releasing Lego BrickHeadz Builder VR, a free game with no in-app purchases. BrickHeadz Builder essentially offers two modes. In one, you can play with Lego figures and prefabricated objects, watching them interact to unlock new characters and props. In another, you get a virtual building board and can call up bricks to make specific models, or select your own shapes and colors and create whatever you want. It’s fairly robust for a free VR app, although the Daydream remote makes placing items a little finicky; just putting one brick on top of another is sometimes more frustrating than fun.

Netflix and Need for Speed are coming soon

The rest of its new apps are paid ones. Gunjack 2: End of Shift is a sequel to the popular Gear VR title, a turret shooter set in the EVE universe. Wands is a multiplayer magic dueling game that’s also made its way from Gear VR; it’s arguably a better fit on Daydream, where the controller resembles an actual wand. Underworld Overlord is a tower defense game from System Shock 3 studio OtherSide Entertainment — you’re an evil lich, using traps and monsters to attack waves of dungeon-crawling adventurers. And Layers of Fear: Solitude is a VR adaptation of horror exploration game Layers of Fear, in which a mad painter ventures through a surreal mansion to complete his final work.

I was able to try most of these games, and they’re a bit like the rest of the current Daydream catalog: competent and comfortable, but not so exciting that I’d wholeheartedly recommend splurging on them unless you’re interested in Daydream as a platform. The most interesting of the bunch is one that Google has just announced for later this month: Need For Speed: No Limits VR, a Daydream-based entry in the racing game series. I’ve had some problems with overheating in Need for Speed, an issue that will hopefully be fixed by launch. But using the Daydream motion remote as a steering wheel works far better than you might think, and racing games are the rare genre that can offer a fast-moving first-person perspective without too much fear of motion sickness.

As we noted earlier, today also marks the official launch of Daydream in “crimson” and “snow,” beyond the slate gray that was available at launch. And if you got a free Daydream code by preordering the Pixel phone, I can now confirm that it will let you order any color — which is great, because let’s be honest, everybody wants the red one.