Augmented reality isn’t just a concept or gimmick anymore. Pokemon Go took the technology mainstream in the summer of 2016, and now that game’s developer is back this year with Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.
But those are just two games out of many in a still growing category. To that end, Den of Geek has put together a list of 25 of the best AR games available now on your mobile devices:
2012 | Niantic | iOS, Android
How important is Ingress to the AR genre as a whole? It’s not too far-fetched to say that, if developer Niantic had not first made Ingress, Pokemon Go might not have happened.
Ingress was first released on Android in 2013 and features the same location-based gameplay that would pave the way for Pokemon Go. Players join one of two factions and attempt to maintain control over specific areas. The game’s story has The Enlightened facing off against the Resistance in a never-ending battle to control the world’s energy.
Niantic would use many of Ingress‘s key locations when building out the map for Pokemon Go and later Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.
2017 | Directive Games | iOS, Android
If you’re looking for a fun multiplayer title, look no further than The Machines. This title can turn any tabletop or flat surface into a battlefield where your own Machines face off against family and friends in the same room or against competition from around the world. There’s a clear MOBA influence here, with gamers moving to take down towers across the map on their way to the enemy base.
Ticket to Earth
2017 | Robot Circus | iOS, Android
Ticket to Earth bills itself as a “tactical puzzle RPG” and longtime fans of strategy RPG franchises will find a lot to like here. The game’s gorgeous AR mode displays the large game grid on your tabletop of choice where you can watch the colorful manga-inspired characters come to life as they attack opponents or retreat to a safer part of the map. The game also offers a rich story featuring a strong narrative and plenty of plot twists as you move through the world of New Providence.
2017 | Grisly Manor Studios | iOS, Android
If you’re looking for a classic FPS experience on mobile, ARZombi does a fine job of bringing back memories of your favorite Zombies level in Call of Duty. The game is best played inside your house, as the zombies make their way through your doors, windows, and any other opening they can find. The game even lets you specifically map your doors and windows in real life to where the zombies will show up in the game to make the experience more realistic.
2017 | PlaySide | iOS, Android
If pet simulators are your thing, AR Dragon is an adorable way to bring back memories of your favorite Tamagotchi or Nintendog. The gameplay is exactly what you would expect from the title, with players caring for their very own little dragon, brought to life anywhere you enable augmented reality. By unlocking food, toys, and other power-ups, you can eventually watch your baby dragon progress through its teen years all the way to adulthood.
2018 | RAC7 | iOS, Android
Splitter Critters tasks players with getting a number of cute alien friends back to their spaceship by cutting through and rearranging various terrain in this whimsical puzzle game. The AR mode lets you play in full 3D, giving you a more complete view of the various options available to solve each puzzle.
2016 | Niantic | iOS, Android
No list of AR games would be complete without the title that introduced millions around the world to the concept of augmented reality. While Pokemon Go is no longer the viral phenomenon it was in 2016, Niantic has continued adding additional features to the game over time. Players can now trade Pokemon with their friends and team up to do battle against massive raid bosses.
Jurassic World Alive
2018 | Ludia Games | iOS, Android
“What if dinosaurs still walked among us” is a question that has been asked by multiple movies over the years, with the Jurassic Park franchise being chief among those. Jurassic World Alive brings the dinos right to your own backyard, or anywhere else in your city or neighborhood that you care to go. You’ll collect epic dino DNA and take care of your pets before taking them into battle. Like Pokemon, dinosaurs can be evolved into more interesting or dangerous breeds over time.
The Walking Dead: Our World
2018 | Next Games | iOS, Android
Billed as the official mobile game of the hit AMC television show, The Walking Dead: Our World has you tracking down and fighting Walkers in real life. Players can upgrade their weapons over time to do more damage and team up with friends to take down more powerful zombies. The game also features many of the same characters from the TV show as heroes, and you can equip them with better gear and level them up over time.
2017 | Dream Reality Interactive | iOS
Orbu is part miniature golf, part creature collector. Players use a slingshot to fling cute creatures around the increasingly complex courses before ultimately arriving at the final goal. There are a number of other miniature golf-type AR games available on the app stores, but Orbu‘s puzzles are more complex and well thought out than anything else we’ve played.
2017 | Climax Studios | iOS, Android
ARise asks players to escort a knight through a labyrinth that is brought to life right in your living room. What’s unique here is that the only way to solve the puzzles is to move around the room in real life. The protagonist will frequently run into missing sections that impede his advancement but by moving to a different part of your living room you can work out how to get him to the other side.
2017 | Ketchapp | iOS
Stack AR is essentially AR Jenga. But instead of moving around Jenga blocks on your kitchen table, you’ll be stacking virtual blocks right on your living room floor or anywhere else you want to get a game in. The goal is to stack the blocks as high as you can. It’s pretty basic compared to some of the other titles on this list, but if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to experience what AR can do, this game will get the job done.
2018 | Frosty Pop Games | iOS
Ninja Attack!‘s description on the App Store is so good we’re just going to print it word for word: “Ninja Attack! is the result of a bizarre thesis statement: If Hunter S. Thompson was head of art department at Sega Corporation Ltd. in the early ’80s, what would the bonus round in Shinobi look like?”
The game will have you throwing ninja stars at everything from people at your backyard BBQ to your poor dog in the living room, all while collecting new skins and power-ups in the process.
Angry Birds AR: Isle of Pigs
2019 | Rovio | iOS
Angry Birds AR takes the tried and true formula from one of mobile’s most popular franchises and brings it to life. With augmented reality, the game’s elaborate stages are rendered in three dimensions and you can use your phone like a slingshot to send a bird flying towards the soon-to-be-demolished construction. One of the coolest features is that you can walk around the AR image of a stage to find the best possible angle of attack.
2018 | Kevin Glew | iOS
Sure, it’s another alien invasion game, but this one features a retro vibe, with all of the incoming spaceships calling back memories of the iconic Space Invaders. The mission is simple: take out the UFOs before they do damage to your city, neighborhood, or living room.
Genesis Augmented Reality
2018 | Genesis Augmented Reality | iOS, Android
If you’ve ever wanted to bring the characters and creatures of Hearthstone to life, the closest you’ll probably get is Genesis, an AR trading card game. Throw down a card onto your tabletop and you’ll be able to see your champion or creature actually attack your opponent. The game was born out of a successful Kickstarter, and the team looks like it has more updates planned with additional cards and characters in the works.
2016 | KO_OP Mode | iOS
GNOG is a “puzzle box” game that can be played in AR or in normal mode, and it’s honestly good enough to recommend either way. Players will poke, point, click, grab, and pull to unlock the next puzzle solution. And the AR mode can really help bring your new toy to life.
2016 | Flaregames | iOS
Like GNOG, Olympus Rising is another popular game with an optional AR mode. The game offers action-strategy gameplay, as players fight in large-scale battles featuring hundreds of units. When not on the battlefield, players focus on city building and carving out their very own place on Mount Olympus.
2017 | Lykke Studios | iOS
The title character of Amon is the “God of Air” and players join him on his journey to solve various optical illusions and piece together epic 3D sculptures that look like they’re straight out of Ancient Greece. This is a good choice who appreciate a good puzzle.
Kings of Pool
2017 | Uken Studios | iOS, Android
The next time you and your friends feel like a game of pool, you don’t have to head out to the local bar. With Kings of Pool, you can throw down a virtual pool table anytime, anywhere. The game offers both 8-ball and 9-ball play and realistic physics. Players can face off against others online or form their own club with their friends.
2017 | Digital Melody Games | iOS, Android
We were surprised by how much we enjoyed ARcade Plane given its simple one-touch gameplay. It’s like someone figured out a way to make PilotWings come to life. Players fly a plane all around their chosen space while attempting to avoid obstacles and collect stars along the way.
Lego AR Playgrounds
2018 | Lego Systems | iOS
What if you could make your Lego set come to life without using your imagination? That’s the idea behind this app, which turns your childhood, brick-building dreams into a reality. Build Lego sets (sold separately) in the real world and then activate this app to watch them turn into something that belongs in the next Lego Movie, only the action is taking place right in your house.
2017 | Vermont Digital Arts | iOS
Waggle Words is ideal for fans of Scrabble or Words with Friends, or anyone who wants a fun way to increase their vocabulary. The game’s AR mode brings the massive beehive of letters into the real world, allowing you to spell out words to your heart’s content in any space you like.
2018 | Four Thirty Three | iOS, Android
Ghostbusters World lets you turn into a real-life Ghostbuster, using your smartphone to detect ghosts hiding throughout the real world. The game is similar to Pokemon Go, with players tasked with finding a large collection of ghosts. Players can use their ghosts to PvP against one another or team up together for multiplayer boss raids.
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite
2019 | Niantic | iOS, Android
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is Niantic’s follow-up to Pokemon Go and uses most of the same real-world locations players know from the previous game. But instead of tossing Pokeballs, this game has players casting spells and doing battle with characters from the Wizarding World. The game also offers a more robust story than Pokemon Go, with many fan-favorite characters making an appearance along the way.
Niantic essentially learned from some of the missteps they made during Pokemon Go‘s early days to create a title with a lot more content and features right out of the gate. Pokemon Go was like catching lightning in a bottle and it remains to be seen if Wizards Unite can obtain the long-term success of its predecessor, but for gamers interested in AR, you won’t find a more polished title than Niantic’s latest release.