Augmented Reality
Apps

Merging the Digital and Physical with Augmented Reality Apps

Augmented Reality is finally taking off, and soon we will be treated with wonderful apps. While the technology is there, it is yet to reach full exposure. In my quest to find the best augmented reality apps on Android, I only netted 3 apps that felt new and unique. There is a stout shortage of quality augmented reality apps for Android in the Google play store.

This app list will certainly grow as I find more appealing apps in the category. But for now, we will have to make do with the three apps I have found that passed our strict quality standards. For those who are not familiar with augmented reality, it is a way to enhance your physical surroundings with virtual objects. Usually many people mix augmented reality with the virtual reality but actually, both are different.

Augmented reality uses digital components in your real world surroundings while virtual reality takes you to a different place altogether. Augmented reality also requires the use of your smartphone camera because it needs to see your surroundings.

Note: The Augmented Reality Apps on Android were tested on a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 as well as a Sony Xperia Z smartphones. The apps require the use of your camera and will sometimes use mobile data. I highly recommend that you connect your device to a stable Wi-Fi Internet connection for using any of these apps. This will ensure that you have a smooth and optimal experience. The apps are in no particular order.

1. Ghostbusters: Paranormal Blast

Ghostbusters: Paranormal Blast App Icon

Something weird happened while I was testing this app around my house. I was singing, “Who you gonna call?”, while moving around playing with the app. My mom saw me holding my smartphone upright and looking at walls.

Suffice to say, it was a very embarrassing conversation. This is how captivating Ghostbusters: Paranormal Blast can be at times.

I say at times because, augmented reality is not perfect and our smartphone cameras are not that capable yet. For example, if I went in a dimly lit room, the ghosts can appear from anywhere. The point of the game is to bust ghosts just like in the movies. You will need to nudge them into the capture zone to completely get them all.

The game is fun to play especially if there is some audience around. The best part is, your home can be the first level of the game. The only problem is, the wonky camera movement puts a damper on the believability.

Free Version

2. Table Zombies AR Lite

Table Zombies AR Lite App Icon

This augmented reality game may not be the most convenient one to play, but it sure does impress you. One drawback of the game is that you will need a print out of the poster they send you in order to play it. However, as I’m strictly against printing large posters just to play a game, I tricked the app into believing my PC screen was the poster.

The developers nudge you towards an external link to obtain the PDF file. You can use this guide to open the PDF file and open the image on your large tablet as well.

The real magic happens when the level appears on your screen ready to be played. This was one of the most awesome moments for me. The gameplay is not exactly groundbreaking here. You are the air support in a zombie outbreak and need to kill the zombies.

Your smartphone will be your gun and you will need to aim it right for the shots. However, I found the trigger button to be placed at an awkward position. The game won’t be featuring in our best zombie games for Android list, though.

Free Version

3. circusAR (Augmented Reality)

circusAR (Augmented Reality) App Icon

This one is the odd one out, while there are a lot of good elements available in the app, it is still not coherent. The version hosted on the US store has some Japanese text while the UK version comes with English. There are a ton of things that you can do in the app.

One main feature is that you can scan an object and play around with it in the augmented reality. I tried the app for around 20 minutes and was only able to scan a banana. But when it came on screen it was clearly a pre-rendered banana the app downloaded.

I think this app has a lot of potential, and we will keep an eye out, but as of now the features are a hit or miss.

Free Version

Conclusion

These were some of the most promising and exciting augmented reality apps for Android. I had an educational experience while testing these apps out. I hope new developers will take the better tech available today and make something exceptional.

I would love to play a dinosaur based survival game in my local park. Imagine running around from raptors in Central Park, NY. As of now the apps are not mature enough to make a greater impact.

If you have any other app that falls under the category, I would love to try it out sometime. Feel free to post your findings or feelings in the comments, I want to hear from you.

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