Six years ago, the world was introduced to Pokémon GO - and we’ve been gripped by the AR gaming fever ever since.
Side by side with the VR greats like Beat Saber and Half-Life: Alyx, augmented reality titles are also making waves of their own, with immersive experiences that players can instantly step into with just their smartphones quickly becoming a fan favorite.
As AR technology continues making strides, augmented reality gaming is poised to become an even bigger phenomenon in the mobile gaming industry.
They’re immersive and interactive, but what else makes augmented reality games an awesome playing experience?
Let’s dive right into the top best AR games for Android and iOS users to find out.
Best 11 Augmented Reality Games In 2022
Launched in 2016, Pokémon GO is arguably one of the biggest global gaming sensations, having been downloaded 1 billion times. Yes, you read that right. This augmented reality game is part of the wider Pokémon franchise, which includes video games, movies, anime series, manga, a collectible card game, and much more.
The game is centered on fictional creatures called Pokémon (short for pocket monsters) that players, known as Pokémon Trainers, have to catch and train so that their pets are able to battle other Pokémon for sport.
Unlike the video game version, Pokémon Go makes use of augmented reality technology to anchor gameplay to real-world locations. How does it actually work?
If you’re not yet familiar with the game, Pokémon Go uses your mobile phone’s camera, GPS tracking feature and clock to detect when and where you’re located. It then superimposes fantastical virtual creatures on top of whatever real-life environment you’re surrounded by.
As you move around, different types of Pokémon will keep appearing. Imagine coming across a bug-type Pokémon while going through a park or a sea creature when approaching water. And have we mentioned the ghostly creatures that only come to life at night? Yes, there’s truly a Pokemon for every occasion. Well, actually, there are currently over 730 Pokémon species available.
More than just playing a fantastic game, Pokémon Go is also meant to encourage players to visit world historic landmarks and points of interest, known as ‘Pokestops’.
The app is free to download. However, there is an option to use in-game currency called Poké Coins, to buy Poké Balls and help capture Pokémon).
Given that developer Niantic provides regular updates, even the more experienced players are unlikely to get bored with Pokémon Go, especially since mythical and legendary Pokémon are only released in special events or quests.
This particular app also counts accolades, including being named “Best Mobile Game” by the Game Developers Choice Awards and “Best App of the Year” by TechCrunch.
With Pokémon GO, you'll discover Pokémon in a whole new world—your own! Pokémon GO will use real location information to encourage players to search far and wide in the real world to discover Pokémon. The Pokémon video game series has used real-world locations such as the Hokkaido and Kanto regions of Japan, New York, and Paris as inspiration for the fantasy settings in which its games take place. Now the real world will be the setting! The Pokémon video game series has always valued open and social experiences, such as connecting with other players to enjoy trading and battling Pokémon. Pokémon GO’s gameplay experience goes beyond what appears on screen, as players explore their neighborhoods, communities, and the world they live in to discover Pokémon alongside friends and other players.
It’s hard to think of the 2010’s TV show scene without The Walking Dead coming to mind. The AMC’s hit series certainly put the fears of a zombie apocalypse into many of our hearts, and yet we couldn’t get enough of it. And while it came to an end earlier this year, The Walking Dead is far from being a done and dusted experience. Thanks to the AR game based on the show, you’re still able to experience all the horrors of living in a post apocalyptic world where you’ll have to fight off zombies and other infestations in order to survive.
The Walking Dead: Our World relies on Google Maps and augmented reality technology to enable location-based experiences. That means you’ll be able to fight off the undead in places like your local park or supermarket, using some of the game’s many weapons, including grenades and guns. On top of that, players can summon the help of some of the show’s popular characters like Rick, Michonne and Daryl.
According to developer Next Games, “The fans love how the show encourages you to ask, ‘What would I do in a zombie apocalypse?’, and in this game we aim to let players explore this hypothetical in a way they’ve never experienced before.”
For all these reasons, The Walking Dead AR experience is one of the best augmented reality games you can try out today.
The zombie apocalypse has begun. The zombies, otherwise known as “walkers”, feed off living human beings and have taken over our neighborhoods. In order to survive, you’ll need your gun and snipers ready to scavenge and hunt whether at your home, your neighborhood, or beyond, with the all-new FREE ROAM feature. With the fall of humanity, making friends and forming a team is the difference between survival and death.
Coming at the top of the best AR games in 2022 is another cult classic - Jurassic World Alive. Developed by Montreal-based game studio Ludia, this geolocation game brings awe-inspiring dinosaurs to life with the help of augmented reality technology.
The premise is simple (yet slightly terrifying): planet Earth has been invaded by dinosaurs and you’ve been tasked with capturing some of the 100 types of roaming creatures. Better yet, you’ll also get to design your original hybrid dinosaur using a special DNA system.
And since joining forces is always a good idea, invite friends to help you or battle against other players in real-time.
This augmented reality video game was first released in 2018 ahead of the Jurassic World Alive movie and has remained successful over the years, no doubt thanks to its addictive gameplay.
Bring dinosaurs to life in Jurassic World Alive! Dinosaurs have returned to rule the Earth, and they’re roaming free in your world. Explore your surrounding area to find your favorite Jurassic World dinosaurs, including new breeds that are more awe-inspiring and terrifying than ever before! Discover your world and collect epic dinosaur DNA to level up and create hybrids in the lab. Craft the perfect strike team and take them into battle in real-time player-vs-player matches.
So far, we’ve included a number of augmented reality games based on popular movies and TV shows. But if you’re a fan of sports instead, you might enjoy playing AR Sports Basketball. This AR game lets you shoot hoops anytime, anywhere you want. Yes, even when you’re getting a little bored at work and need a break.
There are three game modes available: Desk, Normal and Horse. The first two options present players with different hoops sizes that can fit into different real life locations. If you’re indoors, you might want to go with Desk while if you happen to be playing outdoors you might want to go with Normal and get much larger baskets to aim at.
And because all things fun are better shared with friends and family, the Horse mode will let you compete with up to 8 other players on the same device.
The game was previously chosen by Apple in the “Amazing AR Games” section during the launch of iOS 11, and has some amazing features you might want to know about, such as:
- Being a completely free to play game
- Simple gameplay.
- Normal mode with true scale.
- Desk mode for improved office productivity
Knightfall AR (Android)
If you’re a history buff such as myself, Knight AR is the game you need to be playing right now. This augmented reality experience takes you back in time, to the world of the Knights Templar.
Naturally, there’s plenty of sword fighting, battling and castle-taking to go around. Your task as a brave knight is to defend the city of Acre from an invading army and ensure that Christianity’s most prized relic, the Holy Grail, is protected.
Keep an eye out for Mamluk warriors before they manage to outwit you and breach through the castle’s defenses. Keep up your resistance with slingshots, arrows, fireballs and rocks you can throw at your opponents.
This immersive medieval world has a rather challenging single player mode, but you’ll also have plenty of fun playing against friends and family if you choose to do so with the multiplayer option.
Bottom line: if you're looking for a great strategy game to spend your time, Knightfall AR is the perfect title for you.
Who doesn’t remember the Angry Bird frenzy that took over the world a few years back? Well, they’re back. Angry Birds AR: Isle of Pigs is a twist on the classic Angry Birds game. With the help of augmented reality technology, users can witness the game unfolding in real time, right in front of them, in a first person 3D perspective.
Players of the original version might recognize the gameplay: your goal is to use the Angry Birds slingshots, shooting birds at the piggy-constructed towers that exist in the player’s own environment. Make sure to take out all of the pigs that are hidden behind the 3D virtual structures. It’s truly hard to get bored with Angry Birds AR as there are lots of levels to get through, each with a completely new setting.
But don’t get fooled by how easy this AR game might seem at times. After all, you’ll need to get three starts to truly conquer Angry Birds AR - and that won’t be an easy feat.
In the mood for a heart-pumping game that will likely keep you up at night, even when you’re done playing? Look no further. Five Nights at Freddy's AR is part of the wildly popular FNaF franchise, bringing everyone’s favorite animatronics to life, this time with the help of augmented reality technology. We previously delved into the equally skin-crawling virtual reality version of this game, so make sure to check our guide out.
Five Nights at Freddy’s: Special Delivery is an AR survival horror game where players are confronted with malfunctioning animatronics who follow them wherever they go (you have your phone's GPS to thank for that). Soon you’ll realize that the biggest is how long you’ll be able to survive.
You’ll be faced with plenty of terrifying augmented reality audio-visual attack sequences exclusively designed for each animatronic. As a location-based game, the FNaF animatronics will be able to know exactly where you’re at all times, so you'll have to be wise when it comes to using your limited resources (including battery, flashlight, and shocker) to stay alive. And as a bonus point? Players can also send animatronics against friends and other players to attempt at getting the highest streak on the leaderboard - and get-coveted rewards.
History lovers rejoice! Thanks to the BBC Civilisations AR, we can now all now explore artifacts from bygone times at home, at school, while on a grocery shopping run, while walking the dog, well, you get it, from anywhere.
Bringing art and culture from across the world to its users, this augmented reality app will let you explore a wide number of historical items. From exploring beneath Renaissance masterpieces to entering a pyramid in Ancient Egypt and listening to the story of one of its mummies, you’ll be able to put history in your hands. Other treasures include Rodin's The Kiss from the National Museum of Wales, iconic sculptures from Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth and masterpieces by Tintoretto, Bellini and Turner.
This free AR App is the result of a partnership between the BBC, Nexus Studios and more than 30 museums from across the UK to mark the broadcaster’s landmark arts and culture series, Civilisations.
Here are some of the app’s features you might enjoy:
- Bringing realistic, to-scale artifacts from History into your own home using cutting edge AR technology.
- Using the X-Ray feature to discover history's secrets hidden within - see inside a sarcophagus or what lies beneath a painting.
- Rubbing through the layers of history with Restore, bringing luster to a Greek Corinthian helmet or color to a faded Roman Cockerel statuette and find out what they looked like when new.
- Translate hieroglyphics from the British Museum's iconic Rosetta Stone.
Over 280 artifacts were submitted from over 50 museums and galleries. Those that were selected were then scanned to create 3D models. The final app features about 40 artifacts in total. Given all of this, BBC Civilisations might be the best augmented reality game in the History category.
If you’re a fan of the epic supernatural movie Ghostbusters, you’re surely going to be thrilled to find out that you can now encounter truly ghoulish scenarios (and ghosts) in real life.
Ghostbusters Afterlife: scARe is an action-packed AR game that will take you to a setting seen in the 2021 Ghostbusters: Afterlife movie, where you’ll have to try and survive an ongoing apocalypse. You’ll have to duck and dodge incoming paranormal attacks, or else find yourself wiping your phone’s view of ectoplasmic residue. There are also puzzles that must be solved in order to earn nuclear energy cells that will help you power your ghostbusting equipment. Start looking for nearby ghosts and supernatural entities - and help humanity avert a disaster.
GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE ScARe delivers an untold chapter in the Ghostbusters universe centered around the latest film, Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Players seek to defend their surroundings amid an oncoming apocalypse. Banding together with newfound friends, players must use clues and intellect to solve puzzles to unlock special nuclear equipment. Then find the moxie to blast through evil entities to overcome a Sumerian deity’s grip on humanity.
Keeping in the paranormal theme, Ghost ‘Guns is an arcade-style shoot-em-up AR game where you have to defend yourself against an army of pixelated ghosts as they invade your world. Sounds simple enough: all you have to do is aim at your army of enemies from the beyond and try to blast them, but this augmented reality game has some hidden trickery that will make your progression increasingly challenging. Fans have pointed out that Ghosts 'n Guns AR makes for a thoroughly entertaining experience, making it one of the top augmented reality games to play in 2022.
- Easy to play, one touch controls
- Fight Bosses to claim victory!
- Play where you like with a shooter made specifically for AR
- Many levels to keep you in the action
- Awesome custom chip-tune soundtrack
- Game Center high scores to compete with friends.
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite (Android)
From the makers of Pokémon GO, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite was a real-world augmented reality (AR) game that allowed players to experience wizarding in a whole new way. Despite garnering a fair amount of interest, this particular title was removed from online app stores at the end of 2021 after failing to attract the same level of hype as Pokemon Go.
Given the popularity of the Harry Potter franchise, one can only hope that the AR game will make a reappearance, with significant enhancements sometime in the future, which is why we’ve still decided to include Harry Potter: Wizards Unite on our list of Best AR games.
So what was it all about? The game allowed players to join the Statute of Secrecy Task Force to explore the Wizarding World. As they stepped outside and explored their own neighborhoods, players would track down creatures, magical artifacts and enemies they had to battle against while, of course, casting spells and brewing potions. And have we mentioned the opportunity to encounter iconic characters from the Harry Potter universe, such as Harry Potter himself, Voldemort, Lucius Malfoy, Bellatrix LeStrange and more.
A magical calamity has befallen the wizarding world and it’s up to you to answer the call to help the Ministry of Magic restore balance! From the makers of Pokémon GO, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is the real-world augmented reality (AR) game that allows you to interact with the wizarding world in a new way. Use cutting-edge AR to relive some of your favorite moments from the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts series, encountering hundreds of magical artifacts, creatures, people and memories from the wizarding world.