Harry who? Turn wizards to dust in Wands, an awesome online shooter for Samsung’s Gear VR

The trouble with VR games is only the person playing them can usually see what’s going on. At least friends can gather round the TV screen and watch you get killed playing Overwatch on a PS4, but all VR observers have to go on is the player’s occasional gasps, and faintly ridiculous body movements. Not so with Nux Studio’s Gear VR game Wands. It’s a multiplayer game with a clever spectator mode, so all your mates can see you triumphantly win, or lose embarrassingly.

In Wands, you play a wizard battling other wizards online, shooting fireballs and other magical spells that are powerful enough to make Harry Potter blush. However, before blasting other wizards away, you need to learn spells, and that’s done by collecting the dust left behind by wizards who can’t match you in battle so you can buy relics, which add new spells to your magic wand.

Live matches can be viewed through the Wands website, either randomly, or just by searching for the player name. That’s a pretty unusual addition for a VR game. Wands online matches are either against a computer matchup, or by choosing a friend with the game to play against. The question is, will you want to play the game at all?

Happily, the answer is yes. First, it looks fantastic. The world is described as steampunk, and indeed, the wand more closely resembles a lightsaber than anything found laying around in Hogwarts. Once you’ve added relics to the wand, you open a portal (which is an awesome effect) to the online play world. Players are rooted to the spot, and can teleport around the play area to predetermined spots, then locate your foe and blast away. The play areas are disorientating at first, and learning the layout will be key to success in the future.

Despite not being able to run and jump, the action in online play is fast and furious, and not always by choice. The teleport system is activated in the same menu as your weaponry, rather than pressing a button to quickly move, so you often stand around getting shot while messing around finding the teleport controls. The game is compatible with the Gear VR’s navigational pad on the headset, or with a gamepad. We used Samsung’s own gamepad, and found it’s the most preferable method for in-game speed and accuracy.

In our short time playing Wands, we found an action-packed, compelling, sumptuous to look at, and best of all fun to play VR shooter. There were a few crashes though, and the control system could do with little work, but it’s still heartily recommended. It’s out now for Gear VR through the Oculus Store for $6 or 4.50 British pounds.


From the road to your wrist, see how Android has evolved over the past 10 years

Android started out as just a mobile operating system, but 10 years in it's pretty much everywhere. Check out our round-up of all the different Android variations that have cropped up so far, and what might be coming in the future.
Movies & TV

The best Christmas TV episodes and specials

To help get you in the spirit of the season, we've compiled a list of the best Christmas TV episodes and specials. Whether it's free episodes on your favorite streaming service, or stop-motion classics, look no further.

How you can share your best gaming moments with friends on the PS4

Check out Digital Trends' quick guide to everything you need to know to save your outstanding PlayStation 4 gameplay moments, share them online, and transfer them to your computer.
Emerging Tech

The 20 best tech toys for kids will make you wish you were 10 again

Looking for the perfect toy or gadget for your child? Thankfully, we've rounded up some of our personal favorite tech toys, including microscopes, computer kits, and a spherical droid from a galaxy far, far away.

Following the Portal, augmented reality glasses may be Facebook’s next step

Following the launch of its Portal smart display, Facebook says it is working on AR glasses, possibly in a move at challenging both Apple and Google and perhaps to rise up in the hardware scene. 
Emerging Tech

Here’s all the best gear and gadgetry you can snag for $100 or less

A $100 bill can get you further than you might think -- so long as you know where to look. Check out our picks for the best tech under $100, whether you're in the market for headphones or a virtual-reality headset.

Oculus VR could upgrade the Rift with a new display in 2019

Oculus could be set to release a new version of its Rift headset in 2019, but it will be more of a modest upgrade than a true sequel. The Rift S, as its purportedly called, will have a new display, and inside-out tracking.

Google awarded patent for using eye tracking to detect expressions in VR

Google was awarded a patent that involves using eye tracking to infer facial expressions using machine learning in virtual reality. The tech could help make virtual reality a whole lot more immersive than it already is.

Immerse yourself in a new universe with these incredible PSVR games

The PSVR has surpassed expectations and along with it comes an incredible catalog of games. There's plenty of amazing experiences to be had so we've put together a list of the best PSVR games available today.
Virtual Reality

Prototype Valve VR headset leaked: HTC Vive challenger confirmed?

Leaked images revealed that a Valve VR headset is in development, even amid Valve's partnership with HTC for the HTC Vive. Sources confirmed the device, which may be bundled with a Half-Life VR game.
Virtual Reality

Is the Vive Pro better than the original Vive? Our answer might surprise you

HTC Vive vs. Vive Pro, which comes out on top? That's the subject of our latest comparison, which looks at everything from tracking solutions, to controllers, and the brand new headset that could set a new standard for VR.

The best HTC Vive games available today

So you’re considering an HTC Vive, but don't know which games to get? Our list of 25 of the best HTC Vive games will help you out, whether you're into rhythm-based gaming, interstellar dogfights, or something else entirely.

A Google patent shows a way to make VR even more immersive

Virtual reality can be a really immersive experience, but it does sometimes it does have boundaries. Google has addressed this problem by patenting shoes with a flexible region on the bottom.
Virtual Reality

Think virtual reality is just for games? These awesome apps will change your mind

Virtual reality isn't all about gaming. Swim with turtles, paint in 3D, and immerse yourself in some unique experiences the platform has to offer with our curated list of the best VR apps.