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Daydream believer: The 15 best Google VR apps you can install right now

The Google Daydream View is out now, and here are the best apps the VR headset has to offer on day one. Early adopters, your time is now.

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Luke Lancaster
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1 of 15 Josh Miller/CNET

Google Daydream on day one

So you've unboxed your new Daydream View, you've calibrated the controller and you've finished the forest tutorial. Now what? Well, we've got you covered. Here are the 15 best apps available on Google's new VR platform right now. (For the full list of apps available now, click here.)

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2 of 15 Google

Google Street View & Photos

No surprises here, Google's native experiences are pretty damn good in Daydream View. Street View, on top of the usual find-your-house-in-VR functionality, offers up some amazing vistas to explore. Check out Machu Picchu or wander a deserted Chernobyl in VR. Photos has some similar 360-degree experiences, but the real winner here is being able to make your own panoramas with Cardboard Camera.

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3 of 15 Google

YouTube VR

YouTube VR is...wait for it...YouTube in VR. Shocker. That said, it does a good job of both recommending 360-degree video content and presenting traditional YouTube content. Traditional vids will be put up on a screen in theatre mode, but you can move the screen around and zoom in and out with the controller very easily. It's also got a few cool tricks like integrated voice search.

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4 of 15 Google

Google Arts & Culture VR

Google Arts & Culture VR offers tours through curated galleries. Audio guides and slideshow modes let you get right up Napoleon's nose as he crosses the alps or take in Bruegel's masterpieces. With quite a few exhibits to browse, this is definitely worth the free download.

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5 of 15 Steel Crate Games

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is the best game about bomb disposal you'll ever play. One player, in the headset, explains what they're seeing. The other, with the manual, explains what to do based on that description. In theory, anyway. It's been around for a while, but VR is how Keep Talking was meant to be played. You won't regret picking it up.

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6 of 15 Superbright

Claro

Claro is a peaceful puzzle game, using the Daydream View's controller to shift lightboxes, rotate platforms and cast sunbeams in just the right way to solve that level. It's not particularly mentally exhausting, but it's a very pretty game to play around with.

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7 of 15 Resolution Games

Wonderglade

Wonderglade brings together a handful of motion-controlled mini games. A racing game where you tilt the controller to get your spherical racer around corners and another where you break flying rocks with a magical staff really show off how sophisticated the Daydream controller is. Plus, there's minigolf. Playing minigames earns you tickets, which can be redeemed at a roulette wheel for in-game cosmetic items. Because otherwise, what's the point?

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8 of 15 Ralph VR

Daydream Blue

Another minigame wrapper, Daydream Blue drops you in an idyllic forest overworld and offers crafting, fishing, puzzle games and the seemingly ubiquitous mini golf. It also has the option for multiplayer, if you have friends who want to visit your valley.

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9 of 15 Warner Bros.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

While it's more of an interactive experience than a game, the tie-in app for Fantastic Beasts uses some light gesture controls to introduce some of the creatures from the upcoming movie. It's free, and it's a fun time killer for Harry Potter fans.

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VR Karts: Sprint

VR Karts: Sprint. For when you want a VR experience similar to, yet legally distinct from Mario Kart. It's a cute racing game with power-ups, and the first-person view lends itself really well to the Daydream View.

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Mekorama VR

A fun puzzle platformer, Mekorama VR has you rotating the stage and helping your robot along to the end point. You'll be looking for pathways, moving obstacles and, before long, hurling expletives at a video game character.

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12 of 15 Lucid Sight

Polyrunner VR

Polyrunner VR is an intense endless runner than has you navigate a ship through increasingly treacherous terrain. It makes excellent use of the Daydream's controller and the tilt-to-steer feels very intuitive.

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13 of 15 Penrose Studios

Rose

Rose has already won a lot of well-deserved hype. It's an interactive animated experience, and after wowing at Sundance Film Festival, it's now on Daydream View. If you want to sit back and watch something in VR, don't go past this.

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14 of 15 Wall Street Journal

WSJ VR

Wall Street Journal VR beats out the other news apps currently on offer. There are plenty of VR toys like a 3D stock ticker and 360 news videos on top of written articles. Plus, you can take in your morning briefing from a New York high-rise office. Choice.

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Star Chart VR

For all your budding astronomers, Star Chart VR lets you zip around the galaxy, scoping out constellations and points of interest on moons and planets in our solar system. It's very polished with cool soundbites and tooltips that appear over the virtual representation of your controller.

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