Virtual reality is posed to be the future of gaming for folks who like wearing goggles that close them off to the world. While you wait as the necessary tech rolls out to consumers—and for your bank account to grow—you can get a taste without much investment. Wizard Academy is an educational action game you can play using Google Cardboard.
You take the role of a wizard who navigates around town tackling challenges that have the inadvertent effect of making the real you smarter. Fire archery pushes you to brush up on your algebra. Destroying ice castles requires a rudimentary understanding of physics. Escaping a maze will test your spatial memory. So on and so forth.
What's cool is that you aren't just looking around like you are in most Cardboard experiences. You're interacting as you would in any other first-person game, only this time you're moving around using your actual arms and legs.
Google's approach to creating a virtual reality headset consists of telling you how to make one yourself. Wizard Academy requires a special controller that isn't all that different. RealControl, as the system is called, is a handheld mirror-sized contraption that you hold out in front of your face as you play. Its creators have one other game already in the Play Store that you interact with in the same way.
For this entire system to work, your smartphone's camera must have a clear line of sight to the RealControl. This means certain Cardboard viewers won't work. But once you have everything assembled just right, this is a cheap way to tide yourself over as you wait for Gear VR later this month.