Augmented reality has allowed game developers to create the illusion that aliens, dinosaurs and collectable monsters have broken free from our smartphone displays and joined us in the real world.

There has been an influx of interactive AR apps on the app stores since Apple and Google baked the technology into their mobile operating systems last year, but how do you pick out the good ones? With our guide to the best AR games on iOS and Android devices, of course.

10. Ingress

Publisher: Niantic

Available On: iOS, Android

Long before Niantic became best known for infesting the world with Pikachus, Blastoises and Jigglypuffs, the studio developed a science fiction-themed title based on the same technology. That game was Ingress, an iOS and Android offering which tasks players with harvesting energy from portals it throws up around real-world landmarks.

Players are divided between two warring factions, one that wants to use the portal energy to control humanity and another with plans to harness it to protect mankind. You’ll be drawn into a unique, augmented realty-powered take on the base-capturing multiplayer contest.

9. Zombies Everywhere!

Useless Creations

Publisher: Useless Creations

Available On: iOS

It was only going to be a matter of time before somebody used augmented reality technology to infest the world with zombies. Useless Creations was among the first to do that with Zombies Everywhere! on iOS, a first-person shooter that is attracting hordes of players.

The game has you gunning down reanimated corpses against real-world backdrops. You’ll see zombies appear on every street corner, in shopping malls like a scene from Dawn of the Dead, and why not take a stroll through your local cemetery to watch them aptly staggering around among the tombstones?

8. Jurassic World Alive

Jurassic World Alive

Publisher: Ludia

Available On: iOS, Android

Dinomania came roaring back when the original Jurassic World stomped into cinemas a few years ago, so it comes as no surprise that a tie-in mobile game was launched ahead of its forthcoming sequel. Developer Ludia gave the franchise the Pokemon GO treatment with Jurassic World Alive, although there are a number of difference between the two titles.

While you’ll spend most of your time snaring and rearing dinosaurs before sending them into battles, there’s also a dart-shooting mini-game for acquiring DNA and the option to create hybrid beasts, which isn’t nearly as risky as it proved in the movie. AR plays a smaller role than in Pokemon GO, but it crops up in the ‘Share your Collection’ feature.

7. AR Sports Basketball

Triangle Factory

Publisher: Triangle Factory

Available On: iOS

The world is one gigantic basketball court with AR Sports Basketball on your side. Simply use your iPhone camera and touchscreen to set up a virtual hoop wherever you choose and you’ll be slam-dunking via display swipes in no time.

You can shoot hoops anytime, anywhere. Why not position the net on your desk during your lunch break at work? Or how about on the bus seat opposite during the commute home? With AR Sports Basketball, you can do all of that and more.

6. The Machines

Directive Games

Publisher: Directive Games

Available On: iOS

Augmented reality adds huge potential to digital board games on mobile by allowing developers to bring the action from your tablet to your tabletop. The Machines is more than a proof of concept in this regard.

The game plays out like a live-action board game, with elements of tower defence classics DOTA and League of Legends. Players must guide their two-man army across an AR battlefield, capturing bases along the way. The chance to climb the global leaderboards and take on your friends brings the longevity.

5. Ghost Snap AR Horror Survival

WhiskeyGuerra

Publisher: WhiskeyGuerra

Available On: Android

Where would mobile gaming be without augmented reality? Well, ghost hunting simulations like Ghost Snap AR Horror Survival would be far less immersive, just for starters.

Using your device’s camera and Android’s built-in AR support, the game transports you into what is basically an interactive episode of Most Haunted, except there’s a realistic chance you’ll find some actual spooks.

4. CSR Racing 2

NaturalMotion

Available On: iOS, Android

CSR Racing 2 is a Need for Speed-style racer that takes the utmost pride in its vehicles. The level of detail the developers have invested in the in-game cars is incredible, and they’ve used augmented reality to show off their handiwork in all of its glory.

Players can inspect lifesized models of their motor in AR mode, walking around the vehicle for a 360-degree view or even popping a door open to glance at the interiors. It’s slightly gimmicky, sure, but impressive nonetheless, and the fact CSR Racing 2 is one of the best racers on the app stores is a bonus.

3. Stack AR

Ketchapp

Publisher: Ketchapp

Available On: iOS

There’s stacks of fun to be had in this block-arranging puzzler from Ketchapp. Simply find a flat surface and Stack AR’s build-em-up fun against real-world backdrops can commence.

The game is designed to be accessible, fun and laidback, while the AR adds a little something extra. Why not take the game down to the beach and stack blocks on the sand, or a field out in the sticks to heighten the sense of relaxation?

2. Silent Streets

Funbakers

Publisher: Plug In Digital

Available On: iOS

If you’re seeking true augmented reality innovation, look no further than Silent Streets. The game thrusts players into a Sherlock Holmes-style sleuthing adventure with stylised noir visuals and a strong narrative.

Don your finest deerstalker hat and pipe because you’re about to step into the shoes of a great detective on the trail of a murderer. The AR comes into play when you uncover clues at real-world locations, so players can examine them up close.

Silent Streets even blends this technology with fitness elements as it logs the steps you take as you carry out your investigation. Catch a murderer and keep fit while you’re at it!

1. Pokemon GO

Publisher: Niantic

Available On: iOS, Android

It’s easy to see why Pokemon GO became an overnight global phenomenon upon release in the summer of 2016. The much-loved pocketable monsters were already a force to be reckoned with, so giving fans the tools to catch ’em all out there in the real world was always going to be a guaranteed recipe for success.

The strength of the existing brand, coupled with Niantic’s smart use of augmented reality and geolocation technology is the driving force behind Pokemon GO’s 800 million downloads, and like a levelled-up Pikachu, it continues to evolve.

Since Apple and Google improved AR support for their operating systems, Niantic has taken the opportunity to introduce new features, such as the option to creep up close to Pokemon and watch them react dynamically to your proximity.