Another year is quickly coming to an end, which means another one of Apple’s annual “Best Apps” lists to peruse for mobile enthusiasts. These lists are compiled by a team of expert app curators whose job is to draw attention to what they believe to be the most notable, entertaining, or otherwise useful apps on the App Store. So, how does the list for 2021 look? Let’s see what happens!
This year’s “App Store Awards” were won by 15 apps and games, as usual, representing a collection of apps that have allowed users to pursue personal passions, discover creative outlets, and “connect with new people and experiences,” according to Apple. It’s up to you to decide whether that’s just marketing speak or a true reflection of the apps the company chose this year.
Toca Life World by Toca Boca is the iPhone app of the year.
Have you ever wished you could go back in time and spend hours playing with toys, action figures, and dolls, making up stories for them with nothing but your imagination? If that’s the case, Toca Life World might be for you. This game, which was released in 2018, combines all of the Toca Life games into a single app, allowing players to create their characters, dress them up, and drag them around in various colourful (and interactive) environments. Consider Toca Life World to be a collection of virtual dollhouses with customizable homes and characters.
LumaFusion by LumaTouch is the iPad App of the Year.
The iPad may not be the first device that comes to mind when thinking of video editing powerhouses, but the LumaFusion app aims to change that. LumaFusion, in the words of its creator LumaTouch, is a “powerful multitrack video editor” designed to help you tell “compelling video stories” regardless of your level of expertise. It includes six video and audio tracks, dozens of royalty-free music, video, and background resources, and a large community of fellow creators eager to help you learn the ins and outs of the app.
Craft by Luki Labs Limited is the Mac App of the Year.
Look no further than Craft if you want to take your note-taking to the next level. It’s a one-stop-shop for all things creative: you can use it to organize documents, photos, videos, and more, all with an easy-to-use, highly customizable interface. You can make lively, richly detailed notes and pages that can be nested inside of each other. You can use markdown to better format your workspace and even invite others to collaborate in real-time with you.
Riot Games’ League of Legends: Wild Rift is the iPhone Game of the Year.
If you told a hardcore League of Legends player ten years ago that they could someday play their favourite, highly complex MOBA on mobile with no compromises, they’d probably think you were crazy. And yet, that’s exactly what League of Legends: Wild Rift is: a faithful mobile port of one of the world’s most popular MOBAs.
It controls and plays beautifully, and the character models outperform their PC counterparts in terms of quality, as many have been remade specifically for Wild Rift. Choose your champion, gather your friends, and enter the Rift!
Marvel Future Revolution by Netmarble is the iPad game of the year.
If PC games aren’t your thing but you still want something akin to Marvel’s Avengers, the mobile ARPG Marvel Future Revolution might be the ticket. The game, which is based on the Unreal Engine, promises AAA-quality graphics, a fluid combat system, and the ability to play as (and customize) your favourite Marvel heroes.
Star-Lord, Captain America, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, and other characters are available. Future Revolution is updated regularly and includes co-op functionality for those who want to play with their friends.
Myst by Cyan is the Mac Game of the Year.
Myst was a classic point-and-click adventure puzzle game that debuted in 1993. The game took place on a mysterious, abandoned island with an odd mix of old-fashioned, castle-like structures and more modern-looking machinery. It recently received a complete remake for PC and Mac, complete with free WASD movement, first-person camera controls, and vastly improved visuals.
Based on its ranking, it appears that the long-since-solved mysteries of a nearly three-decade-old game still hold a certain allure for modern gamers, which is certainly not a bad thing.
DAZN is the Apple TV app of the year.
There isn’t much to say about this app: it’s good, (occasionally) clean sports streaming fun, with live and on-demand viewing options. While it is primarily a boxing-focused service, it also includes content from other sports organizations such as the NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL.
DAZN has a “Free to Watch” section that does not require your credit card information to access, and, unlike other pay-per-view streaming services, it only charges a monthly fee for access to its entire library of content. Binge as much as you want.
Pixelbite’s Space Marshals 3 is the Apple TV Game of the Year.
Space Marshals 3 is an excellent choice for anyone who enjoys tactical combat but prefers to avoid the turn-based formula of games such as the Xcom series. Instead of using action and movement points to navigate, you can freely move around the game’s various environments, taking cover and shooting in real-time. There’s also a decent stealth system that lets you take down enemies quietly with hand-to-hand combat and silenced weapon shots. You can also divert enemies’ attention away from your critical path, or hack turrets to turn them against their owners.
Carrot Weather by Grail is the Apple Watch app of the year.
While it’s easy to dismiss Carrot as just another weather app, it has a bit more going on under the hood than it appears at first glance. For starters, Carrot has an extremely detailed interface that includes not only the weather and temperature but also the UV index of the area you’re in, the local humidity, and much more.
Second, you can select one of five “personalities” for the app, each of which will throw different quips and one-liners at you (ranging from “professional” to “profanity-laden”) depending on the current climate. Finally, developer Grailr claims that Carrot will never sell your information to third parties, making it a more privacy-conscious alternative to traditional weather apps.
Fantasian by Mistwalker Corporation is the Apple Arcade Game of the Year.
Fantasian, created by Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, aims to bring the beauty of long-form JRPGs to Apple’s subscription-based Arcade platform, which is available across all of the company’s devices (including Macs, iPhones, iPads, and Apple TVs). Instead of using traditional 3D (or 2D) rendered backgrounds, Sakaguchi handcrafted 160 real-world dioramas for Fantasia to use as backdrops.
You’ll explore these environments throughout a 60-plus hour adventure in which you’ll be tasked with assisting an amnesiac named Leo in regaining his memories in a mysterious universe known as the “Machine Realm.” Along the way, you’ll meet new party members who can help you with your quest and fight alongside you.