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Every year at WWDC, Apple hands out Design Awards to its favorite apps of the year. It tends to favor apps that make good use of iOS technology, that break new ground in some way, or just show an incredibly well-polished implementation of a useful feature.
We reviewed several of these apps and games over the past year, and its hard to argue with most of these choices. We gave every one we wrote about a full five stars.
It’s refreshing to see so many international developers recognized, though many of them are from established companies who don’t necessarily need the exposure.
Either way, these five apps and five games represent the cream of the App Store crop, and every one is a worthy winner.
Apple’s favorite apps
This is a beautiful new take on notetaking with a clever timeline system for tracking your notes. It makes seamless use of Handoff between devices, which may have contributed to its win.
Apple has a soft spot for music apps, and child-friendly apps – and BANDIMAL fits both conditions. No wonder this adorable animal-based music maker won an award. Read our review.
Ever wish the iOS Calulator app could do more? You need Calzy. Apple was clearly impressed by this app’s integration of iOS functionality like drag and drop, iCloud sync, iMessage extensions, and more.
With a more international group of winners than ever, it’s no wonder Apple wanted to reward an app that can detect and translate dozens of languages in real time. The fact it works on Apple Watch probably helped the win, too.
This is an interesting one – the only winning app not featured in the App Store. That’s because its designed for use by medical professionals to track blood loss during surgery. Apple loves to influence the health industry, and its fitting that one of its winners is a literal life-saver.
Apple’s favorite games
More of an interactive comic strip than a game, this is a beautiful story of first love as told by one of the lead designers of Monument Valley (itself an Apple Design Award winner.) Read our review.
From the makers of Limbo, this is a dark and gripping platform game that combines puzzle solving with a big dose of atmospheric terror. It’s an incredible experience and shows what iOS is capable of.
The successor to the brilliant Alto’s Adventure finally nabs an award for its creators. This is a relaxing one-tap sandboarding game with frankly beautiful graphics, which likely stood out to Apple thanks to its implementation of 3D touch and haptic feedback controls. Read our review.
This is an unusual puzzler involving particle storms swarming through space at the behest of your swipes. It uses Apple’s “Metal” graphics engine to great effect to simulate the physics of countless tiny interweaving objects at once.
At its most basic Oddmar is a platform game about Vikings, but in reality it’s so much more than that. With incredible hand-crafted motion graphics and support for MFi controllers, this is one of the most striking games on the App Store. Read our review.