Apple has announced its editors’ picks of the best apps and games of the year across multiple platforms.
In a buzzword-filled press release, Apple says that “apps made their mark by reflecting the zeitgeist of our society and sitting at the nexus of digital and pop culture.” In short, mobile software is more important than ever in our everyday lives.
Apple’s picks are all exemplary titles, many of which we’ve reviewed over the past year. These are apps you won’t want to miss, so read on for the full list.
Best Apps of 2019
iPhone App of the Year: Spectre Camera (Lux Optics)
This AI-powered app leverages a dizzying amount of tech to let anyone take stunning long-exposure photos.
iPad App of the Year: Flow by Moleskine (Moleskine)
Draw and sketch in this elegant digital notebook app, whose graphite pencils, chisel-tipped markers and more have been meticulously tuned to mimic the real thing.
Mac App of the Year: Affinity Publisher (Serif Labs)
With its elegant user experience and remarkably reasonable price point, Affinity Publisher makes pro-level design accessible to everyone, whether you’re creating a photo-rich coffee table book or a flyer for your second grader’s play.
Apple TV App of the Year: The Explorers (The Explorers Network)
This groundbreaking app was designed to support the community of explorers, scientists and artists working toward a common goal: To create a comprehensive “visual inventory” of the natural world through photo and video.
App Trend of 2019: Storytelling Simplified
In 2019, a groundswell of apps helped us fill the proverbial blank page with our memories, dreams, images, and voices—and did so with more power and personality than ever. With apps like Anchor (Anchor FM), Canva: Stories & Video Maker (Canva), Unfold (Unfold Creative), Steller (Expedition Travel Advisor), Spark Camera (Dayworks), Over (Over, Inc) and Wattpad (Wattpad Corp), anyone can express themselves through moving podcasts, one-of-a-kind novels, and true-to-life photo collages in an easier way than ever before.
Best Games of 2019
iPhone Game of the Year: “Sky: Children of the Light” (thatgamecompany)
Fly across sweeping landscapes to help celestial beings find their way back to the heavens in this groundbreaking social quest.
iPad Game of the Year: “Hyper Light Drifter” (Abylight S.L.)
A dazzling, action-packed reimagining of classic 16-bit adventure games, “Hyper Light Drifter” blends dreamlike exploration with fight-for-your-life survival.
Mac Game of the Year: “GRIS” (Devolver / Nomada Studio)
This spectacularly satisfying puzzle-platformer is a soul-stirring work of digital art — one that explores hope, grief and the triumph of piecing a life back together after tragic loss.
Apple TV Game of the Year: “Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap” (DotEmu)
Developed by Lizardcube with the cooperation of series creator Ryuichi Nishizawa, “Wonder Boy” — the beloved game from the ’80s, in which a lone half-lizard adventurer sets off on the challenge of a lifetime — gets a reboot with hand-drawn animation and a re-orchestrated soundtrack.
Game Trend of 2019: Blockbusters Reimagined
This year, game developers worldwide burst onto iOS with a wave of world-renowned brands, all featuring leading-edge technology, bold design and innovative features that delivered a level of depth and quality never thought possible on mobile. Hits like “Mario Kart Tour” and “Dr. Mario World” (Nintendo), “Minecraft Earth” (Mojang), “Pokémon Masters” (DeNA Co), “Assassin’s Creed Rebellion” (Ubisoft), “Gears POP!” (Microsoft Corporation), “The Elder Scrolls: Blades” (Bethesda), Alien: Blackout (D3PA) and “Call of Duty: Mobile” (Activision Publishing) aren’t mere remakes or tributes — they are original releases that breathed new life into the most beloved franchises in gaming history.
Apple Arcade Game of the Year: “Sayonara Wild Hearts” (Simogo)
In 2019, Apple expanded the App Store with the introduction of an all-new tab for Apple Arcade, a groundbreaking game subscription service without ads or in-app purchases. While every one of the 100+ games in Apple Arcade offers gamers something unique, there is one game that stands out even within this collection of outstanding titles, making it the Apple Arcade Game of the Year.
“Sayonara Wild Hearts,” developed by Simogo and published by Annapurna Interactive, is a hopeful, gorgeous and unique game — the kind that gets your adrenaline pumping and makes your spirit soar. Prepare to race motorcycles, wield swords and break hearts at 200 mph.