The awards spotlight 16 apps and games that inspired users to engage more deeply with the world, expand their imaginations, and stay connected to friends and loved ones, Apple said. Apple judged the games and awards on technological innovation, user experience and design.
This year’s winners represent a diverse community of developers from solo developers to big companies around the world whose apps and games were selected by Apple’s global App Store editorial team for delivering exceptional experiences and making a profound cultural impact.
“This year’s App Store Award winners reimagined our experiences with apps that delivered fresh, thoughtful, and genuine perspectives,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, in a statement. “From self-taught solo creators to international teams spanning the globe, these entrepreneurs are making a meaningful impact and represent the ways in which apps and games influence our communities and lives.”
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Apex Legends Mobile won the top iPhone game for bringing the fast-paced hit battle royale game to the iPhone. Moncage, the top iPad game, forces users to see things from different perspectives to solve puzzles, and the immersive card battler Inscryption (top Mac game) draws players in with experimental storytelling.
El Hijo, a Wild West tale, is a smartly designed stealth game for Apple TV. Apple Arcade’s unique life-sim Wylde Flowers invites players into its charming world of diverse characters and magical spells, and League of Legends Esports Manager allows players to manage the most influential esports leagues in the world.
As for non-game apps, Apple said the social app BeReal gives users an authentic look into the lives of their family and friends, and fitness tracker Gentler Streak helps users balance fitness and rest to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
GoodNotes 5 takes digital note-taking to the next level with best-in-class Apple Pencil support. MacFamilyTree 10 sparks the exploration of genealogy through visual family trees and collaboration with loved ones around the world, while the creators behind ViX: Cine y TV en Español elevate Spanish-language stories to the forefront of entertainment.
2022 App Store Award game winners
iPhone Game of the Year: Apex Legends Mobile, from Electronic Arts
“It’s heavily inspired by the hit game on console and PC, but it is a completely different product,” said Myke Hoff, senior director of product at Respawn Entertainment, in an interview with GamesBeat. “Our goal with the game is to have something that’s easy to pick up and play with a very high mastery curve to keeps you coming back.”
The idea was to bring Apex Legends to a new set of gamers and add to the diverse backstories of characters in the Apex Legends universe. The game still has 60 players in a match. But mobile players do not play with console or PC gamers, given the differences in controls.
“Rather than porting the Legends, we took a look at each one and really focused on how to make them the most fun for players on their phones,” said Kevin Childress, creative director at Respawn Entertainment, in an interview with GamesBeat. ” So players have called out some of the changes on their favorites like Crypto and Octane being welcome additions and changes to the franchise. And we’ve also taken great efforts developing mobile-first Legends to expand the Apex roster.”
Respawn built the game with help from Tencent, and it tweaked things like progression for mobile players as needed. And since a lot of players play the game without sound, the team changed the game so it had more visual cues for players.
EA hasn’t disclosed how many players the game has. And tomorrow, the company is starting the seventh season for the mobile game.
iPad Game of the Year: Moncage, from X.D. Network
“We aim at creating games for our people, regardless of age, identities, aesthetics and languages speak and bring the unforgettable experienced your players,” said Dong Zhou, co-developer of Moncage, in an interview with GamesBeat. “We wanted to make a game that can truly all and inspire people.”
Zhou co-developed the game with Yijia Chen. They started while going to school in New York and eventually moved to Irvine, California. Now they have a team of five and are working on a new game. Moncage was their first game, created with the mission of showing that gameplay can be completely based on a game’s visuals.
The game creates optical illusions, and you can solve puzzles by looking from a different perspective into a 3D cube. The art is handcrafted. It is a story about a veteran who is having nightmares and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
“The main theme of Moncage is about breaking free and finding true peace,” said Chen, in an interview.
Mac Game of the Year: Inscryption, from Devolver.
For Inscryption, Mark Hickey, vice president of mobile publishing at Devolver Digital, spoke on behalf of the lone creator, Daniel Mullins. Hickey said the Mac version is the same as the PC and console versions.
“The way the game starts is you wake up to find yourself in this old, creepy, creaky cabin in the woods,” Hickey said. “And there’s this strange a table set up in front of you. And there’s this strange looking card game laid out on the table and an even stranger and creepier-looking opponent sitting across from you who may or may not be your captor.”
He added, “So he starts by teaching you how to play you know, and explains the rules and you play a couple of hands and then things seem straightforward at first, and you may think you’re actually sort of getting the hang of it after winning the first hand and then he gives you this rusty bloody pair of pliers that hint that nothing nothing good is on the way.”
Devolver is known for bizarre games.
“When Daniel first approached us to publish an inscription, I mean the whole thing made us so terribly uncomfortable. It was an instant yes,” Hickey said. “The stakes are high because they’re measured in blood and sometimes even teeth. Every choice you make can have dire consequences. So if you play wisely and carefully and learn the systems and and cards, you will progress and you’ll become more powerful and you know soon you will eventually be able to get up from the table and explore your your creepy cabin in the woods prison.”
Hickey said inspirations include games like Magic: The Gathering, Telling Lies, and Her Story as well as movies like The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield. Hickey said it is rare to see solo developer teams today, but he also believes it is easier than ever to make games because of the availability of tools.
Apple TV Game of the Year: El Hijo, from HandyGames.
Apple Arcade Game of the Year: Wylde Flowers, from Studio Drydock Pty Ltd.
China Game of the Year: League of Legends Esports Manager, from Tencent.
2022 App Store Award app winners
iPhone App of the Year: BeReal, from BeReal.
iPad App of the Year: GoodNotes 5, from Time Base Technology Limited.
Mac App of the Year: MacFamilyTree 10, from Synium Software GmbH.
Apple TV App of the Year: ViX: Cine y TV en Español, from TelevisaUnivision Interactive, Inc.
Apple Watch App of the Year: Gentler Streak, from Gentler Stories
Cultural impact category
In addition to recognizing the best apps and games on Apple devices, Apple’s App Store editors selected five cultural impact winners that have made a lasting impact on people’s lives and influenced culture. This year’s winners encourage users to engage more deeply with their emotions, authentically connect with others, and pay homage to their heritage and the generations that came before them while envisioning how to create a better world today.
How We Feel from the How We Feel Project — By prompting users to tap into their emotional wellbeing with the ease of daily check-ins, How We Feel helps users puts difficult emotions into words and presents strategies to address these emotions in the moment.
Dot’s Home from the Rise-Home Stories Project — Dot’s Home spotlights systemic housing injustices and the subsequent impact within communities of color through a compelling and thoughtful time-traveling tale.
Locket Widget from Locket Labs — Allowing users to send live photos right to family and friends’ Home Screen, Locket Widget drives intimate connection between loved ones, free from traditional social media pressures.
Water Tracker Waterllama from Vitalii Mogylevets — With its colorful design and gentle guidance, Waterllama makes meeting hydration goals fun, using creative challenges, reminders, and cuddly characters to keep users on track.
Inua – A Story in Ice and Time from Arte Experience — This story provides an engaging, mystical adventure for users to explore historical events that weave in elements of Inuit traditions, folklore, and breathtaking tales.
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