Every year at WWDC, Apple highlights a selection of Mac and iOS apps which they feel are the most innovative and well-designed apps of the past year, and award them a coveted Apple Design Award (ADA). The award itself is a very cool, very Apple-y little cube that comes with a touch-activated light-up Apple logo. But more than the cool piece of hardware is the knowledge that Apple themselves have deemed a particular app or game worthy of recognition. This year, as in years past, a good number of the ADA winners are for games.
This year in particular, it feels like the games that were picked as ADA winners are the absolute cream of the crop on the iOS platform, and are all pretty much must-own experiences. Of course, the ADAs aren’t all about games, so be sure to check out the full list of winners for some seriously great apps. But hey, we’re a gaming site, you know? So without further ado, here’s the games that won ADAs this year.
Monument Valley, $3.99 – [Review] – Ustwo’s brain-bending puzzler was far and away the game everyone I talked to expected to win an Apple Design Award, and with good reason. It exemplifies elegance, design and innovation in a way that few iOS apps do. Apple noted the fabulous art, the soundtrack and the awesome use of technology as some of the reasons they chose it as a winner. Very well-deserved.
Device 6, $3.99 – [Review] – Simogo is known for their emphasis on style and design, and this holds true with Device 6, but it goes far beyond that. In Device 6 they successfully take the idea of a written novel and turn it into a game, but in an incredibly innovative way where the words themselves help lead you on your journey. Combined with clever puzzles and surreal visuals and sounds, we’ve never seen anything like Device 6, which is exactly why Apple chose it as an ADA winner.
Threes!, $1.99 – [Review] – When it comes to design, Threes! is an absolute standout. It uses crisp, colorful, minimalist visuals. It utilizes intuitive swiping gestures to play. And it’s a strategic game about combining numbers that’s easy to learn but difficult to… well, you know the rest. All those reasons probably could have landed Threes! an ADA on their own, but what really stood out to Apple was the incredible personality of the game. The game pieces with their individual names, expressions and quips makes Threes! come alive in a way that no copycat can duplicate.
Leo’s Fortune, $4.99 – [Review] – Platformers are one of the oldest and most popular genres in gaming, but it’s also a difficult genre to do right. Anyone can throw together a collection of levels to run and jump through, but it takes something truly special to stand out. Leo’s Fortune is one of the best platformers on iOS due to its fantastic touch controls, clever level designs, and attention to detail. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s one of the most visually pleasing games around.
Blek, $2.99 – [Review] – Blek was something of a dark horse out of all the ADA winners, having launched back in December but not reaching widespread popularity until April. It was a slow burner, but it’s been topping the charts since then, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a fun, challenging, minimalist puzzle game, but what really stands out about it is its novel use of touchscreen gestures. There’s something that feels very “alive" about the way you draw gestures on the screen, and in fact Blek is a game that I couldn’t imagine would be possible on anything but a touch-capable device.