The Best App Ever Awards have been around ever since ever since the App Store first came into being five years ago. Each year the best of the best have been culled from hundreds (even thousands) of releases. This list represents five years worth of winners, as decided by Best App Ever readers. Five years worth of apps and games that have been chosen above all others due to their all-around awesomeness. Five of the Best Apps Ever.
Here they are.
Shazam (Shazam Entertainment)
A lot of people were pretty excited when the iPhone first came out, and it was apps like Shazam that helped to keep them that way. In a time when smartphones were being scoffed at, being able to hold your phone up to a speaker and have it identify whatever song is currently playing was pretty freaking impressive. It goes so far beyond kitschy stuff like virtual lighters or photo booths. This is an app that serves an incredibly useful purpose; especially for those of us who enjoy finding new music.
2008 was the App Store’s first year, and even then there was no shortage of great apps and games for iOS users to enjoy. The likes of eWallet, Fieldrunners, Facebook, and Rolando were all exemplary nominees. However, in the end they just weren’t able to compete with the ability to identify any song that’s playing on the radio, in a store, or wherever else. It’s simply too handy.
Pocket God (Bolt Creative)
I don’t want to be presumptuous, but Bolt Creative may very well be responsible for creating the current “Feel like something’s missing? Wait for an update!” environment that has overtaken the App Store. With 47 (47!!!) episodes released to date, Pocket God is just might be the most thoroughly supported app in the world. This funky sandbox of wrongness has seen so many tweaks and changes over the years that it provides users with mini-games that cover almost every single popular genre on the App Store.
2009 was very close, but Pocket God managed to take first place over apps like 2Do and Twitter, and some wonderful games like Real Racing and Flight Control. Perhaps it was due to all the diversity inherent in all those episodes, or maybe people just really like torturing small virtual islanders. Whatever the reason, Bolt Creative captured a lot of hearts (and probably zapped them with lightning or tossed them to the sharks) that year.
Angry Birds (Rovio Entertainment Ltd)
Say and think what you will about Angry Birds and its current cultural phenomenon status; it’s still a clever game. Rovio’s little physics puzzler that could took the App Store by storm and has continued to do so with multiple spin-offs. Often duplicated, never replicated, this little bird-chucking game has solidified the genre as something synonymous with mobile gaming. There’s even one version that uses the “Star Wars” license. Honestly, there aren’t many other iOS games that can make that claim, and even fewer that aren’t directly affiliated with Lucasarts one way or another.
2010 saw the inclusion of a number of fantastic iOS games to the awards. Games like Infinity Blade, Real Racing 2, and Solipskier are all wonderful in their own right. That makes it all the more impressive so see them, and second place nominee Pocket Legends get edged out by a game about loading birds into a slingshot. Don’t underestimate the power of simple yet addictive gameplay.
Jetpack Joyride (Halfbrick Studios)
Barry Steakfries wasn’t new to the App Store when Jetpack Joyride was released, but it is the game that cemented his mobile celebrity status. Barry’s hijacking of a jetpack made of machine guns wasn’t exactly groundbreaking in terms of gameplay (think a hybrid of endless runners and classic corridor flying games like Copter), but Halfbrick polished the heck out of all the mechanics and absolutely overloaded it with personality. To this day it’s still one of the best examples of “just one more try” games on iOS.
2011 was a great year for iOS gamers. Infinity Blade II, World of Goo, Tiny Tower, Where’s My Water, and a whole lot more all made the list. To see little ol’ Barry with his impossible flying machine sitting above them all is a great indication of just how powerful and compulsive an extremely well-made endless game can be. Especially on a mobile platform.
Walking Dead: The Game (Telltale Games)
Telltale’s adventure games have been a bit hit-and-miss over the years, but pretty much everyone felt The Walking Dead was a major hit. Lee’s tale won over many a stone-hearted gamer, and the iOS release more or less cemented Apple’s mobile devices as viable gaming platforms. Making the tough choices isn’t any easier when it’s on a smaller screen, that’s for sure.
2012 was another great year; with games like Punch Quest and Outwitters, and apps like Clear and Action Movie FX narrowly edged out. It’s a testament to how far the App Store has come to see so many great and diverse offerings listed. And it’s a testament to Telltale Games’ ability to craft an incredible story about equally incredible characters to see Walking Dead: The Game come out on top.
2012 was a tumultuous year for iOS and for Apps. The App Store passed 1 million apps approved, the iPad was updated twice and the iPad mini introduced, we saw iOS 6 released to mixed reviews, and we saw an understated but huge shake up in the organizational structure and management level at Apple. Here’s a quick look back at some of my favorite things of 2012.
I’ve always thought that the iPad was an amazing device. It truly did change they way I work and play the way nothing had since my first laptop. But the iPad mini revolutionized my work yet again by making it more portable, therefore convenient and easy to use. While Macworld re-used the uninformed assessment that many had of the original iPad deeming the mini as a “consumption device,” yet I create almost as much as I consume on the iPad mini.
As it stands now, I have a 64GB iPad mini with LTE that I take almost everywhere with me. I use it to write (the first draft of this list was done on the iPad mini), to read and send email, Twitter, and Facebook. And I use it to play games. It’s become my gaming device of choice.
Sure there are some things that can be improved with the iPad mini. And we’ll see those improvements. But for a device dismissed by so many, it has quickly become my most used tool.
The Walking Dead: The Game
No other game I have played in my life has forged the emotional connection I had while playing The Walking Dead: The Game. A true triumph in game story telling that draws you in deeper and deeper with each of your plot modifying moves. Telltale Games has done an amazing job with this game. I’m not the first to say this, but Walking Dead: The Game on the iPad was one of my favorite things from 2012, and perhaps one of my favorite gaming experiences ever: an accolade I don’t throw around lightly considering that I’ve been playing video games for three plus decades.
If by some strange occurrence you haven’t played through Walking Dead: The Game from Telltale Games yet, run, do not walk, to the App Store and grab it now.
Maturation of iPad Core Games
Just as the spread of free to play grinding “games” is one of my least favorite things of 2012, the counterpoint to that is the new wave of core games on iPad. I wholeheartedly believe that the iPad, not the iPhone (or Android) is where console games will migrate when they realize that the next wave of consoles will be too expensive. The iPad is a powerful line of machines and a great way to experience games. Take a look at our Top 30 Games of 2012 for examples of some of these great games.
Apple Executive Shake-Up
This may seem like an odd favorite, but I think it’s for the best. Like pulling off a bandaid, it had to be done; might as well get it over with.
iOS has been a bit stagnant and two-minded in its development, straddling the line between originality and familiarity. The executive shakeup and organization restructure will make a big difference in the future for Apple and iOS. iOS the the future for Apple, and reorganizing the company is a great step to build it in the future.
Google Getting Serious on iOS
You could almost read the internal struggle happening in Google via their iOS apps. They started strong, before Android really took off. Then they pulled back as they only wanted to support Android. Now, they have come around and are starting to support iOS again, at times faster and better than they do even Android, though you can probably blame the snail-like update cycle on Android for part of that.
This year, we’ve seen the updated Google Search with it’s amazing voice search, and the Google+ app got updated faster than the Android app at times–the current version is a fairly well-done social app.
While we had heard for a while that Google was trying to get Chrome approved for iOS, it finally showed up, and it quickly became my browser of choice. Gmail for iOS was a bit of a joke in the original version, but the latest version has shown how far Google has come as it responds to nearly every feature request people wanted.
We of course can’t forget the recent release of Google Maps for iOS, a really well done map app that Google believes is better than their Android version. I don’t know about that, but it is a damn good effort.
2013 has the potential to be even crazier for iOS and the App Store. I am excited every morning to get up and be able to cover it. Thanks to all of you, the crazy ones that keep reading. You’re the reason we get to do it! Happy New Year and here’s looking forward to a great 2013!
This week at 148Apps.com, everything was about end of the year wrap-ups and countdowns. Carter Dotson compiled an extremely helpful multi-part 148Apps Top Apps of 2012, and he also gave us his Favorite Things of 2012: “In particular, Super Crate Box and Super Hexagon both left me in states of constant desire, wanting to get that high score while tackling the immense difficulty both games presented. Yet there was one consistent thread in both: failure was usually my fault, the factor of poor execution rather than random chance. It makes success feel all that more empowering. The byproduct of it is constant failure, and frequent profanity usage.”
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-08-31 :: Category: Games
What’s a New Year’s celebration without pizza? Is it any wonder, then, that Amy Solomon at GiggleApps.com reviewed Bamba Pizza: “This is the fourth year my son will receive play food as a large part of his holiday and birthday gifts from my husband and me. Although he has different hobbies as well that are demonstrated in the other toys he plays with, not a day goes by that it isn’t a birthday for a doll or stuffed animal where pizza is always served, along with cake, cookies and many other selections.
Although I would never expect Bamba Pizza or other apps like it to take the place of playing with toys in the real world, my son also enjoys playing with these types of apps when away from the house or when lying in bed before or after a full night’s sleep, when play food items are not welcome.”
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2012-06-10 :: Category: Education
The holidays also present endless opportunities for taking photos. AndroidRundown.com reviewer Tre Lawrence showcases a venerable iOS photo app, now making the transition to Android: “There was a time, not all that long ago, when cameras on phones were not too hot. The hardware was rudimentary, and the accompanying software bordered on the silly. Pictures were not that great.
Since then, it has gotten better… much better. So much so, that for many people, their smartphone cameras are the cameras for everyday use.
Snapseed (from Nik Software) is an app that looks to perfect the picture-taking experience. It is a photo-editing title that incorporates a lot of the features people have come to expect with apps of this type. Being chock-full of fan favorite filters definitely makes it an interesting offering.”
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-06-07 :: Category: Photography
By this time next week, we will be in 2013, so all of us at 148Apps would like to take this moment to thank you for your constant readership throughout 2012. Without you, loyal reader, we simply wouldn’t exist! Thank you, and Happy New Year from 148Apps!
This week at 148Apps, we left our white shoes behind and got ready for some football with Carter Dotson’s round-up of apps for the NFL 2012 season: “Are you ready for some football, in particular the 2012–2013 season of the premier American football league, the National Football League? Well, with the season kicking off tonight with the Super Bowl champion New York Giants playing the Dallas Cowboys, I’ve collected four apps to help make the game-watching and fantasy-football-playing experience better. No matter what, they’re better than the replacement refs are going to be!”
Over at GiggleApps, Amy Solomon reviewed This Is My Body-Anatomy for Kids, saying, “I have really enjoyed perusing this application, consisting of many sections that cover such topics as how fast one grows, the skin, one’s senses, as well as the different systems of the body, such as digestive, respiratory, muscular, nervous and skeletal, going into a very nice amount of depth for children to appreciate.
As this app opens up, children are given a choice of characters to follow, nicely including boy and girl choices some of which are children of color and an Asian character – lovely inclusions still not seen often enough in the US iTunes store.”
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2012-08-21 :: Category: Education
And stalwart reporter Carter Dotson returned yet again, this time on AndroidRundown, to look at the latest developments from Apple iPad rival Amazon: “While rumors of a new iPad mini spread, and the Nexus 7 enjoys its sales numbers, Amazon has laid dormant until now with the announcement of new Kindle Fire devices.
The flagship is the Kindle Fire HD. This will come in both an 8.9″ variety and a 7″ variety; the specs on the 7″ are supposed to be the same as the 8.9″, but Amazon was more keen to show off this version. It’s got a 1920×1200 screen (true HD!) which is 254 ppi (compared to the iPad retina display’s 264 ppi), to go along with a Texas Instruments OMAP 4470 processor, which Amazon claims can do 50% more floating point operations as compared to the Tegra 3 processor in the Nexus 7.”
And that’s a wrap of this weekly wrap-up! Join us throughout the week for the latest contests, reviews and news on our Facebook site as well as on Twitter. Until next week, remember – no white after Labor Day!
The Olympic flame was fanned to extreme levels at 148Apps.com this week, as Jennifer Allen explored PlayUp’s socialization of the London games. She writes, “We’ve covered PlayUp before, appreciating its ability to bring sports fans together in their love of their chosen sport. Just in time for the London 2012 Olympics, a major update has been released geared towards keeping users informed during the summer Olympics.
The app offers users all the latest information on their favorite teams and athletes, as well as the latest news on the medal tally. That’s 17 days worth of coverage, across 26 sports, 39 disciplines and 302 medal events. Content is geared towards the geographical location of the user, ensuring that the most regionally relevant content is brought to the forefront when first launched.”
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2011-10-02 :: Category: Sports
Giggleapps.com got Disney-fied with a review of Minnie Bow Maker. Amy Solomon writes, “Minnie Bow Maker is a cute and enjoyable application for kids – part craft experience – as well as including story and fashion show elements. Having a son, I have not had to deal with a daughter who wants to dabble in the world of fashion at a young age. For this reason, I consider myself fortunate as I could easily be a killjoy when it comes to many action figure dolls geared to fashion-conscious girls that to me, send inappropriate messages.
For this reason, I think many parents, especially those of girls, will enjoy Minnie Bow Maker as this app touches upon fun accessories that may satisfy young children who have shown an interest in the world of fashion.”
Finally, 148Apps.biz featured a story about 6waves’ WaveX. Carter Dotson says, “Mobile publisher 6waves has announced WaveX, a new advertising tool for developers to drive traffic to their games. This serves essentially as a traffic exchange, where developers can display advertisements for other games, and get more opportunities for traffic by helping to drive new installations of other games. Developers can upload graphics for both portrait and landscape games, and the service is completely free to use.”
The week is over, but there’s more ahead across the 148Apps network. Follow us on Twitter or Like us on Facebook to gain access to the latest news, reviews, and even a contest or two. Until next week, game on Olympians!
This week at 148Apps.com, we geared up for the London Olympics with a Favorite Five list of summer games apps. Site editor Rob LeFebvre writes, “With the 2012 Summer Olympics headed to London starting July 27th, it’s night time we took a look at some great apps to use to watch and keep track of the happenings in the UK this year. Today, we’ll take a gander at five useful apps that will help you do just that.”
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-07-12 :: Category: Sports
Over at GiggleApps.com, Amy Solomon took a closer look at This Book Is About To Explode. She writes, “This Book Is About To Explode is an interesting interactive storybook with fun puzzle elements that children and their adults will enjoy. This fun sci-fi story centers around Tiki-Zin3, a robot whose job is to search for alien life – ironic because mischievous aliens, in the interest of making their existence known, explode bombs which send Tiki-Zin3 to different locations out into space. Although this character expresses displeasure about being blown to different locations, I am glad to see that the enjoyment children experience from pressing the button to explore the scenes from this book is not a set-up to be terribly sadistic as Tiki-Zin3 makes comments such as not having the time to take a vacation within the place he has just landed, keeping this story light and fun without making children feel too bad for causing these explosions.”
Finally, 148Apps.biz writer Carter Dotson reported on AppBot. Dotson says, “Filter Squad has launched a service to help developers keep track of user reviews, called AppBot. Based off of an internal project that has been expanded and released to the public, this can help developers keep track of the popular opinion on their apps.
AppBot sends a daily digest of the latest user reviews for a developer’s app, allowing them to get a feeling for what their users are saying on a regular basis. For example, if a new version of iOS launches, and 1-star reviews are saying that the app is crashing, then the developer has a point of entry to troubleshoot. Or, common complaints or request made in reviews can be more easily tracked in this daily digest format.”
Summer may mean sunshine, blue skies and good times for most, but not for Dracula. The Prince of Darkness hates daylight, of course, but now Facebook, Twitter, and other social media have made it impossible for Drac to stay out of the limelight as well. Now, his coffin has been discovered, and it’s up to you to defend it from the hordes of oddballs out to make a name for themselves.
Vampire Season is a new iOS game from developers 6waves and Brainz, and it’s due to hit the App Store on June 28th. The game will be familiar to anyone who has played a tower defense game before, but Vampire Season twists up the action by having players defend an unusual point of contention – Big Dracula himself – with a varied assortment of ghouls and zombies. And what are they protecting Dracula from? Isn’t it obvious? Interior decorators! Seriously….plus lots of other conventional and unconventional enemies as well. In-app purchases and upgrades are available, but game currency is also generated in game as you complete levels.
Look for the horror to be unleashed in just a few weeks.
This week at 148Apps.com, writer Lisa Caplan helped all of us out by providing her Favorite Four apps for Mother’s Day. Caplan says, “Mother’s Day means so many different things to so many different people that it’s hard to create a list of just four apps for the occasion. There are great gifts to purchase right from iTunes and the App Store, and tons of apps to help you find the right present. But we decided to keep the focus on free or inexpensive apps that will make moms feel special this Sunday and leave them with more than a memory to treasure all year long.”
And what’s Mother’s Day without children? GiggleApps appeals to the younger crowd with a review of Color Dots. Reviewer Amy Solomon writes, “Color Dots is a bright and fun universal application that the youngest of app users will enjoy. Color Dots is very simple and is geared towards babies and toddlers as colored dots are popped with a tap of a finger as they move around the screen.”
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-03-15 :: Category: Education
148Apps.biz reporter Kevin Stout writes about the latest research into American app spending habits: “International market research firm Newzoo has just released a report concerning mobile gaming in the U.S. The report claims that the amount of American mobile gamers has risen by over 25 million gamers in the last year and the number of paying players has gone up to 36% of all mobile gamers.”
And that’s the week that was! Join us here next week for another quick recap, but until then make sure you check out our Twitter and Facebook feeds for the latest news, reviews and contests. Now go see Dark Shadows and enjoy the rest of your weekend!
This week at 148Apps.com, everything was hopping in celebration of Easter weekend. We started with Jennifer Allen’s Five for Friday feature, showcasing an array of Easter-themed apps. Allen writes, “Happy Easter folks. No matter how you may celebrate it, and whether you do or not, we’ve got some fun Easter themed apps and games to cover in this week’s Five For Friday. Much like the event itself, the apps are a little geared towards families but there’s still fun to be had for all.”
Meanwhile, Amy Solomon from GiggleApps reviewed a new interactive children’s book – Nedi the Yeti. Solomon says, “Nedi the Yeti would make a great first app for babies and toddlers as the animals are friendly looking and engaging as well as not so well hidden that children of all ages could not find these creatures with ease, as a drag of a finger will coax these animals from their hiding places and a tap will trigger a speech bubble and a fun animal sound, be it either cartoony or realistic as is the case of the included bird or owl sounds found within.”
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2012-02-13 :: Category: Books
Finally, 148Apps.biz writer Kevin Stout explored ways for developers to acquire new users for their apps. Stout says, “Getting recognition and acquiring new users for mobile apps has gotten harder and harder as the app ecosystem has grown. This week, at the VentureBeat Mobile Summit 2012, strategy was discussed about the rising cost of user acquisition by three people close to the issue: Gabriel Leydon, chief executive of Machine Zone (free MMO developer of iMob and Original Gangstaz), Maria Alegre, CEO of Chartboost (app promotion solution), and Chris Akhavan, VP and GM of Strategic Partnerships at Tapjoy (app discovery and sharing platform).”
Thanks for another great week! If you want to keep track of the latest reviews, news and contests, there’s a great way to do it – just follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook. It’s just that easy – promise! See you next week, law-abiding citizen!
When it comes to 2012, it’s hard to know what to think. Some people are certain that the world is due to end by the end of the year. Others think is a load of bull. Then there are a few folks who just seem to be caught in the middle, unsure of what to make of the whole thing. I don’t claim to know who’s right in all this, but at least now there’s an app that can appease anyone who wants to know more.
2012 Doomsday is an app specifically designed to inform. It’s got info on what’s theorized to happen on the big day, lots of videos about 2012, details about the Mayans, what kinds of supplies to stock up on and other general survival tips. Depending on an individual’s take on this business it could be their go-to guide or simply something to consider a fascinating “what if” scenario.
2012 Doomsday is currently available for everyone, skeptic or not, on the App Store for $0.99. I’m not claiming that it’ll make a difference in the grand scheme of things, but I suppose there’s nothing wrong with being prepared. Just in case.
Earlier this year microtransaction based games were just starting to hit their stride on iOS. One such title that dipped its toes into those waters was the Rodeo Games developed Hunters: Episode One. The game landed a four star review back in March, and went on to be downloaded an impressive 600,000 times over the last nine months. The tactical RPG/strategy genre was a perfect fit for the iPhone and iPad, and fans seemed to feel passionately the same way.
A chief complaint about the game was that it lacked a clear cut campaign, or protagonist for that matter, for players to invest themselves in. Having heard the input from fans and critics alike, Rodeo Games are proud to announce that Hunters 2, a proper sequel to the game, is in the works and will feature a full single player campaign. Following the story of Hero class character Caius Black, players will finally get their next chance to jump into the deeply immersive and detailed worlds of the Hunters universe.
Here are some of the improvements and enhancements that Rodeo has in store:
“…included are new enemies races, environments, mission types and of course more guns and gear! Under the hood, we’ve built a new graphics engine which can handle real-time dynamic lighting along with loads of customization options.”
The new game is scheduled to launch in Spring of 2012 on iPhone, iPad, and iPod. There aren’t any details on what specific devices will be supported, but this will no doubt be discussed as the release date more rapidly approaches. Check out some of the preview images below, just to get a taste of the action that will be coming your way next year. But until then, if you haven’t checked out the original game, you really owe it to yourself to give it a look. After a few hours of play you will probably be just as excited as we are!