Apple has hosted its annual Apple Design Awards, celebrating 12 best-in-class apps and games. This year’s winners include developers from around the world who were selected for delivering innovative, creative, and beautifully designed experiences through apps that inspired users with vision, purpose, and brilliance.
For the second year, six different categories recognize one app and game each for inclusivity, delight and fun, interaction, social impact, visuals and graphics, and innovation. The winners were chosen from 36 finalists, all of which have demonstrated outstanding technical achievement.
“As apps and games remain an essential part of our lives, we’re excited by the ways that developers continue to use our technologies to create standout apps for people everywhere,” said Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations. “The work of this year’s Apple Design Award winners embodies how apps can be transformative, uplifting, or even provide an escape through creative gameplay — and we congratulate each developer for all they’ve accomplished.”
Winners in this category provide a great experience for all by supporting people from a diversity of backgrounds, abilities, and languages.
Developer: Savage Interactive (Australia)
Procreate, a world-class tool for artists and designers, brings people more creative power than ever through its iPad app. With new accessibility features — such as tremor and motion filtering, an in-app assistive touch menu, audio feedback, and color blindness settings — to augment its support of VoiceOver, Dynamic Type, and more, the app empowers more artists to create, interact, and express themselves.
Game: Wylde Flowers
Developer: Studio Drydock (Australia)
An Apple Arcade original, Wylde Flowers brings a refreshingly diverse storyline and cast of LGBTQIA+ representative characters to players with a witchy twist. The narrative evolves to represent all ages, cultures, and sexualities, as users explore a wholesome world of magical realms with storylines that implore users to examine identity, accept others, and support their community — ultimately to tell a much larger story.
Finalists for this category include Letter Rooms by Klemens Strasser, Navi by Good Snooze, Noted. by Digital Workroom, and tint. by Lykkegaard Europe Limited.
Delight and Fun
Winners in this category provide memorable, engaging, and satisfying experiences that are enhanced by Apple technologies.
App: (Not Boring) Habits
Developer: Andy Works LLC (United States)
As its (grammatically inventive) name suggests, (Not Boring) Habits adds a little flair to the mild-mannered habit tracker. With its sensational designs, playful haptics, and elegant gamification, this life hack adventure plays out as an inspiring journey through forests and mountains — it makes tracking habits a truly artistic experience.
Developer: inkle (United Kingdom)
Overboard! is a whodunit with a twist: You done it. In this delightfully sly murder mystery game, players take on not the role of the detective but the guilty party who, through quick-witted conversations with unsuspecting crewmates, tries to get away with a splashy crime. And with an engaging narrative design, pithy dialogue, and multiple endings, it’s a case to open again and again.
Winners in this category deliver intuitive interfaces and effortless controls that are perfectly tailored to their platform.
Developer: Breakpoint Studio (United States)
Slopes, a seamless ski-tracking app experience, provides users with an intuitive skiing and snowboarding diary, employing the GPS on iPhone or Apple Watch to track distance and speed. Its best-in-class social features gamify the experience by connecting with friends and family — all by tapping a single button. The app is packed with a mountain of data but designed to be as easy to navigate as a run on the bunny slopes.
Game: A Musical Story
Developer: Glee-Cheese Studio (France)
A harmonious mix of song, story, and artistic creation, A Musical Story remixes the idea of what a mobile game can be. The game’s narrative unfolds with a richly animated minimalism, the gameplay puts a novel spin on the rhythm game, and the end result illustrates how seemingly disparate design elements can work in perfect concert.
Finalists for this category include Gibbon: Beyond the Trees by Broken Rules; Transit by Transit, Inc.; Vectornator: Vector Design by Linearity; and What Remains of Edith Finch by Giant Sparrow.
Winners in this category improve lives in a meaningful way and shine a light on crucial issues.
App: Rebel Girls
Developer: Rebel Girls Inc. (United States)
Rebel Girls shares the stories of the world’s most influential women — Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Simone Biles, and Frida Kahlo, to name just a few — through rich audio and gorgeous original art. The subjects span careers, cultures, and decades, and the voices and accompanying illustrations — all perfectly tailored for the stories and interface — are furnished by female and nonbinary artists from around the world.
Game: Gibbon: Beyond the Trees
Developer: Broken Rules (Austria)
An Apple Arcade original, Gibbon is an ecological adventure in which players swing, fling, and slide their way through gorgeous hand-drawn landscapes in search of family. The game’s unique mechanic provides plenty of freeflying fun, but its environmentally conscious storyline — and the subtle empathy involved with playing as another living being — teaches a crucial lesson.
Visuals and Graphics
Winners in this category feature stunning imagery, skillfully drawn interfaces, and high-quality animations that lend to a distinctive and cohesive theme.
App: Halide Mark II
Developer: Lux Optics (United States)
The brilliant camera app Halide Mark II focuses on the essentials. This elegant tool packs tons of features into a remarkably easy-to-navigate interface; its uncluttered, smartly organized interface mimics a film camera. Every gesture will feel familiar to longtime photographers while remaining clear to those finding their way around focus and exposure settings. It’s a beautiful camera for iPhone — and now there’s a version designed specifically for iPad to help users create truly amazing visuals.
Game: LEGO® Star Wars™: Castaways
Developer: Gameloft (Canada)
With its cinematic feel, sizzling visual effects, and tactile gameplay, Castaways is a force to be reckoned with. Set on a long-abandoned planet, the game’s reverently rendered environments and smooth animations instantly immerse players in a galaxy of action, mystery, and the occasional dance party. And with endless customizations and characters to meet, the adventure continues to build.
Finalists for this category include Alien: Isolation by Feral Interactive; Behind the Frame by Silver Lining Studio under Akatsuki Taiwan; MD Clock by Hangzhou Midi Technology Co., Ltd.; and (Not Boring) Habits by Andy Works.
Winners in this category provide a state-of-the-art experience through novel use of Apple technologies that sets them apart in their genre.
Developer: Volst (The Netherlands)
The audio app Odio delivers incredibly lifelike ambient sounds — waterfalls, rushing rivers, lush electronic washes — made even more realistic with Spatial Audio and head tracking. Soundscapes can be customized by manipulating their mixes through a captivating circular interface, and each one is accompanied by futuristic fluid animations that unfold in perfect synchronicity with the sound. It’s a truly amplified take on the audiovisual experience.
Game: MARVEL Future Revolution
Developer: Netmarble Corp. (South Korea)
MARVEL Future Revolution is a technological feat worthy of Stark Industries. This 2021 iPad Game of the Year award winner brings the Marvel Cinematic Universe to stunning life through open-world action RPG and a Metal-powered blend of fluid combat, lavish cut scenes, and a multiverse’s worth of magnificently detailed character models.
Finalists for this category include Active Arcade by Nex; Focus Noodles by ideaTiny Co., Ltd.; Procreate by Savage Interactive; and Townscaper by Oskar Stålberg.