2010 was a fantastic year for the Apple mobile platforms. We saw the introduction of the iPad as well as huge upgrades to the iPhone and iPod Touch with better processors, the all-new gorgeous Retina display and Apple’s own social gaming network Game Center and even a couple of big iOS updates. With so many amazing titles coming out from some truly talented and innovative developers, narrowing the field down to just 3 apps a piece was not a decision that any of us took lightly. Below are each of our picks for the top apps of 2010 and as you will see our selections are quite varied.
If you disagree with our selections or just want to join in the fun, leave a comment below with your top three apps of 2010.
In a year that was packed with fantastic game releases and a veritable cornucopia of apps that filled needs that I never even knew I had (and now can’t live without) this was a very difficult decision for me. So I figured it was best to go with the apps that I use on a daily basis or in the case of games, ones that I just keep finding myself going back to regularly. Before revealing my selections, I would like to give an honorable mention to ALK Technologies for their inexpensive, yet full-featured CoPilot Live GPS app and NoodleCake Games for the amazingly addictive Super Stick Golf. Without further ado, my picks for the top 3 apps of the year are:
Tilt to Live was the first game for me that I felt really and truly nailed smooth tilt controls on the iPhone and coupled it with amazingly addictive and fun game play. The game has been well supported by developer One Man Left and has received several updates which have added new and interesting game modes, as well as brilliant new musical scores and the game just keeps getting better and better with age.
Cut the Rope is a brilliantly simple but challenging puzzle game with a unique character and innovative gameplay mechanics which make a breath of fresh air. The game’s protagonist, while mute, has some of the most expressive eyes and can tug at your heart strings with just the simplest look. Personally I feel it is a better game than Angry Birds (to which it is often compared) as it feels like it relies less on luck and more on actual skill and timing. The game has sold like gangbusters and developers ZeptoLab deserve all the praise they are getting on this wonderful title.
The official Audible app, while a bit awkward in its infancy, has matured into something that I use each and every day. As if simply allowing me to bypass (the albatross that is) iTunes as the method for loading new audio books on my iPhone were not reason enough, this app has become a feature-rich and valuable tool for keeping my sanity during a sometimes long commute.
Wow, my top 3 choices? How about top 10? lol – It’s been a HUGE year in iOS gaming so narrowing such a list to 3 is extremely hard.
My first mention goes to the Angry Birds franchise. While it was released awhile ago, the release of the “Seasons” brand and expanding on its current franchise has made this once low key physics game into an iOS juggernaut. Brilliant gameplay, never ending updates, fantastic character and design…you name it. I enjoy this franchise so much I have a poster signed by the entire dev team and red bird plush toy on one of my book shelves.
My second choice goes to Infinity Blade. This game has taken the mobile gaming market into a realm I didn’t think was possible. With graphics beyond quite a few Xbox 360 games and matching extremely fun and unique gameplay, this title will certainly be staying on my iPhone for quite sometime! With a new update recently published and multiplayer on the way, this title is only getting started.
With games such as Dungeon Defenders, Aralon HD, Real Racing 2, Dungeon Hunter 2 and many more…narrowing to a third just isn’t possible. I have so many favorites for this year alone it probably exceeds the top 10 barrier even. So with that, I’m going to pick the iOS 4.0 update as my third entry. From folders to multitasking to many other new features, Apple yet again released an amazing update that took our iPhones (And iPads as of November) to the next level. With 2010 ending with an explosion of amazing new games and software, I cant wait for 2011 to get started!”
Pages / Numbers / Keynote – As a college student, I decided to go with an iPad for my portable computing. These three apps have kept me in the loop with all my classmates and work flawlessly. They export to regular Office files and email straight out of the apps so I can send assignments to my teachers, as well. This suite could not have been better designed.
Pocket Frogs – Casual games have a sweet spot with me. I’ve also got sweet spots for frogs, and genetics. While Pocket Frogs is a VERY simplified version of genetics, it still covers my interests nicely. Breeding frogs, discovering new species, sending them to friends and getting new ones in the game’s mailbox– this is casual gaming perfection. Also, it’s free.
QRANK – More casual gaming, but in a very competitive way. Answer 15 of 20 daily trivia questions that are extremely current and try to beat your friends. It syncs up with Facebook and/or Twitter so you can brag about your daily successes and failures. The game also has more achievements than I can count, including a group of 50 that you can get for playing the game in each state. Since this game has been out, I haven’t missed a single day of playing it (going for the play 365 days in a row achievement). Think you can beat me? I’m TheEternal. Bring it 🙂
My criteria for picking my top apps of 2010 is simply, “Am I still using this app on a regular basis?” Instead of ranking apps, I have decided to pick one app from 3 different categories.
Game: I have really enjoyed Plants vs Zombies. It is addictive and has me going back for more, trying to collect all of the various special plants and power-ups.
Utility: I continue to use the Posted mail tracking app on a regular basis since I reviewed it earlier this year. The app is extremely convenient and the developer continues to add new features and additional courier support.
Communication: Another app I use all the time is the official Google Voice app–it is great for free text messaging, and checking my Google Voice voice mail.
2010 was one hell of a year for iDevices. Not only did we see two new huge hardware launches in the iPad as well as the iPhone/iPod 4, we got iOS 4 featuring Game Center and Multi-tasking which supported gaming in all new ways, and enhanced the way we play games dramatically. If 2010 is any indication, 2011 is going to be even better for lovers of iOS apps.
My top apps of 2010 are the ones I keep coming back to over and over; Game Dev Story, Hook Worlds, and Netflix. I can’t seem to delete them even when I am in dire need of space for huge games. (I’m looking at you Rage!)
Game Dev Story was a surprisingly well-designed game that I didn’t expect to hook me like it did. Normally I bore of sim-style games in short order, but Game Dev Story kept me involved and entertained no matter how many times I restarted.
Hook Worlds is a very recent addition to the App Store, but is certainly worthy of one of the top games of the year with its improved simplistic design over previous “Hook” titles and “just one more game” gameplay.
Netflix is the app many of us have been waiting for. Watching movies and shows on the go, as well as managing our lengthy queues of films we will never really get around to viewing, Netflix does exactly what it was meant to do, and does it well. Truly an indispensable app.
Cut the Rope is intuitive, fun, simple and addicting. It costs very little, but you get plenty of hours of fun and amusement out of it. It is a great pick up and play game with levels of polish equal to much more expensive games.
Plants vs Zombies bends the brilliant PC game into a brilliant iOS game. It carries over the quirky and somewhat crazy ideas of the original and makes them all flow from the end of your finger flawlessly. It is a great example of how to do castle defense games regardless of the platform.
Marvel doesn’t just make reading on the go easy, but it now carries plenty of free comics and gives you a great place to discover new comics without the hassle of shopping or ordering. It is simple to use and all the comics are clean and clear, there is no baggage with this app, it just does what it needs to…perfectly.