App Store Rewind 2011: The AppStorm Favourites

It’s getting near the end of 2011, so I thought it would be fitting to follow Apple’s lead and look at a few of the best apps from the past year! Apple’s App Store Rewind 2011 touts two grand winners, one ‘iPad App of the Year’ and one ‘iPad Game of the Year’, alongside several selections in all 21 categories – I’m going to pick out some of our favourites!

If you like what you read, it’s definitely worth getting crazy excited about our upcoming end-of-year roundup – 2011: The AppStorm Picks!

Rewind

I have to start by saying that both of the grand winners are supremely worthy choices. Apple selected djay as the iPad App of the Year and Contre Jour as the iPad Game of the Year.

djay is a simply fantastic app that I reviewed in-depth back in June, commenting how;

djay is an astonishingly powerful and polished app that sets an impressive standard for all other music apps to follow.

It’s not hard to see why the app won the 2011 Apple Design Award

It is expensive and not for absolutely everyone, I understand that. But the quality of the design and power of the functionality is fully justified in the cost.

Conversely, Contre Jour is a game that I can see being enjoyed, and even loved, by almost anyone!


We reviewed Contre Jour in October, Scott Danielson noting how;

The art style and sound design is so immersive, and the touch controls so seamless that, on my first play through the game, I lost track of time and found myself at the end before realizing I’d played through 60 levels!

It’s a great game that pushes the boundaries of casual gaming, both in terms of gameplay and style. It’s not as long or challenging as some, but it’s a fantastic experience all the same!

The AppStorm Favourites

Both of the grand winners are superb choices, but what about Apple’s selections from the other categories – I’m here to sift through and highlight a few of our favourites from the bunch!

Games

Apple chose ShadowGun as its first runner-up in the games category which, while being a good move in the right direction for iPad shooters, isn’t as complete as we’d like it to be. Nathaniel Mott remarked that;

As a game, ShadowGun is enjoyable but a bit shallow. Fortunately, in some ways, ShadowGun is less of a game and more of a proof of idea.


As a change of pace from the more occasional games that dominate the App Store I’d like to select Real Racing 2 as an AppStorm favourite from the games category. It’s a defining game in its category and makes significant strides onwards from the success of the first game, particularly taking advantage of the iPad 2’s superior graphics abilities!

The controls are finely tuned and the game is almost effortlessly enjoyable! Whether you like racing games or not, Real Racing 2 on the iPad has to be given a try…

Warning: The process of accumulating wealth to buy a better car is a vicious cycle that often leads to frustration, the same is true within Real Racing…

Books

Two great choices stand out immediately from the Books category! Both of which are moving the very concept of a digital book forward by leaps and bounds…

Our Choice by Push Pop Press is a stunning digital book that presents information and ideas in a genuinely moving and thoroughly engaging way. We reviewed it in May and found it to be as vital as it is beautiful.

Our Choice explains the devastating effects that humans have had on the world, and through the use of stunning design and wonderful development, has made the education process truly enjoyable.

The second book that I’d love to highlight is The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore – Matthew Guay wrote a wonderful review of it describing how;

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is a poignant, humorous allegory about the curative powers of story. It’s also the best example yet of a book fused with interactive animation that makes a whole new experience on the iPad.

Moonbot Studios did a stunning job!

While both very different, the way that these books make immaculate use of the iPad, and the affecting nature of their content makes them highly recommended!

Lifestyle


One of the Lifestyle apps that Apple highlights as being one of the best from 2011 is a personal favourite of mine; Jamie’s Recipes. I love the design of the app and the gorgeous use of photography to complement the recipes – there’s an image for every stage of the process!

I reviewed it myself in October and commented how;

Jamie’s Recipes is, without a doubt, one of the best cookery apps on the iPad.

Music

There are two apps from the Music section that jump to the front for me, Garageband and Biophilia. Both are very different propositions, but push the limits and capabilities of the iPad in new and intriguing ways. Garageband is a sublime illustration of Apple leading by example, they looked at the iPad and saw the potential – encouraging others to push the boundaries further! It was reviewed on iPad.AppStorm while it was still fresh, but the conclusion remains valid;

It’s a must-have app for any respectable iPad owner! Apple have succeeded in creating a gorgeous and effortlessly enjoyable music app that appeals to people of all ages and abilities.

Biophilia on the other hand, is an app that changes how we perceive the consumption and enjoyment of music. Simon Bray wrote an article a month ago about the creation of Biophlia and notes how;

Björk intends to continue using the iPad to create her music, encouraged by the freedom to create so effortlessly wherever in the world she is and views the app as one of the best ways to distribute her music without the restriction of production costs and timescales, the app album is something we may all be seeing a lot more of in the future.

It's an experience!

News


I’m not going to dwell here because neither of the apps I’d like to highlight can be considered even vaguely new, not by a long shot.

Nevertheless, both Instapaper and Flipboard have had serious and transformative updates that make them just that much better – if you’ve never tried them out, there’s no better time than now!

Productivity

We love a bit of increased productivity here at AppStorm, so I couldn’t let this roundup end without a nod to a burgeoning favourite of ours! Wunderlist is fast becoming the No. 1 free task management app, with a delightful set of features that would suit almost anyone. We reviewed it way back in April and commented even then how useful and impressive the list sharing feature is!

Simple but effective.

Your Thoughts

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts – simply post a comment below! Those are our selections from Apple’s roundup, but what would you have liked to see given more notice? Is there an app that’s a glaring omission from Apple’s array?


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