Winners – Readers’ App Awards 2015!

Ryan Poolos
Find out who won this year's Reader's Apps Awards!

The best apps of the year from our community!

Welcome to our fourth annual Readers’ Apps Awards! We want to recognize a few of the best apps built by the raywenderlich.com community this year.

You guys submitted over 600 apps this year, so I enlisted some help to pick our winners. We had a team of judges review the top submissions including Ray Wenderlich, Michael Briscoe, Joshua Greene, Luke Parham, Jeff Rames, and myself.

I’ve tallied up our votes for the best apps in 7 familiar categories:

  • Most Addicting: The game we couldn’t put down.
  • Most Hilarious Idea: The app that had us rolling.
  • Most Surprisingly Good: The app we never expected to steal our heart.
  • Most Technically Impressive: The app that made our inner programmer jealous.
  • Most Visually Impressive: The app that dropped our jaws.

We also chose 2 grand prize winners:

  • Best Reader’s Game: The overall best game of the year from a reader like you.
  • Best Reader’s App: The overall best app (non-game) of the year from a reader like you.

And now for the apps you’ve been waiting for, I present the best readers’ apps of 2015!

Most Addicting

LettercraftLettercraft
Lettercraft is another great game from the team that brought you GREG that makes word searches fun again.

Lettercraft has a time sensitivity that makes word searches unique. Every few seconds the board advances a level of heat. When tiles get too hot they burn up and can’t be used. Each time you use a letter to make a word, that tile drops a level of heat.

In addition to survival mode, Lettercraft has 70 levels of challenging constraints to keep things interesting. Things like only making words that contain the letter A or 5 letter words only.

“This is the kinda game you don’t want to put down. It’s so much fun to frantically come up with words while trying to avoid letters from being destroyed. A lot of polish and love was put into this game!” – Ray Wenderlich

“The best kind of addictive game – it’s fun while helping you exercise your gray matter with challengingly timed gameplay.” – Jeff Rames

“I don’t normally play word games, but when I do I play Lettercraft.” – Michael Briscoe

“I usually don’t like letter games like Words With Friends or Scrabble, but the pressure and pace of this game made it super hard to put down!” – Luke Parham

“Don’t burn, don’t burn, don’t burn! Oh noes, I needed that letter. I’d write a great review for this game, but I can’t stop playing it long enough to do so!” – Joshua Greene

Most Hilarious Idea

Barcodasbarcodas
Barcodes are all around us. We use them to track inventory, identify things, and more. But have you ever used a barcode for music? Barcodas is here to change just that.

With Barcodas, simply scan any barcode and you’ll immediately hear it converted to a musical tune. You can tweak pitches, speed, and scales to customize your new barcode melody. Its really cool! Each barcode becomes its own rhythmic synthesizer allowing you to create unique music in just a snap of your camera.

“After downloading this app I spent the next half hour running around my house and scanning barcodes with delight – I think Vicki thought I’d gone crazy.” – Ray Wenderlich

“It’s not only an amusing concept, but it’s very well done – the generated tunes were pleasing and had me searching for barcodes.” – Jeff Rames

“Great idea! Some of the music sounded eerily appropriate to what I scanned.” – Michael Briscoe

“This app is great, but it presents a problem: you’ll want to compare products by which bar code sounds better!” – Joshua Greene

Most Surprisingly Good

Don’t CrackDontCrack
Don’t Crack is a unique, fun game centered around not breaking vases as they come off the assembly line.

As the vases roll off the assembly line one at a time, you control the packing peanut release. Vases are in a crate and you must fill it with enough packing peanuts to make sure it won’t break during shipping. But you’ll have to be sparing, there are a limited amount of packing peanuts and you only get filled up every so often.

“Who thought packing boxes could be so much fun?! 5/5 would pack vases again.” – Ray Wenderlich

“A simple and goofy premise, but it’s a fun use of the physics system that makes for an addicting (though frustratingly difficult) game.” – Jeff Rames

“Good graphics, and convincing physics kept me playing for far too long.” – Michael Briscoe

“This was another really addicting game. It was just subtle enough that I had to sit there and think of how much foam to use to keep myself going.” – Luke Parham

Most Technically Impressive

CreatureCreature
Creature is a new tool made by professional animator with experience animating hit movies such as Wall-e, Up, TS3, Brave.

Creature is designed to make complex and gorgeous animations out of static 2D images. With skeletal animations you can give your character life and generate an entire range of movement. With physics simulations those skeletons become even more real as your tails bounce and your arms swing.

Creature also overs a variety of mesh deformations allowing even static images to flex and breath. Creature even supports motion capture from your camera to allow you to record your own movements!

“A physics and procedural animation engine isn’t the kind of thing you imagine coming from a small studio. This app does not only that, but adds all the bells and whistles to make this a powerful tool for game designers.” – Jeff Rames

“I’ll have to use Creature in my next game. Graphic sorcery!” – Michael Briscoe

Most Visually Impressive

Comic BattleComic Battle
Comic Battle will lead you through an intergalactic battle. You can choose your team and train them with any combination of over 60 abilities. Build strategies and characters. Challenge players around the world in real time battles. After each battle a unique comic is created that shows the battle. Share your victories in comic form!

“The combat animations are right out of the pages of a comic and make for uniquely entertaining gameplay.” – Jeff Rames

“Beautifully illustrated and engaging artwork.” – Michael Briscoe

“This game was really pretty and there was clearly a lot of attention paid to the menu system and battles themselves.” – Luke Parham

“Ever wanted to battle comic book characters? With Comic Battle, you can! This game is really beautiful, just like playing a comic come to life.” – Joshua Greene

Grand Prize Winners

I saved the best for last. These two were selected by our judges as the best app and game this year. I present our two Grand Prize Winners!

Best Reader’s Game

Lastronautlastronaut
Lastronaut is one of the last humans on earth, running for their life to board the final rocket leaving the planet. And its simply beautiful.

Running in an adrenaline fueled haze with rockets and shotguns abound, you’ve got to dodge everything the sentinel army can throw at you. New weapons fall from the sky as gifts from the heavens to help you fight your way to the last rocket.

“This game is super fun and reminds me of Jetpack Joyride on steroids. I’m a big fan of pixel art, slow motion effects, overpowered weapons, and special effect “juice” and this game has it in spades!” – Ray Wenderlich

“Beautiful graphics, an array of awesome weapons, and addictive side scrolling gameplay make this game a lot of fun. Slow motion explosives make it epic – if you’re the type of person that looks at explosions.” – Jeff Rames

“Retro, faced paced, and beautiful, packed with lot’s of juice. I love this game!” – Michael Briscoe

“This was easily the most fun game. It also just had the best look and feel. A lot of games have a cheesy or half done UI but this game felt like something straight from my Super Nintendo.” – Luke Parham

“Astronauts battling flying tanks using shotguns, rocket launchers, and flamethrowers? What more do you need!
The graphics are absolutely beautiful and the game play is really well done. Did I mention laser guns?!”
– Joshua Greene

Best Reader’s App

PastePaste
Copy and Paste as a longtime feature on Macs hasn’t changed much over the years. Paste is a powerful clipboard manager for your Mac that teaches your computer some fancy new tricks.

Paste saves a history of all the things you’ve copied for later. A simple keystroke shows everything you’ve copied in a beautiful fullscreen interface. You can select individual copies to paste them or even share them with other applications You can search your history by content, type, and application it was copied in.

“This is the best clipboard utility I’ve used – it’s integrated and simple while streamlining the task of finding what you need in a large clipboard history.” – Jeff Rames

“This app solve’s a problem I only had a notion was there. Being able to look back through your copy history any time you want is awesome and stops me from having to flip back and forth through windows when looking for something that used to be in my clipboard.” – Luke Parham

“Don’t you hate it when you’re editing something, frequently copying-and-pasting, and accidentally replace a copy you needed? This won’t ever happen again with Paste: get as many copy-and-paste slots as you need. The interface is easy to use and searchable history is a nice feature.” – Joshua Greene

That’s All Folks!

Congratulations to all our winners! All winners get a free PDF of their choice from our site – we’ll be in touch to arrange delivery.

I’d like to thank all our judges who helped me make these difficult picks. And of course thanks to all our readers. We couldn’t have built this amazing community without all of you. Your awesome apps are why we write reviews at all. Looking forward to your apps in 2016!

Don’t forget, if you’ve made an app or game using our tutorials, we’d love to review your app too! Please submit it for next month.

As always, it was a load of fun playing with your apps and getting to see our tutorials in action! Its been another terrific year for apps and we can’t wait to see what you submit next year. Have a Merry Christmas!

Ryan Poolos

Ryan Poolos (@EmperiorEric) is currently CEO of Frozen Fire Studios and subsidiary PopArcade. He builds games and apps exclusively for iOS both internally and for clients. His latest game is Hand Prix. His latest App is Atoll. Get in touch for your next great project.

Ryan has 6 years of professional iOS experience alongside 11 years of part time graphic design experience and 8 years of web development experience. Ryan loves everything tech and tries hard to stays up with the latest and greatest.

If you are a reader of this site and you would like your app reviewed, click here!

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