Ahead of the App Store Awards in the coming weeks, Apple has revealed the finalists across many categories. These include apps and games from almost 40 developers, but I’ll be focusing on the games here. The games featured include the likes of Afterplace, Honkai Star Rail, Vampire Survivors, Pocket City 2, Lost in Play, macOS games (Lies of P, Elex II, and Return to Monkey Island), Apple TV games like Bugsnax and more. The full list of games featured and the reasons for being nominated by Apple are below from the official announcement:

iPhone Game of the Year Finalists: Finalists in the iPhone Game of the Year category invited players to new adventures with lush graphics on iPhone.

  • Afterplace, for creating a retro role-playing game with intuitive controls.
  • Honkai Star Rail, for building a space fantasy adventure with cinematic animation.
  • Vampire Survivors, for inspiring a new roguelike action genre.

iPad Game of the Year Finalists: Finalists in the iPad Game of the Year category enchanted gamers with visual storytelling, intuitive controls, and absurd obstacles.

  • Eggy Party, for crafting whimsical and joyful experiences for users.
  • Lost in Play, for delivering charming visuals and gameplay for all ages.
  • Pocket City 2, for inviting players to build from their imagination.

Mac Game of the Year Finalists: Finalists in the Mac Game of the Year category delivered rich storylines and graphics.

  • ELEX II, for transporting players to a dynamic Science Fantasy world.
  • Lies of P, for delivering smooth gameplay with an alternative twist on a classic tale.
  • Return to Monkey Island, for building on its iconic point-and-click adventure.

Apple TV App of the Year Finalists: Finalists in the Apple TV App of the Year category brought stunning experiences to the biggest screen in the home. The only game featured here is Bugsnax for capturing mystery and charm through its gameplay according to Apple.

Apple Arcade Game of the Year Finalists: Finalists in the Apple Arcade Game of the Year category delivered endless entertainment this year.

  • Cityscapes, for inspiring players with a sustainable and purposeful twist.
  • Hello Kitty Island Adventure, for taking players on a grand adventure with adorable creatures.
  • stitch., for bringing the meditative art of embroidery to more users.

Cultural Impact Finalists: Through powerful missions, finalists in the Cultural Impact category fostered new ways to connect and celebrate the world’s diversity and wonder.

  • Endling, for inspiring players to focus on environmental impact.
  • Finding Hannah, for connecting women across generations through gameplay.
  • How to Say Goodbye, for helping users process difficult emotions.
  • Pok Pok, for helping kids learn, explore, and experiment in a digital playroom.
  • Unpacking, for crafting soul-soothing puzzles.

A few surprises and some expected games there. I’m happy to see some more premium games get featured. What do you think of Apple’s App Store Awards finalists and is there a game you’d have featured that isn’t nominated?

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