With the end of 2016 hurtling into view, Apple has decided the time is right to assemble its annual list of what its editorial team judges to be the finest games and apps available for Apple TV over the past 12 months.
It’s a shame, perhaps, that Apple has this year chosen to only pick ‘top fives’ in both the app and game categories, rather than delivering top 10s like it did in 2015. Past experience suggests, however, that Apple’s editorial selections are a genuinely useful way of helping you sort the wheat from the chaff when trying to wrestle with Apple TV’s huge app collection.
With this in mind, I’ve added a link to last year’s winners at the end of this story, as those past winners are also still available and many still hold up well against the fresher-faced competition.
It’s worth noting, too, that although I haven’t covered them here (since they vary according to territory), Apple is currently showcasing the year’s most popular free and paid apps on the home page of the Apple TV store, giving you more insight into the apps that other users seem to find the most useful or fun.
Apple’s editorial team has selected five apps for this honor, and ranked them as follows:
Hopster is a subscription service ($4.99 a month for unlimited access) aimed at kids aged five and under. It delivers a mixture of award-winning kids shows (including Bob The Builder and Max & Ruby) and educational content in an ad-free environment. Previously featured on Apple’s 2014 and 2015 ‘Best Apps’ lists.
Hyper is a daily ‘magazine’ delivering new videos every day that have been handpicked from the Internet by a team of award-winning filmmakers. Previously a hit on iPad, it should prove successful on Apple TV too given that in some ways this feels like a more natural home for what it offers.
Age rating: Five and above
This purchasable app is another one aimed at kids. It uses cute animation across four different worlds to initiate children into the world of music, covering everything from note recgnition to pitch, rhythm and melody.
4. Late Shift - Your Decisions Are You
This purchasable app crosses the boundary between game and movie by allowing you to make decisions for the film’s lead character that affect where the film goes next. It claims to have 180 decision points, countless storylines and 7 different endings.
It’s unusual for a shopping app to make the Apple TV Best Of list, but Mr Porter gets in this year for the innovative way it combines highlights of the retailer’s award-winning video content with the ability to connect the TV app to your Mr Porter iPhone app and shop directly for the menswear and lifestyle products shown in the videos.
Apple’s editorial team has picked what it believes represent the five best games of the year, and ranked them as follows:
This purchasable game does a surprisingly effective job of delivering a hydrojet racing experience to your Apple TV. It combines a single-player career mode with the option to join 8-player online matches, or local split-screen races with up to four players.
This child-friendly sequel finds Mr Crab combining platforming, exploration and gentle fighting across many levels as he tries to rescue all of the game’s lost baby crabs. It’s free to own, but features in-app purchases.
Available to buy at a fairly premium price by Apple TV standards, this Codemasters game does exactly what it says on the tin: lets you take a seat in your favorite F1 car and enjoy single race, time trial and even full season racing across all of the official 2016 F1 circuits.
Free to download but featuring in-app purchases, Dan The Man describes itself as a ‘hard-hitting brawler’ that lets you ‘punch, kick and blast you way through 12 action-packed platformer levels.
Wrapping up Apple’s selection of the best apps of 2016 is Infinite Tanks: a purchasable game rated 12+ that lets you take control of a huge range of tanks and other modern combat vehicles across large environments in both online multiplayer or single-player campaign modes.
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