Celebrate the best of Apple gaming with the App Store Awards 2023

The App Store Awards 2023 are just around the corner and today the App Store’s Editorial team announced the finalists for each of the ten categories. The lineup features nearly 40 apps and games across iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and more of the company’s various platforms.

Apple Fellow Phil Schiller said, “We are excited about the achievements of these App Store Award finalists who are helping users around the world to explore their interests in drawing, design, video editing, education, music, time management, working out, hiking, playing games, and so much more. We are inspired by their accomplishments and look forward to announcing the winners of the App Store Awards later this month.”

Of course, we’re particularly excited about the gaming nominees in the lineup. Apple Arcade has its own category, featuring the adorable Hello Kitty Island Adventure, the thoughtful city builder game Cityscapes, and the meditative puzzler stitch, which won an Apple Design Award for inclusivity earlier this year.

Given all the amazing Honkai Star Rail events we’ve seen this year, we’re not surprised that it’s nominated for iPhone Game of the Year. If you’ve read our Vampire Survivors review then it should be clear that the Castlevania-inspired roguelike more than deserves its nomination in this category, too. Both games are up against Afterplace, a retro-style pixel RPG heralded for its intuitive controls.

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The Cultural Impact category is also packed with plenty of games that “fostered new ways to connect and celebrate the world’s diversity and wonder.” Nominees include Endling – which already won an Apple Design Award in 2023 for social impact – the modern hidden object game Finding Hannah, the cozy narrative puzzler How to Say Goodbye which helps players to process grief, and the zen moving game Unpacking. We have no idea how the App Store Editors will pick a winner!

That’s a wrap on the gaming side of the App Store Awards 2023. Keep an eye out for the results in a few weeks’ time. While you’re here, be sure to check out our guide to the best gaming iPhone if you plan to pick up any of these little gems, or peruse our guide to the best Apple Arcade games to get the most out of your subscription.

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