I don't know about you, but 2014 sure sped by for me. It seems like just yesterday I was putting together my list of best apps of 2013, and here I am writing the next chapter now. But when I went back through my pages of iOS apps I realized that it's actually been a pretty long year -- it seriously seems like Monument Valley has been out for a decade, given how many times I've played it -- so here, without further ado, are my favorite apps of 2014.
An awesome idea for an app that has seriously captured my attention for months on end, Fling lets you randomly message up to 50 other people from all over the world, and vice-versa. The result is a massive collection of views, photos, jokes, and blurbs from people you'd never otherwise meet, and it's pretty darn cool. Sure, you have your handful of trolls just trying to find a sexting partner -- ok, maybe "handful" is a bit modest, as there's quite a few of them -- but overall the experience is fantastic.
Dark Sky ($3.99)
I hate weather apps with the fiery burning rage of a thousand suns. I hate going through pages and scrolling around to see forecasts, I hate how they all seem to find a way to make weather far more complicated than it is, and I hate how often they're just plain badly designed. All those reasons are why I love Dark Sky. It's the un-weather app. Forecasts are as simple as a date and a timeline showing when it's going to precipitate, and there's no digging required, but my favorite feature is on the main screen where the app tells you whether it's going to rain (or snow) within the next hour. The app alerts you when it's about to pour, and that feature alone has saved me many a wet bike ride. I love it.
Goat Simulator ($0.99)
What else can you say about Goat Simulator other than it's unlike any other game you've ever played. It started as a simple tech demo that spun out of control when the internet became obsessed with the idea of doing obnoxious stunts as a goat. Now it's a game, and a fantastic one at that. Be warned: You definitely have to make your own fun -- it's a bit of a sandbox, really -- but if you have any sense of humor whatsoever you're going to fall in love.
Soccer Physics ($1.99)
Soccer Physics is barely a sports game, but that's what makes it great. You have one button to control your two-man team and get the ball in the opposing team's goal, and prevent it from landing in your own. That's easier said than done, and even if you let your team sit completely still there's a good chance you'll come out on top, but it's still a blast to play and a great two-player game with a partner.
Google Hangouts (Free)
Google's Hangouts app used to be pretty horrendous, but the iOS 7 update it received in February 2014 greatly improved things. It's now one of my go-to chat apps thanks to it's speedy and responsive design, and it's also a lot more visually appealing than the past versions. If you tried the Hangouts app after it launched in 2013 and barfed on the floor, I don't blame you, but you should definitely give it another spin as we enter the new year. You'll probably be surprised.
Monument Valley ($3.99)
Let's not beat around the bush here: Monument Valley is probably in the top 5 of greatest iOS games ever made. It's puzzles are relaxing but challenging, and the game is absolutely gorgeous no matter what device you happen to be playing on. It's well worth its asking price, and its charm will stick with you for a long, long time after you've wrapped up the last levels. Oh, and you're probably going to want to play it again anyway, so that helps, too.