Google Play Names Best Apps of 2021

Google has announced the winners of Google Play’s Best of 2021, a collection of apps and games that made positive contributions to culture this year. And to encourage innovation across Google Play, the company has expanded this year’s awards to apps and games on tablets, plus apps on Wear OS and Google TV. By challenging the norm, introducing unique gameplay features and giving users never-before-seen experiences, Google Play’s Best of winners represent what’s next in app and game development.

Similar to the Best of 2020 winners, apps focused on personal growth were in high demand in 2021. This year’s winners found creative, and often meditative, ways to help users get to know themselves on a deeper level. Balance, which earned the Best App of 2021 award, encourages people to find their center through personalized meditations; Moonly provides tips and guidance based on the lunar calendar; and Laughscape helps people reach a meditative state through laughter.

“We are deeply honored that Google chose Balance as its Best App of 2021,” says Jesse Pickard, Founder and CEO at Elevate Labs. “We built Balance with the individual in mind. No two people are the same, and we wanted to create a personalized mental wellness program that could reflect and support those special differences. I also want to thank our customers for their help in our journey. Your engagement and feedback has allowed us to build a truly wonderful product together.”

Meanwhile, in gaming, Pokémon UNITE won Best Game for its dynamic gameplay and cross-platform experience. Indie developer George Batchelor created Bird Alone, a game that challenges you to become friends with the “loneliest bird in the world.” And in Donut County, developed by Annapurna Interactive, you play as a growing hole in a physics-based puzzle game.

The full list of this year’s U.S. winners are below, ranging from large developers to up-and-coming indies. You can also find specific country’s winners in the Best of 2021 section of the Play Store.

Users’ Choice 2021

Best App

Best Game

Best of app winners

Best Apps for Good

Best Everyday Essentials

Best for Fun

Best Hidden Gems

Best for Personal Growth

Best for Tablets

Best for Wear

Popular on Google TV