There is an old saying, ‘Use it or lose it’. Well, you won’t lose your mind, but unless you exercise it, it will weaken and become slow at thinking, reasoning, logic and mental arithmetic. Brain training games can improve your mind and keep it sharp. The more you use it, the better it will be here are two popular brain training apps that run on both Android and iOS, Elevate and Mind Games.
The home screen of Mind Games has six tiles that open different parts of the app. The main one that is used the most is Games List. Tapping this displays a list of brain training games and scores. There are 30 games in total, but only 13 can be played in the free version of the app. Well, that is not quite true, you can play 13 games as many times as you want, but the others can be played only three times. Upgrading to the Pro edition for $4.99 just means you can play all of the games as often as you want.
The brain training games include ones like Attention Training, Math Operations, Math Star, Memory Racer, Mental Categories, Mirror Images, Spatial Memory, Path Memory, Divided Attention, Vocabulary Star and so on.
Each one has both brief and detailed instructions, and a top scores page where you can see how well you are doing. A game lasts just a minute or so and the format is the same for each one. Something appears in the centre of the screen and there are four buttons with answers at the bottom of the screen. It is like q quick-fire multiple choice test. Tap the right answer and the next question appears.
It is partly a race against the clock, but accuracy is obviously important too and mistakes are easy when you are rushing to beat your previous score. A report is displayed after playing each game and this shows your score in several different ways, such as a raw score, a standard score, percent accuracy, classification and the percentage of people your age that you beat.
The comparison with other people that have used the app is useful because intelligence and skills are relative. You just want to know whether you are better or worse than everyone else. It is possible to set up reminders so you don’t forget to play each day.
The About section has a very well written overview of brain training and what the app sets out to achieve. It is refreshingly honest about what brain training apps can do for you and whether there is any scientific basis for them (not a lot actually). There weren’t any over hyped claims, just straightforward advice and it is worth reading.
The design of the Games screen seems a bit dated, but each game has a modern look, which is a bit odd. Overall though, it is a good brain training app with a wide range of tasks to practise. The free version is fine and the Pro upgrade is reasonably priced.
This brain training app is beautifully designed and it looks very nice indeed, better than in screen shots. It is unique, colourful and modern. As with all apps of this type, you get a lot of games to play that tax your brain and there are over 25 in total. However, in the free app at least, you only get to use three a day. Pay for the Pro upgrade and you can play any of the games as often as you want and an extra nine games are unlocked.
Elevate is unusual for a brain training app because a lot of the games are based on words, vocabulary, speaking, writing, listening and so on. There are a few maths games too, but the majority of the content is all about language. This could be an advantage for people that either like word games or want to improve their language skills.
In one game for example, a sentence is displayed on the screen and you have to delete the surplus words to make it shorter while still making sense. Another game is a bit like crossword clues and there is a short description and you must think of the word and type it in. You even get two or three letters as a clue.
One test involves listening to speech and then answering a question on what you have heard. Another displays a paragraph of text very quickly and then asks a question to see whether you could read it fast enough to remember the content. You are asked a question on it. There are games like Syntax, Spelling, Comprehension, Context, Retention, Punctuation and so on.
The smaller number of maths games include Estimation, Purchasing, Discounting, Tipping, Proportion and Conversion.
After each game there is a report showing your score and there is an overall progress report screen with scores. Once again these are attractively designed and look really good.
Elevate is an interesting app that has a lovely design and challenging brain training games. It has a very high rating in the app store, but there are some irritations that are off-putting. For example, the Pro version, which unlocks extra games and features costs $4.99 a month or $44.99 a year with automatically recurring payments. The cost mounts up the longer you use it. The price is far too high, but most people will probably be satisfied with the free version.
The app’s focus on reading, writing and language makes it feel like you are back at school taking tests in English lessons. I found them difficult to complete in the time given and I struggled. You get three different tests each day and even on day one, which surely should be the easiest, I had to repeat the three tests multiple times in order to complete them I failed so often.
Is it me or is this brain training app really hard? Because it is hard I didn’t enjoy it as much, but it is probably worth persevering with.
Mind Games is a good collection of brain training games that will keep your mind sharp. The tests are simple and straightforward and unlocking the full collection is reasonably priced. Elevate has a different set of brain training games, so it is not really a competitor, but is complementary. An advantage Elevate has is that the skills you practise are very closely related to real life situations and it is easy to see the benefits. I found it hard though.
The wider the range of brain training games you can play, the better your mind will be and Mind Games plus Elevate is a good combination to have. Install both of the apps on your iPhone or Android phone. I would recommend the Pro upgrade for Mind Games, but an Elevate subscription costs more than some people are prepared to pay, so you might want to stick with the free version.
- Written by Roland Waddilove
- Created: 23 December 2014