It’s easy to forget about our brains. Just like going to the gym, working out your brain helps you age gracefully and take on new mental tasks. Whether you’re feeling a bit sluggish/forgetful or simply looking to improve memory or critical thinking, brain games are proven to help. These skills are equally useful for kids in school, people at the office, and the elderly looking to stay sharp. If you’re thinking about starting a brain training regimen, here a few games good for everyone:
When we age memory is often the first mental faculty to go. This classic version of “concentration” is simple but effective in maintaining interest. Players flip over two cards from a small batch and eventually try to match them all. There’s no better way to test and improve memory and focus.
This game tests your concentration and focus by finding two cards that match. You can choose different themes such as animals, babies or Christmas. And if you really want to sharpen your brain, you can choose difficulty level by choosing a board with more cards. The easiest being 12 cards up to 30 cards in a board.
Similar to Diner Dash and other customer services games, Lightning Librarian adds a new twist. You have to remember where certain books belong and juggle a variety of tasks to keep your readers happy.
On the surface Jumping Arrows seems mind-numbingly simple, however, there is inherent psychology at work. The computer is constantly testing your focus by switching up patterns and crossing your brain signals from left to right. When you make a mistake, you don’t realize why until long after. You won’t have more fun using only the 4 arrow keys, and you’ll help your focus along the way.
Combination Lock tests your ability to remember small strings of numbers. At first it will seem a bit too easy, but it continues to test the bounds of your memory. These skills cannot be understated. As we age, it gets harder to remember short numerical sequences like phone numbers and street addresses. As we continue to rely on technology to find this stuff for us, practicing can prove to be life-saving.
6. Apple Basket
A word game that tests your creativity and your vocabulary, Apple basket can help you put down that thesaurus for good. You are given the start of the word and are asked to create variations of different lengths. For students, and crossword puzzle fanatics alike, you will see a difference with this wordplay.
Less of single game than a system, Lumosity pioneered the idea of brain training. They are still kings of mental practices for mobile applications. If you’re looking to take your brain seriously there’s no substitute for going all out. After all, there are far worse investments.
Billed as a sort of mental yoga, Smooth Circles tests the player’s gifts for spatial reasoning. You are tasked with seeing how things fit together into a group of similar patterns. This often neglected aspect of mental practice deserves attention as well. As the clock ticks you will feel the pressure of putting everything rightly in its place.
9. Mario Memory
The classic memory game often featured in the Mario Party games, Mario Memory is classic concentration with an iconic twist. Everyone can appreciate their favorite characters. This is effective for children. They will barely realize they are learning.
10. Number Twins
When’s the last time you practiced simple addition? Consider Number Twins simpler sudoku with a time limit. The goal is to create as many pairs of a certain sum from a specific matrix. The clock adds an element of change, plus there is a perfect set of solutions for each game, that means you have to find the balance of speed and precision. Number Twins would be excellent for children just learning math but is also challenging enough for adults.
11. Penguin Push
This game has a lot of levels. There is a time limit, there is a perfect solution, and there are a thousands of possible outcomes. The player must move their penguin across the pond by filling holes with ice, just don’t get stuck in the corner. Every round has a minimal amount of moves that will earn a perfect score. While it may be a bit simple for adults, kids can enjoy this exercise in physics and spatial reasoning.
12. Word Warp
The player is given a matrix of letters and must create as many words as possible. When you get stuck you can always press the “warp” button to shuffle the letters and create a new set of words. The trick is making sure you’ve exhausted all possibilities before “warping.” Consider Word Warp a one player nuclear Scrabble. It helps with vocabulary, creative thinking, and memory.
Everyone knows Tic-Tac-Toe, but not everyone realizes it’s an excellent way to help children with strategy and spatial reasoning. In this version, you can expand the grid beyond the typical 3×3. That means more options, and less ties. Since everyone’s already familiar with the rules, there’s no learning curve, and time has shown it never gets old.
This game is just what it sounds like. iMazing offers an infinitude of mazes ranging from the stupidly simple, to the skull crushingly difficult. As you level up your world will expand and so will the mazes. Doing mazes helps with planning, and spatial memory. You can start with the basics and move along as your ability increases.
15. Stained Glass
The player is given a selection of stained glass segments and asked to arrange them in formations with the most similar colors touching. While that may sound easy, the ticking clock makes it quite hard. Don’t be surprised to fail level one your first time around. This game is great for children looking for help with colors and recognizing patterns.
Many seasoned bejeweled players will be surprised to see it on this list. However, Bejeweled is an amazing tool to develop pattern recognition and spatial awareness. The successful player thinks many moves in advance to create the longest chain and get the most points. As the levels progress it gets more difficult to find patterns and get the points needed to progress. Kids and adults are both likely to get addicted to this puzzle game.
17. Matrix Game
Matrix Game helps the player make snap visual judgment. Visual discrimination gets slower with time. However, it’s imperative to keep this skills intact as they are very important in a myriad of dangerous situations. Deciphering visual stimuli critically and correctly categorizing it is very difficult. After some time in the “Matrix” you’ll find yourself making correct decisions faster.
Matchmaker plays on a variety of mental quirks. The player is supposed to match the color written on a card with the correct choice in a group of possible answers. This sounds very easy, but the color of the word is often different than what is written. What results is an exercise in concentration and critical reasoning. You’ll be surprised how easily your brain is fooled at first.
19. Copy Cat Jack
We all know the iconic repetition Simon. Copy Cat Jack has the same premise but using animal sounds. This is perfect for children who are very familiar with common barnyard refrains from children’s books. Players will handle increasingly difficult sequences that test memory and sound recognition.
You need to save Harry from the hungry cat. You are given a series of tunnel pieces and have to figure out the best way to get Harry to safety. The sneaky cat lurking in the background provides incentive and also adds a bit of panic. Thinking critically and using good spatial skills are the only way to save Harry the Hamster.
Tetris was one of the first video games in American homes. Not surprisingly, it’s still going strong. There is no better example of a spatial reasoning test than Tetris. This moving puzzle benefits every level of player and progressively tests your abilities. If you’ve never played, there’s no time like the present.
22. Sea of Faces
Consider sea of faces a reverse Guess Who. You are provided with a group of faces, and then given a selection of similar looking folks. You have a limited time to focus on facial features and distinctive aspects of each face. This is equal parts memory and recognition. This can help the businessman looking to better remember faces around the office and great to help kids realize who they know and who they don’t.
This game is unique in that it does not have a specific set of rules. There’s no rhyme or reason to what task comes next. It’s the player’s job to find the question and then answer it. In this way Outside the Flock tests the player’s ability to define a pattern and act on their intuition. Since there are no concrete rules it can be a bit frustrating at first, but you’ll get the hang of it.
Skyscraper is a high altitude puzzle game, in which, we must find the best way to get across a field. You move one box towards a goal while traversing all the other boxes to get the best score. It’s up to you to find the best route across. This game tests your critical thinking skills and is a sort of 3D elevated mazes with more possible outcomes. The goal is simple, don’t fall down.
25. Letter Drop
Letter Drop is like a mixture of Tetris and a word search. You must keep the balls from stacking up by typing words. From time to time, a friendly penguin will give you challenges for extra points. Be careful not to sacrifice your game for a bonus.
26. Factory Balls
Factory Balls offers the player a chance to check their grasp of processes. In this game, it’s not only important you do the right thing, you have to do it in the right order. You have to use your critical thinking skills to find the right process to produce the ball the customer wants.
In this creative problem solver you must get the sugar into a series of mugs by designing intertwining routes and passages. The number of correct solutions is only limited by your imagination. Spoonful of Sugar offers a chance to be creative with a specific goal in mind.