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Mobile games that can stimulate your mind and brain

You don’t have to look too far to beat boredom, if you are out of new games to play. Designed with a specific goal in mind, these games test your cognitive skills, ‘measure’ your health and find out how mentally fit you are, among others

What do you do if you have a long commute to your workplace and are not a fan of books and Candy Crush? You don’t have to sit and stare into space.

Here are a list of brain teasers you can easily play on your phone or tablet the next time you find yourself in a crowded train or bus with nothing to do. And some of them even have noble causes attached to them — they test your
cognitive skills, ‘measure’ your health and find out how mentally fit you are, among others.

2048

The objective of this latest entrant in the single player number game arena is very simple: drag the numbers ‘2’ and ‘4’ across the grid to combine them and make the tile a total of ‘2048’. The 4 x 4 grid includes a couple of tiles numbered ‘2’ or ‘4’, which slide across the grid in all four directions.  With each slide, a new number is added to the grid and the game ends when the grid has no empty tiles left. When two tiles of the same number collide, they get replaced by one tile bearing the sum total of the two tiles’ numbers. For instance, when ‘4’ and ‘4’ collide with each other, they add up to form ‘8’ which, in turn, collides with another ‘8’ to form ‘16’. You have to keep colliding tiles till they form a sum total of 2048. The score increases every time two tiles of same number are combined. 

Elevate - Brain training:

The game includes a set of 19 games, out of which three are available to play every day. These  will improve your focus, speaking skills, processing speed, writing skills, memory, precision, comprehension skills, agility and so on. Each day, you are presented with three games that challenge you on four levels — reading, speaking, listening and writing skills. The listening exercise tests your focus, where you have to listen to a dialogue and categorise topics and sub-topics. The speaking exercise deals with your memory and precision, by helping you remember words, pointing out common flaws in your diction and helping you improve your conversational skills. The reading and writing exercises help improve overall comprehension levels.  All exercises are language-based and do not involve math — for that, you need a different app. You can track your progress with the performance page. For a higher level, opt for  a monthly subscription of R300 or an annual subscription of R2,800. 

Lumosity:

Lumos Labs, a neuroscience research and development company, developed Lumosity with an aim to improve a gamer’s brainpower, overall mental health and clarity. 

The games focus on cognitive areas such as speed, memory, attention, problem solving and flexibility. Like Elevate, you are given three games each day in the free version and five games in the paid version and each game challenges one of these cognitive areas.

The games are categorised into four sections — core brain training, peak performance, student and medical condition.

Core brain training focuses on increasing your processing speed, memory, attention span, word recall, problem solving skills and so on. Peak performance challenges you to exert your brain, while student is for high school and college students, as it emphasises on key cognitive areas.

The medical condition exercises are designed for those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Attention
Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) and cancer patients, to improve their memory power post chemotherapy.

The ‘Your brain’ section keeps a track of your performance in these areas and allows you to compare your results with other Lumosity users. The paid version of this app costs R920 per month and R4,900 per annum.

Happify:

In Happify, the games and activities are divided into five categories — Savor, Thank, Aspire, Give and Empathise. It lets you set your goals — such as coping better with stress, building self-confidence, conquering negative thoughts, fuelling your career and so on —  and based on these goals, you get a set of games and activities to perform every day. Unlike other gaming apps, this is aimed purely at your  psychological health. You need to complete three games from a track to get a silver medal or five games to get a gold medal, post which, you can choose a different track to continue playing. In the game’s user community, you can post your life stories, read others’ inspiring stories, ‘like’ and comment on posts and so on. The results are measured against the initial score of ‘happiness’ taken at the beginning. The free version allows you to play a couple of games every day but for the full version of Happify, you will have to pay R790 per month. 

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