Developer: Brain+
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 2.1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★½☆☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★½☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★½☆☆

Do “brain training” games really sharpen our memory and make us more powerful thinkers? Yes. No. Maybe. The science behind brain training is spotty, to say the least.

Nevertheless, we love to believe these games and apps are giving our brains a workout; myself included. I’ve played Nintendo’s popular Brain Age games, and while I’m skeptical about whether they’ve actually strengthened my grey matter in any significant way I still found some of the exercises useful. I am, for instance, utterly terrible at math, but daily rounds with Brain Age‘s reams of math problems helped make me quicker and more accurate with basic operations.

brain_04brain_02So I ultimately can’t give a verdict one way or the other on the validity of brain training, but I’m confident saying this much: Brain+ won’t do a whole lot to buff up players’ thinking process. Worse, its games (barring its memory game) are pretty dull.

Brain+‘s games are supposed to improve memory, attention span, and problem solving skills. One game involves giving a frog a series of directions to reach a princess. Another requires players to help a pirate navigate around hidden shoals and pick up items. Yet another presents players with a stream of information that they must recall at random moments. Each game carries on for a limited amount of time. Players are then measured on their performance, which is tallied using “brain points.” Ideally, numbers are supposed to improve day over day.

It’s hard to stick with Brain+ for more than a couple of days, though. There’s nothing unique or interesting about the frog or pirate games. They play like dullest mini-games from the dusty bottom of Professor Layton‘s trunk.

brain_05brain_03The memory game, however, is pretty amusing. It introduces players to a stream of people (maybe from the dev team?) that throw out a lot of facts about themselves – everything from how many siblings they have to the fact that they bought a deep-fryer on Wednesday. Players are asked to recall these facts, even as new friends introduce themselves. It’s pretty amusing, and it genuinely challenges the player’s recollection skills.

Otherwise, Brain+‘s appeal is pretty limited and there isn’t a whole lot to do. By comparison, games like Brain Age contain a wealth of mini-games and change up exercises often. Maybe brain training games are based on shoddy science, but at the very least they should supply some entertainment.

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