There are a lot of benefits to playing games. Besides being entertaining, they can actually help to improve your mental health — as long as you’re playing in moderation — because they’re a great distraction, a fun way to bond with friends, and a way to relieve stress. But games can also be great for exercising your brain and improving crucial cognitive skills. So, if you’re looking to mix it up and play some challenging mind games, below are several free Android brain games you can download right now from the Play store.
Lumosity by Lumos Labs
This popular brain-training app — which claims to be used by over 90 million people globally — features more than 40 different puzzle games for working on a variety of skills. For example, the games are designed to improve skills like critical thinking, memory, problem solving, speed, and focus. Before you start playing, you can take a quick test to see where you stand against others your age and to see where you could use some improvement. You’ll also be able to get a brain workout regimen tailored to your needs, and you’ll then receive feedback and insights on your performance. Additionally, Lumosity offers mindfulness training, which isn’t usually a feature of brain-training apps.
Scrabble by Electronic Arts
If you’re looking for a more old school brain-training game, Scrabble is a great option for improving your memory and quick-thinking skills. This Android app offers more than the classic board game, such as a Teacher feature for working on your game, a Speed Play mode, and the ability to play solo or against Facebook friends (among other options). If you want to further develop these skills and exercise your brain, it also helps to work on a bit of strategy outside of the app as well. With Scrabble, it’s not all about memorizing definitions or a wide variety of complex words — it’s about memorizing the right words, i.e., words that will earn you the most points and help you to win the game. Remember: When playing the game, never underestimate the power of two- and three-letter words.
Elevate by Elevate Labs
Elevate offers more than 35 brain-training games specifically designed to improve certain skills such as memory, speaking, focus, math, and comprehension. It also offers a training regimen to help you work on certain skills, and it allows you to track your progress as you go (to make sure you’re being challenged). With regular weekly practice, Elevate promises that you’ll see development in these critical skills. This development will help to boost productivity at work and at home, increase your overall confidence, and potentially help you to earn more at work (or so it claims). The app is available in a free version and a paid version with a free 14-day trial.
Peak by Peaklabs
Don’t have much time to devote to brain-training games? No problem. With Peak, all you need is just 10 minutes per day. The app features more than 45 challenging brain games, with many of them designed by academics from Cambridge and NYU. Peak’s games specifically focus on improving problem solving, math, memory, mental agility, emotional control, language, coordination, and creativity, among others. And, as is common with many other brain-training apps, you’ll get a workout designed specifically for your needs. Track and analyze your progress as you go to see how the app is working out for you. If you’re in need of more challenging games, the app also offers advanced training programs.
Go ahead and give some of the above brain-training apps a test run to see which one(s) you like the best. Although many of them have similar features, the games and challenges vary app to app. With practice, you’re sure to see the far-reaching effects of spending even a little bit of time each day on exercising your brain.
Frank Mullen is the lead editor for Miami Morning Star. Frank has written for several publications including the Orlando Sentinel and the Huffington Post. Frank is based in Palm Beach and covers issues affecting his city and the Palm Beach county. When he’s not busy writing, Frank enjoys playing flying drones.