Brain Bran

 

Learning(i)

Tricky and sometimes violent riddles best for tweens and up.

What parents need to know

Ease of play

This app does not include any instructions, but the menus are fairly easy to navigate, and the rules for the more obscure categories of riddles become evident after a few tries. Players can create their own profiles to track their progress. There are seven categories of riddles: logic puzzles (including approximately 30 questions), number madness (about 20), things in common (about 20), visual vexers (about 15), mondegreens (about 40), ditloids (about 65), and gotchas (about 15). Some colors on the visual vexers look a bit off on the device screen. Each question is designated a certain number of points. Some questions have hints; viewing a hint subtracts one point from the total for that question. After you display the answer, you can select whether or not you answered the question correctly to determine whether you get the points. You can go back and read answered questions, but cannot try to answer them again without creating a new profile. The questions are not categorized by difficulty level, and they are quite challenging.

Violence

The premises of many of the riddles involve the threat of death or execution in sometimes gruesome ways, such as being boiled alive by cannibals or burned at the stake. Guns are also contemplated by General Custer and a firing squad and (spoiler alert!) used by a bartender to frighten a customer out of his hiccups.

Sex
Not applicable
Language

One riddle refers to the evil of Satan.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

One of the riddles specifies that each owner of a house prefers a different beverage (one of which is beer) and a different brand of cigars (five brands are listed).

Privacy & safety
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Brain Bran is a collection of about 200 puzzles and riddles with some violent references. Many of the puzzles use logic and math, while others focus on wordplay, optical illusions, or trick questions. After reading explanations of the answers, kids can self-select whether they answered correctly to earn points. Several people can create profiles on the same device. The premises of several questions involve death, and there is mention of cannibals, executioners, and guns. Beer, a bar, and smoking cigars are also mentioned. There are no instructions, so kids might need help figuring out how to approach some categories of puzzles -- and then you both might need a hint or two to find the solution!

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading

Math

  • arithmetic

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • logic
  • problem solving
  • thinking critically

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

The brainteasers are fun, but your students will rely on you to liven things up, as the production value isn't very high.

Learning Approach

All aspects of this entertaining app are reading-intensive. Kids who read critically will learn and grow by reading explanations. Kids who aren't as strong can work in groups or get individual attention.

Support

Kids control when they show their answers, which can teach or reinforce self-monitoring, but if they rush things, they won't learn as much. There's no tutorial, but gameplay is intuitive. You can get hints for trickier puzzles.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading

Math

  • arithmetic

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • logic
  • problem solving
  • thinking critically

Kids can learn to use logic, math, word play, attention to detail, and creativity to solve brainteasers. Conundrums require strong reading. Number Madness incorporates numbers and offers excellent explanations for each answer. Things in Common brain teasers get kids thinking critically to find what unrelated things have in common: Pantyhose, candidates, and engines all run, for example. Visual Vexers build spatial reasoning. Mondegreens and Ditloids challenge verbal skills, and Gotchas incorporate problem-solving and critical thinking. Brain Bran makes it easy for kids to think critically and have fun.

This Learning Rating review was written by Amanda Bindel

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What's it about?

BRAIN BRAN is pretty low-tech, but it is filled with logic puzzles and brainteasers for hours of entertainment. Kids choose the type of brainteaser from the category list and then choose a question. Kids will read the questions themselves and self-check their answers, choosing YES or NO to "Did you answer this question correctly?" The app then tracks their score.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The strength of Brain Bran lies in its large number and variety of puzzles and riddles -- it's a great blend of entertainment with mental stimulation with at least several hours' worth of play. There are a few seemingly similar questions (executioners and kings apparently love making people wear colored hats), but solving them reveals that these puzzles build off one another, rather than being redundant. We could do with more instructions and fewer typos, but overall the app is easy to use, though the puzzles are often hard to solve. The pictures and visual puzzles help liven up the otherwise simple app, and the explanations are thorough, which facilitates learning and improving logic and problem solving skills.

Families can talk about...

  • Share the questions with each other. Brain Bran would be great fun for dinnertime or road-trip conversation.

  • Challenge kids to make up their own riddles and brainteasers to share with you. Can they stump you? Then switch and see if you can stump them with your own riddles.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Price:$.99
Pricing structure:Paid
Release date:September 13, 2011
Category:Entertainment
Size:4.70 MB
Publisher:Ripe Stocks
Version:1.0
Minimum software requirements:iOS 3.2 or later

This review of Brain Bran was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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