A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Brain Challenge HD is a so-called “brain-training” game that tasks players to answer questions in disciplines such as logic and memory as quickly as they can. The content is innocuous, though some of the activities -- especially those in the mathematics category -- will be too complex for younger children. There is also a mode fittingly dubbed “stress test” in which a frowning, pointing man barks text-based orders and berates players’ poor performance, saying things like “how can you be so absent-minded?” and “how did you mess this up?”
What's it about?
Players input their personal info and select a personal coach avatar. Settings can be used to customize gameplay and, thankfully, there's an option to turn off the grating background music. Players go to Daily Test to play mini-games that include logic, math, memory, or visual games. The app then tells players what percentage of their brain they're "using." The Stress Test option includes a male avatar yelling orders and gesturing angrily when players get one wrong. The brain charts provide data on progress.
Is it any good?
Designed after Nintendo’s popular Brain Age games, BRAIN CHALLENGE HD for the iPad offers players more than two dozen brain exercises in Logic, Math, Memory, Visual, and Focus categories. Activities are wrapped up in a simple interface that tracks the player’s progress over time via charts and a somewhat arbitrary brain usage meter. It’s nothing fans of the genre haven’t seen before -- save perhaps the optional and not particularly fun “stress test” mode which features a mean man who berates players for their poor performance -- but it’s both competent and compelling. Of course, the actual benefits of brain training games like these are hard to nail down (do we perform better over time because we’re getting smarter or merely because we’re training ourselves in specific tasks?) but one thing is certain: Simple brain exercises can’t hurt.
Talk to your kids about ...
Unless your kids thrive on pressure and negative feedback, a la drill sergeant, make sure they avoid the Stress Test mode.
Remind your kids that there are lots of forms of intelligence, and this app measures only a few -- and with measurements that may or may not be totally accurate.
- Device: iPad
- Subjects: Math: addition, arithmetic, division, multiplication, subtraction
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: logic, memorization, solving puzzles, thinking critically
- Price: $4.99
- Release date: June 7, 2010
- Category: Puzzle Games
- Size: 91.90 MB
- Publisher: Gameloft
- Version: 1.0.0
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 3.2 or later