Lumosity Brain Trainer

App review by
Cynthia Chiong, Common Sense Media
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Quick games hone mental skills; in-app buy for full access.

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The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn to hone their mental skills. These games may not teach an explicit subject like a reading or math app might, but they require concentration and mental focus. For example, one game shows players a sequence of shapes and with each, asks players to identify if it is the same as the one they saw prior to it. Sounds simple enough. But try to do it faster and faster to get more points, and it's not so easy anymore. With practice, kids should notice they are increasing their speed and mental flexibility. Lumosity Brain Trainer games may not be the most engaging, but these quick mental exercises can keep your brain sharp.

Ease of Play

The navigation, instructions, and explanations all require reading, which makes this app a bit challenging for kids. The games are simple, but kids may need to play some of them a time or two in order to really figure out how to play.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

The free app comes with five free sessions, and then players must upgrade by making an in-app purchase -- 3 months for $4.99, 6 months for $6.99, and 1 year for $9.99.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the activities in Lumosity Brain Trainer were designed by top neuroscientists to improve players' Brain Performance Index (BPI). The simple games tap into cognitive processes like speed, attention, memory, flexibility, and problem solving. The developers claim that playing the games a few minutes each day can help enhance and maintain these skills for folks young and old. Players can complete five training sessions for free; to continue practicing and to unlock more games, players must upgrade with an in-app purchase of $4.99 for 3 months, $6.99 for 6 months, and $9.99 for a year.

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What's it about?

In LUMOSITY BRAIN TRAINER, players choose from 10 games in two different modes. In Trainer mode, the app randomly picks three of the games for a training session. The games range from solving simple math problems to remembering patterns. Most games are timed to test speed and get increasingly more difficult. Each session factors into the BPI scores. Players can also practice in the Game mode, where they choose the specific games they want to practice. The scores in Game mode do not save.

Is it any good?

Lumosity Brain Trainer can be oddly addicting. The activities themselves are not particularly fun or engaging, and young kids may tire of them quickly. However, players motivated by the challenge of improving their BPIs will keep coming back for more. With the upgrade, players can track progress and see how their scores increase over time. The upgrade also allows players to compare their scores to those of other Lumosity users. For the full experience and recommended continual practice, the upgrade is a must.

The app gives a nice, general explanation of why we should maintain our cognitive skills and shares some of the research behind the app. For those who are curious, though, it doesn’t go into much detail about exactly how these activities "train our brains."

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Encourage your kids to play the Lumosity games a little each day.

  • Find riddles and brain teasers to share with your kids and ask them to find some for you. Kids love it when adults are stumped!

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
  • Skills: Self-Direction: personal growth
    Thinking & Reasoning: memorization, problem solving
  • Price: Free to try
  • Pricing structure: Free to try ($4.99 for 3 months, $6.99 for 6 months, $9.99 for 1 year)
  • Release date: August 2, 2012
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 5.50 MB
  • Publisher: Lumos Labs, Inc.
  • Version: 1.19
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 3.0 or later
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

Our editors recommend

For kids who love brain teasers and puzzles

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