I fondly recall playing Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training on the Nintendo DS till I got my brain age as low as it could go, and similarly Square Enix’s touchscreen Mensa Academy recently suggested I was somewhat of a genius. Hey, I’m just saying… *flexes brain muscles*.
Smart guys might also fancy checking out Clockwork Brain, an App Store title that sets out to “challenge your mind” with an array of “fun puzzles”. Yeah, that sounds about right.
The Sunday Times included Clockwork Brain in its Best 500 Apps in the World countdown, and the game recently notched up 1,000,000 downloads, so it must be doing something right.
Essentially, Clockwork Brain sets out to stretch your synapses with a series of bite-sized mini-games. A word of warning: you might want to let Sprocket the rocket explain things before rushing in, lest you find yourself mindlessly pawing at the screen with no idea what’s going on. Not that that happened to me. Ahem.
There are 13 games in all, tasking you with – among other things – finding anagrams, counting missing tiles in a wall type structure, remembering number patterns, counting the number of letters in a word, and identifying the smallest object.
Where Clockwork Brain differs from the likes of Brain Training and Mensa Academy is the “fun” side of things. See, this guy is less academic, less of an exact science.
For example, some of Clockwork Brain’s games are quite obviously harder than others, and there’s occasionally an element of ambiguity, like when you’re shown a word and asked to identify corresponding shapes. At times I found myself thinking: ‘Is that a glass, or more of a vase?’ The notion of silhouettes further complicates things, as some are patently obvious, while others only become clear as the object fades in.
You can also tailor your selection of four mini-games in each session, filtering out the infuriating ones, and slotting in the four you’re best at.
Depending on your point of view, that might be a good thing; maybe, like girls, you just wanna have fun. The flip side of the coin is that the scores don’t really mean anything; essentially you can practise four ad nauseam until you’re insanely good.
Speaking of insanely good, it is literally possible to be insanely good at a mini-game, at which point you move into Insane mode with the appropriately crazy difficulty and the massive scores.
- More fun than academic
- 13 varied puzzles
- The Steampunk aesthetics
- Not an exact science
- Some puzzles are harder than others
- Occasional ambiguity
Summary: Clockwork Brain is definitely less academic than similar titles like Brain Training and Mensa Academy, but it’s arguably more fun as a result.
Developer: Total Eclipse
Compatibility: Requires iOS 5.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.