Nintendo created a market out of nothing when it launched the Brain Training series for the Nintendo DS, and even now the genre of games that exercise your grey matter remains incredibly popular, not just with dedicated players but with casual users, too. Memory Trainer is an attempt to transfer this success to Android, and on the whole it’s a winning venture.
Memory Trainer’s confident promotional text assures us that it has been comprehensively proven – no doubt by some doctor in a white coat – that regular mental exercise can help to improve your memory. Whatever your viewpoint on this particular branch of medical science, this app is an appealing and diverting experience that at least makes you feel like you’re using you time productively, which is something you can’t always say about games.
Memory Trainer taxes your brain in several keys areas, such as spatial and working memory, focus and concentration. It also makes use of a process known as ‘chunking’, which may sound like a word to describe being sick but actually refers to a system of recoding information to make better use of your short-term memory.
Like Nintendo’s Brain Training series, Memory Trainer is made up of several short mini-games which are intended to get your brain cells buzzing. They range from simple memory challenges to spatial tasks, where you’re expected to recall where certain objects were, such as flipped tiles and the like. Memory Trainer tracks your progress and over a period of a few days builds up a sort of scoreboard for your efforts.
In fact the creators of the app recommend that you carry out a task at least once a day to ensure the process reaps rewards. This might sound like a bit of a slog but the excellent presentation of the app helps make repeat visits appealing, and the straightforward interface avoids confusion. You may want to check the objectives of each challenge before starting it, though – the tutorial for each game isn’t compulsory and if you charge in headlong you may score poorly.
The default mode in Memory Trainer gives you a series of challenges which are intended to give your brain a complete workout, but you can switch to targeted training if you feel you’re lacking in certain key areas.
Viewing your progress report after a few days of use is a genuinely interesting experience, because there does seem to be a definite correlation between the amount of time spent with the app and the increase in your memory skills.
Whether or not this is a permanent enhancement is debateable, and some would argue that the improvement will only be witnessed within the confines of the app itself, rather than in the outside world. However, we’re pretty sure that using an app like Memory Trainer certainly won’t do any harm to your brain, so the argument is pointless.
If you’re looking for a Brain Training-style title on your Android phone then Memory Trainer most certainly fits the bill. Even if you’re sceptical about the benefits of such software, it’s still well worth downloading. The games are entertaining in their own little way, and the presentation is leagues ahead of most Android apps.