We belong to a generation where it’s perfectly normal to have a laptop on your desk, a tablet in your bag and a smart phone in your pocket. And with the advancement of science and technology, video games have also come a very long way.

mind boosting games
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What we love most about the developing platform is that there are games for every type of gamer—shooters, RPGs, puzzle games, etc. And even though video games are stereotyped to be a sea of brainless entertainment and time-passers, mind boosting games have emerged as one of the most wildly popular mobile gaming genres on the planet.

We love mind boosting games because they aren’t just fun, they condition our brains to be better and sharper. Memory retention, abstraction, divided attention, word memory, etc. — a good brain game has it all.

So, if you’d like to give your brain a workout and have fun too, try these games and activities that will improve your mental strength and fitness.

1. 2048

There is a beautiful story behind the game. On one weekend, 19-year old Gabriele Cirulli, a web developer came up with the game. He wanted to see if a game can be developed from the computer programme called scratch. To his surprise, he had more than 4 million visitors in less than a week.

Solebon LLC acquired the game and 2048 has been one of the best mind-boosting games since then. In this game, you have a grid with numbered tiles and the main aim is to slide the numbered tiles and combine them till it reaches 2048.

brain training app
Courtesy: mersennewiki.org

If you start off with values 2 on different tiles, Slide to combine them; then the value of the tile will be four. On every turn, new numbers will feature on the tiles and in a similar manner you combine matching numbered tiles to increase the count. Only two matching tiles that are not blocked by other tiles can merge.

2048 might sound simple but it gets challenging as the numbers increase on the tiles. This number game improves your mathematical and decision-making skills. It also keeps you pushing to do better as the player’s best score is features alongside the current score.

2048 is a lot of fun and is unarguably one of the best mind-boosting games that keeps boredom at bay.

2. Minecraft

Minecraft is a very popular open-world sandbox game set in a landscape with blocks representing trees, dirt, rocks, water, and a lot more that are randomly generated.  Players perform various activities in the game, from building things, exploration, to combat.  There are no specific goals but there are different modes – survival, adventure, and creative.

Minecraft flaunts the tag of being the world’s one of the most interesting mind-boosting games as it is being used to educate children on everything from science to city planning to speaking a new language. The video game extends kids’ spatial reasoning skills, construction skills and understanding of planning.

benefits of playing minecraft
Courtesy: Minecraft

Its explosion in popularity of topping the list of mind-boosting games with children comes from its simple mechanics and gigantic toybox-like setting where anything is possible. It’s also wonderful from a mindfulness perspective as the game forces you to develop a core set of tools and keep a constant awareness of your surroundings.

Minecraft also forces you to live in the moment; one second you could be calmly building a structure or chopping some wood, and the next you are fighting exploding monsters or even other players. It makes you accept the reality of how things work and causes you to adapt and cope with whatever it throws at you.

3. Lumosity

Lumosity is one of the most popular mind boosting games out there, and there are some pretty good reasons for the high distinction. The game’s stable of over 25 games adapt to your individual performance, creating a custom-tailored brain training experience for every single user.

The Lumosity program is based on a number of cognitive science studies that indicate that doing a variety of brain exercises can increase memory and mental ability. Just 15 minutes a day at Lumosity can help you develop into a critical thinker.

brain game
Courtesy: Entertainment Junction

But when you start, it evaluates your strengths and develops your training plan. It then selects your games, tests, and exercises based on your attentiveness, memory, and your mental flexibility, speed, and problem-solving ability.

This popular app is split into sessions of three games tailored to your goals – memory, attention, problem solving, processing speed or flexibility of thinking. The games are played against the clock and change every time.

The base program is free, but if you crave variety, you can purchase a subscription that gives you access to a wider variety of activities.

Another incredible factor that makes Lumosity one of the best mind-boosting games of all time is that the core team also works with 40+ university researchers all over the world to take classic cognitive and neuropsychological tasks and then turn them into fun new games for everyone.

4. Elevate

While many of the mind boosting games in this piece focuses on visual identification and pattern recognition, Elevate, available in both Android and iOS, is all about the power of the word.

Language is the core of communication in the modern world, and being able to sharpen those skills is vital. One of the favourite mind boosting games of all time, Elevate incorporates a huge range of games underpinned by real-world applications, in five streams that hark back to schooldays learning – Listening, Writing, Reading, Speaking, and Math. Each of these spans intriguingly named skills such as Brevity or Eloquence.

brain games
Courtesy: Macworld

In one exercise, you’re asked to type in the best synonyms, rather than choosing from a list, which can be helpful for those struggling with that word on the tip of the tongue. Highly practical exercises include sum estimation which come handy for all those bill calculations, tests of common spelling and grammar errors, and, uniquely, audio passages whose details you’re quizzed on.

Exercises become harder the more you play, with the option to unlock “Study Materials” for skills such as public speaking after finishing five daily training sessions. Elevate works on the same freemium model as Lumosity, with paid accounts having access to more activities. Pro users get unlimited access to games, unlimited plays and more analysis on their performance. The way the app tracks your progress is a little opaque, but you’ll see real benefits quickly.

5. Eidetic

If your memory skills are a bit shaky, Eiditic’s repetition method is the best way for you to memorize anything and everything. And even if your memory is sharp now, we can’t deny that one of the first things that people start to see decline as they age is memory.

As the brain accretes experiences and information, it becomes more difficult to access those memories. That is why it is crucial to build and strengthen your memory capacity. Eidetic is one of those fascinating mind-boosting games that use some interesting mental principles to help you remember anything.

video games for memory
Courtesy: Eidetic Memory Test

In this game, you pick something you want to remember. The app then uses different ways to interrupt you to quiz you on it while keeping the data in the cloud. This storage of data enables you to track your progress and train on different devices. Since the date is kept remotely in cloud storage, you can start the game and train your memory from any device.

Eidetic is one of the best mind boosting games that helps improve the memory function of the brain using some compelling mental principles to build your memory.

6. CogniFit Brain Fitness

A sound mind in a sound body is the mantra many of us live by, and CogniFit aims to do exactly that.

This is one of those mind boosting games that improve cognitive abilities such as memory and concentration, with sleek, fun and addictive games designed by neuroscientists. After an initial quiz, the app adapts each game’s difficulty to your profile and gives you recommendations based on your results.

brain fitness app
Courtesy: Born Realist

CogniFit Brain Fitness contains 10 challenges to measure cognitive ability, memory, and spatial perception. Users can track progress and access insights about overall brain health. This is one of the few mind boosting games that allow competitive players to challenge their friends as well.

The company has a longer backstory than most in the space, having been founded in 1999 to investigate the ability of software to improve the mind. In addition to the base program, which uses numerous exercises and challenges to improve brain function, it has developed apps for emotional awareness and a customized program for sufferers of multiple sclerosis.

CogniFit has also sponsored several studies that showed positive results in brains of all types from their exercises. Developers even found that users saw improvement by spending at least 20 minutes, two to three times a week, playing the games.

7. Peak

Peak is the slickest brain-training app available, with a polished collection of mind boosting games covering subjects including memory, language, mental agility and the most important of all – attention!

Peak has a pretty awesome user interface. You will love the slick and quirky design and the over 40 unique mind boosting games featured here aren’t just exceptionally well designed, but are actually fun.

mind game
Courtesy: Indo Indians

Peak’s most interesting feature is Coach, a “personal trainer” that helps users find the right workout at the right time.  Some exercises also rather dubiously deal with “emotional training” – for example, spot the smiling faces and match them up, while ignoring the frowning faces, in order to challenge one’s ability to focus on the positive.

One of the highlights of Peak is the visual display of your performance as a constellation of all cognitive skills so you can instantly see your top skills and understand where they excel and where they need to improve.  Each game on Peak is developed by a team of neuroscientists and game developers in order to seamlessly bring the world of gaming and brain training together and they’ve executed this strategy perfectly.

8. Overwatch

Overwatch is now over five years old, but the game hasn’t lost its charm. Blizzard has been updating it with new heroes, maps, and events very now and then. There’s usually something new to check out every month.

Overwatch is a stylized online multiplayer team-based first-person shooter set on earth in the near future. The game pits a diverse cast of fighters with distinct personalities which include soldiers, mercenaries, scientists and other oddballs.

shooting game
Courtesy: RedBull

This is one of the best mind-boosting games as it requires the player to continuously assess and react, and make moment by moment decisions based on positioning, map layout, abilities, character selection, enemy position and more. The action is intense and available weapons range from a realistic handgun to over-the-top futuristic weapons, but the player’s most powerful weapon is his brain.

Overwatch involves a lot of fast strategic and tactical thinking, decision-making and hand-eye coordination, thus emerging as one of the best mind-boosting games to be launched.

9. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

This is easily one of the most popular mind-boosting games on this list and the one that you’ve most likely heard of. It’s true that the game is all about adventuring through and saving a fantasy world from the scourge of angry dragons.

However, at the same time, you’d be surprised at how much of it allows for simple breathing and mindful reflection, thus taking you away from life’s mundane chaos and giving you a chance to strengthen your mind. This is particularly seen in the landscape traversal and in some of the more simple tasks of the game.

mind games
Courtesy: YouTube

The small activity of smelting some iron, mining ore, or exploring the forests and mountains in the smaller moments between the gigantic action pieces can be incredibly grounding and experienced as a way to breathe and come back to our awareness. One of the best mind boosting games of all time, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim allows us to take a step back, reflect and bounce back stronger.

There’s a moment in particular as the player proceeds up a long set of steps towards the top of a mountain, where we notice several individuals along the road meditating on the meaning of the emblems, quotes, and totems situated at various points along the path. We can choose to interact with, simply glance at, or even ignore each one as we make our way up.

But their presence along this path brings a beautiful reminder of the value of being with yourself and taking a moment to pause amidst the gorgeous beauty of the landscape around you. It’s easily one of the best moments in the game, if not in gaming altogether.

10. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

This game is an absolutely stellar piece of work with so much to do and get into. The player controls the protagonist, Geralt of Riva, a monster hunter known as a Witcher, in his quest to find his missing adopted daughter.

This is one of the most visually appealing mind boosting games as it takes the player in an awe-inspiring open world adventure, completing side quests and acquiring experience points and gold that he can use to buy or repair stuff he needs to succeed.

witcher game
Courtesy: Pocket-lint

But what stands out in this game is that the main character, Geralt has the ability to meditate in game. It works as a mechanic of sorts where it allows time to pass within the setting, allows for some gorgeous visual imagery. On the lower difficulty settings, this act also replenishes your health and potions. It serves as a healing practice of sorts that is honestly brilliantly handled.

It’s a beautiful mechanical exemplification of what meditation and mindfulness can do within a game itself. Further, players engage the game’s monsters and other dangers with weapons, magic, and potions. The game requires from the player a lot of decision making, eye-hand coordination and flexibility in the face of ever-changing situations. It also teaches goal attainment and efficient resource management, thus strengthening your mind and will.

11. Portal

When the first Portal came out in 2007, it made quite a splash. After all, the popularity of Portal allowed for the catchphrase, “Now you’re thinking with portals” to take off on the Internet.

Video games at the time focused on big scenes and big explosions and big guns. Portal gave the player a big gun; however, instead of firing bullets or lasers, it fired harmless “portals”.

portal games
Courtesy: Gamespot

The player could place a blue portal or an orange portal on any surface. If the player stepped in blue, they’d pop out of orange, and vice versa. The goal is to get to the other side the room. This came out as one of the best mind boosting games of all time as we can say from experience that completing each room made the player feel smart.

A few years later, a sequel came out. The rooms were more complex, the graphics more refined, but the core gameplay stayed the same. The puzzles were completed with many possible solutions, and the player is required to think and act not only logically, but also creatively as he uses the portal gun.

The popularity of the original title drew a lot of attention to Portal 2, including from the scientific community. A study published in Computers & Education found that players of Portal 2 showed gains in problem solving, spatial reasoning and cognitive persistence, thus proving once again that video games make you smarter. Now that’s thinking with portals.

12. Titanfall 2

A study out of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that first-person shooters are amazing mind boosting games as they make players better at pattern recognition, multitasking, and information retention than non-players.

Now, from Battlefield to Halo, the market is saturated with first-person shooter video games but nothing beats Titanfall 2. The game begins with a lavish cinematic scene, extolling the virtues of the pilot.

games to train brain
Courtesy: Wired

The pilot, in the Titanfall universe, is a specialized role – a military rank given to those who command Titans, the game’s eponymous super robots. These ‘pilots’ see the world differently, and so they fight differently. Aided by their personal propulsion kits, they move impossibly fast and this makes them better, more important, worthy of awe.

Titanfall 2 features all the good stuff that decades of sci-fi culture have trained us to expect – spaceships, powerful guns, but the main attraction are undoubtedly the hilariously oversized robots. When you tire of shooting skulls and certainly not taking names, you hop into a giant mechanized suit and wreak havoc on everything around you.

Additionally, your character rappels around levels at breakneck speed—like a futuristic Tarzan and runs on walls, making Titanfall 2 one of the best mind boosting games alongside giving us the most frenetic experiences in video games.