Gaming

The best brain training apps

What have you got planned for your commute home tonight?

A few more chapters of that half-baked fantasy drama? Another attempt at a Candy Crush high score? Unplugging your brain and staring out the window?

Well, we've got some life-enhancing suggestions - like learning a language, or improving your concentration - that requires nothing more than tapping about with your thumbs.

Prepare to gain some serious skills with our pick of brain enhancing apps.

(Image: Shutterstock)

  • The best brain training apps 10

    Peak

    What does it teach? 
    Memory, focus, problem-solving, mental agility, language skills

    How?
    Designed in collaboration with experts in neuroscience, cognitive science and education, Peak uses 18 games based around core number skills, pattern recognition and spelling tests that gradually stretch and improve your mental skills. Things won't ever feel impossible though, thanks to the personalised workout system and daily aims based on your performances.

    Price
    Free (Android and iOS) with in-app purchases

  • The best brain training apps 11

    Eidetic

    What does it teach?
    Memory skills

    How?
    "Spaced repetition" is at the key to this memory enhancer. By adding the fact, number or name you'd like to remember into one of the pre-formed flash cards, Eidetic will prompt you with notifications to "test" you on the item you'd like to remember. The app equivalent of writing a name on your hand and forgetting it after it smudges all over the inside of your pocket.

    Price
    Free (iOS), Pro £2.29

  • The best brain training apps 12

    Piano Teacher

    What does it teach?
    Basic piano skills

    How?
    Simple idea, simple execution. By turning your tablet or phone into a keyboard, Piano Teacher gives you lessons in a dance-mat style: hit the note as coloured sections approach the keys. In addition to its massive internal library, you can add your own music in the form of .midi or .mid files, so you've got an almost unlimited difficulty scope. It won't build you up to concert pianist levels, but it should help you get your head around the fundamentals of piano playing.

    Price
    Free (Android)

  • The best brain training apps 13

    Duolingo

    What does it teach?
    Languages. Lots of them

    How?
    This free language trainer adds an aspect of 'gamification' into lessons of increasing difficulty. Sessions include speaking, listening, translation and multiple choice tests, with a range of motivators to keep you coming back (which actually work).

    Price
    Free, for iOS, Android and Windows

  • The best brain training apps 14

    Elevate

    What does it teach?
    Memory skills, writing, comprehension, focus, analytical skills

    How?
    By picking a range of mental skills you'd like to improve, Elevate will provide you with a selection of 'personalised' games from more than 25 available. At first it'll feel embarrassingly easy, but as Elevate "learns" where you're strengths lie, it'll start radically altering the nature of the games to push you further. Ideally played three times a week, a calendar readout maps your improvement.

    Price
    Free for Android and iOS, with a (seriously expensive) Pro option available