If you like a variety of brain puzzlers, you might want to check out thinkSMART games for the Nintendo DS. There is a version for adults and a version for younger ones from 8 years of age and up.
thinkSMART: To say there are a lot of different brain-teasers here is quite an understatement. You can choose training just to get a feel for each task. The directions are somewhat lacking so some will have to figure it out by trial-and-error. I kept losing on the analogy game until I realized what exactly it was asking for. The games are divided into six categories. I like Crack the Code (logic), Number Pyramid (mathematics), and Find the Word (language) the most.
After you’ve practiced a bit, you can move on to THINK Quotient. Depending on the time available you can choose from Sprint, Marathon, or Olympics. Unlike other games that tell you that your brain is actually that of a 70-year-old, this compares your progress to previous tries.
thinkSMART Kids 8+: A nice feature is that each player can choose their trainer, either male or female. At first only a few sections are open and all in the ‘easy’ mode. As you play through the levels, you can unlock other exercises and difficulty modes. This detracts from the appeal for children as many of the initial puzzles are either too hard or not very engaging.
I found the Mental Arithmetic actually a bit more difficult than in the adult DS game, even in the easy mode. As my daughter hates math as it is, she really had no interest in this exercise. The Animal Noises (memory) and Puzzle (spatial awareness) were child-friendly with cute animal graphic but could be too juvenile depending on the age of the child. This game can be a great tool in helping your child to exercise their minds but you might want to unlock all of the levels for them first.
I love the colorful and clear graphics. The music is generic but since it is just a looping track it can get irritating after a while. There is enough variety to please most everyone. One word of warning: don’t play this game when you have a headache or are really tired because it will make you think whether you like it or not. Overall I feel thinkSMART games have a rounded set of thinking exercises to keep your mind sharp.
Disclosure: I was provided with two Nintendo DS games at no cost in order to test the product. The review presented here is 100% my honest opinion.