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5 Games That May (or May Not) Make You Smarter

The science is inconclusive, but they’ll make the morning commute a little easier.

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Recently, the Educational section of the App Store has been flooded with “brain games.” People love the idea of fun apps that can also maybe make them smarter. Unfortunately, at this time there’s little evidence to prove that brain games aid in overall cognitive skills — even if that’s what many were specifically designed to do. Still, whether or not they make you smarter, they can make the daily commute go by a little faster. Check out some of our favorites.

Kami 2

Kami 2 is a puzzle game with beautiful and satisfying origami-style visuals. The layout of the levels takes a little getting used to, but once your brain clicks with how the colors spread, it’s a simple way to relax and get lost.

iOS: Free

Android: Free

TypeShift

Playing Typeshift feels like when someone can’t remember a word during a conversation and you’re helping them recall it. Each challenge is comprised of a number of slots, into which you’re tasked with inserting one of a limited set of letters in order to make a word. It’s a fun game that doesn’t require too much thought; just scroll through the letters, and you’ll be able to unlock words in the easier rounds. Perfect for the commute home after a long day.

iOS: Free

NYTimes Crossword Puzzles

The New York Times‘ Crossword App puts the daily printed puzzle onto your phone. The app provides unlimited access to puzzles for seven days; subscribe for $7/month or $40/year to continue puzzling every day.

There are some other fun crossword puzzle apps out there: Words With Friends and Scrabble are two great ways to challenge your friends in crossword-style games.

iOS: Free

Android: Free

Flow

Flow has been around since 2012, but it remains a consistently fun time-waster thanks to a simple concept: connect various pairs of colored points on a grid, on which no two pairs of points may cross paths. You can play the game at your own pace, or challenge yourself with time trials.

iOS: Free

Android: Free

Unblock Me

Reminiscent of the kid’s game Rush Hour, Unblock Me is a puzzle game where you slide blocks around a board to free the one red block. The game is instantly addictive, and provides endless entertainment (unless you get stuck on a level). Ponying up a dollar removes the ads, but the free version is perfect for most users.

iOS: Free

Android: Free

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