'Memory Puzzle HD': A Fun Grindstone for Sharpening the Mind
Oct 4, 2010 5:00 AM PT
Do you feel as if your memory is a sieve with the spaces in the mesh getting bigger and bigger every day? If you do feel that way, you're going to like a new game for the iPad that's designed to improve both your memory and concentration.
The game's called "Memory Puzzle HD." Actually, "Memory Puzzle" is three games, all of them challenging to a player's mental acuity.
One of the games is "Numbers." In it, a matrix of numbers is displayed. You shake the iPad and a new matrix with new numbers appears. You're given 45 seconds to remember the order of the numbers. Then each number in the matrix turns into a blank square.
As a number appears on the screen, you must remember its location in the matrix and poke the corresponding square. Each correct poke earns you a point. In addition, the session is timed so you can keep tabs on how fast you're solving the puzzles.
Rubik's Cube With Pictures
"Colors" is another matrix game, but much harder. The matrix consists of colored squares with segmented diamonds in them.
What makes this game difficult is that the colors in the squares are not simple ones like blue, red, green, yellow or orange. They're dark blue, light blue, gray, white gray and such. That makes it more difficult to convert the colors into a string of words that can be memorized -- blue, red, yellow, etc. -- and forces you to remember the colors as images in your mind.
Moreover, it makes it harder to cheat the game. With numbers, you can write the figures on a piece of paper and get a perfect score every time. With colors, that's more difficult, if not impossible to do.
As in "Numbers," you earn one point for each correct answer and there's a timer to track your progress.
The third game, "Picture Puzzle," is a kind of Rubik's Cube with images. When you launch the game, you're asked to choose a photo from your iPad's photo album for the game.
The image is cut up into square segments, scrambled and placed in a matrix. One of the squares in the matrix, though, is blank. The idea is to use the blank square to manipulate the image segments and put the picture back together in its proper form. No easy feat.
As you work at putting the image back together, a timer ticks away relentlessly.
Game Elements Can Be Modified
Elements of the games can be modified in a number of ways.
The size of matrix can be customized. You might want to start with a smaller one -- three by three, for example -- and work your way up to the largest size, five by five.
The amount of time you have to memorize the numbers can be altered, too, from one second to 100 seconds.
At the end of each game, you can also have the program ask you if you want to advance to the next level. The beginning level for the program is 45 seconds, followed by 30 seconds and 15 seconds.
The game also has a feature called "Social Buzz." It has a scoreboard where players can be added or deleted to the game and their points posted. Before starting a game, a player must choose his name from the Social Buzz Scoreboard.
You can also connect to Facebook and Twitter from inside the game.
If you enter Facebook from the game, you must give Memory Puzzle permission to post status messages, notes, photos and videos to your wall. To avoid embarrassment, you may not want to do that until you've gained some acumen in the various games.
The performance of Memory Puzzle could be better. Picture Puzzle especially had a degree of latency that was particularly annoying. Nevertheless, the games themselves are challenging and are good way put a fine edge on your mind.