Welcome back to our weekly spotlight on helpful apps. We focus on a variety of products that are useful for work, personal use, or both, providing our own thoughts on the apps and what you can do with them. This week we train our brains with Peak.
An intro to Peak
Mobile games aren’t always about giving you a welcome distraction from crowded trains during your commute; sometimes they go a bit deeper and can do wonders for your cognitive abilities. Peak (available from the Apple App Store or Google Play) is one such app, offering a set of games designed to challenge your brain and improve some key mental skills.
Each game is very quick, and in order to play more than one round a day you have to sit through 30-second videos advertising other apps. That means it’s easy to play a round of each game and put Peak down without getting addicted.
When you initially start up the app, a “personal trainer” called Coach comes on the screen and says he’s going to test your base levels in five areas: memory, problem solving, language, focus and mental agility. You then proceed to play five very quick games and Coach lets you know where you rank among other users. The app then uses this data to create a tailored workout programme that you can choose to do at any time.
I only tested out the free version of Peak, but I did notice an improvement in my scores the more I played. The app is very good at keeping you motivated to do better every time you play, as if your score drops below a certain level three times in a row your ranking goes down and you have to build it back up.
I like the fact that the games are so quick and intense. If I need a break from writing, I can pick up my phone and spend two or three minutes testing my vocabulary skills. The games themselves are simple yet effective; there’s no getting distracted by bright colours or flashing images because that’s not the goal here. The app is designed to help you focus and develop new cognitive skills that can be useful in every day life.
It’s a shame you can’t “win” access to the full catalogue of more than 40 games – in order to unlock the catalogue you have to upgrade to a Peak Pro account, which starts at £2.17 a month for a year (or £3.99 for a month-to-month subscription). To be fair, that’s not really much money for a product that, as far as I can tell, does actually help train your brain to succeed.