Oct 28, 2015

[Games] Elevate (Android)

It's rather quirky that it's only now that I'm finally taking the time to write about Elevate considering that it's already a key part of my daily routine. As much as it remains to be a game app at the core of its design, it's potential benefits in the mental exercise area are what got me into the app in the first place. It's a rather elegant approach to gamifying brain drills. And it has its share of fun.

But I guess I'm in a much better place now that I actually have a Lifetime Pro membership. Yes, I actually invested that much into what is primarily a free app. And I suppose that's quite the statement of confidence in what the app means to me more than anything else.

Elevate is a brain training app that has a pretty robust free version and of course a more powerful Pro version. It is available for iOS and Android, but naturally I've only been able to test the Android version of the app.

The app is designed to act as a way for you to keep your brain in shape with mental exercises in four main skill areas - Writing, Reading, Listening and Speaking. When you first get started on the app, you answer a few questions about skills you want to work on and the app will then customize your learning path.

On a daily basis, 3 games will be provided as the day's training session and this is a selection from about 30 different games that are already part of the free user library. Complete the three games and you're done for the day. You can set weekly goals for how often you want to be reminded to play and the app developers recommend that you play at least three times a week. The only caveat is that on any day you'll only have those 3 games to choose from.

The game will provide you feedback on how you're doing in each area and getting to the Expert levels of each category will unlock a few more of those games. You'll also see data on how long your longest streak is thus far and when the next milestone is as little achievements to try and aim for like in any other game.

The game also has a reference section where users can read up a bit more about the lessons the games are trying to impart, which can include refresher material for grammar or tips on how to read faster. Thus not only do you have the games to help you train but you can go the somewhat more traditional academic route and read up on material to better prepare you for future games.

Getting a Pro or Lifetime subscription means you unlock another 14 games that are exclusive to the Pro tier. As much as all games in the app are very visually appealing, the Pro-games do take things to another level such that it makes playing even more enjoyable. The game design largely follows a somewhat minimalist design that is easy on the eyes and yet easily conveys what the game is about.

As much as there are those that will argue that all such brain training apps are scams that only help you play the apps themselves, I'd like to think they way they approached their game design was done in a way that still offers real-world applications. I'm especially enjoying a newer game for reviewing material, which is helpful in the editorial side of my work.

My personal recommendation is not to go for the Pro version of the app right away. Try the app out for yourself first and get into the habit until you have a good streak or until you get more than one of your skills up to Expert level so you can unlock all games for the category. Then you'll really know if this is for you and if it's worth a monthly subscription or the occasional Lifetime subscription offer that is made here and there.

Elevate is a fun way to avoid letting the daily work grind make your brain feel all mushy. A timely Elevate session can really get you going or at least make you feel a little bit smarter. Thus the app wholeheartedly gets 5 lovely game animations out of a possible 5.

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