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Star Wars: Puzzle Droids is the match-3 mobile game we were all … – VentureBeat

Well, it finally happened. Even Star Wars couldnt resist the lure of the match-3 puzzle game.

Star Wars: Puzzle Droids is out now iOS, Android, and Amazon Fire devices. The free-to-play game features characters from A Force Awakens like BB-8, Rey, Finn, and Poe Dameron. Star Wars has become a successful mobile brand thanks to apps like the role-playing game Galaxy of Heroes, the strategy game Commander, and multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) meets card game Force Arena.

All of those games borrowed ideas from other successful mobile genres, but Puzzle Droid is finally tackling the most aped of them all: the match-3 puzzle game. These exploded into popularity thanks to Candy Crush Saga, which debutedin 2012 and is still the No. 19 ranked iOS game in the U.S., according to App Annie.Disney has definitely focused Star Wars on mobile gaming, with console releases (Iike the shooter Battlefront) coming out at a much slower pace.

These days, almost every recognizable brand seems to have a match-3 game of its own, including Star Trek, Frozen, and WWE.

So, why are we matching three puzzle pieces? Why, were tapping into the holographic memory banks of The Force Awakens star droid, BB-8, of course. This unlocks story moments from that film told through his eyes.

Featuring more than 100 levels, Star Wars: Puzzle Droids lets players match-3 to create combos, clear obstacles and face-off against enemies, and unleash epic power-ups to clear the board, Disney detailed in a press release sent to GamesBeat. Missions can be completed to collect memory discs, which may be used to unlock heroic memories to continue the adventures.

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Star Wars: Puzzle Droids is the match-3 mobile game we were all … – VentureBeat

The Disappointing Reason Those Brain-Training Apps Might Not Work – SheKnows.com

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If you think spending an entire afternoon on Lumosity or all evening doing crossword puzzles is helping your brain get stronger and smarter, think again. New research tells us that brain games dont actually work the way we think they do.

This new information was published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience by a group from Florida State University that conducted research to figure out if brain games actually help build up and strengthen cognitive function. Neil Charness, a professor of psychology at the university and an expert on aging and cognition, paired up with Wally Boot, an associate professor psychology, and Dustin Souders, a graduate student, for this study.

More:Use Fists to Boost Memory

Brain challenges like crossword games are a popular approach, especially among baby boomers, as a way to try to protect cognitions, said Charness, explaining that a growing number of older individuals use these kinds of games in hopes of preventing memory loss or any type of cognitive disorder that comes with aging.

It turns out that the brain-game business has been thriving for a few years, sometimes off of largely false claims preying on peoples fears. The Federal Trade Commission actually called out one such company, fining them $2 million for false information and advertising. Boot stated that these exaggerated claims are not consistent with the conclusions of our latest study. So developing more brain elasticity and more readily available memory functions isnt an actual thing, and thats pretty disappointing to a lot of people.

More: Your Memory “Style” May Be Influencing Your Health More Than You Think

When people try these games out, its normally in an effort to improve overall working memory, hoping that that would translate to other areas of life, otherwise known as far transfer. But the studies have disproved this, saying that more specific tasks or instances are much harder to remember as opposed to just using general working memory.

According to Charness, people would be much better off exercising than trying to home in on just mental exercises. So exercise isnt just good for your body, but also great for your brain and all of its functions. If your real goal is to improve cognitive function and brain games are not helping, Charness adds, then maybe you are better off getting aerobic exercise rather than sitting in front of your computer playing these games.

More: The Sexiest Part of You Is Your Brain That’s Why Alzheimer’s Needs a Cure

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The Disappointing Reason Those Brain-Training Apps Might Not Work – SheKnows.com

Brain-Twisting Puzzle Game Statik Is a Perfect Fit For PlayStation VR – Kotaku

If you enjoy room escape games and are looking for something to do with your PlayStation VR, look no further than Statik.

Released earlier this week, Statik takes its inspiration from those classic stuck in a room filled with puzzly bits challenges both IRL and virtual, tasking you with a series of setups that all revolve around a box in which your hands are trapped.

I wouldnt expect this game to show up on any other VR platforms, as its quite specifically designed for the minutiae of the PlayStation 4 experience: The experience of having both of your hands stuck in the box is mapped to the position of holding a Dual Shock 4 controller, so it wouldnt feel right holding Vive controllers. And it wouldnt work with the Rifts Xbox One controller, because that cant be motion-tracked.

Each puzzle has two major elements: The unique box your hands are stuck in, with its initially inscrutable array of buttons, dials, and other assorted moving parts. Theres also the room around you, which is full of (mostly!) non-interactive clues. First thing you gotta do is start pressing every button you can on the controller while twisting the box around, to see what moves what.

Once you take a mental inventory of what you can change and what you cant, the rest is up to you. And it really is all up to you, as the game provides zero hints. There are clues, of course, but you have to observe them for yourself. If youre not already a fan of real puzzles (as opposed to typical video game puzzles), this may be off-putting!

But this means that when you do work something out for yourself, its a great feeling, one thats replicated many times over throughout the games 10-or-so puzzle rooms. And the information is there for you to come up with one correct solution for each puzzle. I dont know about you, but I get pretty annoyed when I feel like a puzzle (in a game or otherwise) is insufficiently clued to the point where there are many possible answers and youre just left to guess what the designer was thinking. As obtuse as it may be sometimes, Statik is not that. There is a solution to everything and there are enough clues for that solution. Thats very good puzzle design.

Aesthetically, its hard to miss the Portal inspiration, with the sterile laboratory running seemingly nonsensical tests on you, the seemingly unwilling subject, the only voice in your ear the sardonic instructor. A human instructor, here, not a robot. And hes always in the room with you, drinking coffee with loud slurps, scratching on a notepad, tapping ka-chunk, ka-chunk on a keyboard. Its mildly annoying and unnerving, but Im pretty sure its meant to be exactly that, so I can dig it.

Much like I Expect You To Die, Statik realizes that the most compelling use of virtual reality can be quiet, solitary, up-close exploration and manipulation of small objects, the kind of thing that would be far too fiddly and detailed for a TV-based game but works quite well in the VR space. Insofar as its highly unlikely this will come to another platform any time soon, puzzle fans who own PlayStation VR shouldnt miss this.

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Brain-Twisting Puzzle Game Statik Is a Perfect Fit For PlayStation VR – Kotaku

Video game review: Hunt around for these 5 bargain bin Wii games – News & Observer


News & Observer
Video game review: Hunt around for these 5 bargain bin Wii games
News & Observer
One of the earliest and best puzzle games for the Wii, Boom Blox was a relatively big deal when it was first released in 2008. Film director Steven Spielberg collaborated on the design. A cross between Jenga, Tetris and mobile match-three games

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Video game review: Hunt around for these 5 bargain bin Wii games – News & Observer

Cognitive Benefits of Exercise Outshine Brain-Training Games – Psychology Today (blog)


Psychology Today (blog)
Cognitive Benefits of Exercise Outshine Brain-Training Games
Psychology Today (blog)
He notes that physical exercise can actually cause beneficial structural changes in the brain and boost its function. Charness predicts that "exer-gaming," which combines exercise with brain games, will increase in popularity throughout the 21st century.
Exercise interventions for cognitive function in adults older than 50: a systematic review with meta-analysis British Journal of Sports Medicine – The BMJ

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Cognitive Benefits of Exercise Outshine Brain-Training Games – Psychology Today (blog)

How ‘Puyo Puyo Tetris’ tricked me into liking puzzle games – Engadget

The idea of a comedy-driven story supporting a puzzle game might be novel to me, but for Puyo fans, it’s par for the course. The series was originally spun off from a Japanese RPG, and the narrative aspect of the adventure series carried over to the match-four Puyo games. When the franchise merged with the classic tetromino game to create Puyo Puyo Tetris, that storytelling carried over once again. Thankfully, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, offering an “adventure mode” that’s little more than a collection of anime tropes performing over-the-top slapstick gags. Even so, this is more than enough to do something no other puzzle game has before: keep me engaged.

Chalk it up to personal preference or a simple ineptitude for the genre, but puzzle games have never been able to hold my interest for long. I enjoy the challenge of Dr. Mario, and indeed, Tetris is an essential piece of gaming history — but I inevitably abandon the games when the difficulty curve outstretches my patience. With Puyo Puyo Tetris, it’s oddly different. The game’s silly vignettes are the perfect way to break up the endless rounds of gameplay, rewarding each victory with a few minutes of light comedy, cute characters and just enough story to make one wonder what comes next. It’s the carrot that pushes me to learn how to play the game better.

It’s worth the effort too. Puyo Puyo Tetris’ story may be by-the-numbers anime nonsense, but it’s funny nonsense, enough to make me laugh out loud repeatedly. Maybe I’m easy to please, but it drove me to learn the game — which is surprisingly refreshing. Both the Puyo and Tetris elements of the game are competent in their own right, but as the game progresses the two play styles merge, introducing competitive game modes that pit the puzzle games against each other: One mode swaps between the two on the fly, and another forces you to play both at the same time.

These game modes are all fun on their own, but on the Nintendo Switch, they’re a special joy. Pulling out Puyo Puyo Tetris at a friend’s house, handing her a Joy-Con and watching her react when the game suddenly switches from Tetris to Puyo Puyo is a unique, sadistic pleasure. It’s also a great case for the console’s tabletop mode, and next to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, it has become my go-to game for showing the multiplayer capabilities of the Switch to friends.

Every new Nintendo console needs a Tetris game, and although Puyo Puyo Tetris isn’t exclusive to the Switch, it fills the role well. My hard-core puzzle-fan friends tell me there are better versions of each game available, and that’s probably true — but if you’re looking for a lighthearted, genuinely funny and challenging puzzle game with a lot of variety, you can’t go wrong here.

Puyo Puyo Tetris is available on PlayStation 4, Nintendo 3DS, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Wii U, PlayStation Vita and Nintendo Switch.

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How ‘Puyo Puyo Tetris’ tricked me into liking puzzle games – Engadget

Brain Training Games Are a Waste of Time – Men’s Journal

Most of us fear losing brainpower someday, especially if weve watched a loved one suffer from Alzheimers disease or dementia. Its no wonder, then, that an entire industry has sprung up around brain training digital games, puzzles, and other tools that promise to boost memory, quicken learning, and even prevent cognitive decline. But while brain games sound great in theory, theyre not backed by science, and a new study confirms their claims are baseless.

To test whether brain training really can enhance working memory, as companies suggest, psychologists from Florida State Universitys Institute for Successful Longevity recruited 60 older adults. Every day for a month, half of the participants played 45 minutes of Mind Frontiers, a brain-training video game designed to exercise specific aspects of cognition and memory. The other half did daily crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and word searches, also often believed to boost working memory even though science disputes it.

By fine-tuning working memory, brain-game makers claim youll improve other mental abilities such as spatial reasoning and processing speed. This should, in turn, help you do better at other, unrelated brain tasks. However, the volunteers in this study experienced none of these perks. They got better at Mind Frontiers or the specific puzzles theyd been working on, but this proficiency didnt translate to other aspects of reasoning or memory that could help them in the real world.

We looked at a variety of cognitive measures including IQ, processing speed, memory, and reasonability before and after the study period, says researcher Wally Boot, a psychology professor at FSU. These people improved largely in the precise things we trained them on, but there was a very narrow transfer of that training. Basically, you get better at brain-training games, but who cares? Do you get better at other tasks? No, he says, which is what matters in the end and is what the brain-training industry promotes.

A lot of people, especially seniors, have concerns about developing dementia, and commercial brain-training products are just playing to those fears, says Neil Charness, another researcher on the study and a renowned expert in cognition and aging. Companies are a lot more careful with their claims now that theyve been fined for misrepresenting their products benefits. But they still subtly imply that brain training will help you in all sorts of ways besides the tasks you are training on.

This does not mean brain games or even less expensive mental activities like Sudoku are a total waste of time. Were not saying all brain-training tools are bad, Charness says. If you enjoy mental puzzles, great. Go ahead and do them. There are lots of free tools for your smartphone or tablet.

Just keep in mind, Charness says, that by getting really good at the New York Times crossword puzzles, you are simply getting really good at the New York Times crossword puzzles. You aren’t necessarily upping your IQ, sharpening your memory, or becoming any smarter or faster at your job. They key thing is to keep your expectations in line with what research shows, he says. You might enjoy these activities, but they wont help you remember where you left your keys or parked your car.

If you really want to protect your brain and lower your risk of dementia, step up your workouts. Exercise is your best bet, Boot says. The scientific literature clearly shows that aerobic exercise is good for cognition and preserving brain structure and function. Besides, even if exercise had no cognitive benefits, you should be doing it anyway.

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Brain Training Games Are a Waste of Time – Men’s Journal

Your Brain Will Flip for the Challenging Puzzles of Invert – AppAdvice


AppAdvice
Your Brain Will Flip for the Challenging Puzzles of Invert
AppAdvice
Invert – A Minimal Puzzle Game ($1.99) by Noodlecake Studios Inc and Glitchnap is a puzzle game that is fit for those who love brain teasers, logic puzzles, and even Rubik's Cube fans. If you enjoyed recent games like Vignettes, Polycolor, or even

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Your Brain Will Flip for the Challenging Puzzles of Invert – AppAdvice

Skiplit a beautifully simple yet awesomely impossible puzzle game for iOS – Develop

Skiplit is a free and beautifully simple yet awesomely impossible puzzle game for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

To play this beautifully simple 2-D level game, just swipe the ball to shoot it at the correct angle, bouncing it off of walls, around obstacles, and into the correctly colored goal. Be careful, though! You can only bounce the ball a few times each level. Levels quickly become more and more complicated, requiring more thinking and timing to beat them. Almost every level can be completed in multiple ways!

Skiplit can be played anywhere it doesnt eat up battery, and no internet connection is needed, making it perfect for plane rides, road trips, or whenever you just want to solve a puzzle.

Build, play, and share your own unique level creations using the level designer, and share them with the world in the Skiplit Community!

Skiplit is available on the Apple App Store for free at skiplit.com/get. Visit skiplit.com/pressfor more press information. If you would like to reach out, you may contact us at skiplit.com/contact.

Games Press is the leading online resource for games journalists. Used daily by magazines, newspapers, TV, radio, online media and retailers worldwide, it offers a vast, constantly updated archive of press releases and assets, and is the simplest and most cost-effective way for PR professionals to reach the widest possible audience. Registration for the site and the Games Press email digest is available, to the trade only, at http://www.gamespress.com

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Skiplit a beautifully simple yet awesomely impossible puzzle game for iOS – Develop

Statik Review: Think Outside The Box – UploadVR – UploadVR

They say great minds think alike, but Statik does a lot to disprove that theory. Like developer Tarsier Studios, Ive long wondered what types of unique VR experiences you can get out of using PS4s DualShock 4 as a tracked object in a virtual world. But while our concepts for games may be similar, Tarsier outsmarted me at every turn with its devilishly clever new puzzle game, resulting in a memorable challenge.

In Statik, youre trapped. Youll constantly be drifting in and out of consciousness and each time you awaken youll find yourself in a different part of a mysterious laboratory. Youre joined by Dr. Ingen, a world-weary scientist that puts you through a series of bizarre trials. Each of these involves several puzzles fitted into a box that ensnares both of your hands. Every time you complete a box, youll be knocked out and moved onto the next level.

While that might sound formulaic on paper, Statik is anything but. First off, the game does a really good job of capturing that cramped, claustrophobic feeling you can have when using a standard controller inside VR. I often felt a panicked frustration as I helplessly flailed my arms around inspecting each box. Were used to grabbing Move controllers and reaching out into the virtual world around us, but Tarsier finds something else in dialing your control back a few notches instead.There are some minor niggles with the controls, especially as you assemble parts to build a mysterious box between some levels where youll long to use the analogue sticks, but overall this is an ingenious approach to immersing you in a virtual world.

Each of the games eight puzzles is individual and unlike the others. At one point youll be changing filters on a built-in projector and matching them up with shapes in a room, while another challenge has you steering an RC car around the lab in search of answers. Theres a sense of invention here thats rarely seen in puzzle games today, and infinitely more exciting than yet another escape room game for VR.

This variation in puzzles is Statiks biggest strength. The game doesnt have a central mechanic that it falls back on; each time you wake up youll be starting from scratch as you work out what makes your new box tick.Its to Tarsiers credit that, for the most part, the puzzles are all polished and present a fair level of challenge. I only found myself stumped for more than a few minutes on two occasions, and the solutions were (often literally) right under my nose. I sat for half an hour trying to figure out a color-coordinated brain teaser in the second to last level, convinced I had tried all I could, before a frustrated jolt of my hand revealed an element of the puzzle I hadnt yet considered.

The game thrives on those excellent gotcha moments, though the variety here does come at the cost of length. You can clear the single-player mode in about two and a half hours (or faster if youre smarter than me), though Tarsier has thrown in a fun second screen multiplayer mode via the PlayStation App that brings the game much closer to Steel Crate Medias excellent Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes than its refined single-player puzzles do.

Perhaps the more interesting puzzle in Statik, though, is its story. While I enjoyed the satisfaction that came with figuring out challenges on my own, I found myself even more eager to peel back yet more layers of its ambiguous plot. Ingen makes for a bewildering companion, if he can be called that; a character that first comes off as exhausted slowly morphs into a tragic figure.

Youll soon start catching strange sections of dialogue as his blurred face stares longingly towards the ceiling, or listening in on his outside communications between levels. Youll take Rorschach-like tests in which hell seem indifferent to whatever answers you give, and leave you questioning your place as his lab rat (the answer to which is quite a shock). In this day and age Portal is the easy comparison to make (and Ingen himself reminds you of one of Half-Lifes archetypal scientists), but the game really has an identity of its own, and thats something to be proud of.

Statiks sheer invention and fascinating premise are somewhat betrayed by its short length. No two puzzles are the same, and theyre all well-balanced and thought-out trials, but they left me begging for more. Still, that speaks to just how enjoyable an experience this is while it lasts. The game casts a web of intrigue that will pull you in and I suspect have some people picking it apart for even longer than the initial run time. This isnt quite PSVRs Portal, but it wouldnt take much for Tarsier hit that high with a sequel.

Statik is available now on the PlayStation Store for $19.99.Read ourGame Review Guidelinesfor more information on how we arrived at this score.

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