Even if you’re not playing, you’re probably already familiar with Wordle. It floods social feeds with its little coloured squares, showing obfuscated routes to player solutions. And given how popular the game is, it’s strange to think it was written by Josh Wardle to play with his partner. But then it grew – fast – from 90 daily players back in November to millions today.
With the game’s explosion in popularity giving Josh concerns about scale and support, he has now sold Wordle to the New York Times, for a price “in the low seven figures”. The newspaper has stated the game will remain free to play, won’t have its gameplay upended, and should even retain your streaks – but lobbed in the word “initially” regarding the free bit. Hmm.
So if you’re not already on the Wordle train, should you get on board? Where should you head if The New York Times throws up a paywall? And what else can you play on your phone while waiting for the next daily Wordle? Read on for all the answers…
As noted, Wordle is the reason your Twitter feed is awash with green, yellow and grey squares. This is from people sharing their results in spoiler-free form. The game itself is a Mastermind-like online browser effort that has you guess a five-letter word across six rounds. A new challenge arrives daily at the stroke of midnight. Can’t wait for the next one? Check out the options below.
£free / powerlanguage.co.uk
Word to the wise: hello wordl and Absurdle
Concerned the New York Times might lock Wordle behind a paywall? If that day comes, there’s always online pretender hello wordl, which also acts as a training aid for the real thing, in giving you as many goes as you like. And if you always feel like words are being switched behind the scenes, try Absurdle, which literally does that, forcing you to fight for a solution.
The best Android and iPhone word games with daily puzzles
Beyond online puzzlers, there are loads of word games in app form for your phone. Here are five of the best, all of which give you a daily dose of fun you can dip into at any time.
This reimagined take on anagrams has you drag columns of letters up and down to form words on a central row. Doing so colours the letter tiles; transform them all to complete the puzzle. The game has a crossword-style mode, but the daily challenge is a speedrun effort, where you blaze through a puzzle before facing a list of your words – and discovering you only needed half that number to win.
If Typeshift feels too frantic, try Wordsmyth instead – a daily puzzler so tranquil it’s in danger of falling over. It’s essentially Boggle, serving up nine letters and having you use them to make as many words as possible. There’s no timer or moves limit – you can dodder along at leisure. And this genial feel extends to letting you dip into recent unfinished puzzles you’d like another crack at.
Bonza Word Puzzle
This one chops up crossword puzzles into what resembles a bunch of Tetris pieces someone’s stencilled letters on to. It’s your job to put this minimalist jigsaw together, in a manner that makes sense. Assistance comes from a single clue that links all the words. But that’s not always a great help when you’re faced with a dozen or more pieces scattered about and no real idea of where to begin.
At its most frenetic, this game has you drag snake-like paths through a grid of letter tiles, in what amounts to a high-octane mash-up of a word search and Tetris. The daily mode is rather more sedate, letting you relax while tackling a single tower of tiles that disappear when words are submitted. But that does mean you must think ahead to make best use of your letters and not leave any stranded.
Much of Wordle’s appeal comes from it being easy to fit in a short session every day. Tiny Crossword applies similar thinking to traditional crossword puzzles. It won’t concern purveyors of cryptic crosswords – the clues are simple and the daily puzzles are easy. But then that’s the point: you get a mild workout for your brain yet can still tell yourself you complete a crossword puzzle every day.
£free + IAP / iOS