Word up: it’s time for a spell of games based around the mastery of letters
If your social media feed recently filled with tiny green, yellow and grey squares, you might wonder why. And even if it hasn’t, you need to know about said squares, because they’re down to Wordle – the latest and greatest viral word game craze.
In this round-up, we’ll outline what Wordle is, how to play on your iPhone, and games you can try between Wordle’s daily rounds to satisfy any cravings for further word-based challenges.
Using similar logic to classic puzzler Mastermind and TV show Lingo, Wordle has you guess a five-letter word across six rounds. To help you chip away at a solution, letters are colored green when correctly placed, yellow when incorrectly positioned, and grey when they’re not part of the answer.
Succeed and you can share your progress in obfuscated spoiler-free form, and then the countdown starts to the next puzzle. At any time, you can peruse your guess distribution and current streak.
In all, it’s great stuff: compelling, swift and social.
How to install Wordle on your iPhone
Don’t try to find Wordle on the App Store – it’s a web app. Games purporting to be Wordle on the App Store are clones and/or scams.
To play Wordle on your iPhone, visit the website in Safari. Your progress will be saved. Alternatively, tap the share button and select Add to Home Screen. Wordle will save as a progressive web app, which launches without a browser frame – just like a standard iPhone game.
Be mindful progress cannot be transferred between the Wordle website in Safari and the progressive web app. So start with one version and stick with it if you value tracking stats!
hello wordl: Identical rules to Wordle, but with no daily limit. Useful for training your Wordle brain. Can also be saved as a progressive web app.
Absurdle: Amusing ‘adversarial’ take on Wordle that repeatedly changes the answer behind the scenes to string out how many rounds it takes you to win.
The best word game apps for iPhone
Now let’s dig into the best word games you can find on the App Store, from crosswords to titles that have you manipulate letters in rather more unconventional ways.
Jumbline 2 (free)
Three games in one for anagram fiends: find the words in a letter jumble (optionally against the clock); build towers with words; and pop clouds with letter matches. It’s colorful, varied and fun. There are also ad-free iPhone ($4.99/£4.49), free iPad, and ad-free iPad ($4.99/£4.49) versions.
Letter Rooms (free + $0.99/89p)
This elegant and tactile word game has you drag letter columns to make words that match crossword-like clues. You get 40 levels for free, but hundreds more (including 180 designed for kids) are unlocked if you pay the one-off IAP. Great stuff, especially on an iPad’s larger display.
Kitty Letter (free + IAP)
Part anagrams game, part real-time strategy, Kitty Letter pits you against a neighbor’s cat army. Send angry moggies their way by stringing together words in an ‘enchanted language vortex’, and grab power-ups from a ‘dysenteric deer’. This is what happens when we let the Exploding Kittens folks make a word game…
A more sedate take on anagrams, Wordsmith gives you a three-by-three grid of letters and tasks you with making as many words from them as you can. Tranquil visuals and a lack of timers means this is a game to relax with, dipping into the daily challenge at leisure.
Tiny Crossword (free + IAP)
If crosswords are more your thing, but you never have time for them, try Tiny Crossword. The challenges here are decidedly bite-sized, which means you can blaze through the daily challenge and tell your friends that of course you complete a crossword every day. Got Apple Arcade? Grab Tiny Crossword+ instead.
Typeshift (free + IAP)
This mash-up of word search, crosswords and anagrams tasks you with coloring letter tiles by dragging columns up and down to make complete words in the central row. The daily challenge has you do this at speed, thereby also testing your arcade prowess, but there are timer-free modes too.
Bonza Word Puzzle (free + IAP)
Imagine a completed crossword turned into a geometric jigsaw and that’s Bonza. To help you put the puzzle back together, you’re given a clue, and then it’s a case of dragging pieces into place. This can be surprisingly tough, even with the daily puzzle’s clue providing a hint.
Wordgraphy (free + IAP)
Each puzzle in Wordgraphy begins as scrambled letter discs on a grid. The idea is to swap them around, to make complete words in a simplified crossword. But limitations on which discs can move where transforms the game into a much more interesting and captivating proposition.
SpellTower (free or $4.99/£4.49)
Word search is reimagined here, with puzzles comprising stacks of tiles. Submit a word and its tiles vanish – whereupon gravity gets to work. The daily mode pits you against a single stack, but elsewhere there are tense timed modes where new rows appear at regular intervals. Got Apple Arcade? Try SpellTower+.
Word Forward ($2.99/£2.49)
Echoing SpellTower’s strategic inclination, Word Forward is a more claustrophobic affair. Its five-by-five grid forces you to think carefully as you submit letters, because you must remove every single one of them to win. Power-ups improve your chances, but only to a certain degree – this one’s tough!
Letterpress (free or $4.99/£4.49)
Boggle meets Risk in this mix of anagrams and land-grabbing for two-players (bots, friends or all-comers). Submitted words paint tiles your color. Surround tiles and your opponent can’t flip them back on their go. The aim is to have the most colored your way when the final tile is claimed.
Tiler More (free)
As much a test of organizational powers as word skills, Tiler More demands you construct a set of words from tiles randomly dished out from a stack. The snag: you’ve only nine spaces and each can house only three tiles. Cue: lots of tile merging and gnashing of teeth.
An artistic, playful experience, Supertype has you use letters to hit targets. You type letters and watch as gravity makes them fall like dominoes – or, more often, behave in a less predictable fashion. It’s lovely stuff, and when you complete the game there’s an editor to create your own levels with.
The Impossible Letter Game (free + IAP)
Quite a few of the games in this round-up demand that you quickly spot an individual letter and make best use of it. The Impossible Letter Game is like training for the first of those things, having you find the sole mismatched character among a sea of similar ones.
Sticky Terms (free)
This tactile puzzler has each level start out like a piece of abstract art. In reality, these are sections of letters that you must manipulate and overlay, so they fashion untranslatable words. The design work here is beautiful, and it’s fun learning new expressions in foreign tongues.
Our final entry bridges crosswords, puzzling and storytelling. The adventure finds you descending into a bureaucratic nightmare. This plays out as a tactile game where you move letters in crossword-like passages, changing the very meaning of the phrases on screen as you do so.