One of the great things about the world's favorite new word game Wordle is that you can only play once each day, thus keeping the experience fresh. But that's also one of the worst things about Wordle: you therefore have to wait a whole day for your next fix.
One solution is to play another word game while that Wordle timer counts down, but where to start? After all, there are approximately 70 bazillion word games on the Google Play and Apple App Stores — and sadly most of them are not great.
The problem isn't necessarily the games themselves (although it sometimes is), but more the fact that most are drowning within a murky sea of in-app purchases and ads. Yeah, we get it — developers need to pay the bills too. But I'd always rather pay a flat fee for a game I can just enjoy without all that nonsense.
Anyway, there are some great Wordle alternatives out there that either don't have ads or that aren't spoiled by the experience and we've rounded up our six favorites below.
The 6 best Wordle alternatives
If you love the idea of Wordle but find it a bit easy (maybe you're really brainy), give Absurdle a try instead. It's an unashamed clone that challenges you to guess a five-letter word, but the difference here is that the target word changes as you play. Essentially, you're competing against a malevolent AI which uses your guesses to narrow down the possible answers, discounting anything that contains a letter you've used. It requires an entirely different strategy and is well worth a look.
SpellTower (Free with in-app purchases)
Take a little Wordl, mix in a little Jenga, and you get SpellTower, an addictive game from mobile gaming great Zach Gage (Flipflip Solitaire, Really Bad Chess, Ridiculous Fishing). The premise is easy enough: build words by tracing your finger around adjacent letter tiles. Strategy, though, comes in when your tower of letters comes crashing down a little with each word you pick out. How many of the words will you find? Will you place on the day's rankings? That's on you. — Henry T. Casey
Kitty Letter (Free)
Almost certainly the only word game that involves detonating (virtual) cats, Kitty Letter stems from the inspired mind of Matthew Inman (aka The Oatmeal). If you’ve ever played his superb card game Exploding Kittens, you’ll know what to expect: a clever concept intertwined with very funny gags.
The objective is to form as many words as you can from a given set of letters while your opponent does the same; the twist is that your words are carried by exploding kittens who gradually overwhelm your opponent’s defenses if your word is longer. There’s a one-player mode with a free Oatmeal comic, plus online multiplayer against friends or strangers, and it’s entirely free to play and free of ads. — Marc McLaren
Letterpress (Free with IAP)
Half word game, half Risk-style strategy, Letterpress is a deceptively simple thing that draws you in and proves maddeningly addictive. You play against either a bot or another human online, with the objective being to control as much of a 5x5 board as possible by using letters close to the other person's selection. It rewards long words, so you’ll need to bring your mental lexicography game, and there’s a real ebb and flow to it that makes every contest a real challenge. There are ads, but they’re minimal and can be removed for $4.99. — Marc McLaren
Spelling Bee (Free with NYTimes digital subscription)
Before Wordle, the New York Times’ Spelling Bee was the primary way wordsmiths would brag about their prowess on Twitter. Each day, Spelling Bee presents you with a hexagon of six letters arrayed around one center letter; it’s up to you to find as many words as possible that use the center letter. There’s only one game per day, but it typically takes longer than Wordle to complete. If you get stuck, there are some handy hints available, which makes it easier — but not too easy — to figure out the remaining words. If you guess all the words, you get a Queen Bee badge, which you can show off to your friends.
You can play for free up to certain point, but you'll need a $39.95/year subscription to all of the games (which includes the NY Times crossword) to complete it. If you want to read the Times online, you’ll have to pony up for an all-access subscription, which costs $325 per year. — Mike Prospero
Hello Wordl (Free)
Part of Wordle’s appeal (for me at least) is that you can only play it once a day. But if you’re craving a more regular fix, Hello Wordl is essentially exactly the same game except that you can play it as often as you like. Oh, and you can also choose to solve puzzles with anything between 4 and 11 letters, rather than the 5 in the original game. In one sense it loses some of the real thing's appeal, but it's free and is certainly a good way to get in some practice. — Marc McLaren