Heardle is the music-based Wordle clone I've been waiting for

Heardle displayed on a phone with earbuds next to it
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Wordle clones may be everywhere now, but there are still some innovative takes on the formula — and Heardle might just be my favorite.

The pitch is 'like Wordle but for music,' but that's only half the story — because rather than type in the names of artists or songs, you listen to short clips of an intro then try to guess the answer.

You get six attempts, with each one extending the length of the clip you get to hear. The first two last for just a second each, but they get progressively longer, so by the final go you'll be able to hear about 15 seconds of audio. 

Heardle on a computer screen

(Image credit: Heardle)

Sensibly, you can skip guesses to listen to more of the song if you're utterly stumped — you don't have to type something in on each turn. And to make things a little easier the answer bar autocompletes, so you can see possible songs and artists. 

You're not left entirely in the dark, then, but it's still tough: I was a music journalist for six years and probably spend more time on Spotify than the average person, but it still took me until the fifth guess to get Saturday's answer, which was Dreams by Fleetwood Mac. (Admittedly, I didn't realize the autocomplete was a thing or I would have got it much earlier. Or at least that's my story.) 

Yesterday's was a lot more straightforward — Kanye West's Black Skinhead has an instantly identifiable intro, after all. But I found today's to be impossible, most likely because I'm not the target audience for the artist in question, and that's putting it mildly.   

The music is streamed from Soundcloud — so no peeking into the code for a list of answers as you can on Wordle — and is "randomly plucked from a list of the most streamed songs in the past decade."

That obviously skews it towards more recent pop fare, so you won't find The Beatles among the answers, for instance. But some older artists are in there, plus the fact that it's based on recent and popular songs should widen its appeal beyond music geeks.

It's a clever twist that freshens up a format that's otherwise starting to get a little stale. While the original game is still an essential daily play, even after it was bought by the New York Times, we are in danger of approaching Wordle Saturation Overload, the point at which all of the internet will be subsumed by little yellow and green squares and it'll be impossible to speak other than in five-letter words.

The list of Wordle clones now includes the two-puzzles-at-once Dordle, the four-at-once Quordle, eight-at-once Octordle and even the 16-at-once Sedordle. There are spin offs such as the Star Wars-themed SWordle, the geography-based Worldle and the math-focused Mathler. There's a WWE version, a LOTR one, and even a Taylor Swift-themed game, the brilliantly named Taylordle.

In short, there's a lot of Wordle out there. But Heardle is the best I've played in weeks, simply because it switches things up. We've included it into our best Wordle alternatives list and I recommend that you add it into your daily routine, too.

Marc McLaren

Formerly Editor in Chief (U.K.) on Tom’s Guide, Marc oversaw all gaming, streaming, audio, TV, entertainment, how-to and cameras coverage, and was also responsible for the site’s U.K.-focused output. He is now U.K. Editor in Chief on TechRadar. Marc previously edited the tech website Stuff and has tested and written about phones, tablets, wearables, streaming boxes, smart home devices, Bluetooth speakers, headphones, games, TVs, cameras and much more. He also spent years on a music magazine, where his duties mainly involved spoiling other people’s fun, and on a car magazine. An avid photographer, he likes nothing better than taking pictures of very small things (bugs, his daughters) or very big things (distant galaxies). When he gets time, he also enjoys gaming (console and mobile), cycling and attempting to watch as much sport as any human can. He's also fallen in love with Wordle over the past six months and is the author of our today's Wordle answer column, in which he supplies hints and strategy tips for the mega-popular word game. Given he's completed every single Wordle so far and only lost once, and analyzed every Wordle answer in search of patterns, he's well qualified to help you safeguard your streak.