Wordle alternatives are dime a dozen due to the meteoric rise in popularity of the New York Times’ daily brain teaser. Add another word game to the mix.
Waffle is the latest in a long line of Wordle rivals for your break-time attention, but it’s actually one of the strongest I’ve played. Waffle combines the basic rules of Wordle (right down to the green and yellow color code) with the interlocking words that you might find in the newspaper’s legendary crossword.
Instead of presenting you with a blank canvas and leaving the input of letters to you, Waffle begins with a full grid of possible letters in a mix of right and wrong places. There are six five-letter words arranged on a waffle-shaped grid (hence the name — no need for a tenuous -le affix here). It’s up to you to drag and drop the letters between words to turn the whole board green.
Trial and error will no doubt get you there eventually, but you only get 15 moves, and every puzzle is solvable in just ten. The closer you get to that theoretical perfect game, the more stars you get — and it’s not as easy as it sounds.
While I managed my first attempt with two turns to spare, that only rewarded me with a measly two stars for my performance. It’s a clever twist that leaves you determined to play tomorrow — not just for the thrill of an extended streak, but to prove that you can improve and one day hit that magic five-star performance.
Another nice touch: once your grid is complete, the area underneath the game board fills up with the dictionary listings for each word in that day's puzzle. So if you’re dubious that something like “ERGOT” is a word, you’ll not only get the definition, but a pronunciation key too.
What I like about Waffle is that while the Wordle DNA is still visible, Waffle is very much its own game. Many of the Wordle clones that have sprung up have kept the same basic formula to their detriment: not so here, where the gameplay is completely different, even if the colorscheme and daily loop is repeated.
That means it can take a proud seat alongside the likes of Heardle, Worldle, Who Are Ya? and Framed as games that nod to the original, but make you think in a different way. I strongly recommend you make Waffle part of your next coffee break. And the one after that, too.