Like puzzle games, word apps are synonymous with ‘gaming on the go.’ They are often designed with a life on the move in mind. Any given round of word finding, or letter stacking can last just long enough to span the wait for a morning coffee. This sort of quick convenience has led to a devaluation of word games. We don’t respect them like we should. We are wrong.
Want to check out some non-word puzzle games? We’ve got you covered!
There are some incredible word games available in the palms of our hands, but with the massive crush of content that hits the App Store and Google Play store every day, it’s very difficult to find them. Fret no longer, we’ve curated a list of the must play word games available to mobile platforms, so you don’t have to.
We don’t get a chance to play every game, especially ones released prior to a list’s first creation, but that’s where our readers come in. Here’s a quick summary of some reader recommendations, in case you’re looking to anything beyond what we’ve got below:
- WindWord (pictured)
- V Words
One of Zach Gage’s unique creations, TypeShift focuses on redesigning the good old crossword puzzle. Columns of letters can be slid back and forth to create a series of words among them on a central row. Every time a letter is used in a word, they turn green. You pass the stage when all of the available letters are turned green. Sounds easy enough, but of course it’s not. Other modes, like Clue Mode, bring it further in line with the traditional crossword. Either way, a few rounds of it, and you’ll be scratching your head in the best possible way.
Alphabears 2 (Review)
Following on from something as a sequel isn’t always an easy experience – it can be quite easy to lose sight of what made the original great in the first place. Alphabears 2 has no such issues however, and is comfortably a better game than its predecessor in almost every way. It has an in-game dictionary, more interaction and play modes and it’s only real draw-back is its monetisation.
It’s definitely fairer than the original game, but even buying the full version doesn’t remove the timers or other freemium-like mechanics. Still, this is an incredibly smart word app that any puzzle aficionado should at least try, if not out-right purchase.
This deck-building word game would feel just at home on our list of best card games as it would here, but since Hardback’s central twist is that cards are only playable in a Scrabble-esque system of dictionary-friendly sets, we feel it’s apt to list is here. The sequel to 2016’s Paperback, the key thing to remember about this game is that you can’t play it as ‘just’ a word game.
The beauty of Hardback is that you’re not just out to score long, multi-lettered words, you’re out to play cards that combo well together to acheive high scores. This can be as simple as collecting a great set of cards that just say ‘OFF’, or indeed bagging a great collection for a longer word. The limitations to playing cards as words adds a challenging yet interesting twist to a classic game-type. Main changes over the first iteration include tweaks to Wild Cards, Special Abilities and additional card draw.
We get accustomed to the sort of word games that have us finding and planted letters to make words. If we’re feeling particularly creative, we find word games that are just complex versions of word finds or crosswords set in some other sort of puzzle motif. In Supertype, words are tools. After typing a word, the letters fall through the obstacle course below, the goal being to find the right letters to roll or slide through the right nooks and crannies in order to burst the target dots below. On harder puzzles, making sure your word has skinny enough letters in the right places is key to shimmying into victory.
Developer: Alper Iskender
Price: Free with IAPs
Wordgraphy takes the old trope of unscrambling arrays of letters to make new words and crosses it with some Sudoku elements. Words line the outside of the table, and letters can only be switched with letters in the same position as other letter groups on each side. For example, the second letter in a five letter array at the top of the square board can only be swapped with the second letter of another of the other for arrays lining the other side. The result is a clever word construction gimmick that keeps you guessing and tests the depth of your own vocabulary very quickly.
Take the pressure of a gradually filling space that has to be emptied by you, the intrepid player, a la Tetris. Combine the added bonus stress of each falling piece being a letter that needs to be used to create words as fast as you can. Then sprinkle on top a narrator that has an aggressive ire towards you, and you have all the ingredients for BAIKOH. Falling letters can come with added attributes as well, like frozen ones that will gradually freeze other letters, making them harder to remove. Unlockable badges can help even out the playing field, but this is a hard game meant to push your reflexes and critical thinking skills to the limit and break them on rapid occasion.
Taking words and making other words out of them is nothing new in the genre, but Sidewords commands a new, brain-bending approach to the concept. On the top and to the left of a grid are two words. The size of those words determines the size of the grid, which each letter creating a row or column. Using the letters of the two words, you must make new words of course. But the twist is that the words you make take up the spots on the grid where those letters intersect. You have to fill the whole grid with words to move on, so using a lot of letters to make a word can take up a lot of real estate in the grid, making it hard to create words with the scraps. Strategy and spatial awareness are key.
Developer: Zach Gage
Before Zach Gage was upending billiards, he was setting the word game world one fire with entries like Spelltower. Take your average Sunday paper word finding puzzle and add that block-crushing Tetris mechanic that we all know and lover. New letters file in from the bottom, and you must find words with adjacent letters to removed them from the ever growing pile. Different game modes alter the many mechanics at play, including a clever multiplayer mode that burdens your opponent with your current tower of words when you score.
Developer: Sirvo LLC
A brainchild from Asher Vollmer, of Threes! fame, Puzzlejuice takes the best parts of Boggle and Tetris and slaps them together to make something that is much more challenging than the sum of its parts. Colorful shapes drop into the field like Tetris, and as you form lines or match colors, they turn into letters. To remove the blocks, you must turn those letters into words. There’s a lot going on at once, and as difficulties unlock, and different play modes open up, this becomes one of the most brain-turning games on the App store.
Hall of Fame
This list is a little smaller than others, so we’re not in a place where we need to think about rotation just yet. Still, there are some previous great releases that deserve remembering, even if they’re not going to make it onto the list itself.
What would your list of the best word-puzzle games look like? Let us know in the comments!