Wordle and its many clones, some of which are very good games in their own right – have dominated everyday discourse on riddles for the past few months. But I’m happy to say that there’s a new contender in the everyday pun arena. I’ve been playing it all morning and I’m typing this as fast as I can so I can start playing it again all afternoon.
It’s called Keywordscreated by Zach Gage and Jack Schlesinger, and it’s like a mix of crosswords and anagrams, with a bit of a Wordle type puzzle. Unlike Wordle, it’s not free (it’s $12 on Steam, but 10% off until May 5), but if you’re looking for something to add to your daily puzzle list, this might easily do the trick.
Here’s a little trailer to give you an idea of how Knotwords works:
You are given a small, irregular grid of blanks that you fill with letters to form words that work both horizontally and vertically, like a crossword with no clues. The grid itself is divided into segments, and in the corner of each segment you can see a group of letters that can appear in that segment. So you’re trying to guess what words you can make using just the letters in each grid segment, much like finding an anagram – and the problem is that most words cross multiple segments. Like a crossword, the more words you uncover in a puzzle, the smaller the remaining answers get, so while starting a puzzle can be quite difficult, it gets easier the longer the puzzle is solved.
Knotwords has a few things you won’t find in Wordle, and in my opinion the biggest one is a little bunny in the corner of the screen that completely freaks out when you’re solving a puzzle. Who doesn’t want to be cheered on by a happy little bunny who loves words? Take note, Wordle, of your deadpan statements of Gorgeous and Impressive don’t cut the mustard anymore. I want a lop-eared bunny that loses its tiny little mind when I find out where all the letters go. The bunny sounds make it even more enjoyable, and his silly face also appears in all achievements. The elevator music soundtrack doesn’t detract from the mood either.
Knotwords daily puzzles take a page out of The New York Times crossword puzzle and get progressively bigger and harder as you progress through the week. You can also visit the archives and solve the daily puzzles you missed from the current month. For example, I started playing today, but all of April’s daily puzzles are still available to me. Knotword puzzles come in two versions: “classic” and the “everyday” puzzle where vowels can only be used a certain number of times in each row and column. In the archive there are also “cunning” puzzles that only use adjectives.
Knotwords is also available for iOS and Android, where it’s free with in-app purchases to unlock tricky mode, tips, and other features already included in the Steam version. You can try it on mobile first, as it looks like it was designed for a touchscreen, although the letters are sometimes a bit too small for my eyes on a smartphone, especially in the grids bigger. There are several options on PC for your preferred “typing style” so you can find a good mix of mouse and keyboard controls, whether you prefer typing your words or clicking letters with a mouse. Here is the site with links to whatever version you are interested in.