We love word games. Not only do they come in different shapes, sizes, and levels of complexity, but they make you feel smart when you play them. Even Boggle.
When the first lockdown started in 2020, it was to puns like Scrabble GO and Boggle With Friends that we turned to keep our minds active and our fingers busy. But, as this list demonstrates, the genre takes the concept of the basic anagram in ingenious and surprising directions.
Best Android Word Games
This consists of linking words by changing a letter. And also protect yourself from zombies. It’s a neat twist and it manages to keep things darn interesting.
This time, words are your only defense against the exploding waves of cats. Because why not? You create words from a collection of letters and you have to use specific ones to attack different paths. It’s fun, and it’s also laughing out loud funny.
A simple and addicting mix of a word search and crossword puzzle, with a little boggle sprinkled in for good measure. It might not be the most original game on the list, but it’s good to jump into a quick verbal puzzle every now and then.
Have you ever noticed that some letters look like other letters when upside down? Developer Christopher Cinq-Mars Jarvis certainly did, and he’s built quite a game around the phenomenon. Anagraphs is an ingenious and unique word game that allows you to flip letters to increase the number of words you can create.
Bart Bonte is a puzzle game design scholar who has won legions of fans with his innovative and free color series including black, green, blue, red, pink, and yellow. Words for a Bird is a departure, in terms of theme, but this clever pun is just as creative, stylish, and quirky as its other titles.
Developed by Noodlecake, the studio that brought us the excellent SpellTower (alas not available on Android), Typeshift is another simple word game with a basic concept that kills. Typeshift is an anagram puzzle, which means it challenges you to find words in a mixture of letters, but in this case the letters are arranged in neat rows. By dragging these letters up or down, you can make a specific selection of words. Easy like that.
No one likes a pedant. Having high standards is great, but when you pull out your red pen in public you might end up with a bloody nose. That’s why you need Typochondria, an innovative game that presents you as a book editor browsing paragraphs of text for misspellings. For some of you, it probably sounds like a chore, but for pedants, it’s the perfect scratching post.
Sticky terms probably don’t fall within the definition of a pun. Each step presents you with a jumble of shapes and tasks you with putting them together into words. It’s a shape-matching game, meant to exercise your visuospatial reasoning, but we love it anyway because the words it gets you to do are all untranslatable – that is, terms that don’t ‘exist only in one language and have no direct translation in others.
Alphabear: Words Across Time is the adorable sequel to the equally adorable – and award-winning – Alphabear. Developed by the studio behind Triple Town and Bushido Bear, this story-based puzzle lets you collect bears by finding words on a grid of letters. These bears increase the number of points you earn, and they also appear in cute inter-stage animations.
Bonza Word Puzzle is much smarter than it looks. This is a simple and elegant word game in which all you have to do is arrange the pieces of text on the screen to form words. This is harder than it looks, as there are countless different configurations to eliminate. To make it easier, there is a theme at each step. Weird name. Good game.
Spellspire gets off to a good start as a pun by including a double meaning in its title. Spell as in the spelling, and spell as is the magic spell. In this charming, relaxed take on games like You Must Build A Boat, you take on the role of a wizard who must climb an arrow, spelling words to blast enemies that stand in his way. It’s a smart concept, presented in a winning way, and it’s free to start.
Like Spellspire, Letter Quest: Grimm’s Journey artfully combines wordplay and action-RPG. At the bottom of the screen is a selection of letters from which you need to form words. The bigger the word, the more damage you do to the unlucky ones who annoy you at the top of the screen. There are different weapons, a decent variety of monsters, bosses, and more.
At the end of the day, you just can’t beat a bit of Boggle, the frenzied board game where you shuffle a few dice with letters on them and then go up against another player to make as many words as you can. Zynga’s Boggle With Friends is exactly what you’d expect from a studio specializing in free multiplayer experiences – a sleek, fun, sometimes irritating, and feature-rich smartphone version of a true classic.
Most of what we just said about Boggle With Friends also applies to Scrabble GO. Scopely’s colorful and accessible Scrabble game has arrived just in time for the first blocks of 2020 and has helped many of us avoid boredom, loneliness and madness – for a while at least. Scrabble GO has all the modes and features you could ask for, plus all the usual energy / life / crystal elements that you have no doubt become accustomed to from years of free-to-play exposure. Words With Friends 2 also deserves an honorable mention.
We all know what the term four letter word means. To put it mildly for a swear word. But Four Letters, from developer PikPok, doesn’t deal with obscenities. This sleek and cleanly presented word game is essentially Boggle with a touch of streamlining: there are never more than four letters, and you have to use them all. In many cases, there is only one possible choice, which means the whole challenge is in how fast you solve it.
Developed by Fallen Tree Media, the supreme puzzle game behind the Quell series, Highrise Heroes makes an unlikely marriage between the pun genre and the concept of escape from a crumbling skyscraper. Highrise Heroes is a storytelling puzzle game where you’ll meet NPCs, reveal twists and of course find words in a jumble of letters.
The funny thing about the word game genre is that a lot of its games look the same at first glance. After all, there are only a number of ways to spin the anagram. But Word Forward, from Rocketship Park, is a testament to the depth, originality, and variety that talented developers can squeeze into an unassuming 5 × 5 letter grid.
There are even more innovations in Sidewords, a puzzle game that introduces you to a variety of puzzle formats to master. There are hundreds of puzzles to solve in all shapes and sizes, grouped by color so you can play according to your mood. Arguably more of a logical puzzle than a pun, Sidewords is nonetheless a great addition to any library.
Dropwords 2, a fully remastered version of the original game, isn’t the sleekest or sleekest featured title on this list. But it has it where it counts, with a simple Boggle-like game mechanic where you have to find words to score points and add to your timer. Letters disappear when you use them in a word, and others slide across the screen, giving Dropwords 2 a touch of matching goodness.
Originally released on iOS, where it won an Apple award and a litany of positive reviews, Letterpress is a two-player word game that lets you play whole words with the goal of conquering territory on a 5 × 5 grid. It’s like a letter-based approach to Risk, and it hides very deep tactical gameplay behind its straightforward facade. Watch this cat in action.