Wordle and its many, many clones—some of which are quite good games in their own right—have dominated the daily puzzle discourse for the past several months. But I’m happy to say there’s a new contender in the daily word puzzle arena. I’ve been playing it all morning and I’m typing this as fast as possible so I can go right back to playing it all afternoon.
It’s called Knotwords, created by Zach Gage and Jack Schlesinger, and it’s like a mashup of crossword puzzles and anagrams, with a smidge of a Wordle-like puzzle thrown in. Unlike Wordle, it isn’t 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 roster this could easily fit the bill.
Here’s a little trailer to give you an idea of how Knotwords works:
You’re given a small, irregular grid of blanks that you fill with letters to form words that work both horizontally and vertically, like a crossword without clues. The grid itself is broken 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 create using only the letters of each grid segment, sort of like figuring out an anagram—and the tricky bit is that most words cross through multiple segments. Like a crossword, the more words you discover in a puzzle, the more the remaining answers get narrowed down, so while beginning a puzzle can be pretty challenging it gets easier the more the puzzle is solved.
Knotwords has a few elements you won’t find in Wordle, and in my opinion the most important one is a tiny bunny in the corner of the screen who totally freaks the heck out when you solve a puzzle. Who doesn’t want to be cheered on by a happy little word-loving rabbit? Take note, Wordle, your stone-faced declarations of Splendid and Impressive no longer cut the mustard. I want a floppy-eared bunny losing his tiny little mind when I figure out where all the letters go. The bunny’s sounds make it even more enjoyable, and his silly face appears in all the achievements, too. The elevator music soundtrack doesn’t hurt the vibe, either.
The daily puzzles of Knotwords take a page from the New York Times crossword puzzle and get progressively bigger and more challenging as you make your way through the week. You can also visit the archive and solve any daily puzzles you missed from the current month. For instance, I started playing today but all of April’s daily puzzles are still available to me. Knotword’s puzzles come in two flavors: “classic” and the “daily twist” puzzle where vowels can only be used a certain number of times in each row and column. In the archive there are also “tricky” puzzles which only use adjectives.
Knotwords is also available for iOS and Android, where it’s free with in-app purchases to unlock tricky mode, hints, and other features that are already included in the Steam version. You might give it a try on mobile first because it does feel like it’s been designed for a touch-screen, though the letters are a sometimes bit too small for my eyes on a smartphone, especially in the larger grids. There are multiple options on PC for your preferred “input style” so you can find a good blend of mouse and keyboard controls, whether you prefer typing your words out or clicking on letters with a mouse. Here’s the website with links to whichever version you’re interested in.