For a few golden months, Wordle was the most talked-about game of the year. The ingenious word game had a simple premise, tasking players to guess a five-letter word each day in six guesses. The short daily time commitment and an easy to understand puzzle premise made it an instant phenomenon — so much so that the New York Times acquired it. Though after months of Twitter score sharing and countless clones, the fad seems to have died down for now.
If you’re looking for a new daily puzzle game to fill that void, Knotwords is the game for you.
Available now on Steam, Android, and iOS, Knotwords is a word game created by Zach Gage and Jack Schlesinger. It’s best described as a mix between a crossword puzzle, a word scramble, and a sudoku. Every day, players are presented with a new, miniature crossword grid. However, there aren’t traditional clues to help players guess the word in each row and column.
Instead, the letter boxes on each grid are divided into different sets. Each set gives players a list of letters that need to appear in those boxes. For instance, you might find four boxes grouped together that need to use the letters H, T, S, and O. To solve the puzzle, players will need to get all the right letters in the correct boxes, creating words in every column and row like a normal crossword. It’s the same idea as putting the numbers one through nine into a Sudoku cube, but in a spelling logic puzzle.
It can be surprisingly challenging. With no clues to help players populate boxes, they’ll have to look at the grid closely to find a starting point, whether that be looking for logical two-letter words that are easy to fill in or taking some wild guesses to start unscrambling words and seeing what works. It instantly feels like a long-lost Sunday newspaper classic. Playing it, I’m brought back to the days where I was subscribed to World of Puzzles magazine and would spend my free time filling out cryptograms. It feels a little timeless despite being a new game.
Knotwords is free on mobile devices, though there’s a catch. The free version gives players 10 starting puzzles, plus access to a new puzzle every day. Paying up, or buying the game game for $12 on Steam, gives players access to a set of monthly puzzles, a daily “twist,” more hints, stats, and more. However, if you’re just looking for something Wordle-sized that you can play with your coffee every day, the free version’s daily puzzles should get the job done.
I, for one, welcome the return of short daily word games in our hectic world. They feel like a perfect antidote to modern games designed to suck time (and money) from players with addictive loops. Knotwords‘ puzzles only take a few minutes of your time and they’ll make you feel like a genius for completing them, if only for a few fleeting moments every day.
Knotwords is available now on iOS, Android, and PC via Steam.
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