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Image by Archi Banal
Image by Archi Banal

InternetJanuary 2, 2024

Wordle spinoffs, ranked from worst to best

Image by Archi Banal
Image by Archi Banal

Summer reissue: The beloved Wordle game spawned many, many spinoffs some terrible, some amazing. Here’s the official verdict on which is best.

First published on November 3, 2023.

As a word nerd whose daily life involves cryptic crosswords and a multitude of terrible puns, I was delighted when Wordle took the world by storm in 2021. I reckon it was one of the few silver linings to come out of the pandemic and the third best reason to be on your phone (after watching fainting goat videos and taking photos of your husband taking photos of food). 

Naturally a game this popular has since spawned a barrage of spinoffs. I had the lofty idea of ranking every single offshoot, but the website Wordlegame.org alone has a list of 402 games, so for the sake of brevity and my sanity (I even started dreaming in coloured boxes) I needed some kind of criteria. 

I axed games in languages other than English and topics that required far too much specialist knowledge such as Bytle (guess the unsigned 8-bit binary number), Morsle (guess the word by listening to it in morse code) and Elementle (guess the element on the periodic table). Dordle, Trordle, Quordle, Sixordle, Hexordle, Octordle and so on, and a bunch of other versions only serving up different word lengths and number of words to solve in one puzzle, were also mostly ignored unless they were particularly amazing or awful.

I also discovered there are endless variations that offer up nothing new to the OG Wordle other than a limited word pool based on lyrics, lingo or characters from a particular artist, book or movie. While Swifties may enjoy Taylordle, thespians may love getting their Shakespeare on in Bardle and Tolkein fans may get their kicks from Lordle of the Rings, those with a passing interest have no hope, so I mostly stayed clear.

Without further ado, here is my power ranking of Wordle spinoffs.

50. Letterle

For this ridiculous game, you literally just have to guess the letter of the day, with all 26 letters of the alphabet as possible answers, with no seeming restriction on the number of attempts. Great if you want to test your psychic abilities, but total nonsense otherwise.

49. Come Follow Medle

Kudos to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for getting on the Wordle train to make the scriptures fun. All five-letter mystery words are from that week’s lesson (eg. 1 and 2 Thessalonians: “Perfect That Which Is Lacking in Your Faith”). While I knew I wouldn’t be getting a “hell yeah” for my troubles, I was at least hoping for a righteous “bless you” when I guessed the correct word, but despite a religious upbringing, I was unable to complete the puzzle.

48. Kilordle

Whoever came up with the idea to guess 1,000 words in one game is a total psycho. Does anyone even know that many five-letter words?! Playing this game is more about collating the info provided by the colour hints than any kind of meaningful engagement with words, and with almost every guess being correct somewhere in the neverending grid, it feels like an endurance event, if an unpaid data entry job was an Olympic sport. I had to retire with over 950 words remaining because my RSI was kicking in and I could feel my soul starting to depart my body. 

47. Primel

Trying to guess the mystery five-digit prime number in six goes gave me flashbacks to the horrors of high school maths tests. Mathematics yuck! Panic-typing random numbers was neither satisfying nor successful. To me this game has no redeeming features, but anyone who was forced to rote learn prime numbers as a kid might think otherwise.

46. Birdle

This one just kinda sucks. To complete the game the player must correctly guess a sequence of five birds from a possible fourteen. It requires no knowledge of our feathered friends, or mental skill and the cartoon avian aren’t even that cute. I suggest bird watchers stick to their usual habitat.

45. Scholardle

Academic words only. BORING!

44. Daydle

This game cheerfully announces that “Each day is a new DAYDLE!” before crushing you with a hellish history game. You have six tries to guess the four-digit year in which the event happened on this day in history. The hints are baffling and the fact that the instructions pop up after every incorrect guess feels like a passive-aggressive “you suck!” – but maybe I’m just paranoid about my lack of historical knowledge.

43. Quizl

Just a fairly mundane daily trivia quiz and not worthy of inclusion in the Wordle Universe.

42. Tradle

Tradle schmadle. A pretty niche and dull offshoot, where you guess the mystery country based on their exports (such as food, minerals, machinery) with clues about proximity to your guess given after each turn. It could be slightly educational if you are interested in the fact that 3.12% of Albania’s exports are non-knit men’s suits. 

41. Paintle

I do enjoy deviating from words to pictures but this game, where you guess the name of a painting based on a pixelated rendering of the artwork, requires a very solid knowledge of art history. Even as the picture comes into focus with each guess, it’s difficult to do anything other than pick randomly from the drop-down menu when it’s a piece that you’ve never laid your eyeballs on before. Too specialised for me, but worth a go if your knowledge extends beyond the Matisses and Monets. 

40. Foodle

Really just a version of Wordle that uses a recipe book to source words instead of a dictionary. Cute that the two O’s in the title are a cookie and a donut, but there’s no real reason to play this game unless you want some inspiration for what to cook for dinner tonight. PASTA? No! SPUDS? No! Foodle wants me to eat SQUID.  

39. Wherdle

This geography game has the player guess the mystery location in the world based on crowd-sourced photos from a travel networking site. While it seems like a cool idea in theory, without proper curation it falls short. Unless your day job is driving the Google Earth Street View car around, I don’t think anyone could guess Mendoza in Argentina based on the clues of a nondescript mountain, featureless intersection and plain brick building.

38. Murdle

Like an online game of Cluedo with suspects, locations and weapons where clues help you narrow down your suspects and their MOs in order to make an accusation. It might be fun for Professor Peacock, but just doesn’t fill my puzzle bucket and deviates too far from the formula to be worthy of its “URDLE” suffix.

37. Lookdle

Lookdle offers up a pixelated face of a famous person reminiscent of a criminal with name suppression on the news; with the photo coming further into focus with each subsequent attempt at guessing their name.  It’s disconcerting. Did Goldie Hawn do a runner from Taco Bell? Did Christian Bale get caught urinating in public? If you solve it quickly, you are given another face to guess, but if you don’t get it in five attempts, the game leaves you hanging with neither the correct answer nor the clear image provided for closure. Not cool Lookdle, not cool at all.

36. Logodle

In this easy game of visual striptease, one of six panels is revealed at a time as you attempt to guess the famous logo. Lovers of capitalism and American big brands may get a kick out of Logodle, but it’s quite depressing how recognisable big corporations are when only a fraction of their logo is visible. 

35. Canuckle

This is literally just Wordle celebrating Canadian culture eh. It gets an honourable mention because I am a dual-citizen Caniwi and was overcome by a swell of patriotic pride when the correct letters turned bright red.

34. Septle

This offshoot offers a daily puzzle of seven letters rather than the usual five, but also gives you the option of attempting both a five and a six letter word on completion of the first. Not much to see here, but the dopamine hit from the little puff of colourful confetti for the correct solution is delightful. 

33. Concludle

A trivia guessing game with different categories (such as movies or food) and clues. Kinda like the bonus round of a pub quiz with more and more information being dropped like breadcrumbs leading you to the solution. Pleasant enough, but doesn’t really fit with the rest of the list.

32. Warmle

Warmle is named for the heat meter that warms up from freezing to boiling as you get closer to the solution from the provided nonsense word. It’s … fine. 

31 & 30. Tuble and Subwaydle 

Both transport-related puzzles are based on the bragging rights of Londoners and New Yorkers who take pride in planning journeys in their respective cities without consulting the travel network maps. Having lived in London I personally preferred Tuble and the memories it evoked, while Subwaydle seems like a logistical nightmare of navigating The Big Apple without the reward of a giant pretzel waiting for you at your destination. 

29. Adverswordle

This puzzle gives you the chance to play gamemaster with AI trying to guess the mystery word in your head while you score their attempts using the Wordle system. The more turns it takes the computer to guess, the better you do, but it’s impossible to outfox those pesky algorithms. Humans smart, robots smarter.

28. Worldle

Like a less-fun version of “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?”, this geographical offshoot is played by guessing the name of the country or territory by the map outline provided. Anyone with a Huffer T-shirt could correctly guess when our fair nation shows up, and large island countries with equally iconic outlines like Japan or Australia are just as easy, but obscure places like the Norwegian archipelago Svalbarg are nigh on impossible, even with a globe at hand. A great game for learning the names of tiny places in Africa (hello Eswatini!), but bad for your self esteem if you fancy yourself a geography buff.

27. Absurdle

I know a few smarty pants who play (and love) this version, but even the instructions were too much mindfuckery for my pea brain. The mechanics are similar to Wordle, but the game is actively trying to avoid giving you the answer, sometimes even changing the secret word mid-play. The FAQs say “Absurdle is intended to always display the most evil possible behaviour,” which sounds promising in a masochistic sort of way, but they lost me with their need for a detailed explanation and supporting essay.

26. Squabble

In theory, the competitive person in me loves the premise of Squabble, promising a battle version of Wordle, but in reality it doesn’t quite deliver. In Blitz mode, you are supposed to play against 2-5 other people in real time by guessing words as quickly as possible until you are the last person standing. But the excitement of waiting to join a game soon gave way to disappointment as they kept being aborted, I assume from a lack of players. My one successful battle was super fun and I easily beat my anonymous opponent before reliving it through the blow-by-blow action replay. Squabble would definitely be on my ongoing hit list if the developers could find enough gamers to make it consistently work.

25. Growdle

This is simply three Wordles of varying lengths, growing after each correct solution (from three letters to five, and finally to seven) using the same letters each time. It really doesn’t require any new flex or mental dexterity and is far too easy to warrant any repeat visits.

24. Poeltl

A sports spinoff named after San Antonio Spurs star Jakob Poeltl, this game is about guessing a current NBA player in eight or fewer tries from clues about team, position, height and number. Probably a fun game for basketball fans but word nerds like me always got picked last during PE so I don’t like our safe space being infiltrated by jocks. 

23. Fibble

Just like Wordle except in every row of hints there is a lie. It is ridiculously hard and I feel like this sneaky weasel of a game might create trust issues.

22. Hardle

Supposedly harder Wordle, but really not that difficult. I reckon you’d be better off selecting hard mode in Wordle proper than relocating to this new game. 

21. Minecraftle

All the blockheads out there might enjoy crafting a secret item from the ingredients in your inventory, but I couldn’t even make a single object to submit as a guess. Having conniptions trying to simply select and deselect items, I deferred to my twelve-year-old, Minecraft-mad son who was able to make a tunic, a pick axe and a piston before correctly guessing a ladder. His verdict: “It’s cool, I guess”.

20. Hello Wordl

Just like Wordle, but you can select the number of letters your target word has from 4-11 while still only getting six tries no matter how long or short the word. Trying to think of 11-letter words was intimidating until I realised that WHEELBARROW is legit one of them. Good but not great.

19. Adoptle

Animal lovers will dig this version that requires you to guess the name of today’s adoptable pet on American site Petfinder. I met Panda, a black and white pitbull, and Winky the one-eyed Shih Tzu. A novel way to publicise pets that need rehoming and a great chance to fill your daily online fluff quota.

18. Crosswordle

I love the idea of crossword meets Wordle; a love child of my two favourite word games. Guessing two words of varying lengths that intersect each other is surprisingly difficult and uses parts of the brain that don’t get a lot of exercise, so I recommend a quiet corner and not attempting to solve while your kid butchers Twinkle Twinkle on the violin from the same room. A nice touch is that you can create your own custom Crosswordle to share with friends.

17. Polygonle

Polygon shapes represent different letters to guess a word of varying lengths, so the ability to read patterns is a helpful skill here. Double letters and their placements are a welcome hint. Challenging enough, and the dancing polygons on completion are a welcome pat on the back. 

16. Redactle

A favourite of The Spinoff editor Mad Chapman, but one that I have so far failed to crack, Redactle has the player try to determine the subject of a random obfuscated Wikipedia article by slowly filling in the blanks with unlimited guesses. It feels like being a code cracker at Bletchley Park and is hard with a capital H. Seeing the article slowly start to make sense as more and more words are added is satisfying, like a jigsaw puzzle coming together, but it is time consuming and requires some serious thought. Only attempt this if you have oodles of time up your sleeve or you can keep coming back to it throughout the day.

15. Waffle

In 15 moves or fewer, Waffle wants you to solve a grid of six words by moving existing letters around. More swaparoo than guessing, but the places where words connect can be tricky, so overall it’s quite satisfying. I love the celebratory dancing rainbow when solved, but was disappointed that the “Deluxe Waffle” doesn’t come with maple syrup AND whipped cream. Interesting enough to go back for another helping, but not to become a daily staple.

14. Globle

Another geography mash-up, but this one uses a hotter/colder system to let you know how close you are to the mystery country on a nifty interactive globe. With the undeniable reality of the climate crisis, it seems like bad taste for warm, hot and hotter to be a positive thing, and the increasingly angry shades of orange and red makes it look like some kind of doomsday weather map. Still, it’s interesting enough to revisit.

13. Unwordle

This version flips the original on its head so the player has to reverse engineer a Wordle grid by giving you the final solution and the colour hints and making you work backwards for three lines. It’s not as easy as pulling apart a piece of Ikea furniture or as impossible as unbaking a cake, but somewhere in the middle, and certainly gets easier as you figure out some strategies. Because the number of guesses is fixed, it’s all about beating the clock, with the ticking timer adding to the drama. It needs some serious headspace to figure out, but is actually kinda great when you get the hang of it.

12. Semantle

Semantle is less about spelling and more about meaning, asking the player to guess an entire word rather than a letter. The game will tell you how “semantically similar” it thinks your word is to the secret word, using some kind of algorithmic wizardry that I don’t understand. This literally made my brain hurt as I mentally circled wildly through the far reaches of my vocab memory banks, trying to find a word that is kinda like KILL but more like SWITCH, and playing around with verbs, adjectives and nouns as well as tenses. I couldn’t get past tepid on the “getting close” indicator despite multiple attempts, and desperation pushed me to cheat. But even with an online thesaurus on hand, I still haven’t managed to crack it.  

Defeated, I decided to try Semantle Junior, which is better suited to my intellect and patience as I was able to knock it out in a few minutes. My verdict is that Semantle is excellent for language lovers with extensive vocabularies, but I’m sticking to the kid’s version.

11. Flagle

I have always loved the cheerful colours and simple patterns of flags, and Flagle provides a welcome rest for word-weary eyes as you guess a country based on six tiles of a flag that are slowly revealed with each subsequent guess. Given the repetition of colour combos and symbols, it is harder than it sounds: if, for example, you are given the top left hand corner with a Union Jack, there are 20 or so possible guesses. It makes me wish that we had an iconic flag as even amateur vexillophiles (flag enthusiasts) could easily mistake ours for our fair dinkum mates across the ditch when playing this game.

10. Heardle

Like a pocket-sized Face the Music show minus host Simon Barnett and the 90s fashion. As someone who can’t name a single tune on commercial radio when played in its entirety, this game is too hard for me, but if you love your mainstream music, you’ll be all over it.

For the older peeps, this spinoff has its own spinofffs, with “Heardle 80s” and “Heardle 90s,” so pick your era and test your knowledge of drum machine and synth riffs. I love that, after the answer is revealed, you are given a link to the song on Soundcloud so you can listen to the tune in its entirety. 

9. Xordle

Made by the same peeps who brought us Warmle and Fibble, this puzzle starts with a hint word and gives you eight attempts to guess two secret words that have no shared letters. It’s bloody hard at first, but actually pretty great once you get the hang of it. Low fi with no bells and whistles, but a true brain scratcher in the spirit of Wordle.

8. Referdle

In this spinoff, you are given the grid from a solved Wordle with the letters removed, kinda like the shareable feature on Wordle. You have 25 guesses to recreate a five-word journey to the correct word, with many possible correct answers. You may know for certain that a letter isn’t in the final answer, but you have to guess it anyway in order to guess their guess. Confused? Yep, I was too, but once the penny drops, it’s a cool game. 

7. Sweardle

People with potty mouths will love this version, where you get to guess four-letter expletives. As the instructions say, “You only get four chances to guess, so don’t fuck it up.” This is close enough to the original game for ease and familiarity, but there is something truly satisfying about typing ARSE, SHIT, PISS in quick succession.

6. Feudle

Not officially sanctioned by the tech giant, this game has the player guess how Google would autocomplete that day’s search, using the same letter and colour structure as Wordle. Examples include “Is it weird to like…?” (answer: PAIN) and “Where can I buy human…?” (answer: BONES). 

Because the answers are based on popular real-life searches, Google autocorrect gives interesting insights into the twisted nature of humanity, so I could easily see Feudle becoming a source of daily amusement.

5. Antiwordle

This is a fascinating addition to the Wordle family, where instead of doing your best to guess the mystery word in as few tries as possible, Antiwordle asks you to do the opposite and try not to guess the answer. In this topsy-turvy game, the more guesses the better. Ditch your usual strategy of starting with commonly-used letters and vowels and make friends with the less popular X, Y and Zs. My clever parents report having high scores of around 12, but I’m too impatient; according to my statistics page, seven guesses is my best performance. How long can you last?

4. Lewdle

As a self-confessed dirtbag, I instantly bonded with this offshoot that I discovered Googling “sex and Worlde” after purposefully wasting a turn in vanilla Wordle guessing DILDO instead of DISCO just for the thrill of it. This “Bad Word Game” comes with its own content advisory, with guesses needing to be rude enough to be included in their “dicktionary”. While SQUIRT and SNATCH are obvious, you do have to think outside the box (pun 100% intended) to come up with solutions like BROJOB and ASSMAN. 

The game can be time-consuming and difficult, especially when some mystery words don’t always have filthy connotations (eg. MOPED), but there is the option of a one-letter hint if you need it. I do enjoy the hilarious definitions given after solving that sound like they are ripped straight from Urban Dictionary. The dirtier your mind, the better you will be at Lewdle, so if you like the idea of your starting word always being MOIST, then join the millions of other smut-monkeys in the world who get their daily kicks with this game. Just don’t accidentally share your results with your extended family’s WhatsApp group.

3. Moviedle

This offshoot is fun for film buffs: sharing super-quick montages of scenes from a mystery movie, the clip increasing in length with each guess. The cuts are so quick it almost works on a subliminal level where you might catch a glimpse of an actor, setting or genre but not much else. It feels a bit disorientating, like watching someone else scroll through the gallery of films in the Netflix browser, and it pays not to blink in case you miss a crucial detail. It’s frustrating when you know it’s a film you’ve never seen or heard of, but so exciting when you do manage to nail it.

2. Nerdle

I’m going to retract my earlier “maths yuck” statement, because it turns out that relatively simple mathematics wrapped up in an intriguing puzzle is actually very fun and satisfying. Nerdle gives the player six goes to guess the eight square equation using both numbers and the basic maths symbols (+-*/=). The game sternly informed me that my first equation did not compute and to familiarise myself with the order of operations. So I resurrected my old mate BEDMAS and, armed with the arithmetic order of precedence fresh to mind, found the puzzle to be the perfect mixture of mental calculation and trial and error. 

1. Quordle

I said I wasn’t going to feature these multiple word versions, but Quordle holds a special place in my heart. Guessing four different words at once seems diabolical at first, but is surprisingly doable once you get into a rhythm. Four seems the perfect balance of enough words to make your brain multitask, but not too many as to be ridiculous. 

This game is hosted by the dictionary peeps Merriam-Webster and is a great example of an old company (established 1828) evolving with the times. Quordle is like a comfy pair of slippers that has become a welcome part of my daily routine. I find it deeply satisfying guessing all four words in only six attempts, which doesn’t happen very often, but it’s a unicorn well worth pursuing.

Keep going!