Waffle is a free, browser-based word game with a single puzzle each day and plentiful green and yellow squares. Beyond that, it has some pretty major differences from Wordle. It doesn’t require you to type the letters, for one.
Instead, Waffle presents you with a grid of five intersecting words with all of the letters already present. Most of the letters are jumbled up, and it’s up to you to identify the correct words and spell them out by swapping the letters with each other using as few moves as possible.
It works. I’m hooked. You can play it in your browser here.
As with Wordle, the challenge is not necessarily in finding the solution. You’ve got 15 swaps available to you, which in my experience is more than enough to colour the board in green. Every Waffle can be solved in just ten moves, however, and you earn a star for each move you have remaining when the board is complete. I completed today’s Waffle in eleven moves and so earned four stars.
The other wrinkle worth keeping in mind concerns yellow tiles. As normal, a yellow tile denotes a letter that is present in a word but in the incorrect position. If a yellow tile appears at a corner, then the letter could belong to either of the intersecting words.
Waffle therefore encourages you to see the whole board before you make a move. Does that E belong to this word or that, and if I’m going to move it in order to find out, what’s the optimally efficient letter to swap it with? It won’t tear your noodle to do, but the logical process is satisfying to follow.
I feel like, at this point, we have reached the limits of the Wordlelikes, and all that lies beyond are just free, browser-based word and trivia games. This is absolutely fine to me, a lover of word and trivia games, and of free things I can play wherever. Thank you, Wordle, for making mini crosswords cool.