One of my guilty pleasures is trying out new iPhone games. About once per week, I get hooked on something new. I’m sorting test tubes, watching goblins mine for gold, battling others, jumping to avoid lava, or working on a sudoku around the clock. And perhaps my favorite category of junkie games is word games for iPhone.
There is something so satisfying about a good word game. It’s a puzzle, it challenges your brain, it makes you feel like you’re doing something smart. It’s also pretty mindless most of the time, making it great to do while watching a show.
I’ve done a few “best of” lists here on AppleToolBox for gaming, and today, I want to cover my favorite word games for iPhone. These are games that I’m either actively playing or have played over the years. I’ve tried to include a mix of old and new, paid and free, and challenging and simple games so that you have plenty of options to choose from. If you’re like me, I’m sure you’ll wind up trying them all eventually.
This is a long list so let’s go ahead and dive in!
The best word games for iPhone
First on our list of word games for iPhone is a true classic. The New York Times Crossword has been around since the 1940s and it’s still going strong today. There’s a mobile app version of the game so you can play it without needing to fiddle with all of that newspaper nonsense. There’s also a desktop version on the NYT’s website if you want to give that a go.
The NYT crossword is a super straightforward app. You’re not going to find anything here that reinvents the wheel, and to be honest, it’s kind of nice. You don’t always need a classic game to be paired with candy and limited-time events.
The puzzles NYT offers are challenging without being overwhelming. Perfect for a cup of coffee and some radio/television in the morning or the evening.
Next is wurdweb. wurdweb is an app that I’ve covered on AppleToolBox before, and the reason I’ve covered it previously is that it’s such a fun and visually pleasing game.
Essentially, this is a modern take on Scrabble. Rather than being scored for where words are placed, you simply place as many words as you can from the list of words that the app is giving you. The more you place, the more points you get.
There are a ton of challenges, themes, and varying takes on the puzzle to keep things fresh for a long time. Doing the daily and weekly challenges is a lot of fun, and it’s not too hard to place relatively well on the leaderboard.
This game is locked into Apple Arcade so you’ll need to subscribe to that to play it. I wouldn’t say it’s worth the subscription alone, but if you already have Apple Arcade give this one a look!
One of the most popular word games for iPhone is Wordscapes. And I’d say that popularity is well-placed. When I did play this game a few years ago, I remember there being months of me sinking hours of free time into it every week.
What makes Wordscapes so fun is how simple it is. You just try to make words from the ring of letters that are provided to you. It starts pretty easy but quickly becomes so challenging that you just start swiping your finger around hoping to accidentally make a word.
Even still, the game never gets so hard that it’s frustrating. It’s just a casual, mindless word game. I’d describe it as a fidget game, something to keep your fingers busy while you listen to or watch something else.
For those who don’t like to choose and just want a handful of simple, fun word games to choose from, there’s Wordle. Wordle is a curation of a few word games that are updated each day. Great for someone who just wants something quick to pick up and put down throughout the day.
In addition to being straightforward and lightweight, the visuals of this game are excellent. It’s minimal, colorful, and sunny feeling. And if you feel that the puzzles are too easy, you can up the difficulty and take on more challenging variations.
Overall this is a pretty basic offering on this list of word games for iPhone, but that might just be what you’re looking for.
A more exciting option on this list of word games for iPhone is Heads Up! Heads Up is a game you may have heard of before as it went a bit viral a few years ago. The object of the game is to hold your iPhone on your forehead with the screen facing away from your forehead. This way, other people playing the game can read your iPhone but you cannot.
Then, while a timer counts down, you try to get clues from those playing with you about the word on your forehead. If you can’t guess it before the time runs out, you lose!
It’s a combination of a word game with charades and is a great game for kids and groups of friends. I have fond memories of playing this with friends in high school.
If you’re looking for something on the stranger side of word games for iPhone, there’s Kitty Letter. Created by the developer of Exploding Kittens, this is a weird one. To play, you make words from the random letters that swirl at the bottom of the screen.
Each time you make a word, a kitten is sent to your horrible neighbor’s house, whereupon it explodes. Meanwhile, enemy cats are coming towards your own house, and you have to match words starting with the letter these enemy kitties are holding to make them go away.
Oh yeah, and there are hot sauce power-ups.
You don’t need me to tell you that this game is loads of fun and silliness. It’s a great game for the person who feels as if they’ve already played it all. If you need to shake things up, check out Kitty Letter!
Of course, no list of word games for iPhone would be complete without mentioning Words With Friends. If you’ve never played this game before, it’s essentially mobile Scrabble that you can play against your friends.
And that’s pretty much it! Words With Friends 2 features more content and new paradigms that make it a great update to the popular first version. It’s a staple of mobile word games and for good reason.
My only real complaint with this game is that because it’s based on such a classic game, it can get a bit stale after a while. You have to really enjoy Scrabble and/or have active friends who also play this game. But given its popularity, the latter shouldn’t be too difficult.
A game that’s fairly similar to Words With Friends is Wordgrams. This one is a crossword puzzle that you play competitively with your friends. Each person has a timer giving them less than a minute to complete a word. The person who gets the most points by solving the biggest, bestest words is the one who wins.
In addition to being a fun and competitive way to play crossword, Wordgrams also shakes up the traditional formula in a few ways. For example, it adds pictures so that you have visual and/or text-based clues indicating what a word might be.
If you’re someone who’s found yourself bored with the more traditional NYT crossword puzzle, then Wordgrams can be a fresh take on the classic game.
Surprisingly, we’ve made it halfway through this list of word games for iPhone without touching on any word search games. Word searches are another staple of word puzzles, and they’re one of my favorites.
SpellTower is a clever redux on word searches by the infamous Zach Gage, creator of such games as Good Sudoku and FlipFlop solitaire. I’ve been a fan of his games for some time now and SpellTower is another great addition to his catalog of mobile games.
The game works similar to a word search, except that solving words causes the columns of the word search to collapse as if you were removing bricks from a pillar. This adds an extra challenge to the game by forcing you to decide which order you choose the words in. The board is constantly changing and so are the words you can find.
There are a handful of different game modes within SpellTower, so you can find the way to play that best suits your style. It’s free with Apple Arcade and freemium otherwise.
If you’re looking for an original word game that has a beautiful UI, look no further than Retrogram. Modeled after vintage aesthetics, this game is seriously something to look at.
Retrogram features prominent rainbows, old-school color themes, nostalgic visual effects, and an all-around groovy appearance.
But of course, that’s only half of what Retrogram has to offer. This game is also a ton of fun! Similar to Wordscapes, you get a wheel of letters that you can tap through to make words. Each day you get a new puzzle and set of words designed to challenge and educate you.
It’s the perfect blend of educational, game, and eye candy. One look and you’ll be in love!
One of the most unique word games for iPhone that I’ve come across is Four Letters. On the surface, it might look similar to Retrogram and Wordscapes due to its letter-wheel. Beyond that, however, it’s its own game.
Four Letters gives you four letters and a countdown. You have to make the best word you can with those four letters before the clock runs out. This goes on and on until you slip up and break your streak.
The traditional format for word games is to set a slow and relaxing pace while you puzzle things out. Four Letters flips this format on its head by keeping things fast-paced, tense, and exciting. If you like word games but find most of them to be a bit boring, Four Letters is the change-up you’ve been looking for.
Another unique and stylish item on this list of the best word games for iPhone is Typochondria. This game takes a real-world job (or homework assignment) and gamifies it uniquely.
Rather than solving puzzles, you’ll be looking for and correcting typos in various pieces. These will start obvious but gradually become more and more difficult to spot.
If you’re someone who loves editing documents, then this game was made for you. It looks like a book and the text reads like one, too. You’ll develop a sharp eye while also gaining a better grasp of the rules of the English language. This one’s for the nerds!
Closing out the end of this list of word games for iPhone are two games that are truly unique in this genre. They aren’t modeled after any other games as far as I can tell, and they manage to be fun in the process.
The first of these two games is Wordgraphy. It places a series of interlocking words on a grid. The problem is, these words are scrambled. You have to strategically unscramble them to make a word in every direction along the grid.
This game is much more of a puzzle than most of the other games on this list. It’s also elegant and minimalist, making it perfect for downloading and jumping right in. If you find yourself bored or even annoyed by the familiarity of other word games, Wordgraphy will give you something light and fresh to start playing.
And that brings us to the last suggestion, Typeshift. Typeshift is another one of those games that I was hooked on for months after I first started playing it. And, what do you know, it was also developed by the one and only Zach Gage. I didn’t even realize this until I wrote this post.
This game works by giving you a scrambled-up word made up of columns of letters. You can slide these columns up and down until they eventually make up the hidden word. And that’s it! The game is that simple but is so satisfying to play.
Similar to games like Wordscapes and SpellTower, this is a fun game to play while you have something going on in the background. It won’t blow your mind, but its simplicity is addictive, to say the least. And it’s free! So give it a look and see what you think.
Add these word games for iPhone to your Games folder today
And that’s it! Those are the best word games for iPhone that I know of. Hopefully, you found plenty to add to your Games folder. If you have any you would’ve liked to see on this list, be sure to mention them in the comments so others can check them out for themselves!
For more insights, news, and guides on all things Apple, check out the rest of the AppleToolBox blog.
See you next time!