Debuting on Apple Arcade at the end of last week and quickly topping the charts, Wurdweb is a new puzzle game from Adriaan de Jongh and Aran Koning, two friends and designers of games such as the very popular ‘Hidden Folks’. Wurdweb is a unique word puzzler that, upon first glance looks like yet another crossword app, but it’s actually one of the most unique and downright fun games to be released on Apple Arcade. It’s also one that I’ve been unable to put down since downloading it.
In Wurdweb, players select words from a list and place them on a tiled board, trying to connect them to other words on there. Certain tiles contain numbered values and landing on them will unlock new words to use from your list. There are several game modes to choose from too. In the popular Daily, Weekly and Monthly Challenge modes, players from around the world all play the same board and compete to see who can put down the most words to claim the highest score that day, week or month before the leaderboards reset. In Precise mode, each puzzle has one single solution and the objective is to reach the finish tile by placing words in the correct places. In Tangle Mode, players must place enough words to reach the target amount. There’s a ton of additional game variations to unlock too and you’ll unearth more surprises the longer you play. It’s an easy game to pick up but also one that will have you saying ‘just one more game’ as you try to top the leaderboards and beat high scores set by your friends and family.
Words on the board are organised by theme and there’s a lot to choose from. The game also presents an infinite amount of unique puzzles that are generated using an algorithm to make sure you’re never playing the same puzzle twice. Picking up words from your list and placing them on the board is very satisfying as you tap on each one to slot them into place and watch new words generate for you to use. Changing the orientation of words on the iPhone version can be a little finicky at times, but once you’ve played a couple of games you’ll quickly get the hang of it and learn how to manoeuvre these in the correct way.
The game is also beautiful to look at. It’s simple and the boards are bright, colourful and soothing. Oh and there’s also the adorable little characters that walk around the board ‘doing absolutely nothing’ as described in the game’s app store listing. They may do nothing, but they are incredibly fun to look at and will certainly bring a smile to your face.
One of the best features of the game is how it introduces players to the various modes and how to play the game by way of challenges. You’ll complete these in order to unlock new modes as well as new game themes and variations. The excellent tutorials and mini challenges at the beginning ensure that by the time you’ve unlocked the daily challenge mode and beyond, you’ve already gotten to grips with how the game works and can focus on climbing that leaderboard. The challenges don’t end there though and the game will generate new ones as you make progress and allow you to unlock even more themes. I’ve already unlocked themes such as animals, fruits and veggies and sports and there’s a whole list of them still to do.
Wurdweb is as close to a perfect mobile game as you could hope for but it also plays beautifully on Apple TV too. It’s compatible with both the 2021 Apple TV remote and the previous version too. You can use a controller too, which I found to be the best way to control the game on Apple TV. The controller gave greater control over zooming in and out of the board, which certainly comes in handy as you place more words and the screen gets busier. In fact, I actually found the process of changing the word orientation a little smoother on Apple TV and I didn’t encounter the aforementioned issue of the words jumping between horizontal and vertical positions when trying to place them at all on the TV. Of course, one of the main appeals of this game is the ability to pick up and play at anytime, wherever you are - something you obviously can’t do on Apple TV if you’re not at home. Playing on the big screen; however, comes with its own benefits and zooming in and out of the board and being able to survey the whole thing at once is beautiful on a big screen. If you’re playing on iPad, the developers have also included Apple Pencil support in the most recent update. Whichever way you choose to play, you’re going to have a blast with this game.
I can’t recommend Wurdweb enough. It’s described on the App Store as ‘Word puzzles with Sunday morning vibes’ and that really sums it up perfectly. This is the ideal game to relax with but one that is sure to also bring out your competitive side against friends, family or whoever has the day’s high score on Game Center. It might be the most fun I’ve had on Apple Arcade yet.
James has been a fan of Apple for as long as he can remember. He is a film & TV obsessive and has also written for several publications such as BBC Good Food Magazine. He lives in Glasgow, Scotland and can usually be found drinking copious amounts of coffee, watching Apple TV+ and talking about it with anyone who will listen.