Knotwords: The New Word Game Wordle's Creator Calls Incredibly Elegant

Knotwords game with blue background

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There’s always a new way to create easy-to-play daily word games. Games like Wordle have proven this. And now, our latest example is Knotwords. Knotwords is a logic-based word game that takes inspiration from crosswords and other word games to create a new grid-based puzzle game. Knotwords’ premise may be simple, but the game’s design, as Wordle creator Josh Wardle put it, is “incredibly elegant.”

What Is the Knotwords Word Game?

Knotwords is a free-to-play word game where you organize sets of letters in an empty, intersecting grid. While it’s easy to draw a visual comparison to solving standard crossword puzzles, Knotwords skips the clues for each missing word.

Instead, each Knotwords level separates the empty squares into batches or Tetris-like blocks of different shapes. These batches, whether they have two, three, four or more squares, have a limited set of letters that can fill the empty spaces. In that sense, the game also takes some inspiration from Sudoku, a number game where you fill a large grid following specific rules.

Playing Knotwords requires an impressive vocabulary and an aptitude for solving logic-based problems. If you have a fondness for word games like that, Knotwords is the next app you’ll want to download. 

Wordle’s Josh Wardle on Knotwords

Many people initially discovered Knotwords after Josh Wardle, creator of the widely popular Wordle, endorsed the game via his Twitter account.

“If you like Wordle you should check out Knotwords. It is an incredibly elegant daily word game. What impresses me most is that, despite its deceptively simple appearance, it has clearly been built with a great deal of thought and care.”

An endorsement from Josh carries more weight than simply being from the creator of a word game, even one as popular as Wordle. Josh Wardle is a software engineer with a history of creating influential user experiences, including r/place and r/thebutton on Reddit.

How to Play Knotwords

The reception for Knotwords has been great. This is mostly due to its gameplay, which is simple and easy to learn, but produces some truly challenging (but welcomed) puzzles.

Knotwords mobile screenshotsKnotwords mobile screenshots
  1. When you begin a puzzle, you find a random assortment of squares in an intersecting grid, similar to a crossword puzzle. Beneath the grid is a QWERTY keyboard. You cannot interact with the keyboard until you tap one of the squares.

  2. When you tap on a square, the game will highlight it and the other squares in the same batch or letter block. Specific letters on the keyboard will change color to indicate you can press them. You can see these letters in the top-left corner of the puzzle block too.

  3. The letters on the keyboard match the available letters for the squares you’ve selected. You can type your letters into any square in the batch, but they must be the letters the game highlights.

  4. Make your letter choices to form words (or parts of words), both horizontally and vertically. Then, move to the next batch of squares to repeat the process.

  5. If you have trouble finding a word, you can use a hint. Hints provide the definition for any given word, but each hint will add three minutes to your time. The amount of time it takes you to solve a puzzle serves as your score for that puzzle.

  6. You clear the Knotwords puzzle once you’ve found every word in the grid.

  7. Once you’re done, the game gives you the option to share your score on social media, similar to Wordle.

Your goal is to form valid words so that you end up with what looks like a completed crossword puzzle. Every horizontal row and vertical column should form a valid word.

Where to Download Knotwords

Knotwords is an app rather than a browser-based game like Wordle. You can download the Knotwords app for free from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. You can also download it to your PC via Steam

The basic edition of Knotwords is free to play. To unlock all the modes and features, you need to purchase Knotwords Pro.

Knotwords Pro

Knotwords Pro is the full version of Knotwords. For a $4.99 annual subscription or a one-time purchase price of $11.99, Knotwords Pro adds some exclusive features on top of the basic edition.

  • More puzzles: Access the more complex Daily Twist puzzles and the monthly Tricky Puzzles puzzlebooks. You also gain 30 extra puzzlebook puzzles per month, plus thousands of daily puzzles in the Knotwords archive.

  • More hints: Double the number of hints for each puzzlebook from three to six.

  • Statistics and customization: View comprehensive statistics and unlock fun cosmetic upgrades, like 10 additional color themes.

Knotwords Game Modes

Knotwords has a lot to offer you every month (and every day of every month). Knotwords has two major game modes: the Monthly Puzzlebooks and the Daily Puzzles. Each of these modes has various subcategories within them too.

Promos for KnotwordsPromos for Knotwords

Monthly Puzzlebooks

The Knotwords monthly puzzlebooks are packs of 30 puzzles. The game doesn’t require you to play these puzzles each day. However, you will want to complete all of them before the month ends and a new collection of puzzles replaces them. 

You will need to have Knotwords Pro to play all 30 of the Standard Puzzles. The basic edition of the game only includes 10 puzzles each month for free.

Daily Puzzles 

The Knotwords daily puzzles are exactly what they sound like: puzzles you play each day. The puzzle types available are Daily Minis, Daily Classic and Daily Twist. Daily Twist puzzles are only available for Knotwords Pro users. 

One new puzzle loads each day for seven days. After the last day, the puzzles disappear and a new weekly set begins. Knotwords Pro users can play any days they’ve missed, but users with only the basic version cannot.

Settings and Extras in Knotwords

As you would hope to find in any well-polished game, Knotwords comes with plenty of useful settings, features and extras.

  • Settings: Standard options to adjust your game experience include toggling “Show Time,” which shows you how long you’ve been playing a puzzle, and adjusting the sounds, music and vibration levels.

  • Achievements: Completing Knotwords’ achievements is optional; there are 65 achievements in all. They add more depth to the game and offer an extra challenge. Examples of achievements include “Classic Week” (get a 7-day streak in classic), “Both Together” (complete both puzzlebooks in the same month) and “Quintette” (spell 50 five-letter words).

  • Share on Social Media: Knotwords follows Wordle’s pattern by offering a way to share your results for clearing a daily puzzle on social media. The game generates a message with your clear time and the name of the puzzle you solved.

Winning Knotwords Strategies to Solve Every Puzzle

As with any word puzzler, you need to play a lot to learn the winning tactics. But, to get a head start, keep these Knotwords tips, strategies and suggestions in mind.

  • Start small if possible. Depending on the shape of the puzzle, try to eliminate the squares that can only have a handful of possible valid words. Also check each puzzle at the outset to see how many batches there are, how many letters those batches have and where they reside.

  • WordFinder can help you find the best words to try as you get further into the puzzle. At later stages in a puzzle, you’ll often know what the start or end of a word will be and only need to find the other half. Use WordFinder’s advanced search options — the “Starts with” and “Ends with” ones in particular — to find the answer. 

  • Use the hints sparingly. You only get three hints per puzzle pack. It’s best to wait until you are stumped and believe you are dealing with a word you don’t know before using a hint.

  • Knotwords’ use of uncommon words might leave you stumped if you aren’t prepared. This game isn’t like Wordle. It has no objection to using a more bizarre word to ensure a puzzle has the right level of difficulty.

  • Knotwords uses the Wordnik dictionary for all of its puzzles. This means that if you try a word and the game does not recognize it as a real term, there’s a good chance the word isn’t in that particular dictionary. See an example in this comment thread from Twitter.

  • Don’t be afraid to experiment. One issue you’ll run into a lot is where you can make multiple words from the same set of letters. Think ahead and consider how the letter order you choose will affect the other letters in the puzzles.

Knotwords’s Creators: Zach Gage & Jack Schlesinger

The development of Knotwords was a team effort between two experienced game designers. Co-creators Zach Gage and Jack Schlesinger often post updates (like the release of the Daily Minis puzzles) and reply to questions on Twitter. Be sure to follow Zach and Jack to keep up with the latest developments.

They have worked together on various other projects together, like Good Sudoku. The app helps you learn how to play and enjoy the classic mathematics-based puzzle game.

Zach Gage

Zach Gage is an experienced designer and artist. Most of his work has been with games and conceptual art. Many of his projects have earned awards and been exhibited in different venues worldwide. He won the Apple Game of the Year Award for his work on Ridiculous Fishing. Plus, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City once displayed his art.

Jack Schlesinger

Jack Schlesinger is a game designer and musical theater writer. Along with projects he and Zach have collaborated on together, Jack has also worked on numerous other games, like If You Die in the Game, You Die in Real Life: The Game. This tabletop game, as explained on its Twitter page, “is a new cooperative RPG you can play whenever your character dies in some other RPG.” 

Similar Word Games Like Wordle & Scrabble

As we’ve already mentioned, Knotwords bears a striking resemblance to other popular word games. 

  • Wordle: Wordle and Knotwords share a similar process of using logic to eliminate possible answers to each puzzle. Wordle’s daily answers and Knotwords Daily Puzzles also share the same day-by-day approach, including the social aspect of sharing scores online.

  • Crossword Puzzles: The first thing you’ll notice about each puzzle in Knotwords is that they look almost identical to a typical crossword puzzle layout. The words you need to find have predetermined lengths and positions.

  • Fill-It-In Puzzles: While Knotwords’ layout first makes you think of crossword puzzles, the gameplay is actually more similar to fill-it-in puzzles. With fill-it-in puzzles, you know what words you need to add to the squares. In Knotwords, you know which letters you must use in each batch of squares.

  • Scrabble: Scrabble’s rule for how to spell words found its way into Knotwords as well. You must spell words vertically or horizontally. Also, adjacent letters must form valid words whenever a word is played parallel to another word.

Find More Great Word Games To Play

If you’re an avid fan of word games,the Knotwords app is something you should download to try out for yourself. The gameplay is a perfect blend of refreshing and familiar that will put your puzzle-solving skills to the test. If playing Knotwords puts you in the mood to play more games, we have some perfect suggestions for you. Our list of the best online word games is sure to have a few titles you’ll want to enjoy next. 

Zac Pricener has been a content creator for the past eight years. He’s a bit of an all-around nerd, and he has a bad habit of working movie and TV show references into conversations whenever possible.


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