Console and PC games are cool and all, but sometimes you just want to play something simple that runs on the phone you have with you 24/7. Word games are especially great if you’re a fan of the “easy to learn, hard to master” flavor of puzzle games.
We’ve rounded up nine of the best word game apps for Android and iOS. Some are free, and some cost a few dollars, some are single-player, others can be played with friends. If you feel like word games are exhausting, check out some of our other awesome games for iOS.
Whatever your preferences, there’s sure to be something here that will keep you entertained.
The core concept of Wordscapes is simple. In each stage, you’ll be given an assortment of randomly arranged letters and an empty crossword-style grid. Find every possible combination of letters to fill the grid with words—but do it as fast as you can, because you’re scored primarily on speed. You’ll be given more letters and bigger grids to fill as the game progresses.
Each stage features a tranquil nature scene background, which helps to balance out the increasingly frantic gameplay, and occasional events like global time attack tournaments add some spice to the regular game.
Wordscape is a single-player game, but its sister game, Wordscapes Uncrossed (for Android and iOS), supports competitive play with friends.
Like Wordscapes, Words with Friends 2 is a pretty simple game—it’s really just Scrabble with a few twists. On your turn, you’ll create the longest and/or highest-scoring word you can using randomly drawn letters. There’s one major catch: Your word has to connect to and share at least one letter with a word that’s already on the board.
Unlike its predecessor, Words with Friends 2 features team play (up to 5v5) and solo play, in which you’ll face off against various AI opponents that revolve around different themes and play increasingly obscure words.
The primary game mode in Words with Friends 2 is one-on-one and can be played with a friend. Once you’ve made your move, they’ll get a notification that it’s their turn, and play continues until neither of you can fit any more words on the board.
You score more points for taking your turn more quickly, which is actually kind of lame—some of us can’t check our phones every five minutes. Still, as long as you care more about having fun with a friend than winning, it’s a great mobile word game.
#3 Alphabears 2: Words Across Time
Price: Free (contains ads and in-app purchases)
In Alphabears 2: Words Across Time, you’ll create an adorable army of bears as you creatively spell words by selecting tiles on a grid. The longer the word you manage to create using adjacent letters, the bigger the bear you’ll create—and after the round, some of the words you spelled will be used in a Mad Libs-style comic featuring some of your bears. It’s a cute and often highly entertaining diversion.
Perform well on a stage, and the bears you create will be added to your permanent roster. Recruited bears can appear in future stages to help you by extending the time limit, offering point multipliers, or modifying the game board in various ways. There are over 100 bears to collect, so Alphabears 2 should keep you busy for a good long while.
Alphabears 2 has no multiplayer component at this time.
Wordbrain 2 is a word-finding game that starts off simple but ramps up quickly and becomes pretty tricky. You’ll be given a theme (such as food, travel, or animals), a grid of semi-random letters, and rows of empty squares at the bottom.
The task is to trace an unbroken path through adjacent letters to spell a word that matches the theme and fits in one of the spaces at the bottom. (So, the word “house” would work for a “buildings” theme and fill a five-letter blank space.) If you can fill all the empty word spaces, you’ll clear the stage. Later stages (there are 1,130 of them) become truly daunting, with massive letter grids and plenty of ways to back yourself into a corner.
Wordbrain 2 is single-player only.
Four Letters is one of the simplest games on our list, but that’s not a bad thing. All you have to do is make a word out of a set of four letters, after which you’ll be given a new set of letters to make another word with. You’re timed, of course—you can either race against a countdown clock, earning time extensions and score multipliers for fast solutions until the timer finally hits zero, or try endless mode, which is exactly what it sounds like.
You can compete against your friends on high-score leaderboards, but there’s no direct head-to-head or cooperative play in this game.
SpellTower might be the most complex word game on our list. With four different game modes, there’s a lot to learn and practice.
The standard game mode, known as “Tower Mode,” is a combination of a word search, Scrabble, and Tetris. Trace your finger along letters to spell the longest, highest-value word you can, and the letters you used will disappear from a randomized grid above. Blue bonus letters will eliminate unusable blocks around them, clearing more space, and there are several other kinds of special tiles, too. Clear the entire board, and you win!
“Puzzle Mode” follows the same basic flow, except that every word you make adds a new row of letters at the bottom. If any letter reaches the top of the screen, it’s game over. “EX Puzzle Mode” is the same thing, but with a longer minimum word length. “Rush Mode” stresses you out even more by having new rows appear on a timed basis—and they get faster the longer you survive.
SpellTower is single-player only.
Price: Free (contains ads and in-app purchases)
WORDFIX is a free Android-only word game that challenges your ability to unscramble specific words one at a time, as opposed to creating multiple words from the same combinations of letters. Depending on the current difficulty level, you’ll have to create words between four and eight letters long.
You’re allowed a total of three wrong guesses per run, but you can use coins (earned through regular gameplay or purchased with real money) to buy hints.
WORDFIX is a game for one player.
TypeShift is an interesting twist on the classic word-finding formula. You’re presented with several adjacent columns of letters, each of which can be shifted up or down. Once you create a word within a row, its letters will turn blue. Keep shifting the columns around to create more words from the unused letters until they all turn blue, and you’ll clear the level.
TypeShift is a single-player word game.
Hardback is one of our favorite word games! Yes, it costs $4.99, and there’s no free version, but it’s worth the price. It’s a turn-based deck-building word game, the object of which is to spell high-value words with the letters on each card in your deck. Some cards have extra special abilities too, like the ability to change into any other letter, or cancel or otherwise mess with an opponent’s cards.
As you win games, you’ll earn coins that can be used to upgrade your deck, which in turn makes you better equipped to take on tougher opponents.
Hardback can be played solo against an AI opponent, or live against other players.
We made sure to cover a wide variety of the best word game apps for every kind of audience, so there’s probably something here that you’ll have fun with. Some of these are available on the iPad, but you might be more happy with the titles we selected as the best iPad games.
For kids, seniors, or people who like a more relaxed, more casual word game experience, WORDFIX, Four Letters, TypeShift, and Words with Friends 2are all solid bets. We’d call Wordscapes, Alphabears 2, and Wordbrain 2 medium-difficulty, medium-complexity games, whereas Hardback and SpellTower will appeal to you if you like challenging, multi-layered word puzzle games.
We had the most fun with those last two, but your mileage may vary, of course. All of these word games are great daily brain workouts—you really can’t go wrong with any of them!