As the runaway popularity of Wordle demonstrates, everybody loves a word game.
But there were countless awesome word games on the scene before Wordle came along, and two of the best – The Linguist and The Linguist: Word Craft – have recently made the jump from iOS to Android. So we thought this would be an ideal time to take a closer look.
The first thing to know is that the two games are nothing alike – titles truly can be deceiving.
Developer player1games could easily have taken the path of least resistance and simply dressed up or embellished upon its successful first game. Instead, it chose to build a whole new word puzzler from the ground up.
There are two styles of play in this game: Crossword and Fill In. Crossword is a classic exercise in anagram creation, with the added twist of a crossword-style interface.
At the bottom of the screen sits a selection of letters, and you make words out of them by tracing your finger from letter to letter.
The crossword grid, meanwhile, contains spaces for a specific set of words, and when you get one right it appears in the appropriate row or column.
This makes life a bit easier, since the position of the letters in the words you’ve already identified gives you clues about the words you need to find. Valid words that don’t appear in the grid, meanwhile, are recorded as Bonus Words.
And if those clues aren’t enough, you can shuffle the letters or tap on a lightbulb icon to fill in a few of the crossword squares. However, these hints cost you leaves – the game’s main currency – so you’d better use them wisely.
Fill In mode is a more cryptic affair, with arcane gameplay that will test even the most accomplished cryptic thinkers.
Whichever mode you pick, completing puzzles earns you rewards that you can spend on cultivating your meditative garden, giving you a sense of progress and a tangible reward for your efforts.
The Linguist: Word Craft is a different beast, but no less challenging. The aim here is to make words from a vast random jumble of letters.
Once again, all you need to do to form a word is drag your finger through the right letters in the right order, and you can draw in any direction you like – horizontally, vertically, or diagonally – as long as the letters are actually touching.
The longer the word you make, the better your rewards in terms of both points and power-ups. Making a five-letter word, for instance, nets you a Hot Letter, and making another word containing that Hot Letter will give you extra points.
There are 2x points for making a word containing a purple Hot Letter, 3x for red, and 4x for Gold. If you can string together two or more Hot Letter words, meanwhile, you’ll earn chain rewards.
Hitting the high scores is all about making use of those Hot Letters and chains to supercharge your score.
There are other power-ups, too, including a Clear Tile. This one allows you to simply eliminate troublesome tiles. Then there’s Vowel Boost, which lets you replace any three letters on the board with vowels.
Clear Row lets you sweep the tiles from an entire row, and Magnet lets you close gaps between tiles by drawing them all together. These gaps occur when you clear a word on a tile more than three times.
Finally, there’s a Shuffle tool and an Undo button. Using these power-ups comes at a cost, however, so you need to think carefully before reaching for those buttons.
Between them, The Linguist and The Linguist: Word Craft cover an awful lot of word puzzler territory, offering simple anagrams, cryptic puzzles, and a refreshingly deep take on the Boggle formula. It’s a welcome change of pace to the more basic word game antics of Wordle and the like.
Best of all, you can download both games for free on the App Store and the Google Play Store – just visit here (and Google Play here!). Every month the app will change visually along with the seasons and other special occasions too, with specific words that trigger special effects. So make sure you keep playing it daily so you don’t miss anything.