Another day, another Wordle, and also another Wordle clone offering a delightful or diabolical twist on the viral word game.
A quick recap: In addition to Josh Wardle’s massively successful daily format, there’s Lewdle (rude five-letter words only), Absurdle (a truly evil variant that switches up the guessing process), Primel (five-digit prime numbers only), Sweardle (four-letter words, obviously), and probably more in the works. But like the original flavour, all of these refresh once a day, so you can’t spend endless hours guessing endless words to your heart’s content. That’s part of the appeal — Wordle isn’t trying to monopolise and monetise your attention like so many games and apps do — but it does mean that once you’ve done the day’s puzzle, that’s it until tomorrow. And because you’re human and thus wired to crave fun, you always want a little more. So Dordle is granting your wish — the way a monkey’s paw would.
Dordle — described by developer Zaratustra Productions (aka Guilherme S. Töws) as “Wordle plus Wordle” — is definitely in the diabolical category of Wordle variants, and not only because there is zero clarity on how to pronounce the name. (Doordle? Durdle?)
The game consists of two Wordle grids side by side, both working as the standard format does — five letters, six guesses, greyed-out squares for letters not present in the solution, yellow squares for letters in the wrong place, and green for letters in the right place.
The difference here, though, is that although there is double the wordle-ing, you still only get six guesses — each of which apply to both games simultaneously. With each one, you have to make a decision: Can I guess effectively enough to get more data on both words, or should I sacrifice a guess on one side to try and solve the other?
If you’re lucky and/or smart, you can get one side in the first few guesses and have several left over so you can concentrate on solving the second. But if you solve the first on even your fourth or fifth guess — especially if you focused a guess or two on getting that side solved at the expense of more useful guesses on the other side — you may find yourself throwing a Hail Mary word in there to try and get the twofer.
And what about those handy colour-coded keyboards, you ask? That might be the most ingenious twist. While you’re solving both puzzles, letters that have been guessed are split down the middle — if there’s a correctly placed E in the left grid and no E in the right-hand word, for example, the E on the keyboard will be half green and half grey on the corresponding sides. Once you solve one side, the solution’s letters get an unobtrusive green stripe down one side and the second side’s relevant colours take over the rest of the key. In other words, the keyboard actively helps you focus on that unsolved side.
The good news is that in addition to a daily Dordle that’s the same for everyone, Zaratustra also made you a non-daily, randomised version you can play as many times in a row as you like to hone your strategy (and your vocab). And yes, both the daily and the unlimited version generate the now-familiar blank grid you can copy to your clipboard to show off your genius (or your failure, or failures, plural).
The bad news is, as you might suspect, that unlimited Dordles make it as addictive as it is difficult. A timely reminder to anyone working on their own Wordle variant right now: you can have too much of a good thing.