Wordle Rip-Off Apps Appear and Fans Aren't Happy

Wordle is one of those rare little games that go from nowhere to viral hit in no time flat. The massively popular browser game is entirely free, and its uniquely social gameplay made it the darling of social media platforms like Twitter.

Unfortunately, success breeds imitators, and Wordle is no exception. As a result, several copycat games have appeared on the iOS App Store. Some of them are remarkably shameless in their efforts to confuse players, and Wordle fans are not happy about these blatant rip-offs.

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On Tuesday, app developer and self-described entrepreneur Zach Shakked put out a tweet celebrating the success of his Wordle rip-off. The tweet soon went viral, with Wordle fans condemning the blatant plagiarism. Unlike the real game, which is totally free, Shakked’s Wordle app is technically free-to-play but contains in-app purchases. And while Shakked’s gloating makes him seem particularly bold, it’s far from the only knockoff app to crop up in the wake of Wordle’s breakout popularity. These apps often do the bare minimum to differentiate themselves from the genuine article. In a few cases, it’s as little as adding an extra punction mark.

Rip-off games are hardly a new thing and, as some Twitter replies pointed out, mobile game developers can be particularly unscrupulous in this regard. Mobile hit Flappy Bird is one of the most infamous examples. It rose to be the most popular iOS game of 2014, and the App Store was soon flooded with literally hundreds of clones before Apple cracked down and started pulling them from the storefront. Unfortunately, for the creator of the real Wordle, Apple isn’t always consistent or particularly proactive when it comes to removing copycat apps. Android’s Google Play store isn’t much better, and searches for any popular title is likely to return a litany of shameless cash-ins.

For those who’ve missed out on the viral hit, Wordle is a simple puzzle game where players have six chances to guess a five-letter word. Hints appear after each guess, with a new Wordle every day. There’s also hard mode, where players have to rely on the hints instead of trying to brute force it with random guesses. Players can then share their results without revealing the word, letting them see how they stack up compared to their friends. Wordle is also completely free to play and only runs in a browser tab, the former of which automatically makes it better than virtually every App Store knockoff.

Creator John Wardle developed the game as a gift for his wife. That’s why Wordle is and will remain free-to-play and ad-free. It also lacks the clutter found in many mobile games and is free from the predatory, habit-forming design many mobile games rely on. Which once again makes Wordle stand head and shoulders above its growing crowd of impersonators.

Wordle is free-to-play on the game’s website.

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