Wordle, a game hosted on the website of creator Josh Wardle, is simple: The object is to guess a five-letter word using no more than six attempts. Once a guess is entered, the computer highlights the letters that appear in the solution. A correctly placed letter is shaded green. That's it! Most puzzles take just a few minutes to solve.
So why has this straightforward game taken social media by storm? In mid-December, Wardle made it easier for players to share their scores without revealing the answers, creating considerable competition. It's rewarding to win in four guesses—two, even more so. Entire Twitter threads are dedicated to furious debates over the ideal starter word. (This reviewer prefers stare; adieu is annoyingly popular among the unwashed masses.) There's only one puzzle each day, so Wordle should never prompt complaints about screen addiction. It's a wholesome, brief distraction—in an ideal world, exactly what social media would exist for.