Going “viral” used to actually mean something. The online content market has never been more saturated, and after years of subjecting ourselves to a little bit of everything all of the time, you’d think someone would be gatekeeping what counts as “viral.” Alas, a tweet with a few thousand likes, someone getting turned into a meme, and a word game sensation all get lumped under the same umbrella term: “viral.”
For something to break through as truly viral, we must return to the original meaning of the word. If something is viral, it’s contagious. It infects all of us, making its way from the “extremely online,” to the figurative water cooler, to your family group chat. It has an endless ability to mutate, with a new variation always finding a way to pop up. If you haven’t guessed by now, I am, of course, describing the seemingly endless sensation that is Wordle. And for its latest mutation, it’s time to let the music-lovers shine with Heardle.
Here at Lifehacker, we’ve stayed on top of the best Wordle variants. We love Wordle for movie geeks. And maths nerds. And public transportation dorks. It was only a matter of time before there was a Wordle for music freaks. Now, anyone who is basically a human-Shazam gets a chance to brag Wordle-style, aka posting their green squares.
Here’s how to play the daily musical game Heardle, so that you can continue to feed your endless hunger for Wordle-inspired spin-offs.
How to play Heardle
I’m not going to talk down to you. You’re here because you’re privy to the Wordle craze, and it’s safe to assume you know how the gameplay works.
Heardle is Wordle for music, where instead of inputting letters, you press play on a seconds-long snippet of a song. Your goal is to then write the correct song in as few tries as possible (which means hearing as little of the song as possible). For every incorrect guess, more time is added to the snippet. And just like the Wordle blueprint, you have six guesses to get to the correct answer.
If you’re stuck, you can forfeit one of your six guesses to get more time added to the sound clip. Luckily, you don’t need to be an obscure music expert. First off, all the songs are pulled from the most streamed music over the last decade. Secondly, once you start typing, a dropdown menu appears, so you won’t waste guesses with an answer that Heardle doesn’t already have in their library.
And of course, you can share your results on social media with those now notorious green squares. All I ask is that you wear headphones while you play, or risk the wrath of your neighbours hearing you play the same one-second sound bite over and over.
The elegant Wordle-inspired gameplay is obvious, but Heardle no doubt scratches a different itch compared to the word game. If Heardle ends up not being for you, here are the six best Wordle-esque games that all stay close to the original word game.