Every time I think we’ve seen the last twist on Wordle, there comes another game that manipulates a variable I didn’t even realise was missing. In this case, the new element is competition. Oh, and speed.
In Squabble, you play a Wordle-esque game against others in real time. The setup is the same as always: green means a letter is in the right place, yellow means it’s elsewhere in the word. Your guesses must all be dictionary words, and you only get six of them.
What makes this interesting is the presence of an HP bar. If you’re familiar with role-playing games that give you a health metre during battles, it’s the same idea: You start out with 100 hit points and you lose one point each second. While my first thought was, oh no I’m taking damage just by sitting here! I was able to calm down by remembering that I can just think of it as a 100-second timer.
But that’s not all, of course. When you guess correctly, earning green squares, you gain health. And when your opponents guess correctly, they deal damage to you. If everybody is sitting there stumped, you’ll all see your health meters ticking down in unison, but as soon as somebody makes a correct guess, their health goes up and yours goes down.
In Squabble, it doesn’t matter if you run out of guesses on your board. If you still have HP, you’re still in the game, and you move on to the next word. You win by being the last one standing.
You can play in a “battle royale” game with up to 99 players, or you can take part in a “blitz” game with five or fewer. Just click “find game” and wait for others to join, or share a lobby code if you want to play with a friend. I found that it takes a long time for the waiting room to fill up enough for a proper battle royale, but if you have a bunch of buddies who want to play with you, you could set up a decent-sized game by sharing the code.
And then, try to beat them. The words in Squabble are tougher than in vanilla Wordle; I got gems like LIBER (a book of records) and MUREX (a type of snail). If you lose, you can choose to stay online as a spectator, and the game will let you know at the end which words you missed.