Unscramble My Words: Best Word Games For Those Who Want to Stay Mentally Fit

By David NaarLast Updated Apr 23, 2021 8:24:36 PM ET
K3csh Ysfuoqxkwzm4lrmg8lxjseftfb4pu8awh W Jltoerfxmhob5wvxlpliwyjprpvg Dittsrmxow Ifisokoa0 Gg4gusjxhpdxqdi4hx Nxo3bump6mtgrsvtqsihdlip3ll Mljyt4w
Photo Courtesy: Will Ireland/Future/Getty Images

These days, smartphones and tablets provide instant access to a variety of word games and puzzles. From Words With Friends and Letterpress to The New York Times’ Spelling Bee and SpellTower+, word games are not only fun but they’re also a great way to stay mentally fit.

What Are the Benefits of Word Games?

It’s no secret that playing word games has a lot of benefits. A study from the University of Exeter and King's College, London tracked a large test group of 17,000 word game-playing adults over the age of 50. The results showed that those who regularly played word puzzles and games displayed consistently better short-term memory, attentiveness, and reasoning skills than those who did not.

Kko3gi9zdaiadewxz1qqywocnf87xrtxxryus4yb4velpqiysji C1kfr0d1fhwjtcotjwntj6aa7g36okq1zxdzecc0gl7pg6ublqmgmarozfnhz6ta3d64mnnr3qwmy3fnvetbsvdu7pxnha
Photo Courtesy: Zynga

This can be especially important for older adults, as shown in the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) study. This study revealed that adults over the age of 65 who consistently played word puzzles and memory games boasted improved memory, especially compared to those who didn’t play. Many more such studies support the idea that brain teasers and word games can help keep the mind active, and, in some cases, help slow the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

So, ready to train your mind to perform at its sharpest? Check out some of our top picks for word games that you can play throughout the day.

Words With Friends 2

Words With Friends has become one of the world's most popular social word games over the past few years. Upon downloading the app, you can challenge friends and family, random players, or even a bot to a variety of fun challenges.

B0mtsnogxpowryyf Crtegvwjfmhqpovk4tuozkla3l Dezh0yem2jxx3t459jpakk99rq7dtemowuahluz75jemv8isvygz3bmhsck Rsyyzssghmqxfnhlpg0o Ngkivzuzq61xdj8sngvnw
Photo Courtesy: Zynga

Essentially, it's a lot like a virtual version of Scrabble: the objective is to unscramble letters in order to form more words than your opponent — or, at least, words that are worth more than your opponent’s words. In Words With Friends 2, which offers even more ways to play, you can test your skills against fun, fictional characters; challenge your friends to a lightning duel; and sharpen your mind with daily word puzzles.


Price: Free with in-app purchases; Available on: iOS, Google Play


Letterpress is another great game that you can play with friends, random players, or on your own. It's a mixture of the concepts behind games like Risk and Scrabble since players compete to "capture" as much of the board as possible by creating words.

V5 4wzxjtscxtnb7u5zldhf9egc955v6tu4h3fwoood6lgangkgxfbrbeiueqrlka0y5f4lybhk3jrpdtgwkupc Adgmksmwbu5d5ijygkjvkwrl4aoyy8pib4phanymch1i7 T2znyhu5kmcw
Photo Courtesy: MacWorldUK/YouTube

In order to form new words, each player has a 5x5 board of letter tiles that they must combine with the letters that are already available on the board. Each time you form a new word, all of the letters it includes will turn your color. If you're able to capture more tiles on the board than your opponent, you win.

Price: Free with in-app purchases; Available on: iOS, MacOS and Android

The New York Times’ Spelling Bee

If you're a fan of word games, be sure to check out the puzzle section of The New York Times website. There you'll find everything from crossword puzzles and tile games to unique word games like Spelling Bee.

Zukf9m1kx9a T 1jzwzhylhteqehxkmu3t94lei9pjhzotv8f6koautbfwrqko4x86exmzoaq5jmyskeuuq0vs9cqdou46plesiopcx Zcfua 6ag3cisg0f1w0t970s1rsslhs4cxjvudj0cw
Photo Courtesy: Spelling Bee Answers/YouTube

In Spelling Bee, you're presented with seven letters — one in the middle and the others arranged around it. The challenge is to use those seven letters to form as many words as possible. The trick? All the words you form have to be at least four letters long and incorporate the middle letter. It’s way harder than it looks!

Price: You can try the daily puzzle for free but will need an NYT subscription if you want to play regularly. An annual subscription costs $39.95 per year and a monthly is $6.95 per month; Available on: The NYT website



First released in 2011, SpellTower combines the fun of word searches with the strategy of Tetris. You can eliminate lettered tiles by highlighting the words they form. Throughout the game, however, more tiles appear. The goal? Make sure those tiles don’t grow into a tower that reaches the top of the screen.

7bamhx 5lbe3yg0oega7bggshgncl3jeblr2yhcapf4ma2zrhyh1q2e6juozq2bp1hdbptizbdexutda8bblsxuflm8mw3eu Gawuup46pcvtqpyxa6wvs5wtrbjs Mxb T8vywqg2yakqrlaw
Photo Courtesy: AppsJudgement/YouTube

Recently, an updated version, SpellTower+, was released — and it includes a staggering 11 different game modes. From "Zen" to "Blitz" to "Tower," there are plenty of ways to play. Want to check out all of the available modes? Visit the official website.


Price: Free with in-app purchases; Available on: iOS


Wordscapes is an incredibly popular game that combines the fun of word searches, crossword puzzles, and anagrams into one experience. Don't worry: the challenges start out pretty simple and get more challenging as you advance.

W Hfskc 2ocv5xfzhemgc4m Mul8rj Fs51tlrnq73zdk2opc4oi1ht2ftsw9o Zo1qyymcllsaxv6uqv4a6kkjai3a1q2czlmblsxs Nbfgpbcsngl C Mc0fmr6dmisldmlwlqbwkhihy4w
Photo Courtesy: Nad Kusakin/YouTube

So, how do you play? Players unscramble and form words out of a batch of five letters and use them to fill out a crossword-style grid. Another great perk? Wordscapes gets its name from the fact that each puzzle is set atop a beautiful, relaxing backdrop — or landscape. It's a great way to simultaneously check out while keeping your mind active.


Price: Free with in-app purchases; Available on: iOS, Google Play


Combine the fun of crossword puzzles with traditional word puzzles when you download Bonza. The game presents a series of seemingly random rows of letters and then provides a clue at the top. From there, you have to connect one block of letters with another to form the answer.

Gihqd Camxj2g2jynta153raylayr5u1dqr Editgch7vplbj3fohfynvfrqlk2yl7imi1miozifivnt9 Oqiexynqsh96iinhhqgjm 2va8bznwry3wn5 Ypu Vf2oqf6lp31phqkvrxereja
Photo Courtesy: MiniMegaGames/YouTube

It's a really cool new kind of crossword puzzle that Will Shortz, the Crossword Editor of The New York Times, calls "instantly addictive!" Each day, there's a new puzzle based on current events. Not to mention, the game comes with incredibly relaxing ambient background music.

Price: Free with ads, in-app purchases; Available on: iOS, Google Play


Wheel of Fortune

Have you ever wondered how you'd do on the popular game show Wheel of Fortune? Your chance to find out is just a click away. Now you too can spin the wheel and buy vowels to your heart’s content thanks to the mobile version of the game.

Kfxc8cwfqzx 0zozhnxyfpstreqgjcwl2cnwnxpj Bona3 Phemogyg8sf2t3qewlscfvg0egbll3d6mcwul3peaosmi9x 2pup1ibhqvsahwvemptessphh7x57r1patwe07fj8nndh8han7g
Photo Courtesy: Sony Pictures Entertainment/YouTube

Featuring puzzles written by the show's producers, the game allows players to challenge friends and family over Facebook or play against millions of other players from around the world. You can even compete in tournaments for a chance to win the ultimate jackpot.


Price: Free with ads, in-app purchases; Available on: iOS, Google Play