What is the Wordle? PETER HOSKIN examines other free games you can play online, as a hit puzzle is bought up.

That was a lot of fun. Wordle is an online puzzle-game that The New York Times bought this week at ‘an undisclosed cost in the low seven figures’.

Is the consumer going to pay for this cost? All the NYT has promised is that Wordle will remain free to play ‘at the time it moves’ – which is hardly a long-term commitment.

There’s nothing to fear for online recreationists. There are many other online games you can play, regardless of what the suits do. This is actually one the most interesting frontiers of gaming.

Take, for instance, The Atlantic’s daily crossword puzzle online. After you’ve tried all the options, this form is a very elegant alternative.

The online version of Townscaper is technically a free trial for the full game, but it contains enough to fill hours' worth of idle time

While technically Townscaper’s online edition is free, you can still play the entire game for free. However, there are enough features to entertain hours of inactivity.

On Monday, a grid that is small and perfectly symmetrical fills the space between all the across’ words. The grids grow throughout the week and become a huge, interconnected, marvel full of wonder, humor, and even humor.

For those who like numbers, Threes can be a classic. To create multiples of 3, you move tiles across a grid that is becoming increasingly large. The satisfaction of reaching larger sums both geometrically and mentally is immense.

Browser games are available to challenge your reflexes. Slither.io appears to be a more complicated version of Snake’s mobile game. It is characterized by a serpent that consumes light in a constant loop. But then you notice that there are other snakes – other players – in there with you, all of which are best avoided. Quick, dodge!

Townscaper online is much more tranquil. Although technically it is a trial version of the entire game for free, there are enough features to keep you busy for hours or even days. 

Drag your cursor over the screen to see walls, windows, and roofs appearing in its wake. You can paint with buildings.

However, to really see what your browser is capable of doing, you can set your destination as Fallen London. The text-based adventure is sprawling and takes place in an ephemeral, cosmically altered version of London in Victorian times.

The aim, really, is to enjoy the story – and create your own. That is how wordles work. Sorry, words.