The puzzles in Knotwords are a lot like crossword puzzles, but the clue list is gone. Instead, the board is divided into segments and you are told precisely which letters should fit in each region. Your goal is to fit all the letters as needed, while continuing to correctly spell the words down and across.
In its most basic form, a board will give you two segments of two adjacent letters. One should contain the letters A and E, and the other should contain the letters S and R. Since these two segments form a cross line, together they must form a word. So in this case, you know that the letters go in the order EARS and not, say, AESR. Because that second is not a word, I checked.
Obviously, the puzzles get more complicated once the segments are not just two letters, but three, four, or five, and in crossword-like shapes, meaning those letters are spread out over two or more words. There are lots of nice bits of the UI design that help keep it manageable as the puzzles grow, like the on-screen keyboard that highlights the only required letters in the selected segment.
Knotwords is the work of Zach Gage and Jack Schlesinger. Gage is a regular creator of interesting puzzle games, including twists on standards like chess and sudoku, several of which he has created with Schlesinger. Gage was also a designer on the crisis spaceship simulator Tharsis.
Could I shamelessly stretch out and say that Knotwords is similar to Wordle and aligns with my obsession with all things browser pun-inspired? It has new puzzles daily, but otherwise I think Knotwords has little in common with the likes of Wordle as a format beyond the superficial similarity of word usage.
You can buy Knotwords now on Steam where it costs £8.36 / €9 / $9 with its 10% launch discount.