I knew which game she was referring to, "Puzzle Quest, no it's not. It does borrow a lot from it though."
"Borrowed? it's exactly the same game just with words, more like stealing." She laughed.
And I started thinking about the line that we drew when deciding how tangible something must be to have copyright protection. Ideas cannot be copyrighted, but why is that? Game mechanics and the code that was used to create the mechanics can be protected, but not the gameplay that results?
She asked for the controller, which only happened occasionally. The quest description popped up and I got halfway through the first sentence, then it disappeared.
"Where you reading that?"
"Yeah but I can read it later." I was assuming I would be able to.
Soon after the game started I told her the right trigger moves the letters up. And then I told her about the right thumbstick and the spells, press Y to cast. I didn't feel any need to go into of the details. The low level spells aren't anything special anyway.
She made a couple good words but was slaughtered, "I killed it" She said and dropped the controller to the floor.
Both players are presented with the same letter sequence.
The battles can be a bit difficult, For a few games I tried to copy what the AI was doing. The AI is a fast speller with a preternatural understanding of the grid, I was able to store a few of its words into my memory and with practice I could probably beat the AI at its own game, or at least tie.
The only way to win is not to play.
But if you're not lost in your own world, playing a game only you can understand, then you won't be noticing the other side that much, except when the AI is destroying you, then you will become paralyzed.
If you happen to be stuck on a particular quest, take heart in the fact that solving tavern puzzles and searching for treasure both offer XP. The former entails an anagram variant and the latter is always a riddle. I've solved them all so far but one, and I find myself wandering around the countryside thinking about the engima. Maybe the dragon knows the answer.
After you gain a few levels, try the quest again. A few levels difference between you and your opponent will slow the game down a lot, and allow you to focus on big words or casting spells. Darthuvius is level 28 at the moment and I have encountered a level 32 ghost in a haunted tower. After solving all the riddles and the easier tavern puzzles, I am forced to try the instant battle mode from the main menu for XP. These non-campaign battles will allow you to level, so you could theoretically play only these and then stomp through the entire game if you wish since the quest enemies in the game don't scale.
Word games need to strike a balance between relaxation and stress. I would side with the relaxists of course. If any game features an endless or timeless mode, that is always the first one I accept. Time limits and the FireLine in War Of Words usually just annoy me. If your letters touch the flames they explode causing serious harm and destruction of many letters, which you may have been just about to use. There's a spell which calls forth a giant boulder to halt the upward progress of your letters, so maybe there's a spell to remove these timelimits altogether. Probably a pretty high level spell I imagine.
Every advance in level comes with the learning of a new spell, their effects can be damaging, transfiguring, thieving, and lifesaving when used at the right time. You might find certain powerful combos as well.
The game has its faults of course, as every game does. On the overhead map, you would think that pulling the thumbstick down would point your character to the town that is on the southerly road. Your direction recognition needs to be a bit more precise to get around Lexica. Maybe even floating point precise. But with a little button mashing you can get around the map.