Knights of Pen and Paper + 1 Edition Review (PC)
If you’ve ever sat down to play a not so serious game of Dungeons and Dragons (or any other roleplaying table top game for that matter) you’ll know the sort of rush of enjoyment you get when you are able to share a collectively imagined world with a bunch of friends. It’s the sort of buzz that many computer games fail to capture, mixing a socially amicable atmosphere with the sort of applied imagination that you sadly don’t need any more in modern games thanks to fancy graphics that fill in the blanks for you. Knights of Pen and Paper tries to capture that atmosphere by letting you take control of up to five ‘friends’ and their dungeon master (sort of) as they play through a pen and paper game.
Knights of Pen and Paper is an RPG in it’s truest form. You have a party of up to five players, you make them fight monsters and save princesses and you level them up. It doesn’t get much simpler. Controls are equally simple. Everything in the game is controlled via mouse clicks (or taps in the mobile version) to cycle through a series of menus. The interesting part of the control here is in how you control the game: While there is a main quest line for your assorted group of adventurers to run through, subquests are entirely up to you. You have the freedom to tell your group what they’ll be doing next, what beasties they’ll be fighting and how many beasties they’ll be fighting. Some of these subquests are pre-determined for the sake of unlocking things, but for the most part the freedom you are afforded lets you design your own adventure. A note should be made here that there are only a few different types of sidequest you can design in game; the more common ones being to kill a certain number of enemies, collect a certain number of objects or deliver something or someone from one location to another. Due to that it has to be said that while the custom quests idea is fun it’s unfortunately limited in scope and gets fairly repetitive.
As for the adventurers you’ll be carting around, well they’re probably worth an article on their own. As for a summary, here goes: You have two options initially when creating a character, choosing what class they are and choosing who plays that class. The who in this part offers a little comical distraction from the game with the number of people you can choose to join your PnP game – ranging from a business man, to a school teacher to even your little brother. Each person you invite to the party adds their own little benefit to the class they choose. Meanwhile, the classes you pick for the players define the majority of their use in game. With six classes to choose from initially and another six to unlock as you progress there’s more than enough variety to make your perfect party with. The classes all cover one or two of the three main roles in battle: Damage, Tanking and Support, and to a lesser extent they cover three main damage types, single target, area of effect and damage over time. With all these variables there’s a lot to consider when making your perfect party. Unfortunately some of the classes available do just seem fairly useless, especially when put next to some of the more powerful members.
The game’s main (and only) currency available is gold. This is used for almost everything useful: traveling, upgrading weapons and armour, buying trinkets and buying new furniture for your room. Gold can be earned both by buying it with real money (at entirely reasonable prices) or by fighting monsters and completing quests. The gold earned through monsters and quests isn’t earned at an unreasonable rate either. If you don’t want to spend money on this you can expect to grind a little bit to earn everything you want, but it’s not as glaringly bad a situation as many premium games would force you into.
All in all Knights of Pen and Paper is a solid RPG with a lot to offer if you’re willing to put in the time. With its wide variety of characters, interesting story line and many nods to popular culture you’ll be sure to find a fair amount of entertainment here. Outside of all that, I have to admit I felt a little tinge of sadness in the games framing as it lets you watch on like an outsider as a group of friends share a collectively imagined world and have fun in doing so.
4.5 crudely drawn up character sheets out of 5