Knights of Pen & Paper doesn’t pretend that a fantastical world of knights, wizards, and dragons might actually exist. Instead, this game chooses to center on a group of role-players that believe such a world does exist. This tongue-in-cheek iOS game approaches the fantasy game from the other side of the coin, which is the world of Dungeons & Dragons and pen-and-paper adventures.
In Knights of Pen & Paper, you are both the Dungeon Master, who chooses what quests the heroes must embark upon, and the heroes, who must fight hordes of monsters and rescue princesses. While you may control the Dungeon Master in some respects, this is not a game builder. You are playing an actual RPG with campaigns and stories that will test your skills.
Your first test is to pick your team. You start out with at least two players, but your table can fit a total of five. The decision of what type of character you want is more complex in Knights of Pen & Paper than other RPGs; not only must you pick what class of character you want, but you must also choose what person will be playing that character. Classes determine what abilities your character has, including the standard knight, mage, paladin, and others that can be unlocked.
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Your other choice is which person you want to play. Do you want your Knight to be a nerd or your grandma? How about a hipster? These choices determine additional character bonuses, such as an increase to health or lower cost for equipment.
In fact, nearly the entire game can be personalized. You can buy equipment and items for your party, and you can also customize the room in which your pen-and-paper nerds are playing. For instance, you can change the type of table or add a clock to the wall. Each item changes your in-game stats, but costs you.
In fact, nearly everything in this game costs you in-game gold. New items, like upgraded swords or armor, are brutally expensive at first. While you do collect gold after every battle, you need to scrimp and save to buy necessary items. Even recruiting more players to your party (after the initial two) or travelling from town to town to complete more quests is pricey. Of course, you can pay actual money to quickly fill your gold purse. Actually, dropping a mere five bucks makes you rich beyond rich in Knights of Pen & Paper, but this feels slightly like cheating in a game that is not free-to-play.
“Cool, roll to see if I’m getting drunk.”
While most of the game plays like a standard (and highly addictive) RPG, there is an odd time-based mechanic when it comes to the blacksmith and buying new equipment. If you want to upgrade your mage’s staff, for instance, not only will it cost you an arm and a leg, but it also takes several, real-life hours for the blacksmith to complete it. There are no other elements of the game that play like this, and it sticks out like a sore thumb.
We also found several issues with the game’s storytelling. You won’t experience it all too often, but the game text contains some grammatical and spelling errors. It’s wasn’t enough to hurt our playing experience, but it certainly does diminish from the overall package.
While we may have some gripes about Knights of Pen & Paper, it’s only because we loved the other 95%. It’s a wonderful RPG with a humorous take, and we could play for hours and hours. The developers have already announced upcoming updates to the game, and we can’t wait for more.