Knights of Pen and Paper +1 Deluxier Edition is the fullest version of the 2012 iOS/Android game. This edition includes additions such as the haunted fall expansion, an expanded campaign and much more. By and large, this is the very best version of the game, but is it worthy of your time and attention? That really depends on your taste in RPGs. You see, Knights of Pen and Paper is a very particular sort of game and although its systems have been tried and tested for years now, its formula and theme remains quite distinct.
The premise is simple, very meta, but very simple. Players take on the role of characters that are taking on the role of their characters via a traditional pen and paper RPG session. The characters’ classes are pulled from your typical RPG affair; warrior, rogue and so on and so forth. Once you’ve selected your starting character, the core loop swiftly embeds itself. Players will find themselves sat opposite a dungeon master, though, in an odd yet fun approach, players will also take control of said dungeon master to alter the fields of play.
It’s not so much about playing against yourself, but this setup allows for some added freedom, which is a neat addition I might add. The dungeon master can determine which quests to undertake next as in some cases, how many enemies will be present on each. Naturally, the larger or more deadlier pool of enemies will turn over a better reward. Through the course of the game, players will earn gold that can then be spent on more recruits for your in-game table, which essentially gives you more control and options.
Leveling up, gaining EXP, inns and equipment, all plays a role in the game. Though Knights of Pen and Paper’s core meta design keeps this grounded through the use of witty comments from the in-game characters, many of which will crack the occasional joke about why the rules don’t add up. It’s hard to go into the specifics without giving too much away, but I found the humor here to be not only relevant, but well scripted. Much funnier than the more recent of RPG titles, yes, Regalia: Of Men And Monarchs, I’m looking at you.
The game also comes with a passage of time cycle, used to keep track of how long quests are taking to complete. Choosing to split your quests will obviously have a knock-on effect as to how long it takes overall, so it pays off to not only choose your battles wisely, but to consider your options for each fray. When you do find yourselves in a battle, you’ll be glad to know that these take the shape of the traditional turn-based format. It’s pretty standard stuff in the grand scheme of things, but that’s not to say that it’s a walk in the park.
Characters have access to a range of attacks; physical and magical, all of which can be bumped up with the use of skill points. It does take some time to understand what each attack dishes up, but it becomes second nature eventually. The table that you’re situated on to play the game will always remain in place, with the background transitioning depending on what scenario or quest you’re undertaking. It’s a nice touch, which is further upheld by the game’s solid visual presentation. I wont go so far as to say this is groundbreaking.
In fact, oftentimes its root-platform became abundantly apparent. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the layout and theme throughout. Seeing the table at all times, with battles taking place behind the dungeon master, helps to relay that you’re playing with characters that are playing a game. This level of immersion never breaks, and that’s a good thing. Sadly, I wish that I could commend the soundtrack, which dries up and begins to frustrate before long. This isn’t a deal breaker by any means, but something I wanted to make a note of.
Permanent upgrades can be purchased in the reality of the game and arrive in the form of new table sets, furniture, decorations and more. Temporary upgrades tend to relate to consumables and beverages that you would enjoy as though you were playing a tabletop RPG yourselves. It’s also worth pointing out that these characters can be swapped out on the fly, granting you yet another layer of freedom to tackle in the game’s challenges however you see fit. One of my only gripes comes in the form of something I couldn’t overlook.
Text. Dialogue will periodically fly off the screen sooner than you can read it. It’s an annoyance I couldn’t quite forgive, but mercifully something that doesn’t happen too frequently. There’s also the case of its grind, given that the level recommendation between quests can often spike. Though when all is said and done, what RPG doesn’t come with a grind in one form or another? Exactly. The bottom line in all of this is that if you’re a fan of the genre and are on the lookout for a different spin, Knights of Pen and Paper delivers.
Knights of Pen and Paper +1 Deluxier Edition is well worth its asking price for its content alone. The game’s meta theme doesn’t run dry throughout and is often used as a clever tool to hold up the overall experience. Minor annoyances with its dialogue and the general grind to the side, those that relish RPG games and enjoy some light humor, will more than appreciate what’s on offer.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.