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Not everyone has spent their time adventuring in fantastical lands and slaying impossible creatures by way of an insidious storyteller and a handful of dice, but those that have know there’s a special kind of magic to tabletop Role Playing Games that little else can match. Anyone who loves character sheets, “staying in character,” and saving throws absolutely needs to check out Knights of Pen and Paper for this very reason. However, those who are impartial - or maybe even those who hate the genre - have a fair chance of getting sucked in to this glorious pixilated celebration of all things Gygax as well.
As with many analog RPGs, there are a number of scenarios to select from before starting a new game in Knights of Pen and Paper, and that choice impacts a number of the events and NPCs that are encountered. Once that’s sorted out it’s time to get the players situated. Up to five people, ranging from a hipster to Grandma, can join a game at the beginning or in-progress. Each personality has a passive bonus (i.e. the Pizza Guy costing half as much to add to the group) as well. And, of course, every player can be assigned a typical fantasy RPG character class. Even the combat can be customized as players get to choose how many monsters to include; more means tougher and better loot/experience.
Even without an innate appreciation for tabletop RPGs there’s plenty to enjoy in Knights of Pen and Paper. The art is fantastic, the character combinations are both wonderful and hilarious (hipster druid; awwwww yeeeeeeah), there are a whole lot of items and furniture to customize the room with that bestow persistent benefits, characters progress, quests can be taken, gear can be forged and equipped, and even shops can be upgraded to include more items or improve creation success percentages. There’s a metric ton of stuff that can be done but the beauty of it is that hardly any of the nitty gritty stuff is essential. It’s more like an extensive series of perks.
Although as much as I absolutely love Knights of Pen and Paper, it seriously needs better localization. Much of the dialog (which is clever and ingenious in the way it mimics typical RPG nerd banter) is awkward, which is a pretty severe disappointment. Along with that, the slaying quests can be a grind since they often require killing X-number of a creature when monster groups can only contain so many. And forget about it if they’re elites. Only one elite can be added to each fight, so killing ten Giant Rats takes a while.
Even without the homage to pen and paper nerdery Knights of Pen and Paper is a fantastic semi-self driven RPG adventure. It’s clever, charming, customizable, and virtually infinitely replayable. Best download it and start attacking that darkness!