Version Reviewed: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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Paper Dungeons is a role playing game that allows players to both be their own adventurer and dungeon master. In it, players can create scenarios in a paper-like, grid-based system and then share them online or try their hand at adventuring through other players' creations. It's a great value proposition that fans can get a ton out of over time, even though there are some issues with the interface and some shortcomings in the gameplay department.
The setup for Paper Dungeons goes out of its way to put players in the mindset of old-school pen and paper RPGs by presenting dungeons in either a paper or game board view - both of which still present heroes, enemies, and items as little paper cutouts to move through a dungeon. Also, when players get into battles with enemies, Paper Dungeons shows players the dice rolls that are happening to determine the outcomes of each round of combat. With a presentation like this, there's a lot for Dungeons & Dragons fans to be excited about.
That being said, Paper Dungeons' drawbacks start to emerge when looking at its progression system. Unlike most RPGs, the experience that heroes will earn doesn't carry between levels. Instead, each dungeon level plays like a roguelike where players can upgrade skills in a particular dungeon, but have to start over from level one if they die or enter a new campaign or dungeon. Also, although there is a save system, players are only limited to a handful of saves in any particular dungeon, which also heightens the game's tension.
Paper Dungeons boasts some pre-made campaigns and a board game mode that players can work their way through in addition to user generated online content. The dungeon creation system is remarkably deep, allowing players to tweak a boatload of options to create dungeons that are very much their own. Paper Dungeons also features multiple character classes, dice sets, and a robust item system, all of which serve to make it pleasantly complex for hardcore rpg players.
The only problem with having so many systems is that it seems overloaded with menus - and not particularly responsive ones at that. Things like item management, adjusting settings, and even selecting levels seems overly clunky and hard to use. This issue may be mitigated somewhat when playing on an iPad, but the responsiveness of these menus leaves something to be desired.
Paper Dungeons is still pretty great, though flawed. It has a nice set of tools for players that want to create RPG dungeons and scenarios, as well as plenty of content for those who just want to wander through dungeons and kill stuff. Even though it isn't as persistent as it appears to be and it has some issues with its menus, Paper Dungeons is still worth checking out.