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Knights of Pen & Paper Review

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Paradox Interactive has been kind enough to bring gamers into the realm of tabletop RPGs with Knights of Pen and Paper +1 Edition for PC. The original was on iOS and Android devices so the +1 edition has a few perks. Enhanced controls and some extra areas to explore, the real question is, does this game work on PC, or should it have stayed mobile? Well, having never played the original I have mixed feelings about this game.

You form a group of up to five people with a Dungeon Master. The story of the game is very 90’s RPG, save the world from evil with the help of your friends. However, the game seems to get a bit too real for the adventurers as they are periodically thrown out of their own imagination by a dark wizard. The only way to stop him is to continue playing the game, no matter how real it feels.

This game is a pixelated cluster of satire and gaming references. The game knows it’s a tabletop RPG and makes continuous references to D&D and video games. The story is a bit odd considering it bounces back and forth between the actual game story, and the story of the adventure. It is hard to say it works, but it certainly is quite different.

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The gameplay is what intrigued me the most. I have always wanted a video game version of a tabletop game like D&D but all I get is chess like games or Diablo style dungeon crawling. Knights of Pen and Paper +1 delivers on what I have wanted, a turn based RPG similar to Breath of Fire set in a medieval D&D universe. There are a variety of trinkets and game mechanics that increase the replayability and enhance your dungeon crawling session.

You begin the game with a few very standard classes to choose from. Mage, Cleric, Warrior, and thief are among the few classes to choose form. As you play through the game you will unlock different classes. When you make a character, class is not the only thing you get to choose. You get to choose what kind of person is playing. Because the tabletop RPG community is so varied, you can choose among a variety of different archetypes that have unique passive abilities. Some classes work with better archetypes, like the Jock being a Knight.

When you create a character they start at lvl 1 so making new characters in the middle of an adventure can halt your progress. However, the new character classes may assist you in later fights if you invest the grinding time. The character creation system is pretty solid; all the classes really are unique in their own way. They are diverse and the combinations you can create are vast compared to other RPGs out there.

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As you level up you gain skill points to upgrade your abilities and your stats increase as well, like a typical RPG. Choosing what skills \to upgrade becomes more of a thinking game as the game progresses. With each skill level up they get more costly to use with mana and you can easily neglect other skills. When choosing what skill to upgrade I found that determining what role the character would play to be the biggest factor. If the character was a tank I would focus more on passive skills or buffing abilities so they could stomach damage from lots of enemies.

The game’s combat has a nice way of letting you farm the way you want to. You can choose how many enemies to fight when you start certain quests. If you have to kill 7 rats you can choose to fight one at a time or all 7. It makes certain missions easy to complete but also more challenging.

I have beaten around the bush long enough to give the reason why this game is a disappointment. You can clearly tell it was on the iOS from one game mechanic, coins. You don’t earn actual currency in game. You will get a couple coins from fights here and there but rarely more than 10 per fight. You must use these coins to buy items, upgrade equipment, even travel. The costs of these things are massive compared to the amount you can get. In a way, they give you just enough to where if you farm for 5 hours you \can amass a ton of coin, but you can also pay a certain fee of real currency to give you a massive head start.

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In some ways, this game is pay to win, which is a downer because the gameplay itself is rather fun. You don’t HAVE to partake in their microtransaction system, but they make it very tempting when you just lost 300 gold because the blacksmith failed a dice roll. The game is still challenging and fun to play, but the grinding gets really old really fast. While there is a lot of content contained within for it being an iOS game, it still feels like it is lacking in something. I recommend buying the deluxe edition of this game so you start out with 800 coins to use.

Knights of Pen and Paper +1 Edition is a quirky turn based RPG filled with satire and challenge, but the encouraged microtransaction system is a big turn off. I give this game a 7/10. You can pick it up on Steam.

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