If you’re feeling a little nostalgic for the ‘90s, you may be intrigued by the Knights of Pen and Paper role-playing game, released by Behold Studios. The new RPG uses retro-style pixel art and old-fashioned storytelling in an attempt to help gamers recapture the love of the quest, before it went digital. But does this throwback RPG succeed or fall short? Here’s what you need to know about Knights of Pen and Paper:
Many consider the Dungeons & Dragons era the height of role-playing, and Knights of Pen and Paper cleverly embraces that viewpoint rather than trying to compete with it. The basic concept of the game is that a group of friends play a classic pen-and-paper RPG together, complete with a Dungeon Master, who narrates the quests. The friends and Dungeon Master are present on screen at all times, with the fantasy world and quests emerging in the background, which gives Knights of Pen and Paper the feel of a game-within-a-game.
The on-screen table seats up to five adventurers, but you’ll pick just two plus a Dungeon Master at the start of the game and be able to unlock others as you level up. There are 14 available characters at the start of the game, from the classic nerd, jock, and pesky little brother varieties to quirky and humorous offerings like the hipster, the pizza guy, and the neighbourhood extra-terrestrial. Each character comes with its own bonus (Grandma is a double threat, for example!), and is given the class of your choice, from clerics and druids to warriors and paladins. There are 19 characters (five unlockable) and 12 classes (six unlockable) in all. Remember that choosing adventurers with a diverse range of skill sets will help you perform better on quests.
Of course, the only way for your characters to hone their skill sets and earn more gold, equipment, and accolades is by levelling, and you’ll have plenty of opportunity to do this through the quests and battling systems. There are five different types of quests you can choose from — slay, battle, rescue, collect, and escort — and each offers different benefits for your characters, from gaining experience to increasing your collection of gear and gold. The quests are highly customisable, meaning you get a say in which battles you’ll fight, just how many guards or monsters you’ll be pitted against, and how you’ll choose to attack or defend against them. You also have the option to literally “chicken out” of a fight by clicking the chicken icon — just another one the game’s many quirky features.
Currently, there are two campaigns to choose from—“Where the Journey Begins” and “Arena Gladiators”—but the latter can only be unlocked once you’ve accumulated $200 in-game dollars. The best way to earn the funds, of course, is by mastering the first campaign.
Going for the Gold
One of the game’s few drawbacks is its reliance on gold, which is earned by successfully completing quests. The problem is that it’s hard to earn enough of it to fund all your expenses, from travelling to new locations to hiring on adventurers, purchasing equipment, and even customising the look and feel of the room you’re in with different tablecloths, rugs, and snacks. The game does allow you to make app purchases to increase your in-game hoard of gold, but this is certainly a less-than-ideal option for most gamers.
Perhaps the biggest draw of Knights of Pen and Paper are those little nods to classic pen-and-paper RPGs and old-school gaming systems. The 16-bit pixel art is one of the game’s most charming features, as well as the banter amongst the adventurers, the diced-based decision making, and the nerdy pop culture references.
Head over to GMG and download Knights of Pen and Paper for your gaming device to begin the throwback role-playing fun!
Guest post written by: Amara Ukaigwe