20-odd years ago, I recall sitting in my living room with two of my older brothers as we prepared to embark on a quest of such enormity that not one of us would experience any sleep that night. We had our character sheets, multiple dice of varying sides, and, of course, pens and paper. We were naturally playing Dungeons & Dragons in its purest form, and Knights of Pen and Paper +1 Edition on PC recreates the joy of traditional tabletop role playing games such as this in a 90s 8-bit RPG style, and is a must for anyone who has ever played D&D or indulged in a bit of LARPing.
The game has you control up to five adventurers and the Dungeon Master simultaneously as you choose what missions and quests to undertake, events to unfold, how many of your choice of foe to fight, and how difficult your overall gaming experience is. This is all presented with an ever-present table with your participants sat around it, and all the scenes and enemies the Dungeon Master describes come into view around you in glorious 2D pixelation.
The quests come in the forms of battling through armies of rats, bats, etc, fetch quests, rescue this person here, escort this person there, and you choose how easy or difficult you want to make these quests. Your reward is an adequate bounty of gold and XP for your troubles. The campaign, which you can play through at your leisure (if not you can continue forever on these side quests and grind away until you become superhuman), is fairly indifferent to all the side quests, but does advance what story there is, and opens up new areas and events.
The best part of this game is the fun of customising your environs. Included presumably due to the creators' real life tabletop experiences, your surroundings can include all manner of additions to help your real life adventurers along their way, like energy drinks and snacks to give your characters more alertness and increased HP for a predetermined length of real time, and bigger inclusions of, say, a fridge, can preserve your food and award an additional bonus to your snacks' effects. Curiously, these real-life items can be bought with the coins you acquire within the pen and paper game, which, naturally, you can also use to buy your character some in-game potions and weapons.
The selectable characters are based on the types of people who are generally coerced into playing such a game, and is genius in its selection. Each character you select has his or her own personality traits which affects in-game dialogue when certain events occur, and come with their own perks. The 'Little Brother' character will comment on it being past his bedtime, and the 'Jock' character, when presented with a damsel in distress, simply enquires "is she hot?". Others include Grandma, the Pizza Delivery Guy and, of course, the Nerd.
The Dungeon Master is changeable and upgradeable too, with some fun, and at times nicely esoteric choices - Dungeon Master from 80s Dungeons & Dragons cartoon, anyone? If not, how about Master Splinter (named Karate Rat here no doubt for legal reasons) from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Knights of Pen and Paper +1 Edition is a fun, and funny, game with two sides to it. One is the referencing of the tabletop, real life RPG, the other is the throwback presentation of NES-era gaming RPGs. Neither fully one nor the other, this delightful little game bridges the gap and creates some sort of hybrid genre, an RPG-RPG if you will.
Knights of Pen and Paper +1 Edition is also available on Android and iOS devices, and frankly, the passive nature of the game, and the fact it does not require your full attention at any point, means it is entirely suited to a mobile device. The main problem I have with this full-blown PC version is that the overall product could easily be considered too pricey for what you get. Sure, it is a nice, original and downright fun game to play, but the gameplay is so simple, and with a story seemingly made up as you go along, it rarely requires a full attention span.
I do love the endless nature of your questing though, and find it hilarious that your game time is measured in days. You can have your little adventurers playing in their fantasy land for a full year in a matter of a couple of hours. What is a little annoying is, despite the price of the game, there is the option to buy more in-game currency for real cold hard cash. At no point does Knights of Pen and Paper +1 Edition require you, or even make you feel it necessary, to buy more money. It would only massively speed up the acquisition of everything available, thus rendering playing the actual game a little pointless.
If you already have the mobile version of the game, you will be leveled up to the +1 edition for free, allowing you all the extra characters, classes and objects that brings. Despite having less overall content, the mobile version is more recommendable due to its pick-up-and-play nature and simple gameplay. Don't let that put you off the full PC version though. If RPGs and the world of nerd is your thing, you can't go wrong with arming yourself with a pen, some paper, a few dice and a wild imagination. Good luck, warrior.
Knights of Pen & Paper +1 Edition (Reviewed on Windows)
This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.
20-odd years ago, I recall sitting in my living room with two of my older brothers as we prepared to embark on a quest of such enormity that not one of us would experience any sleep that night. We had our character sheets, multiple dice of varying sides, and, of course, pens and paper.