Writing this review is tougher than expected, it was just so hard to put down Knights of Pen and Paper long enough to write something worth reading. That game is that good, that is coming from someone that is not a Role Playing Game (RPG) fanatic. Behold Studios have created quite a unique little title here that runs on the Unity engine (great for cross platform game creation, maybe we will see more of the Knights?).
As mentioned in my preview, Knights of Pen and Paper is a homage to Dungeons and Dragons, as close to the original pen and paper, sitting with friends and socializing (remember when we did that?) and generally using our imaginations for most of the game- not to mention quite a bit of paper and pencils for stats and maps. Set up like most D&D fans will probably remember, the Dungeon Master on one side of the table while the players embarking on the journey sit opposite. Such a simple design choice that opens the game up to so much more.
At the outset, you pick your players, up to three to begin with, their skill sets based on standard fantasy fair and the moral type based on typical social stereotypes (jock, nerd, etc). As you level up your characters, you receive skill points that can be used to expand the available spells and attacks available to each character. Again, standard gaming fair.
Battles are handled in such a way that blows away the old standard bearer of fair battles, Lucienne’s Quest on the 3DO from the early 1990′s (yes, it has been that long since we had a fair implementation of battles in an RPG). Whenever you wish to battle, you simply click the Dungeon Master then click the swords icon. Depending on where you are currently located you will have a choice of various monsters to battle from bats to wild destructive cacti and more wild stuff.
The coolest aspect in Knights of Pen and Paper is that you can control, what and how many creatures you are battling. Found a sweet spot of weak monsters and high yields in experience points or gold? You can grind to your hearts content in that area, building up your characters or their coffers for other parts of the game.
The gold collection is a bitch. Most battles give only a handful of gold to the player upon beating the enemy. As usual though, most of the good stuff in the store is EXPENSIVE which requires one of two things from the player. Either you grind away and slowly buy additional items for in the game (a new table, arcade machine, etc) which have special abilities imbued upon them or you buy more gold with real life money. Yes, Behold Studios have gone the In App Purchase route with Knights of Pen and Paper. Is that bad? No.
Just because there is IAP available, it doesn’t mean that you have to partake in it. Everything is available with a little bit of grinding and leveling up of your characters. As with ANY RPG released since the original Legend of Zelda (which is an amazingly misnamed title if I do say so myself), grinding has been part of the fundamental basics of the genre. I personally have no problem with IAP in games, and we don’t partake in it when writing reviews here at Gaming on Batteries. The IAP is there for people that are not interested in grinding which is great. How many people wish there was IAP for some of the Final Fantasy games? Rather than having to spend days trying to find an elusive item or some trinket/card to complete a collection, you could simply purchase it for a buck or two. It also helps developers/publishers continue to make a bit of money off of the game after it is released.
Knights of Pen and Paper, while wildly unique is not for everyone. If you are a Blazing Star, Rimblade or Paper Monsters fan, you probably will not enjoy Behold Studios’ homage to a classic form of gaming. For me, it has become a game that I can’t put down, I play at home on my Zeepad and at work, on breaks, on the JXD S601 (though there is no cloud saving so it is two different games).