Published on June 4th, 2013 | by Kyle LeDuch0
Knights of Pen and Paper: +1 Edition – Preview
If any proof were needed that mobile devices are beginning to seriously challenge consoles and PC for gaming supremacy then Knights of Pen & Paper, a strange yet colorful meta-RPG from Brazillian developers Behold Studios, is certainly it. Boasting the strange premise players assuming the roles of both dungeon master adventurer in a simulated table-top game, this is an experience that every fan of Elder Scrolls, Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon Age and pretty much any other RPG out there needs to play.
Don’t get the wrong idea, we aren’t ready to swap our desktop for a tablet or anything crazy like that, but iOS and Android is proving a fertile ground for developers to try out new ideas and that’s something we can all benefit from. Let’s break it down.
Knights of Pen & Paper casts the player as both dungeon master and adventurer, choosing quests and enemies for as many as five weary travellers to conquer. You choose the make-up of the roleplaying group including which individuals join in the fun, be it a blonde airhead named ‘Paris’, a business man called ‘Mr John’, a fat gamer christened ‘Hynx’, or a dye-job known as ‘Flowers’ etc. and which of four classes they play as – Druid, Cleric, Warrior and Mage. Each has its own linear skill tree and as players complete quests, created by the player, and fight enemy configurations, again selected by the player, they all level up unlocking new skills. All the while this is going on neither the DM or the adventurers leave the table, but the world around them instantly transitions to whatever location they visit.
It’s impossible not to get an old-school SNES RPG vibe from proceedings as battles are turn based and the fantasy map for the most part relies on traditional staples of overgrown rat enemies, evil guards and missing blacksmiths, but the whole experience is so damn cute, with its chip tunes and fourth wall-breaking references, that you can’t help but go along with it.
Essentially the player controls his or her adventurers’ own destinies by both controlling them in combat and setting the difficulty of the enemies they face, and that ties into a neat risk versus reward mechanic where more powerful enemies grant better loot, more XP and more dollars. This is an interesting mechanic which we’ve never seen before and it ties directly into buying new equipment from blacksmiths for your team, upgrading items and modifying the DM’s room with various tables, chairs, wallhangings etc.
Unfortunately the one aspect which seems to have come across wholesale from the iOS and Android versions of KoP&P is the in-game cash shop. As mentioned before, players earn dollars by completing quests and killing enemies, but they can also purchase them via an in-game real cash shop. Prices are still being weighed up by Paradox for the +1 Edition, but being charged a price for this game and then having the economy weighted by in-game micro-transactions is a tricky balance to get right.
In terms of content and visuals, Knights of Pen & Paper is absolutely adorable.
Paradox are adding a great deal of content to this new edition in collaboration with its creators, such as dungeons, the ability to fast travel, a new carnival zone, a high school, the ability to add and swap out adventurers from a team during a playthrough and a new arcade setting, complete with what looks like an IT Crowd-themed pinball table, but we’ll wait until a firm pricing strategy is announced before giving it our final seal of approval.
KoP&P is a novel idea in a genre which is often distractingly unoriginal. We only hope that its innate charm isn’t diminished by an insane pricing strategy.