Knights of Pen & Paper, originally for iOS, is a turn-based RPG with a novel concept: you take on the role of real-life players in a tabletop game. The camera is set behind a table where up to five of your characters are seated, with the dungeon master on the other side leading you through the story. Dialogue tends to be humorous and frequently goes out of character.
The game begins with character creation, where you must assign your players a real-life persona and one of a dozen traditional RPG classes, each with four skills. The actual gameplay takes place around your table, as if you’re in the middle of all the action, and consists of traveling to locations on a world map and completing quests, which are really just more battles in disguise. In fact, the entire game is simply one battle after another and becomes very repetitive, very fast.
As expected, level-ups provide stat bonuses and allow you to upgrade your skills and wear better equipment. Armor and weapons may only be improved at the blacksmith, but each character has four additional slots for equipping various accessories. In addition to in-game shops, there is a “real-life” shop where you may purchase snacks that provide temporary buffs for your players, as well as decorations and furniture that confer permanent bonuses.
Overall, Knights of Pen & Paper is passable in the context of mobile gaming but completely forgettable when compared to quality games on the PC platform. Considering the price is $9.99 on Steam vs a mere $2.99 on iOS and Android, it’s borderline offensive that the devs left in-app purchases in the game, allowing you to buy gold with your Steam wallet funds. Such a shameless exhibit of its mobile origins is a fitting red flag for a game that also fails to break away from the shallow, repetitive gameplay those origins typically entail.