GrogHeads Reviews Knights of Pen and Paper 2
Lightweight RPG adventuring on your computer ~
Avery Abernethy, 20 March 2016
Knights of Pen and Paper 2 is a light and unique adaptation of a table-top Dungeons and Dragons game brought to the computer. The “players” sit across a table from a game master who describes the game. Quests take place, monsters appear and combat ensues. The game master describes the world situation and stylized enemies appear which must be slain by your party. The graphics are retro-cheesy 1990s style and the music uses every single aspect available of 8-bit sound cards memorable to those of us who played computer RPGs in the 1990s.
Combat is uber-simple. An initiative roll sets the order of action for everyone involved in the combat. Only one action can take place during a character’s turn. Character choice per combat round are either using a normal attack, using an item, casting an attack spell if you are a spell caster, using a special attack if you are a fighter type, or using a special character ability if you have one. Each character can do one of only six choices per combat round. There is no tricking, sneaking, or otherwise avoiding enemies. It is kill or be killed in this pixilated realm.
Leveling up provides one point per level which can be used to increase the power of special attacks, spells or powers. Each character has a limited number of slots where they can equip armor, weapons, or miscellaneous items. Characters follow the traditional mold of wizard, cleric, fighter 1, fighter 2, and thief. There is one choice between type of character at the very start of the game and some other generic base types such as lab rat, surfer dude, dwarf, etc….. Then you have your character and off you go. Getting started is not a time consuming.
Your party travels from place to place fulfilling quests described by the game master. Cheesy music plays. You can occasionally try to open chests. You can concoct potions or improve the power of armor. You and your merry band use simple combat to fight odd foes. Many of those foes are bad puns of traditional D&D tropes (Pugbears anyone?). Or the opponents are references to computer game lore – like the broken pixel. Combat is not very hard and lacks much variation.
So far this sounds like a terrible game – but it is not. The game has a certain cheesy charm to it. It abounds with bad puns, bad references to gaming culture or life in general. My favorite was the boss monster “The Square Root of Evil.” You have to be familiar with the generic tropes of RPG games to get a lot of the puns. Some of them were inexplicable to me. Others made me groan. Occasionally I laughed out loud.
The game was an amusing distraction. Calling this a “beer and pretzels RPG” is a stretch. This is more a “shots and doughnuts game with a weird, creative sense of humor.” I enjoyed it, especially if I had a bad day and wanted 15-30 minutes of light gaming distraction. There is not a lot of thought, or strategy, to this game.
If bad puns, simple combat, and an impressively well-written send-up of both early 1990s computer games and traditional D&D sound like fun – I suggest you buy the game. I’ve never played any computer game like Knights of Pen and Paper 2. The game’s charm is entwined around the jokes and the weird story line. Knowing the jokes will probably kill the replay value.
I also played the expansion but don’t think the added material is worth the additional $4.99 price. My recommendation, if a jokey shots and donuts game sounds appealing purchase the game on sale but avoid the expansion.