This is Role-Playing in Its Purest Form

Illustration for article titled This is Role-Playing in Its Purest Form

Long before there was a Final Fantasy or an Ultima, role-playing was strictly something a group of friends did around a dining room table cluttered with pieces of paper, rulebooks and dice. Knights of Pen and Paper captures that experience beautifully.


Countless games have boasted bringing the pen-and-paper role-playing experience to video games over the years. The Neverwinter Nights series came pretty close, allowing a player to craft a custom adventure and then let players run through it, but it wasn’t quite the same as sitting at the head of the table, peering over your dungeon master screen at a group of eager players. Setting the mood with props, purchasing the proper snacks for an evening of play acting and dice rolling — these are lost in video games, or they were.

In Behold StudiosKnights of Pen and Paper (available now on Google Play, coming soon to iOS), you can spend money on expensive themed furniture to bolster the mood and by extension the stats of your adventuring party. You can order them a pizza. You can listen to them complain that there aren’t enough attractive wenches in your campaign.

These familiar trappings wrap themselves lovingly around a standard turn-based role-playing game. You dictate your players’ actions (though I suppose you could let friends choose what skills to level up and what actions to use on baddies) as they take on random encounters and epic quests alike. They gain experience and you earn cash, which can be used on more powerful equipment, adding additional party members to your table, or snacks.

Aside from a few crashes on my Transformer Prime tablet, the game has been an absolute joy to play, taking me back to the days when most of my gaming was done with one hand in a bag of dice and the other in a bag a chips.

Knights of Pen and Paper - $1.99 [Google Play]



So are there actually random encounters, like where you walk around the field, and then the screen twirls until you get into battle?

I ask because that would kill my interest in the game right there. I just see no reason with the processing power on even mobile phones, why enemies can't be displayed in the field you're running through, or there are at least scripted points where enemies could ambush you. To me it's just an outdated mechanic that abstracts what I should see running around, and adds more grinding to the experience.