Knights of Pen & Paper

Knights of Pen & Paper review

Knights of Pen & Paper review

Devs use high concept. It's super effective!

This came out last summer, but I'm ashamed to say I'd never heard of it until a festive App Store sale and snazzy icon tempted a punt. It turns out to be a rare treasure, a high-concept hybrid role-playing game that manages to pack an epic and funny quest into the most unusual of structures.

The concept is that a group of friends are playing an old-school pen-and-paper RPG, like Dungeons & Dragons, and they along with the Dungeon Master make up the centrepiece of the screen - the latter facing the player from the other side of the table, while the friends sit with their backs to you. The table is a constant on-screen presence in Knights of Pen & Paper, and the fantasy world the friends are playing through is represented by everything outside of it: a series of beautiful pixel-art backdrops, all of them crammed with tiny details and movement.

Travelling from place to place changes the backdrop as well as the quests available, and is controlled through a simple map overlay. It costs in-game dollars to travel anywhere, which limits your initial movement, but before very long you'll have a truckload. Now seems as good a time as any to mention that Knights of Pen & Paper includes in-app purchases for more of its dollars, but you'll honestly never need them - every fight, more or less, rewards you with currency, and every quest yields even more.

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