Knights Of Pen And Paper isn’t a turn-based RPG: it’s a postmodern deconstruction of a turn-based RPG. The joke is that you’re not actually controlling a band of brave, noble adventurers – you’re controlling a group of friends sallying forth on a brave and noble Dungeons and Dragons-style pen and paper adventure. More than mere narrative dressing, the joke spills over into the mechanics. You don’t just pick classes at the outset of Pen And Paper: you pick the real life character who’s going to fill each role. Grandma, it turns out, with her screeching, aggro-ing voice, makes for an excellent paladin.
Since you also partially control the DM, you construct your own difficulty curve, fashioning basic quests out of a limited set of ingredients and then populating the battles with as many enemies as you think you can handle. This should make things simple, but it’s surprisingly easy to get cocky and chuck an elite snake in the mix that you weren’t actually prepared for.
The turn-based system at Knights Of Pen And Paper’s heart is built from familiar pieces – classes behave as you’d expect, with rogues and mages hitting hard but needing warriors and paladins to soak up damage for them, while support classes like Druids and Priests keep everyone’s HP and MP topped up between special attacks. The main quest’s predefined battles do throw up enemy combinations that require more complex tactics, but there’s no denying that, having breached the fourth wall, Behold Studios’ charming game is content to head back inside the building.
Knights Of Pen And Paper is out now on PC, iOS and Android. PC version tested.