This title was reviewed on the Nintendo Switch, but is also available on PS4, Xbox One, PC, Android, and iOS.

Knights of Pen and Paper (KOPP) has made its way to the Nintendo Switch. KOPP is a pixelated RPG where you play as a choice of characters who have decided to take part in a pen and paper RPG. Although the game has a twist! You also get to play as the Dungeon Master. Full of nostalgic old-school RPG feels, I was interested to see if a modern game could recreate that essence. Let’s see how it stacked up!

Setting

KOPP is set in a fantasy world, where you play as people in the real world who are playing a game of paper and pen RPG (Inception hurts my head). This is where you enter that fantasy world! It has your classic fantasy elements, such as menacing bats, obnoxious guards, and pitiful rats. You will also play as the Dungeon Master of the game, and select the battles to be played. I’ll explain this in further detail in the game play section.

Each character has their own charm, as they tend to break character and engage in banter with each other. This makes for some quite comical moments, so watch out for giggling while sitting playing your Switch.

Gameplay

The game starts you off with selecting your characters. There is a variety of characters and races to choose from. In typical fantasy RPG fashion, you can choose from humans, elves or dwarves. You also choose your class, such as paladins, mages, or warriors. Next up is to pick the specific character you wish to play as (jock, nerd, hipster etc). Now you play the game!

You also take control of the Dungeon Master, and can choose the number of and type of enemies you wish to fight depending on the region you are currently in. Each character will take a turn at attacking the enemies, and when you use magic you are able to select which specific spell you wish to use. Enemies will also take turns at attacking your characters. When you’ve conquered your enemies, you will receive experience depending on the number of enemies you versed and the difficulty levels that they were.

Enemies will sometimes drop items after battles, and these can be used to increase your character’s stats:  They’ll drop potions or “experience mushrooms” which increase a character’s experience by 1000. I collected items such as the Portable Shield (a potion, despite the name) which absorbs 50% of damage for 5 turns, and the Greater XP Potion which gives a character 6500 experience points. You can also pick up equipment to add on to characters, increasing stats such as initiative and strength. You can move around the map to increase difficulty, so the further away from the starting town you go, the more difficult the enemies are. When you choose to go to these new areas the screen will display a score you need to roll on the die. If you don’t roll this score you will have to enter a battle to get to the destination instead.

Knights of Pen and Paper has a main quest feature, where on the quest list those marked with a star are the main quest requirement. Any other quest is optional, and these are mainly there to help you grind and grab new items. There are also your classic RPG features of a black smith who will upgrade your weapons adding new attributes, or the cauldron which you can visit to buy equipment to add to your character to increase stats.

A cool feature of KOPP is that if you feel like you’ve made a bad choice of characters, or one of them just isn’t quite pulling his own weight, you need not fear as not too far into the game you can access the pub! What better way to kick someone off the team than by sending them off to get wasted, and pick someone new in their place. If you start to miss them a bit, you can always sober them up and bring them back, and how else would you get sober than by battling some giant rats!

Sound/Graphics

The pixelated graphics look good, and are the exact type of graphics that should be used to make for that old-school feeling. The characters and enemies have a different appearance and you can clearly tell what they’re meant to be. The sound for KOPP is simple but it gives you a nostalgic RPG feel. As a player of early 90’s RPGs (such as the early Final Fantasy games) this music really hit home.

Overall

KOPP is effective in its simplicity, and provides a great old-school RPG experience. While the quests don’t have a lot of depth, and most of the time you have to grind if you don’t want to be obliterated; the game still manages to push through and be an entertaining game. With its classic turn based battles, glorious music and a wide variety of characters, Knights of Pen and Paper is a must-have game on the Switch. Especially since you can take it with you wherever you go!

8

Pros

  • Nostalgic
  • Unique take on old-school RPGs
  • Fun turn-based battles
  • Music is to die for

Cons

  • Lack of depth in main quest
  • Progression can be slow

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