Review by Jerrynsteph4eva
"Fun, addicting game that you'll want to own."
I never got to play Dungeons & Dragons when I was a kid. I always wanted to as it seemed like so much fun, but my mom was in with the "D&D stands for Devils & Demons" crowd and as such, I was not allowed to play it. However, by the time I was old enough, D&D had become more of a niche game, with PC & Console RPGs taking it's place. While I've played many a D&D RPG and understand the basics of the game, I still have yet to play it. But Knights of Pen & Paper +1 Edition simulates the experience for me and helps me imagine what a game of D&D would be like.
You see, unlike most D&D RPGs where you take the viewpoint of your imaginary character, KOPP has you taking the role of up to five real people who are playing a D&D style game, with the world around them transforming into the imagined D&D world. It's refreshing, it's humorous and it's a lot of fun.
When you start, you'll find your dungeon master sitting at the table (who happens to be the local comic book shop owner). You start by clicking on the chairs, which allows you to create up to three characters (later five). You do so by choosing a premade real life character (such as a Bully, who gains an attack bonus or the Pizza Guy, who can be resurrected for less money) and match them with a class that you want (such as Warrior, Mage, etc). However, you can only use each class once so you have to build a bit of a balanced party. Once you have up to three characters in your party, you start the game and are "teleported" to a dungeon.
As you play, your Dungeon Master (just called Master in game) describes the areas and events in detail, making you feel as though you're sitting at the table with them playing D&D. Each action you do takes one in game day (with battles taking one day instead of turns) and you can use your days to accept quests, travel or battle monsters of your choice.
Battles are typical turn based RPG style and it's nice because it shows you the turn order on each monster and your party so there's no confusion as to who goes when. As you battle, you'll earn gold and experience, which levels you up naturally. As you level, you get a skill point per level which you can use to increase one of four skills dependent on your class (with one or two being passive buffs).
Gold is used for everything in this game, not just equips. Sure you can use gold to buy items but you need gold to travel (you have to pay a penalty to travel), you need gold to recruit new players and you need to pay a fine to revive your characters when they die. For this reason, it's always good to have a bit of spare gold on the side. Gold is carried over between playthroughs so if you earn 1500 gold in a save file and start another, you'll have 1500 gold to start with However, the developers did one thing wrong with this (more on that later).
Equipment is also not sold at a shop in this game. Rather, you start with basic equipment and can upgrade it by paying the blacksmith to do so. Unfortunately, there's a random chance it will fail and you lose out on a fair bit of gold. You can also find stones that will upgrade blacksmiths to unlock new weapon upgrades which is a cool system.
Of course, being based on D&D, you roll a lot as well. If you're traveling, you roll to see if you're attacked. If you're camping, you roll to see if you safely sleep. If you're escaping, you roll to see if you successfully escape. It really drives home the feeling that you're not just playing a game, you're hanging out with buddies playing a tabletop RPG.
The game is also very humorous and your characters will often banter during the game about the scenario. For example, one character mentions that all he sees is a cellar and the DM tells him he'll earn bonus points for roleplaying. Another quest has you looking for a woman's brother, only to trip over a gravestone that reads "Woman's Brother's Grave". Your first town is called "Defaulttown" and characters often yell "Skill Points!" when leveling up. It helps break up the monotony a bit and is quite hilarious.
Each area has a unique set of quests to complete including dungeons, which usually consist of defeating a set amount of enemies or rescuing trapped people. The game keeps track of how many quests you've completed and gives you an average level to complete them as well, so you're not stuck destroying monsters way out of your league or defeating baby monsters in one hit.
As you play, you can complete quests to unlock new character classes (either for future playthroughs or to get new characters to play if you're not at 5 already) as well as purchase new items for the table which increase your stats. For example, buying a chalice will increase your party size to five while buying a book may increase your attack permanently. You can even buy new DMs to use which are inspired by pop culture icons such as Yoga (a parody of Yoda) and the Scientist (a parody of Doc Brown from Back to the Future). While a lot of them are merely aesthetic in nature, quite a few give bonuses you could really use such as HP regen or bonus stats.
Another cool feature is the fact that you can choose your own difficulty in most battles by choosing how many of which enemies you'll fight against. Want an easy battle? Put that level 1 rat in there and defeat them for the quest. Want a challenge? Face level 16 Brooms instead. It's a neat feature that stems from its paper RPG roots.
The graphics are 16 bit in nature and seem to be based off of the same style as Habbo Hotel. Normally I won't mention the graphics of a game but in the case of KOPP, I think they're excellent and fit the game well.
The game also comes with Steam achievements and Trading Cards if you get it on Steam. The achievements range from unlocking new character classes to leveling up your characters to even mismatching character types (such as the Bully being a mage). It's a fun list that will likely be easy to complete.
However, the one major thing I dislike about this game is microtransactions, which I feel is one of the worst things plaguing gaming today. I understand this game is a port of an iOS game, but when you're paying $10 for it, I don't want to buy gold as well. While the game still offers a fair bit of gold and isn't obnoxious like other free to play games, the fact that you can buy your way to riches is irritating, especially when I enjoyed the game so much.
The game is also a bit repetitious. Most quests fall under three categories: defeat X monsters (for a quest or for loot), travel to X or escort person to X and get attacked. There's very little difference between them, though with the numerous attempts at humor I hardly noticed. Some people will likely grow tired of the game after a while though.
The game also features a lot of reading so if you're not a big reader, you'll likely want to skip this game as most of the fun comes from the banter between the DM and your characters. While it's to be expected of RPGs, some people will likely find this to be a flaw.
All in all, KOPP is a fantastic, addicting game that everyone should own. Had they not included microtransactions and the game wasn't as repetitious, this would likely be a 8/10 for me, even with the repetition of the quests. However, I still recommend that you purchase this game ASAP. It's addicting, it's hilarious and there's a ton of replayability as you try out different characters with different classes. One of these days, I hope to play D&D so I can experience the fun depicted in game. Until then, I'll have a blast playing this game.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 01/23/14, Updated 01/23/14
Game Release: Knights of Pen & Paper (+1 Edition) (US, 06/18/13)
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