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Game Info:

Knights of Pen and Paper +1 
Developed by: Behold Studios
Published by: Paradox Interactive
Release date: June 18, 2013
Genre: RPG
Number of Players: Single-player
Available on: Android, iOS, PC (reviewed), Mac, Linux
ESRB Rating: Not rated
Price: $10 for the standard version, $15 for the deluxe (reviewed)

Thank you GamersGate for sending us this game to review!

Knights of Pen and Paper +1 aims to simulate the table top role-playing experience, and from my limited experience I think it does a pretty good job at it.  With the variety of characters to choose from (including your younger brother), the witty banter and munchies available, I think they pretty much covered all of the bases.  The humor is top notch and there are several references to cult classic movies, video games and TV shows including Dr. Who, The IT Crowd, The Muppets, Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, SpongeBob, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and plenty others that I have probably missed.

Even though the 2D graphics are pixelated and retro looking, there is plenty of detail in the enemies and environments.  That’s where you have to pay attention to see the nods to various TV shows and movies.  For example, on a beach level there’s a crab wearing a blue outfit and clinging onto money just like Mr. Krabs from SpongeBob.  The background music and boss music brought back memories of playing NES games.  The boss music is especially well done even if it’s been purposefully aged.  

Highlights:

Strong Points: Fun gameplay and witty humor; lots of references to classic movies and TV shows.
Weak Points: You cannot change your resolution in Linux.
Moral Warnings: Fantasy violence and magic use; some minor language.

All of the classic role playing elements are present including the typical classes like Warrior, Paladin, Mage, Rogue, and Druid.  Several more are available after you rescue/unlock them.  At first your party is restricted to three characters, but if you buy the Holy Grail with in-game gold, you can max out your party with five players. The deluxe version of the game starts you off with 805 gold, but you can buy more gold with micro-transactions if you’re impatient.  Since you can earn gold by fighting enemies, I don’t recommend paying for more.  

Besides the Holy Grail, there are lots of other items to buy that can offer temporary or permanent effects.  I bought the BK crown that allowed me to fight a maximum of seven enemies instead of four.  Another recommendation is the loaded dice which will always add 1 to your roll.  (Is it considered cheating if it’s a built in option?)  Temporary boosts can be yours if you add various snacks and (caffeinated but not alcoholic) drinks to the table.   

The room decorations, furniture, pet, and game masters you use all add stat bonuses as well.  I used a carpet that gave me an extra 10% in gold per battle and my game master added five points to magic with +1 regen at every turn which came in handy.  It may not sound like much but adding that on top of boosts from weapons, armor, and accessories gives you a welcome advantage in battle.

Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 80%
Gameplay - 17/20
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 80%
Violence - 7/10
Language - 8/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 5/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

When traveling across the map you may get ambushed by enemies depending on how the twenty-sided dice lands.  While you can control the number and types of enemies in planned battles, the random ones are as the name implies, random.  It should also come as no surprise that the number of enemies you fight determines the difficulty of the battle.  The higher the level of the enemy the harder they are, and the harder they are, the better loot they drop.

The enemies range from simple rats and bats to fearsome dragons and the main villain, the evil mage.  There are many dangerous caves, dungeons, forests, and swamps to explore.  All of them harbor unique and deadly enemies within.  You can dig mines in caves and collect grindstones to give to the blacksmith in town to upgrade him.  The higher level he is, the better weapons and armor he can craft.  His success is determined by the roll of a die of course.

Taverns in town let you swap out or create new party members.  Be sure to stock up on healing food and potions before tackling some of the tougher caves and dungeons.  I like how the overworld map displays the percent complete and level recommendations for you.  I always made sure I had phoenix ups (get it?) on hand to revive fallen allies when needed.  

Fortunately, this game auto saves and you can restart from where you left off if your party gets wiped out.  You’ll need gold to bring back fallen allies.  Even though this is a Steam based game, I was disappointed that there wasn’t cloud save support.  There are, however, plenty of achievements to unlock.

While Knights of Pen and Paper +1 drew my kids attention, I can’t recommend it for younger kids to play due to some of the language used (d*mn and h*ll).  Like most role-playing games, there is fantasy violence and magic use in this game.  As expected, the Necromancer class can summon help from below.  

Moral issues aside, this game is fun to play and brings a lot to the table (pun intended).  The micro-transactions are completely optional and the game is totally playable without them.  If you enjoy role playing games, silly humor and table top gaming you should check out Knights of Pen and Paper +1.  

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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