If you've ever wanted to pretend to be a nerd in a basement, who is pretending to be a noble warrior in a far off land, then you're in luck with Knights of Pen and Paper +1 Edition. It's a game, inside a game and I will backhand anybody that describes it as a word ending in 'ception'.
Born on the iOS platform, Paradox Interactive have snapped up the chance to bring Knights of Pen and Paper to PC gamer's basements all around the world, with the help of Behold Studios.
The premise is simple at heart. You play as both the dungeon master (DM) and the players. You choose the participants and their classes, assisting them with leveling up and deciding what attacks they use. With the role of the dungeon master, you decide the player's fate. You choose the quests to take part in, how many enemies your team will be fighting and where the story will be taken. It's an interesting mechanic that is pulled off very well.
Having never indulged in tabletop playing games, either as a DM or player, this was an entirely new experience to me and one, I must admit, I quite enjoyed. This doesn't mean I'm jumping straight online to find my nearest Dungeons & Dragons session, but what it does mean is that you can find a passion for the genre and style of play even if you're not an artisan in the area. I found myself wanting to challenge the players more and more whilst still being cautious that "we" (the players) could only take so much. It was an odd experience to feel both of these at once, but one that worked very well. I had the control over what happened and the power to make it as difficult as I desired.
Graphically, Knights of Pen and Paper +1 Edition is a throwback to days gone by, in which everything was pixels and blocks but this doesn't mean it relies on nostalgia or anything. I felt quite at home whilst playing the game and the graphics didn't make me want to be sitting at home playing my Megadrive or SNES.
The soundtrack, however, is definitely an acquired taste. After a few seconds in the title screen, I navigated to the options and switched off the 8-bit backing track. I'm not judging you if you like it but I am totally judging you if you like it.
As Knights of Pen and Paper was first and foremost a handheld experience and a PC experience second, the interface is still heavily tap based. I would like to see some adjustments made to accompany the PC gamer but they weren't far from comfortable.
As a first look, I really enjoyed playing Knights of Pen and Paper +1 Edition and could definitely see myself losing hours to it, sitting up late at night. There was mention of cloud saving and cross platform to bring the game back to it's origins, and this feature would certainly bring longevity to the game's lifecycle. However, even without it, I can see this being a single-player favorite for a large chunk of gamers. It's one to keep an eye on, that's for sure!