Galaxy of Pen & Paper ($4.99) by Behold Studios is a meta turn-based RPG about a group of people playing tabletop board games (think Dungeons & Dragons). If you enjoy RPGs or D&D, but wished for a touch of sci-fi fantasy, then Galaxy of Pen & Paper is for you. It’s the third installment of the Knights of Pen & Paper games.
Several years ago, I had a D&D group with some friends. We would get together every so often, about once a month, and hang out and play D&D or other tabletop RPGs together. I went through high school as a big RPG video game fan, so when I had the opportunity to play D&D, I was ecstatic. Unfortunately, our group disbanded due to location issues, and I haven’t played tabletop RPGs since. It’s a bit depressing, but that’s why I fell in love with the Knights of Pen & Paper games. They’re bite-size RPGs that mimic the experience of a D&D group, and are a perfect fit when I am lacking a real crew. When I saw Galaxy of Pen & Paper finally hit the App Store, I knew I had to check it out.
App Feels Like
App Feels Like
Visually, Galaxy of Pen & Paper carries a retro pixelated art style, so it’s a nice homage to the classic games of yesteryear. Despite the pixel art, the game is pretty detailed when it comes to the various intergalactic environments, as well as the character appearances. Galaxy of Pen & Paper also makes use of bright and bold colors for almost everything, so it’s definitely eye catching. Animations are smooth and fluid, with no lag on my iPhone 7. The different customizations you can make for your Game Master and two characters are wide and varied, with enough options to satisfy most. There’s also a rocking sci-fi chiptune soundtrack to go along with everything, and it’s an absolute delight to hear. Like the other two games, Galaxy just fits like a glove in terms of visual and audio.
When you first start the game, you have the option to create a custom Game Master, who’s in charge of the narrative and combat scenes in the game. You can choose from different heads, body outfits, accessories, and chairs, all with a sci-fi motif (some are very recognizable).
Then you create two characters that will be role-playing, but the customization is a bit lackluster here. With these two characters, you can pick their class, race, and expertise area, but there are only about three options for each. If you were looking to create characters that look like your friends (as you could kind of do in the other games), then you’re out of luck. I wish that there was more customization options for the characters, as there seemed to be plenty for the Game Master.
Once your characters are made, the Game Master will kick off with the story. The plot unfolds through player choices, which determine the enemies you make and allies you gain. Whenever a point in the story has a decision, you get two options: one is usually a brute force kind of answer, and the other is more negotiable. Missions come up depending on the choices you make, and these have different goals, such as defeating a number of enemies or even going head-to-head in spaceship battles. There’s also a lot of exploration to do, so the variety is there.
Depending on what you chose during character customizations, each one has their own strengths and weaknesses in stats. The active and passive abilities are also dependent on the race, class, and expertise chosen. When you defeat enemies in battle, you gain some gold and experience points. As your party members level up, their stats grow and they’ll gain skill points. The skill points can be spent on stronger skills and abilities that will aid you in battle.
The cool thing about Galaxy of Pen & Paper is the fact that you mostly control the game through the Game Master. This means you decide when battles happen, or you can advance the story. When you must defeat a certain number of enemies, you can break it up into multiple fights so it’s not too overwhelming. You can also take a break every now and then to restock on items with the shop.
Much of Galaxy of Pen & Paper’s controls are through taps in menus. During combat, you’ll see a bar at the top that shows the turn order. When it’s your team’s turn, you’ll see the character highlighted and selected, along with a bar that shows their available actions. You can always perform a basic attack, but you need SP for special abilities. If you are low on health or SP, use an item on yourself or a teammate to restore their resources. To attack or support, just tap on the skill or item you want to use, and then tap on your target. The controls are easy enough and intuitive so anyone can pick it up quickly.
There’s a lot of content to go through in Galaxy of Pen & Paper, so this is a title that will provide you with hours of good and fun entertainment.
A meta turn based RPG that lets you play as a group playing a dice based RPG.
Galaxy of Pen & Paper is humorous with the characters and story, which will provide players with a ton of content for hours on end. The game’s graphics are also a great tribute to vintage games thanks to the pixel art style, and the chiptune soundtrack is fun to hear as you play. It’s awesome being able to control the flow of the game, since you can choose when to enter combat, proceed with the plot, make tough or humorous choices, or take a break and stock up on items with your spoils from battle.
While there is some customization in terms of character appearances, there isn’t as much as I would have liked to see. I would have preferred to fully create my own custom Game Master as well as role players, so that they could at least look a bit like my friends and family. I would have also preferred to do manual dice rolls, just so the game could feel more authentic.
Also, according to iTunes reviews, the game seems to be somewhat buggy, so hopefully the developers work on fixing those up. And unlike the previous two games, there is no way to play Galaxy of Pen & Paper in portrait orientation.
While Galaxy of Pen & Paper does have some flaws in terms of customization options, it’s still an enjoyable game. I love the pixel art style and the chiptunes are fantastic. There is plenty of content in the game to go through, so this is a title I’ll be playing for a while. The dialogue is humorous, the battle system is fairly streamlined, and it’s overall quite challenging.
I’d recommend giving Galaxy of Pen & Paper a try if you’re into D&D or role-playing games in general. You can find Galaxy of Pen & Paper on the App Store as a universal download for your iPhone and iPad for $4.99. The developers have promised no-in app purchases and the game will be premium forever.