Knights of Pen & Paper 2 ($4.99) by Paradox Interactive is an epic, turn-based RPG adventure that you play your way. Whether you’ve played in an actual tabletop RPG with friends before or not, KoPaP2 is an immersive journey for anyone who enjoys a good RPG. It is the sequel to the ever popular and original Knights of Pen & Paper that came out several years ago.
A few years ago, I was playing a few different tabletop RPG campaigns with a small group of friends over the weekends. It was always an awesome experience as we all sat together at a table with pieces of paper that defined and shaped our characters, getting into our characters and playing out a different persona other than our real selves, and working together as a team through an interesting story as it evolved over time. My group and I played the original Dungeons & Dragons, an original Pokemon RPG that our game master came up with, and even one called Hunter: The Reckoning. Unfortunately, our band disbanded due to time constraints, schedules, and living distance, and I miss it a lot. Fortunately, KoPaP2 has arrived and fills a void in my life, even though I never got around to playing the original game, despite owning it.
The visuals in KoPaP2 are completely retro, featuring gorgeous and vibrant 16-bit visuals that tug at my gamer heartstrings. Despite the pixelated look, I found everything in the game to be incredibly detailed, from the clean and simple game room to the vast world of the campaign. Every character also has their own unique appearance that you can customize with race (human, elf, or dwarf) and class type. KoPaP2 also has a ton of different monster types to uncover as you go through the campaign, and each one has their own distinctive behavior, attack patterns, and special abilities. An adventurous soundtrack plays in the background of the action, and it really makes you feel at home. Overall, KoPaP2 is a huge visual and audible treat.
There are three game save slots in KoPaP2, so you can be playing up to three campaigns at once. This is a good way to test out starting class combinations and figuring out what works best for your play style, though I chose to go all-in with my starting team of a hunter and paladin. At the start, you can only bring in two people, but there is space for up to five players at the table — you just bring in three more people later on, as long as you have the coins to do so. You choose from a pool of interesting characters in real life (like the Jock, Cheerleader, Surfer, Rich Kid, Lab Rat, Goth, Rocker, Hipster), decide their character’s race (Human, Elf, or Dwarf), and then their class (Warrior, Thief, Hunter, Cleric, Paladin, Mage). As you make your way through the game, you can even discover and unlock more hero types, which just make the game even more diverse.
Once you have your starting team ready, the game master will begin the campaign. KoPaP2 is even complete with a ton of cultural references and humorous dialogue. There is a tutorial in the beginning for any new players, though you can skip it completely if you’re already familiar with the game. Throughout KoPaP2, you’ll be traveling from village to village (at the cost of coin), taking on quests from villagers, and exploring dungeons and strange areas along the way. The best place to rest and recover your team’s health and energy is at villages as well, though you can camp out on the field to recover but have the chance of being attacked in your sleep, unless someone gets a high enough roll.
Like any tabletop RPG, KoPaP2 relies on dice rolls for almost all actions, such as safe travel, battle, resting, resisting status ailments, investigating for clues, opening treasure chests, running from battle, and more. There’s a certain threshold for each action that you need to roll in order for it to be successful, and these thresholds are shown underneath the dice in some screens. You won’t be able to see the threshold during battles.
The game’s combat system is like your standard JRPG, as everything is turn-based, with turn order determined by dice rolls and shown on each character and enemy. Your team members will always have a basic attack, but as you defeat enemies and gain experience, they will level up and have ability points that you can distribute to four different skills (three active and one passive). Active skills cost energy (blue bar) and can be used during battle by tapping on the appropriate button and then selecting your target. If you’re in a pinch, you can also tap on the treasure chest button, which allows you to do other actions like defend or use items. The goal in battle is simple: eliminate the enemy before they eliminate you. If all of your team dies, you can resurrect them, though it will cost some gold, and then continue on with the campaign.
When you are out in the field and want to train, KoPaP2 lets you manually choose what enemies you want to fight and how many of them (up to five) — you see the enemy level and the difficulty of the fight as you add more. I recommend doing this a lot to level up your team, and earn some extra gold or item drops. The dungeons are also procedurally generated each time you go in, so there’s going to be something new to uncover on every trip. These can also make great training grounds if your team is strong enough.
As you play KoPaP2, you will acquire a wide variety of items, such as crafting ingredients, healing food items, and valuable gear like trinkets, armor, and weapons. The gear can be equipped on your characters for more damage reduction, attack power, and bonus skills. If you run out of space in your main inventory, items can be stashed away in your vault, which is unlocked after a certain point in the game. On another note, you can also use your in-game coins to buy actual tables for the game room, but I haven’t discovered any new tables to buy.
I’ve put a couple of hours into the game ever since I downloaded it last night, and it’s proving to be one of the most fun and addictive little RPG games I’ve picked up recently. The retro graphics are stunning, the fanfare music is delightful, the gameplay is unique and challenging, and the combat system is just downright fun. I may not have my former tabletop gaming group at the moment, but this game is going to keep me busy for a long time.
I highly recommend getting Knights of Pen & Paper 2 if you are a fan of tabletop gaming and turn-based RPGs. You can get Knights of Pen & Paper 2 on the App Store as a universal download for $4.99.