If you’re looking to relive and reminisce about your youthful days when role-playing was pen and paper and 8-bit video games were the hottest technology craze then perhaps there’s a “modern day” (?) solution. Behold Studios’ newest game, their third installment in what’s become their “of Pen and Paper” series might be just the thing. This is our Galaxy of Pen and Paper Review.
The game’s premise is similar to its predecessors, Knights of Pen And Paper and its sequel – this an RPG about creating an RPG in a theme of space versus a fantasy theme.
If you’re new to the series than the whole concept might, at first, be hard to grasp so pay attention. You begin by creating a GM (Gamemaster) character. You have quite a few choices here on the body, skin color, etc. or you can just go with the random button and end up with a guy in a green jumpsuit wearing pink shades who looks like Doctor Octopus. We shall name him “Octavius”.
Next up, you create your initial party of two players who also role play as two-party members. Character creation is based on roll stats of Power (i.e. Damage), Body (i.e. HP), Mind (i.e. SP) and Senses (i.e. Initiative, shield generation, etc.). The confusing part of character creation here is that you create what you, yourself look like at the same time creating an associated “in-game” avatar. You do this for yourself, assuming you’re going to be RPG player one, and your “friend”, i.e. RPG player two / party member number two.
There are 4 base classes for your avatars including Bounty Hunter, Engineer, Gadgeteer and Trooper. You also select from one of three “races” for your in-game avatar including human, simian or green (Martian-like). These races also bring with them passives in that they add points to one or more of the dice values mentioned earlier.
Last, but not least, you pick a defined stereotype for your out of game, “real life” character where each stereotype also adds different dice values to the combined roll stats mentioned earlier. Stereotypes include; Achiever, Showoff, Slayer, Storyteller, etc. These stereotypes also have a stock look for your “real-life” character. Choosing your own look is not nearly as flexible as the choices for GM creation.
After everyone is created it’s out of the GM’s bedroom onto the “in-game world” missions. The main quest is started by the GM who reads some traditional dungeon master-like lines, “You find yourself waking up in a medbay…”. All of this is done via bubble text dialog that requires clicking to advance and is told with cheesy tongue-in-cheek lines and throwback 80’s video game music.
As you take part in in-game world missions at key points you and your RPG party, and even you as the GM, are faced with game changing decisions, e.g. I started with a Thinker and Trooper duo. Before battling a wanted space criminal, the game presented me with two options to proceed, a) talk my way out it via The Thinker’s tactic or b) head into melee turn-based battle via The Trooper’s tactic. Not necessarily “revolutionary” but it was fun feeling like I was creating and progressing the story.
As you go deeper into the game you meet people and unlock different mission types, e.g. hunt missions, you add members to your party and travel from discovery point to discovery point on planets as well as in space. Heck, there are even space battles that are determined by dice rolls, not the kind of space battles that require weaving in and out and spot on timing but fun nonetheless. Before going into a mission battle, you, the GM, “create the battle”, this allows control over how hard to make the battle to thus reap better XP.
Along the way, you’ll also unlock an item shop and be able to customize your party by assigning additional skills via skill points. The game also supports changing your team’s formation and attempting to flee if the battle you created seems too tough.
If you can get past the purposeful pixelated graphics and 8-bit sounding music you’ll no doubt enjoy the throwback feel and pace this game has to offer. There’s a lot of frivolities to be had here if one decides to partake in it!
Note: Our copy was on PC (Steam), provided by the developer for review.
- Engaging gameplay system
- Humorous tongue-in-cheek dialogue
- Throwback graphics and sound might not be for everyone
- A lot more text to read then players nowadays are used to