If you’ve not had the pleasure of being exposed to Knights of Pen and Paper, a game released back in 2012 on mobile devices and PC, or its sequel, then you’re certainly in for an adventure with the Nintendo Switch iteration. Knights of Pen & Paper 2 Deluxiest Edition finds a solid footing in playability and content that should please many gamers out there, despite a few minor quirks present in the Switch version. If you’ve been looking for a fun medieval turn-based RPG adventure game for your system, the search is finally over!
Knights harkens back to the tabletop RPGs of yesteryear, like Dungeons & Dragons. Like that series, we have a well-written and highly crafted game here that really delivers a compelling experience. Upon starting the game, you’ll be introduced to your Dungeon Master (DM) who’ll ask what players will be embarking on this pen and paper style adventure. As you head into the character creator, the game’s constant tongue-in-cheek humor will make its debut. You’ll be allowed to select a race, class, and player type, but unlike traditional RPG mythos, you’ll instead end up with a character sheet enlisting the likes of a Dwarven Hipster Mage or an Elven Surfer Hunter. Don’t ask – just roll with it.
The humor in Knights of Pen & Paper 2 is what rightly makes this game stand out against a traditional RPG. From the starting area being titled “Spawn Point Village” to quips on how your characters are handling enemies, the game intentionally pokes fun at both pop culture and the traditional D&D, RPG, and table top experiences players may easily be familiar with. This witty humor is continuous throughout the entire storyline and the various quests you’ll take on.
Some RPGs can be rather esoteric and confusing at the start, but Knights does a great job at onboarding the player and keeping the game very accessible via easy to learn gameplay mechanics. The game’s combat is turn-based, and character skill trees are easy to understand and learn. In fact, much of the fun is replaying the game with different character set ups from the beginning, as once you have a full crew of 5 adventurers, you’ll practice a fair bit of experimentation to see how they jive together in combat. If things aren’t working out well though, the game allows you to swap in new players at local taverns.
Every character has an array of abilities and/or spells that can be learned throughout their adventures. The Player ability ties in the same humor befitting of it, so my Elf Surfer had a passive power called “Chill” allowing me to recover from a random condition each turn, whereas my Hipster’s passive ability was “Early Adopter” which gave me availability of shop items earlier than normal.
The game generally feels well balanced in terms of difficulty as you progress through quests. At only infrequent intervals did I really have a need to grind enemies at a location to boost my characters’ levels higher. Grinding thankfully is made super simple by entering any location and just selecting Battle to take on a number of enemies (that you select) so you’re always in control. The more enemies, the greater the difficulty bar will show for you and greater XP/rewards to be gained. Another cheeky location is even called out as the “Grinding Farm”, the perfect place to level up.
General game management still follows much of a traditional RPG, in that you’ll be dealing with health and mana, resting inns or camps in the field, buying weapons, gear, and trinkets, and then managing items in your inventory. You can easily craft new stuff by combining ingredients together as well. As you delve deeper into the game, randomly generated dungeons can be explored, but these are fairly challenging so it’s best to stock up on food and potions before taking one on.
Presentation and the visual identity in Knights work out beautifully with nicely pixel created backgrounds, animations, and characters. Visuals are accompanied by a catchy upbeat soundtrack appropriate for the genre and style of the game. At no place in the game was any text or graphics difficult to read or discern what it was I was looking at, as often the case in some 8 or 16-bit inspired games.
One of the more appealing aspects to the game is how replayable it can really become. On the Main Menu, you’ll find access to the Game Room, where you can use in-game money to purchase items that customize your tabletop playing room (the pre-adventure area). These items, such as a pinball machine, different rugs, or a new table, provide general benefits for every save slot you play on. It’s a pretty nifty Meta game to influence your actual gameplay. There are also magazines, that albeit were a bit hidden and never called out explicitly on the Main Menu, that offer a ton of expandable content for in-game currency as well. New classes, recipes, and high-level challenges/quests are included for free here, whereas they were paid DLC on other platforms. As I mentioned earlier, building out different character sheets will really dictate how combat unfolds, and it’s really enjoyable trying out various combinations and getting some fresh dialog banter as well.
It is worth mentioning that not all appears to have gone smoothly during the jump to the Switch. For example, in the very beginning tutorial and character select sections I encountered a point where the game wouldn’t respond to any of my inputs and subsequently crashed to the Home menu. There have been a couple of other instances of losing input like this during my play time with the game, but thankfully no save data was lost upon rebooting. Navigating a character’s inventory is also is a bit clunky, as the game will show you’re highlighted on a skill when opening the inventory, but immediately pressing a button will skip over to something else. Again, this isn’t game breaking, but hopefully a patch smooths some of these things out a bit in the future.
Knights of Pen & Paper 2 Deluxiest Edition is really the complete Knights of Pen and Paper experience here for the Nintendo Switch. There’s no need to have played the first game before this one, so this is a great place to jump in. Tongue-in-cheek humor with pop culture and geek/D&D references make this game stand out from the traditional RPG fare. Easy to learn gameplay mechanics make this a very approachable game for players of any skill, and in the end we have a very respectable title on the Switch!
Knights Of Pen & Paper 2: Deluxiest Edition Review
Final Thoughts: GREAT
Knights of Pen & Paper 2 Deluxiest Edition brings everything great about the series to the Nintendo Switch. Tongue-in-cheek humor is present every step of the way, and accessible gameplay with fun quests hold this game together wonderfully. Players will be delighted at how expandable this game can be with the amount of content that is offered using the in-game currency too. Some minor bugs and slight clunky controls aren’t enough to mar the experience. I’d definitely consider this a staple game on my Nintendo Switch.
Alex has been actively gaming since the release of the Nintendo. Turning passion into profession, he’s spent just over a decade in game development, and is currently the Creative Director at a studio.