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Knights of Pen & Paper 2

Score: 75%
ESRB: 12+
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Developer: KYY Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: RPG/ Adventure/ Classic/Retro

Graphics & Sound:

In its visual language –and almost everything we’ll comment on here–the feeling of "more of a good thing" permeates Knights of Pen & Paper 2. Fans of the first game will rejoice, since the dream sequel is one that adds more stuff without breaking any of the things we loved the first time through. Exploring the world this time around is no less epic than before, but the locations seem even more worked over with an eye toward little details. Knights of Pen & Paper 2 will overwhelm you with in-jokes, many of them visual. Witness that Totoro hiding in the background of a lush jungle, and even more obvious parodies like panda monks. You’ll see some new character designs and background items like the collectible magazines here for the first time.

Music and sound design is also a holdover from the first game in its quality, and not much has changed other than a new collection of jaunty tunes and sound effects. Admittedly, there’s no denying that the tunes become a bit less jaunty after their 100th repetition, but you’ll be moving around enough to accomplish quests that you won’t hear the same town's theme over and over again. The same is true for encounter music, which is stirring the first time, but less so the 15th. The situation here is no worse than your average RPG, and fans of the genre will be predisposed to like chiptune soundtracks anyway.


This, more than any other aspect of Knights of Pen & Paper 2, is a category where fans of the first game would have said, "Don’t go changin' on us" and the developers clearly took this to heart. Think turn-based and think 8-bit and you’ll be right on track here. It’s not about grinding and 100+ hour epic adventures, but there are nods to both styles of play. What the franchise seems to do better than any other game out there is pay homage to all the RPGs ever, in a very accessible and compact format. It's a bit like comparing the popular card-game Munchkin to tabletop RPG gaming, but in videogame form.

There are a limited number of true side-quests and secrets, so it's mostly about following the linear path of a story that doesn't always make sense, but always gets laughs. The running joke is about 2nd Edition versus 1st, a dilemma that will feel familiar to all tabletop gamers. The joke feels overused at times, but always prompts a grin if not a chuckle or guffaw. As you play through the storyline quest, you're free to stop off in a town for grinding, but there's not a huge incentive to do this. Mostly, this is a lean-back experience and a break from the complexity of whatever epic RPG or tabletop experience you may be playing elsewhere.

Gaming references and culture references are peppered throughout the game, even more liberally than before. Gameplay elements are really consistent between the two games, making it easy to pick this one up and start playing immediately. Crafting, character building, and using equipped items all feels really familiar, in the best possible way.


If you pay even the slightest attention to building out your characters and using their skills in battle, most of Knights of Pen & Paper 2 feels like a lay-down. Enemies you encounter feel harder as you progress from area to area, scaling up with where you’re expected to be in your experience level. Character builds are simple enough that there’s really no such thing as a "bad build" but you can help yourself by stacking characters will good equipment. Building your party is interesting this time around thanks to new special perks that some characters possess right away. The goth characters can be resurrected at no cost, while the cheerleader can increase the energy level of other characters when she uses her abilities. This allows you to make some interesting combinations and equip characters to really take advantage of the possibilities. It’s fair to say that nobody should be coming to Knights of Pen & Paper 2 in search of a mind-twisting, gut-wrenching 100+ hour epic, but more so a piece of fluffy fun. And that’s fine with us.

Game Mechanics:

Knights of Pen & Paper 2 is simple enough to played almost entirely with WASD and the space bar, but you can accomplish the same through a combination of keyboard and mouse, or a controller if you’re playing that way. Menu choices are always required in battle, but easily triggered through mouse/controller selections or by entering a number hotkeyed to that choice. Since the range of options for each character is fairly limited, it would have been nice to see something more like auto-battle, but fights don’t last all that long anyway. The more involved mechanics come when you’re in town and trying to move inventory items around. Some of this is less intuitive for newer players, but you’ll learn your way around in no time.

The bigger point is that the actual flow of the game feels smoother this time around. There’s less need to revisit areas, unless you’re specifically looking for clues or secrets. Money is always in short supply, but you can earn your way to almost any reward by waiting patiently through battles and story encounters. At the end of the experience, you’ll either be converted to the franchise and going back to play the first version, or you’ll be a happy repeat buyer. Unless you come in wanting a major overhaul of the first game, there’s almost no chance you’ll be dissatisfied here.

-Fridtjof, GameVortex Communications
AKA Matt Paddock

Minimum System Requirements:

Mac: OS: Mac OS X 10.6 or later; Processor: 2Ghz+; Memory: 1024 MB RAM; Graphics: 1024x768 minimum resolution (Direct3D/OpenGL compatible card with at least 128MB); Hard Drive: 300 MB available space; Sound Card: 2D sound compatible card

Test System:

Mac: El Capitan 10.11; 2.8GHz Intel Core i7; 16 GB RAM; Intel Iris Pro w/1536 MB VRAM.

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