Back in the glory days of role-playing, all we had to to make do with were 12-sided die, a tabletop, and someone with enough imagination to act as Dungeon Master (DM) to bring the adventure to life.
Home PCs and, later, consoles did their best to kill the classic Dungeons & Dragons experience with flashy graphics, carefully scripted stories, and ever more action-packed combat, but those who grew up on old skool RPGs have never lost their love for playing with pals in a world of their own creation.
Knights of Pen & Paper is an ambitious attempt to rekindle such ardent passion on Android that, while riddled with bugs and a clumsily translated script, still lights a fire in any retro gamer's heart.
Choose your own adventure
You start by selecting an initial party of two heroes, although you can unlock more as you progress by tapping on a vacant chair before the older, wise-looking DM.
The characters are all kooky and span the gamut of fringe society, from nerds to hipsters and even an ET-alike. You can inbue these characters with traditional Warrior, Rogue, Paladin, or Mage roles to give you a range different abilities to call on - a balance of ranged, melee, and magic powers being the ideal combination.
Then you tap on the DM to receive quests to match your heroes' talents, all of which play out behind the table as though a projector has been set up to chronicle your adventures.
While the missions become more involved and story-based once you break the Level 10 barrier for your characters, early examples are rather blandly stereotypical scraps with rats, bats, and bigger bats.
The grind is alleviated somewhat by the fact that the DM can the number and identity of the attackers before the fight, either making for an easy scrap or a brutal, HP-sapping battles
With all combat reduced to little more than tapping on enemies to target them, though, the real meat of fighting comes from utilising each hero's unique powers - from meteor shower bomb attacks by the Mage to a deadly blade combo from the Warrior.
Everything from the in-game shop to the surprisingly expansive map is navigated using Kairosoft-style tap menus and feels beautifully streamlined for mobile play.
Admittedly, the whole experience is a little rough around the edges - with lots of crashes and phone resets occurring until recent patches - yet the developer Behold Studios appears to be working around the clock to iron out the wrinkles.
Knights of Pen & Paper may be too old-fashioned for some, but players craving an RPG that tickles that retro itch won't be able to resist its dicey charms.