I’m always overly critical about the games I play on my mobile. I’m adamant in my belief that certain genre’s work exceptionally well on a tablet or phone, while others fall flat on their face. It’s even more worrisome when the game is a port from console or PC. Paper Dungeons, originally released as a Steam Greenlight title, has made its way to the Android, and the question remains – does it work as well as it did on the computer? The answer to that is: better than you’d expect.
Paper Dungeons is a digital table top RPG with a charming art style based around, you guessed it, paper. The visuals are simple,and give the game a delightful aesthetic that’s a welcome change of pace from the typical indie 8-bit, 16-bit romanticism. The dungeons are laid out on a large paper grid, and movement is fluid and easy. Your goal is to trot through the dungeon and clear out all the baddies inside in typical roguelike fashion. Your reason? Something about saving a king or whatnot – the story is not what you’re here for.
The charming aesthetic of Paper Dungeons should pull in casual table top fans, but the luck based gameplay might be harder to swallow for the hardcore set. In true dice building game style, you choose a set of dice which you roll when you initiate combat. The amount of damage you do is totally determined by the dice roll. This can sometimes be frustrating as it relies solely on the luck of your dice. You can customize your dice set to your play style, utilizing different spells and abilities that enhance or hinder your performance. and it adds some pretty impressive depth to the game. You also gain health with every new square uncovered, and there are mid-level save points throughout that are quite helpful as they are essential for quick play sessions and help offset the games difficulty.
For a $3 dollar Android game Paper Dungeons is packed to the brim with content. There are four single player modes: A campaign mode, which features a full-fledged adventure; board game mode, which places you in a randomized dungeon and is more akin to a normal D&D type game (without the dungeon master, of course); a rogue mode, which is simply a survival gametype, and a puzzle mode. In addition, there’s also a map editor, a campaign editor, and the ability to upload and download custom maps online.
Oddly enough, there is no local or multiplayer option, and while it’s not a total loss, I could see myself really enjoying a coop dungeon crawl with a pal. My idea of a tabletop game is one played with many people, and not as a solo journey. Still, Paper Dungeons excels at taking a pen and paper style game and making it into a viable mobile experience and it’s perfect for both extended and short playthroughs. While a frustratingly high-level of difficulty may deter some casual players, tabletop fans looking for a mobile fix will be pleasantly rewarded by the hidden depth of this digital pen and paper game.
Is it Hardcore?
While a sometimes punishing level of difficulty may deter casual fans, tabletop fans looking for a mobile fix won’t go wrong with Paper Dungeons and its surprising depth.