As soon as I started Galaxy of Pen and Paper, I thought I was in trouble. I'm not the biggest fan of tabletop RPG's, so when a 20 sided die started spinning and a space version of a 'dungeon master' appeared, I thought it wouldn't be for me. I was wrong.
Playing the game starts like any D&D game – a dungeon master is set and starts talking everyone through. Characters are chosen. And all the while it's in 8-bit style graphics, which are quickly becoming more and more common in indie games. But, unlike the fantasy setting of D&D, you're in a sci-fi world of space and planets.
Playing through, just like any immersive-RPG, it quickly becomes about strategy and building your characters. I found it to be pretty fun, and part of that was the banter between all of the characters. Some of it reminded me of the Community episode featuring D&D, and during slower parts or parts that seemed ridiculous, it definitely helped keep me focused on the game. The pop culture references helped too. In one level I was fighting expies of Jawas from Star Wars and in another, and I won't spoil it because it's just too fun, it's a great battle that felt like a long time coming.
The game itself is also fun – choosing between what to say can be great, as can the bouts of action. Anyone familiar with RPGs will be familiar to the turn-based fighting style here, and it works fine. Unlike some games, I was happy to see you can carry a lot of stuff and several skills. It had just the right amount. What you get is a mix of what you expect from tabletop games and what you expect from RPG video games. When I played through I could see being in another world, but at the same time I saw the table of people playing at the bottom – it was a clever touch to be grounded and fantasy at the same time, much like the earlier game Knights of Pen and Paper.
The music was also great – think 80's early morning cartoon action meets 90's anime action series battle music, with a synthesizer tinge. It's instantly nostalgic, and really wants to make you play and win. Very fitting for the game, but also well done.
Overall, Galaxy of Pen and Paper holds a lot of promise. I'm excited to see the final product. It made me like RPGs a bit, and I didn't think it would do it, but it did. The sci-fi setting, music, game play and especially the banter between everyone clicked. For an early version of the game to get so much right early on, well, again, it's exciting. It's only a preview, but it's doing a hell of a lot right so far.