Kai Chronicles – The Pen is Mightier Than the +2 Crit Sword

Mar 9, 2018
Role Play

The Kai Chronicles isn’t a flashy game. It doesn’t boast robust combat, or lavishly detailed graphics. There isn’t even a musical score serving as a background. Kai is a genuine old-school, choose your own adventure roleplaying game from the 80’s, updated to meet modern standards while still encapsulating what made it engaging in the first place.

All the original illustrations and writing from Joe Dever’s original 1984 game are included here, as are the multiple stories to journey through. You star as the last of the Kai warriors – think Jedi but in a fantasy medieval era – and must quest to save the kingdom from an invading horde.


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As plot conceits go, Kai isn’t all that groundbreaking, but more than makes up for that with the genuine freedom that text allows. You can be as chivalrous or self-centered as you please. Save a wizard under attack, or spare yourself the trouble so you don’t take any damage. Loot a place for gear or be courtesy to the original owners.

The writing supports your actions, and while bound to cliches, at least builds the experience up with good prose. What’s most bold of all is, unless you take the time to manually save your progress, Kai will let you die and have to restart from the beginning. This is hardcore roleplaying at its most primal and intimate.

The only problem is, this tough-but-fair nature will either be what sells you on the experience or swiftly leads you to uninstall the game. There’s over seven book-length adventures with numerous branching paths to navigate, in addition to several attributes and playstyles to choose from during character creation. Whole options may or may not be available based on your character’s perks. You even get a little randomization thanks to certain stat and loot tables being decided by virtual dice rolls. Unfortunately, combat is also completely built around dice, so one unlucky roll can end your hero’s journey there and then.

This is hardcore roleplaying at its most primal and intimate.

There are, thankfully, a few updates to Kai Chronicles that help compensate for the sometimes brutal difficulty of these old-school RPGs. For instance, there are numerous notes throughout the game alerting you to when a choice or item matters without spoiling why. All dice rolls and character management is handled by the app itself, letting you just dive into the story rather than crunch numbers. Much appreciated additions by the project’s developers, Project AON.

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An additional boon for the hardcore roleplay hobbyist – if you want to craft your own stories, all the game systems are there to easily take reference from for personal pen and paper fun.

What’s most shocking about this remastered classic is that all of its content is available for free without ads or microtransactions. The fact it’s all text based means it’s also exceptionally light on your battery.

Kai Chronicles is an excellent throwback. If you yearn for a tale as lengthy as The Witcher 3 or with the freedom of classic Bioware or Obsidian, this is a fantastic option for Android gamers on the go.

Our Rating

A classic pen & paper RPG in the palm of your hand.Unforgiving old-school sensibilities may turn off some modern gamers.

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Elijah Beahm

Elijah is a man who can't stop talking about games, geeky things, and to the chagrin of his colleagues, horrible puns. He's been working as a game journalist for several years now, and in addition to Appolicious, His other work can be found at GameCritics.com, I Need Diverse Games, and The Unabridged Gamer on YouTube. When not reviewing games, you'll probably find him ranting on Twitter, writing, or replaying Dead Space 2 for the zillionth time.

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