Release Date: 2024Players: 1 (only)
Designer: Tom BrintonLength: 15-90 minutes
Artist: Mateusz MichalskiAge: 10+
Publisher: Lucky Duck GamesComplexity: 1.5 / 5
Plastic (by weight): <1%Air (by volume): <1%

Welcome, adventurer. You are about to embark on a very unique dungeon crawl. Sharpen your pencil and be brave. You are about to face an almost endless cave system stuffed to the brim with coins, treasure chests, spiders’ webs, enemies and even the odd portal. So off you go, brave fellow, and descend the stairs into the amazing Paper App Dungeon by Tom Brinton from Lucky Duck Games.

The rulebook really sets the scene and it is immediately clear that this wonderful solo game is meant to be light-hearted. The first few pages of the 60-page notebook explain that your trusty pencil is also a six-sided dice, which Paper App Dungeon aptly calls a P6. It also tells you how your dice results are translated into movement and that you bounce off walls without losing your stride. They also introduce you to the treasures and obstacles that await. So, now you’re ready. It’s time to flip over another page.

However, before you enter the first level, your first task, as a brave explorer armed with no more than a pencil and a spiral-bound notebook, is to decorate your hero. Feel free to use coloured pencils to give the meeple outline a unique look. Make your character look menacing or friendly, with long golden locks or no hair at all, maybe sporting a tunic or relying on a full set of armour – the choice is all yours. You can easily spend hours just doodling, but eventually, it is time to enter the first floor of this extremely deep dungeon.

Flipping Dungeon

Paper App Dungeon is really easy to learn. There is a QR code for more detailed explanations, if you need them, but at the end of the day, it all quickly makes sense when you take your first steps on the introductory level. If you’re ever in doubt, just go with whatever feels right. After all, this is your adventure and if you get a couple of rules wrong, it’s not the end of the world. Paper App Dungeon is all about the fun, not about competing with others.

That’s actually quite an important point. You might think that it would be important to follow the rules correctly, so that you can compare your progress to your friends’. The thing is, that’s not going to be possible. Each dungeon is procedurally generated making every copy of Paper App Dungeon unique. So if you’re doing really well on the first few floors and your friends are struggling, it’s not because you’re the better pencil roller. Their levels might just be harder than yours.

Saying that, progressive floors do get more difficult, just like you would expect from any good dungeon crawler. You are slowly eased in and are given a chance to load up on coins and lives, before you’re thrown into the spider pit. There will be easier pages to give you a bit of a breather, but Paper App Dungeon never fully lets up.

Every five floors or so, there is a shop, where you can use your coins to spend on one-off boosts and upgrades. So it is really important that you take care not to lose all your health and therefore also all your money on the floor just before the shop. You will kick yourself if you do, which is why I have so many bruises.

the pencil in Paper App Dungeon is also a dice
the pencil in Paper App Dungeon is also a dice

Paper Light

Paper App Dungeon immediately appealed to me. That’s saying a lot because not only am I not a huge fan of roll-and-write games, I’m also not really a solo gamer either. Despite that, this pencil-rolling notebook dungeon game had me hooked from the get-go. It only takes a few minutes to play a floor. So before you have a chance to sharpen your pencil, you will be on floor 5, have lost all of your lives and have no money to buy anything in the first shop you get to.

Not only that, you will do it all over again during your next lunch break. You will be playing Paper App Dungeon every day of the week, whenever you get five minutes. You quickly bring out your notebook, pull the P6 out of the spiral binding, flip to the next level and have another stab at whatever obstacles await.

I’ve had to sharpen my pencil twice to keep my hero in tip-top condition. I have also used the eraser a bit, which does make the dice a little weighted towards certain numbers, but that was unavoidable. I had to undo my last turn when I realised I was heading into certain doom. Of course, you might decide that there are no takebacks, but as I said at the beginning, that is your choice. I prefer a lighter game that gives me a more enjoyable experience.

Dungeon App

So there we are. Paper App Dungeon has really surprised me in a very positive way. I expected to play a handful of levels and be done with it. Yet, here I am at level 20 and still going. While gameplay is really simple, there are meaningful decisions you make. As you roll the pencil and draw your way through the level, it does feel like you’re in front of your computer or game console, playing an 80s console game.

However, while I enjoy the nostalgia, my daughter really wants to play the game too. I think it’s the physicality of rolling a pencil, making decisions, drawing lines, totting up coins and health and wondering what the next level holds is really appealing to a wide range of people. Also, it’s pretty cheap to buy. So even if you don’t get on with it, you haven’t lost much and chances are someone else will take Paper App Dungeon off you and enjoy it instead.

Useful Links

Transparency Facts

I feel that this review reflects my own, independent and honest opinion, but the facts below allow you to decide whether you think that I was influenced in any way.
  • I was sent a free review copy of this game by the publisher.
  • At the time of writing, neither the designers, nor the publisher, nor anyone linked to the game supported me financially or by payment in kind.

Audio Version

Intro Music: Bomber (Sting) by Riot (

Music: “Darkness” by AShamaluevMusic.

Music: “Destination” by AShamaluevMusic.


These are the songs I listened to while I was writing this review:

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