Paladin by Pumpkin Games is a 2-D twin stick shooter with the simple objective of protecting the cities below from alien attack. Paladin feels like a mix of old school classics Asteroids and Missile Command with a Geometry Wars feel and gameplay. With 5 different ships to choose each with it’s own skill set there are many different ways to play through the game. Each ship has different acceleration, speed and guns which makes you play as each ship to find the one that’s right for you. The ship “Boa” has dual blasters and is slower than the rest while the “Viper” ship is the fastest top speed and shoots a “sidewinder”.
For me the Boa worked best because I was able to control it better than the other ships. The others, for me, moved too fast and I ended up crashing into enemies too often. Each ship also has it’s own Nuke and Rage weapon. The “Manta” ship has a Ion Cannon nuke and a Laser Rage weapon and the “Cobra” ships nuke is the Nemesis and it’s Rage is the Homing Missiles. You buy the Nukes and other upgrades through the Store that is available at the end of every level. You can also upgrade your Gun Power, Fire Rate, and buy lives as well as other City Defenses and adding people to the cities. Generally I was only able to upgrade one thing after the levels because i was buying lives.
Also throughout the game I found myself too preoccupied shooting enemies that I forgot to use the Nukes or Rage until it was too late. There is a handy upgrade called “Auto Nuke” which will trigger a nuke instead of you getting killed which was handy late in the game with the huge amount of enemies that will come at you. The enemies progress throughout the game as well starting out with simple bots that just go after you and ships that attack the cities to later on large snake-like ships and ships that when you kill them multiple little enemies shoot out after you trying to get you.
Killing enemies gives you experience that fills up your Rage meter as well as money. The trick with the Money is you need to actually go collect it instead of it just automatically going into your account. This is a fun feature because when you’re low on money you find yourself flying where you shouldn’t to get the money and usually dying. There are 40 levels to make your way through and 4 end bosses to fight but they are all similar which was kind of boring. Each end boss is a long snake with 4 spinning guns essentially that you need to kill and once you do kill them you’ve beaten the boss, so save your Nukes and Rage and you shouldn’t have any problems.
One other BIG thing to make sure you do is don’t let your cities get destroyed. Which sounds pretty basic, but when they get destroyed they then become a giant laser that stays up for 5 or 10 seconds and when you’re fighting the boss or even a large amount of enemies it’s incredibly easy to run in to it and lose lives. Paladin had a lot of potential but unfortunately the bosses were too repetitive and really the achievements were too easy. After getting through about half of the game on Normal I switched over to Easy and cruised through the end. It took a little bit of the fun out of it but it also allowed me to 100% the game in under 2 hours.
If all I wanted to do was get the 100% I would have just set it to easy from the get-go and gone from there. Also Pumpkin Games could have and should have set up the achievements like some other games where you need to “beat the game with each ship” or “buy all available upgrades” and that would have made things more interesting and pushed me to play more. Once you make it through there’s really no chance you haven’t gotten all the achievements because the last boss gives you a bonus of $50k which pops the “earn $35k” achievement. For the price of the game it may be a little steep if you’re expecting to get hours and hours of gameplay out of it, but if you’re looking for a quick and easy 1000 gamerscore then Paladin is right in your wheelhouse.