Paladin is a twin-stick shooter developed and published by the fine folks at Pumpkin Games. You take the role of a fighter pilot in your quest to save humanity from an incoming alien invasion. You are the last savior of Earth and without you, it will be destroyed by the dreaded alien menace. Can you rise to the call and save the planet from this devastating enemy?
At its core, Paladins is a very simple title that has very little to offer. The gameplay mechanics have you flying and blasting your way through forty waves of battle, annihilating more and more aliens as you progress. The game provides you with five different fighter jets to choose from, each providing a unique set of weapons and varying speed and acceleration. While I have used all of the ships, my favorite was definitely the Manta. Touted as the Top of the Line Military Fighter Jet, I found that it handled the best, while still providing great damage. Each of the fighter jets provided a different playstyle to add a bit of variety depending on how you prefer to play the game. For example, the Manta has equipped the Shredder, a machine gun with a high rate of fire, and a barrage of lasers when you activate your rage meter. The rage meter activates your superweapon, which deals additional damage and is filled up by killing enemies quickly. The meter does not decrease once you get it to a certain percentage and even carries over between levels. While rage is not too important in the beginning stages, it is amazing later on in the game for slicing through the waves of aliens.
Similar to games like Geometry Wars, every time you kill an enemy, they drop points and money. The points have no purpose in the game except for your overall leaderboard score, but the money is essential for progress. The currency is used to purchase upgrades for your ship and the cities underneath your protections. Most of the upgrades are quite standard to the shmup genre (health, nukes, faster fire rate, and higher gun power), but the upgrades for the city are pretty unique. Upgrades like population and city defense are used to protecting the humans of Earth later in the game. Without these upgrades, I feel that I could have lost one or two of the various cities that you have to protect because later on the game can become quite hectic. However, I had no problem having a full population throughout most of the game after I got those upgrades unlocked.
The visuals and soundtrack of this title are underwhelming at best. The visuals don’t offer much excitement, as the aliens are nothing but circles and triangles with small details to tell them apart. In addition to this, the background does not change at all throughout the entire game. You go forty levels and the only changes that come from the aliens and the few additions that get added to the cities below. While the visuals are vibrant, they just felt lazy and unfinished. The soundtrack is not much different as it gets repetitive quickly and doesn’t add much to the experience. I barely noticed any music throughout the game as the sounds of gunshots and explosions drowned it out. Nevertheless, the music was not a strong suit, even when the warzone was silent.
While playing through Paladin, I felt that I was playing a flash game, rather than an Xbox One title. The game has only one mode and does not provide a lot of replayability, if any at that. In addition to this, the game is extremely short. I was able to get through all forty levels in around 45 minutes and I even messed up a few times. I could not believe it when I got to the end of the game and I couldn’t do anything else except play it again. However, with all that said, I did enjoy the time that I had with this game. It was fun and fast-paced from time to time. I wish I could have said more about this game because I really enjoy twin-stick shooters, but I just can’t. My biggest issue with this game didn’t even come from the game itself, but the pricing of the game. This game is priced at $10 USD, which is usually not too bad for an indie title on the Xbox One, but there is no reason this game should have been priced this high. It is an extremely short experience that does nothing but makes you want more. Add this to the lack of story just makes it even worse. With all this in mind, I cannot recommend this game to anyone unless it goes on sale. It is average gameplay that doesn’t last any time at all and I cannot justify on telling people to pay full price for it.
*Note: A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of the review.
Final Score: 3.5/10
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