You are earth’s last hero tasked with defending cities from alien attacks. Paladin plays as a horizontal twin-stick shooter that puts an emphasis on precise movements. Fend off attackers and defeat bosses in 40 different levels across multiple difficulties. Players can choose from five different ships with various attributes and weaponry on their quest to defend earth.
Controlling your ship is fast and easy with the left thumbstick. You must be careful because simply contacting an enemy will cost you a life, and those who are careless will lose them quickly. The player moves horizontally, shooting enemies with the right thumbstick and collecting the money they drop before it disappears. The HUD, while a bit ugly, helps the player identify how many enemies are on each side of the level along with their lives and special weapons. As you rack up kills, you slowly fill your rage meter which increases your movement speed and rate of fire when unleashed. The player also has powerful nuke weapons that can clear the entire screen of enemies when you are in a pinch. The controls all felt natural which I felt was important when a simple miscue can cost you a life.
A shop will open after clearing each level, this gives the player a chance to buy more lives, nukes or upgrades. I was able to purchase and equip city defenses that fought off aliens admirably while I focused my attention elsewhere. Each item increases in cost as your buy or upgrade it more, but thankfully I was able to purchase everything by the time the 40th levels was completed. Achievement hunters will be excited to hear that Paladin is a very easy and enjoyable completion that won’t require a guide. The game is a single player experience, so no local or online co-op or versus mode to be found.
Paladin uses a simple art style consisting of bright colored enemies and environments contrasting with a dark background. The use of color is quite appealing visually, but not very impressive on a technical level. I enjoyed the upbeat and catchy music that accompanies the gameplay quite much. I was also pleased to see that levels load almost instantly (playing on an original Xbox One) and restarting a stage happens just as fast. Paladin has high levels of presentation and a great mix of stylish visuals and fitting music.
Paladin is a game that was enjoyable while it lasted, which was unfortunately about one hour. The gameplay is functionally sound and I never felt overwhelmed thanks to the handful of difficulty settings. Paladin was a joy to see and listen to that never kept me waiting with loading screens. I absolutely loved the quick and painless gamerscore, but I don’t see myself coming back to play for fun. At $9.99 USD, Paladin is a low-risk purchase for most; just know that replay value is tied to replaying levels on harder difficulties with different ships.