This is Paladin, the brand new release from Pumpkin Games. It's a 2D shoot-em-up that takes a lot of influence from the classic arcade games of the 1980s. It's currently available via itch.io and the Humble Store, and is headed to Steam and Xbox One in the near future. I know you have a lot of questions about this brand new shooter, so let's crib this.
Is this some sort of remake?
If the name sounds familiar, then it's probably because you owned a Commodore 64 in the early 1980s. Paladin was a fast-paced Defender clone from Triad Software that managed to nail the speed and arcade action. This brand new game is also inspired by Defender, but that's where the similarities stop. It uses the wide horizontal space as a jumping off point and adds dual-stick shooting, leveling up and even city defense. It's a game that may have a lot of familiar parts, but it still manages to feel fresh and unique.
Back to the name Paladin for a moment. The developer tells me that it comes from looking for a synonym of the word "defender." How much you want to bet that's exactly how Triad Software came up with the name of their 1980 clone?
Why play this when Resogun already exists?
It's the same reason you play Resogun when Defender already exists. Much like Housemarque's brilliant PlayStation shoot-em-up, Paladin brings something new to the table. For one thing, you're doing a lot more than shooting left or right. The dual-stick approach gives you complete control over who you target, and it also breathes new life into the familiar formula. You're also tasked with protecting the cities down below, which adds a lot of urgency to an already tense firefight.
Perhaps the most interesting addition involves leveling up your ship between rounds. The idea is to pick up as much cash as you can from the downed alien ships. You'll be able to spend that money to buy extra lives and weapon upgrades. And that's not all; you'll even be able to expand the defenses of the cities by installing shields and weapons. Best of all, these upgrades are permanent as you work through 40 challenging stages.
Is that all there is to Paladin?
Absolutely not! We haven't even talked about the four evil boss creatures or the ever-changing enemy types. And it's probably worth mentioning that there are five different ships to choose from, each with their own weapons and attributes. Of course, none of this will come as a surprise to anybody familiar with Pumpkin Games. The veteran indie developer has managed to release nine different games across a variety of systems. In fact, you may have played some of their more popular releases, like Ultratron, Titan Attacks and Doppelganger, all three of which hit the Xbox 360. They also made Uridium, a next-generation update to the Commodore 64 game of the same name. But I'm telling you, Paladin is definitely not a remake.
Fans of Defender who are sick of replaying Resogun will find a lot to love in Paladin. I love the mix of genres and how polished the package feels. The game is currently available through the developer's website and the Humble Store for $6.99. It's definitely worth that and is easy to recommend. It's worth mentioning that Paladin is also awaiting approval in Steam Greenlight and will be hitting Xbox One in 2017. I'll have a full review when either the Steam or console versions are released, but I can safely say that I dig Paladin.