Panzer Paladin, the latest indie title hoping to overwhelm the nostalgia bar everyone has and take the crown a certain Knight has held for years? What wins a Knight or a Paladin? Fight on!.
Panzer Paladin was developed and published by Tribute Games famous for Mercenary Kings and Ninja Senkai DX, basically they know their way round a pixel or two!.
The story follows Flame and Grit, mysterious enemy spawning weapons have appeared on earth and our heroes aim to travel the world, destroy the enemies and save the day. Lovely stuff.
For a retro styled game there is actually alot of interesting plot here and the cutscene presentation is like someone managed to port 80s anime to the NES, it looks amazing. I personally skipped the cutscenes because I’m old and back in my day it was more shoot less talk, or something like that!. Either way you get a fun 80s anime story OR you can skip it and you won’t really miss too much, win win.
Graphically Panzer Paladin is like a NES/SMS game on steroids, it’s a beautiful mix of 8 bit aesthetic with 2020 technical prowess. The levels are an eclectic mix and all fit within the theme of the country they are. Boss designs are fantastic too, the only slight let down is the enemy design which ranges from ok to generic NES for.
On the audio side of things you got the sweet sweet sound of Chiptune mixed with a little bit of rock. From the theme song onwards the music had me engaged, toe tapping and humming along. Some serious bangers in this one!.
So what exactly is Panzer Paladin? Well I’m glad you asked, pull up a bean bag and we shall reminisce about the good ol’ days. Panzer Paladin is an 8bit inspired platforming game, it takes aspects such as level choice from MegaMan & controls similar to titles such as Ducktails and Shovel Knight and tops them off with the ability to leave your mech ala Blaster Master, it’s like the tastiest Nes/Retro throwback soup.
The hook for Panzer Paladin lies within the weapon system. You’ll find various tools ranging from sword to baseball bats and pipes, these are not only your damage dealers but you can destroy them for buffs, health and the like. Each weapon has a power property too, if this is at a certain level you’ll trigger a mid boss fight OR the same foe will provide you with a weapon.
You can also use these weapons to permanently upgrade your mech. Weapons are also used to create checkpoints in stages, this makes the weapons nearly as important as having some old school gaming skills, you’ll need them here too!.
As good as the weapon system is, it’s a little unbalanced and exploitable. All weapons have durability but as long as you destroy the weapon yourself before it fails you get 100% of the power it gains. There is also no shortage of weapons so once you’ve done a level or two you’ll breeze through the game exploiting this system.
Aside from that there isn’t a whole lot else to separate this game from its peers, while not a damning thing it does make it tougher to suggest over other titles. I absolutely love the game, there is a hefty amount of game here too, 17 stages, New Game Plus and a Boss rush mode, even the ability to design your own weapons (please be grown up!).
First playthrough should run you 4 or so hours, it’s a tough little game but nothing truly NES difficult even if the odd section of the game here and there is reminiscent of it. After that you should be able to earn some more playtime through the various modes and unlocks as well as speed running it, the game is a tasty little title for your money.
I LOVE Panzer Paladin, the look and feel of the game is fantastic, I hope Tribute Games are looking to do more with the game to turn it into a series and hopefully the gaming lands have room for a Paladin to stand toe to toe with it’s famous Knight.
Panzer Paladin ticks just about every retro box I need. A little work on the weapon system in future is bound to create an all time classic
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Straight from the streets of SouthTown, all Dunks Powah'd and ready to Bust A Wolf. Catch me on Twitch/YouTube.