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Panzer Paladin

Posted by GG Goblin On August - 5 - 2020

Save the world from the alien occult with Flame and Grit.

 
Big triple A games with unbelievable visuals and massive open worlds are always attractive. Sometimes though, players want to be cast back in time and play something more simple and decidedly retro. Depending on their age, this could be going back as far as the 8-bit era and playing a game such as Tribute Games’ latest, Panzer Paladin, available on Steam and Switch. Old school fun combined with a Saturday morning cartoon feel, Panzer Paladin will see the player wielding all manner of melee weapons while wearing a giant mech suit to take down a demonic evil from outer space.

 


 
Retro action platformers don’t really need much by way of story, but Panzer Paladin provides anyway. Presented with some nice cut scenes that have more character than they really need, it turns out that a bunch of weapons have plummeted to the Earth from space. These weapons have landed in various locations around the world and given rise to an influx of nasties, including mythological monsters from each of the locations. The player takes on the role of an android pilot, Flame, who, along with her mech suit Grit, can travel to each of these different locations on the world map, in any order, and try to defeat the monsters to save the world. It’s nothing new, but it adds some flavour to the platforming action to come.

 
The game begins with a simple tutorial level that will teach the player everything they need to know to get started on saving the world. The largest part of the time will be spent controlling the suit and wielding a nice variety of different oversized weapons. Without a weapon equipped, the mech has a nice but underpowered punch attack to use, but the weapons are where things get really interesting. These make the mech far more powerful, while also adding more distance to the attack. The problem is that the weapons have a very short shelf life and simply shatter when they run out, potentially leaving the player unarmed again. However, the weapons also have a secondary purpose in that they are imbued with magic that can be released by intentionally destroying them, such as defence buffs or even healing. The trick therefore is to try and use the ability just before the weapon would be destroyed anyway, or to use it when needed and be without a weapon. Decisions, decisions.

 


 
Grit is able to carry multiple weapons, but the weapons also have other uses. They can be thrown at an enemy for a ranged attack, and they also need to be placed in plinths at checkpoints. The mech can crouch down in order to attack low enemies, and can also strike upwards or combine with a jump for a down attack. Otherwise, Grit has a shield and a backwards dash to help against bosses or overwhelming situations. With platforming elements, there is obviously plenty of jumping, which comes with spiked pits and even bottomless pits that the player could fall into and potentially end their run.

 
Then there is Flame, the pilot. At any point, Flame can park up the mech and climb out, heading off by herself. While for the most part this is not a good idea, as the monsters are far more powerful, Flame is armed with a laser whip that can be used to defend herself. There are sections of the game though that require the smaller Flame to be accessible, and Flame’s whip can be used to swing from ceiling hooks through platforming sections. Either way though, she will end up getting back inside her big mech suit and kicking alien butt.

 


 
In terms of weapons for Grit to use, there are plenty to find. Many are dropped by enemies upon defeat, but there are also weapons hidden throughout the levels for the player to find. As the player can only carry a few at a time, it is worth keeping fully stocked, especially when the player knows that a boss battle is coming. Be aware though that weapons lost during a battle will remain gone if the player dies and then respawns at the checkpoint, making subsequent attempts potentially even more difficult. Of the enemies, they are nicely varied and interesting to look at, with some being obviously more alien than others. Then there are the bosses who tend to be large and imposing, and generally take a little while to defeat and provide a tense time.

 
Various different modes will become available to the player eventually, giving access to the likes of speedrun and boss rush. There is also a New Game Plus style mode which mixes things up and makes it more difficult for those players who have already mastered the standard mode, providing a fair amount of replayability. The visuals of Panzer Paladin are straight out of the 8-bit era, with bright colours and simple details. The game looks really nice, if you like that sort of thing. Combined with exciting tunes and effective sound effects, the game really could have existed all those years ago.

 


 
Panzer Paladin is a retro gem and while retro gaming is not to everyone’s taste, any gamers who have a fondness for the games of the past will find plenty to enjoy with this action platformer. The game is by no means easy, especially for those who didn’t grow up with the more difficult games of the NES era, but for challenging old school action, Panzer Paladin should not be missed.

 

 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 



 

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