When it comes to variety, the publisher Devolver Digital has no equal. It has a knack for seeking out developers that like to try new things. Such is the case with Boomerang X. Developed by DANG!, the title is a mix of platformer, FPS, and bullet hell, all mixed into one. My review of Boomerang X is mostly one of joy, save for a few nitpicks here and there.
Stranger in a strange land
Boomerang X is very light on the plot. Your main character is shipwrecked at the beginning of the adventure. You find a sweet boomerang shuriken early on, traverse different worlds through portals, and try to make sense of the ending when all is said and done. That’s pretty much it, aside from the one bug NPC you can converse with, that is. Mostly, the backdrops between battles serve as a means to get new powers and extra shields for your life bar.
Bust some heads
Where Boomerang X really shines is in its combat. After obtaining the boomerang, you’ll start gaining new abilities after every enemy wave you conquer (think arena shooter). You can throw it in front of you, charge it so it goes farther, call it back to you faster than waiting for its arc to finish, and teleport to where it is. Later on, you’ll gain the power to slow down time, shoot a scattershot, fire a needle in a straight line, cause an explosion when you land from the air, and charge through multiple targets at once. It’s a versatile weapon.
Enemy waves work like this: Each one has certain adversaries you have to kill. There are always more foes than what you are required to eliminate, so you don’t need to blast everything, but doing so comes with advantages. Enhancements like the scattershot and needle require you to hit multiple baddies at once to activate, so it’s a good idea to stock some before turning your attention to the required targets.
Strategy is key in Boomerang X
Arenas start off small but gradually grow more complex as you progress. By the end of your journey, you’ll have scarce few platforms to launch yourself off of and land upon. At that point, you’ll be zipping around the area, slowing time down while aiming a perfect shot at an enemy’s weak point (red crystals located somewhere upon their body). You’ll also be looking for every life refill scattered about to heal while you are being pelted with attacks from every angle. It’s really tense and fun, especially since it takes a few seconds for the refills to be added to your life bar. Fans of Doom Eternal‘s frantic pace will find a lot to love here.
Enemy variety is another high point. Every area will introduce new dark blobs for you to conquer. Some teleport when you approach, others have multiple crystals to shatter before dying, one has to be stunned before you can approach its back for a kill, and there are flying bug-like creatures that create shields around giant foes that must be eradicated before you can damage the big boys. The last boss, in particular, is quite challenging and contains multiple phases.
A few blemishes
Boomerang X did not disappoint me much at all. Some things I did not enjoy were the confusing plot, the linearity, and the fact the game is only a few hours long. In addition, the last power-up you obtain is quite satisfying to use, but you get it so close to the conclusion. Thankfully, there is a New Game+ Mode where you start the game over with pretty much all your abilities. The encounters get more difficult, too.
But these are minor inconveniences. Boomerang X is a short but sweet indie gem. Its frantic nature has you holding your breath as a deadly laser misses you by inches while you throw your boomerang at an arena’s last combatant. Expect to have a lot of moments like that if you decide to purchase Devolver’s latest unique title.
A review code for Boomerang X was provided by the publisher.