Violence And Precision In Motion
HIGH Fast-Paced and mechanically satisfying.
LOW Trying to aim precisely at any point.
WTF Does Teppen like me or want to eat me?
Hi everyone! Eugene Sax here with another review from Gamecritics.com. This time, I’m looking at the stylish action game from DANG! and Devolver Digital, Boomerang X.
Boomerang X is a first-person arena shooter where players find a magical boomerang to defend themselves from darkened creatures that inhabit a strange island. As players explore, they will also come across rooms that will grant magic powers to help defeat these creatures. While there’s not a lot to Boomerang X as far as the story goes, or even the content (to be frank) the cell-shaded style, enemy design, and blood-pumping music didn’t give me a chance to dwell on that. I was too busy moving, throwing my boomerang, and trying to survive.
Arena combat is the focus of Boomerang X. Players are set in a closed area and must survive waves of enemies. However, it’s not as simple as defeating everything in sight. Each wave has specific yellow outlined enemies that need to be defeated for the wave to end. While this is fairly easy at first, eventually players will have a large arena with one yellow enemy and a sea of extras standing between them. Using the boomerang and the magic abilities is one thing, but players must also must keep on the move in order to dodge anything that could attack them at a moment’s notice.
Thankfully, the movement and combat mechanics slot together masterfully. The first ability players get will be to launch themselves to the boomerang after they throw it. Now the boomerang is a deadly weapon, but this ability turns it into an invaluable escape tool to get out of hairy situations. Players also get the ability to charge a throw, which will slow down time. This slowdown, paired with the versatility of the boomerang and being able to move around the arena quickly lets players zip around while still maintaining a sense of control. Things get kinetic, but not chaotic.
So the boomerang is great, but let’s look at the magic abilities that turn players into deadly assassins, starting with the first two abilities: a shotgun blast and a quick sniper shot.
Players have to do certain things in order to charge each ability. For example, kill two enemies with one throw to get a charge of the shotgun blast, or get three kills simultaneously with the shotgun blast to get a charge of the sniper shot. Everything dovetails beautifully, with abilities being earned at a steady pace. The loop of throwing the boomerang to get one magic move, and then using that power to charge a more powerful move is seamless, and the difficulty curve ramps up just enough to keep things challenging without getting overwhelming.
While combat is honed to a razor’s edge, I do have a few minor gripes. Playing on the Switch may not be the best way to experience Boomerang X, knowing that it’s also on PC. I found myself wanting mouse precision instead of using the Switch’s joysticks. I also wish there was just a bit more to the experience. Yes, there is a new game plus where players can go back through with all of their abilities and battle through more difficult arenas, but it only amounts to different enemy combinations that don’t feel as balanced in the second run.
However, the biggest gripe I have is a major difficulty spike in the final arena that can really be frustrating. Up until the final level, Boomerang X has a steady curve of increasing challenge — creatures move more erratically, they guard their weak points, some arenas can have places that will damage the player if they land there, and so on. The last arena removes most safe areas for the player to land, makes the walls damaging to the player, and has enemies retaliate immediately once they’re hit. I understand that the last arena is supposed to be a quote-unquote boss fight, but I feel the drastic shift will sucker punch players right at the end of the game.
Don’t get me wrong though, I enjoyed Boomerang X. Enemy designs were clever and paired well with the abilities available, and even though the plot was thin, there was just enough to keep me curious right up until the end.
For me: Boomerang X gets an 8.5 out of 10.
Disclosures: This game is developed by DANG! and published by Devolver Digital. It is currently available on PC and Switch. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PC. Approximately 6 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was completed. There are no multiplayer modes.
Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated E10+ and contains Fantasy Violence. Players will be throwing a boomerang into black shadow enemies that will be firing lasers, fire, poison, and attacking with claws and teeth. Enemies explode into shadowy mist as they are defeated.
Colorblind Modes: There are multiple color sliders for this game. Options include changing the required enemy color, weak point colors, and shield colors, and a High contract mode.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: All information is displayed through text, but text size is not resizable. The sound provides ambiance, but is not necessary to play This game is fully accessible.
Remappable Controls: All controls are remappable for this game.
While Sonic and Street Fighter were great places to start, his first love was Final Fantasy X when his dad bought a PS2. Ever since, that love for gaming has evolved -- there are a number of game worlds out there, and he intends to explore them all. RPG to horror, platformers to casual and everything in between -- if it’s available, he’ll play it.
While his time is short between writing reviews, tabletop gaming, and attempting to start a cheesecake business, he has caught all 806 pokemon and can speedrun Star Fox 64 in less than 40 minutes. He’s always looking for new things to try and new challenges to conquer. You can find him on Twitter -- @eugene_sax.