Boomerang X: Occasionally Challenging, Always Innovating – PC Review
I never had a boomerang growing up. Like the diabolo, which was surprisingly as popular as the fidget spinner at one point, the boomerang remained a tantilising mystery I would never get my hands on. The idea of flinging it in one direction only for it to whizz back toward me seemed mesmerisingly mythical. Sadly, to this day, I’ve never thrown a boomerang, and honestly I can’t ever seeing myself doing it. What I imagine would happen, should I ever get my hands on one, would be that I’d throw it, it would limply fall to the ground, and I’d shrug and move on with my life. For now, I want to maintain the air of mystery that surrounds the boomerang. Boomerang X, an arena shooter all about flinging mythical boomerangs at monsters, is helping considerably with that.
“While there isn’t a huge roster of guns at your disposal, the game’s central weapon more than makes up for that with its large variety is skills.”
Boomerang X is a first and foremost a frantically fun arena shooter. To facilitate this, the game’s central mechanic, flinging a sharp as nails boomerang into the hearts of corrupted creatures, works like a charm. Over the course of the relatively short game, you’ll unlock various abilities for your boomerang. These include the ability to teleport towards it, slow down time as you aim it, and unleash a barrage in a buckshot-style blast.
All of these mechanics come together to create an insatiably satisfying loop. While there isn’t a huge roster of guns at your disposal, the game’s central weapon more than makes up for that with its large variety of skills. While the game continually throws unique and challenging enemies the further you progress, it kits you out with a varied and fun enough skillset that you’re never at a loss of how to win. Dashing about the various environments and picking off the legions of enemies simply never gets old.
“Sure, all you have to do is throw a boomerang around. But that one simple mechanic is truly brought to life thanks to the game’s ability to make you think and react on the fly.”
Of course, none of this would matter if the arenas you fought in weren’t interesting in one way or another. Fortunately, this is where Boomerang X shines the brightest. It’s constantly innovating arenas create incredibly fun and emergent gameplay as you progress through its many levels. One mission will position a bad-guy-spawning-bad-guy atop a bridge. It forces you to aim and teleport up to him all while avoiding the bountiful selection of floating baddies. Another has tall grass hiding the creepy crawlies from plain sight, making you panic as they sneak up on you. Each one makes you learn and adapt on the fly. At first you will act out of fear and slip up. But as you continue you’ll learn from your mistakes and beat each level swiftly.
This is primarily where the challenge comes from, as the layout and variety in location means the game is constantly innovating and shifting your understanding of things. Sure, all you have to do is throw a boomerang around. But that one simple mechanic is truly brought to life thanks to the game’s ability to make you think and react on the fly.
“Those looking for a more DOOM-styled arena shooter, Boomerang X may not be for you.”
Boomerang X isn’t cruel though, and it wants you to succeed as best you can. Whenever an enemy gets close, the screen fills up with a black smoke. There are healing platforms that fully recover one of your sheilds (essentially health points) per arena. Furthermore, each wave of a level only requires you to take out the select few enemies that have gold markings above them. While killing the others will certainly help avoiding death, in reality, should you be quick and efficient enough, you’ll smash through the various levels in record time.
Unfortunately, this is also where Boomerang X falters ever so slightly. While the game naturally gets more difficult as it progresses, it isn’t always the most challenging of titles. This isn’t inherently a problem, as I don’t personally subscribe to the “all games must be played on nightmare difficulty” doctrine that certain people do. But, for those looking for a more DOOM-styled arena shooter, Boomerang X may not be for you.
“While Boomerang X may not be for everyone, it’s surreal visual aesthetic, frantic gameplay and constant innovation make it a stand-out indie experience for me.”
However, underlying all of this is Boomerang X’s undeniably stylish aesthetic. From its dreamlike visual style and eerily abstract world-building to its suitably surreal soundtrack, Boomerang X never failed to disappoint. Entering a new location always filled me with a refreshing sense of intrigue. The striking world it creates is also truly remarkable. Exploring the vast world of Boomerang X was certainly a highlight of my experience.
While Boomerang X may not be for everyone, it’s surreal visual aesthetic, frantic gameplay and constant innovation make it a stand-out indie experience for me. Sure, t may not live up to the expectations of those familiar with the DOOM franchise. But it still manages to create an undeniably satisfying arena-shooter experience. As is often indicative of the indie gaming scene, Boomerang X shows that even with something as simple as a boomerang, you can create a world of infinite possibilities.
*Disclaimer: Reviewed on PC, code was provided by the publisher.
Boomerang X Review
Boomerang X is a stylish, fun and arcadey arena shooter that oozes with originality and charm. From its varied arenas to its bountiful selection of enemies to fight, Boomerang X always has something new to show off. While its short length may be off-putting for some initially, its frantic gameplay encourages endless replayability. This is by far the most unique arena shooter I've ever played, and one I highly recommend for fans of the genre.