Boomerang X Review – A Fairly Fun, Frenetic FPS Challenge
Developer DANG! and publisher Devolver Digital have teamed up together to create a boomerang based first-person title that will test your reflexes and aim. I got a chance to play this game early thanks to a code from Devolver Digital. So how does this quick-paced fps title fare? Check out my thoughts in the Boomerang X review below.
The premise of Boomerang X is fairly simple. You play as a no-name protagonist who washes up on the shores of a mysterious island after a shipwreck. On this island you step through a strange portal that leads you to a boomerang on an anvil. This boomerang becomes you central weapon as you explore the mysterious island.
Using the boomerang you traverse a variety of levels on the island. Each level is a sort of puzzle you need to solve by completing its enemy waves. In each level there are a certain number of yellow marked enemies that must be killed. Killing these marked enemies advances the waves, allowing to complete the level. Completing a level lets you move on to the next level, deeper in the island.
Clearing the early stages is simple enough as you only face basic enemies and have limited mechanics. As you progress you unlock new abilities and face off against tougher opponents. Some of the abilities you unlock include things like health upgrades, scattershot, teleport to boomerang, needle shot and more. All of the new abilities are introduced alongside tougher enemies that typically require the new mechanics to defeat.
Difficulty wise there is a nice curve to the game. While there is no set difficulty setting there is a time-slow down mechanic that players can use to make dealing with the hoards of enemies more manageable. Some of the later levels get fairly fast and frenetic and this ability made it more manageable. If you are skilled FPS player you can ignore this mechanic entirely and are rewarded with the game’s harder to unlock achievements.
Overall the game’s gameplay works for the most part. The first-person action is tight and responsive within many of game’s levels across its 4 hour campaign (there is NG+). As I progressed through the campaign I did notice gameplay became more grindy and less fun. Certain harder enemies are just a pain to fight with there being specific areas to hit to deal damage. This is especially true for the final level and boss fight which are just long slogs to complete.
Further impacting my enjoyment was the game’s failure to tell me what was dealing damage to me. Many times I would take damage from seemingly no source as the action is just so frenetic you have no idea what is going on. Since the damage dealing attacks aren’t obvious it can be hard to learn enemy attack patterns, which can be vital to completing levels.
I also found the healing system to be the antithesis to the action, quick-movement style the game wants you to play. To heal you need to stop on top of healing platform for a good 3 seconds. This is insanely hard to do without getting hit and literally felt useless at times. This is a strange design decision as it really hurts the flow of combat.
There is a vague story that runs through the main campaign of Boomerang X. The story is told by an NPC you can interact with or ignore. There are also subtle hints about the island told through the different locations you explore across the various levels in-game.
If you are wanting story rich this title is not for you. The story presentation style reminded me of Disc Room which I recently reviewed where there is some story, but the core focus is on the gameplay.
Presentation & Stability
Gameplay and story aside the game is presented nicely. The art-style is that of a sort of cell-shaded cartoony style that looks nice. Each of the different levels are unique and distinct with interesting design both from horizontal and vertical perspectives. The same can be said for the different enemies in the game. They are all unique looking and well-designed.
Stability wise I found the game to run flawlessly on my PC. Over the course of my 4 hour playthrough I encountered no bugs or issues running the title. Kudos to DANG!.
I enjoyed most of my time playing Boomerang X, but wasn’t blown away by any one aspect of the game. The core gameplay mechanics work fairly well for the majority of the game. Playing the game feels good, looks good, and is stable. With that said I did find things start to feel a bit grindy and not fun in the later levels and the final boss fight. Couple this late game slog with a few minor annoying design choices and you have a good, but not great, gaming experience.
Boomerang X released on July 8th for PC and Nintendo Switch. Code reviewed was provided by the publisher.