We’ve seen several developers take a swing at the arena shooter, with players taking on both NPC and player-controlled enemies in an enclosed space. DANG!’s upcoming arena shooter Boomerang X is a bit different from the bunch, as players don’t actually do much “shooting.” Instead, players are equipped with a magical boomerang that they use to strike down enemies. With a fun spin on the formula, DANG! delivers an impressive arena shooter.
Fight for your life
Boomerang X opens with players arriving on the beach of a mysterious island filled with dangerous creatures and hazardous environments. After finding a sharpened boomerang, they'll will have to navigate the island, fighting through large waves of enemies. As players make their way through the game, many of the strange things about the world will begin to make sense.
Boomerang X isn't a graphically intensive job, as the developers opted for a unique art style instead. The island is still colorful, with each section of the game feeling visually distinct from the others. This is also true for the different enemies in the game, which are so different from one another, some of them look like they could have been imported from other games. I also dug the audio design in Boomerang X. From the ambient noises of the jungle to the sound of the boomerang charging up, sound helps to set the tone in Boomerang X.
They keep coming back
The boomerang is the primary tool in Boomerang X. Players throw the boomerang to take out enemies and, just like boomerangs are known to do, it always flies back to your hands. If you move around after chucking the boomerang, it will track and follow behind you. Players can accelerate the process, as right-clicking the mouse will summon the boomerang back almost instantly.
When players get into combat, they’re locked into a small arena, with enemies coming in a limited number of waves. As levels get more difficult, combat gets more and more chaotic, with enemies practically swarming players in hordes. It’s in these moments that the boomerang made me feel like a complete badass. Tossing it frantically and lining up my recalls in order to hit multiple enemies at once all felt incredibly satisfying.
There’s a slew of different enemy types in Boomerang X. Some are spider-like and crawl around on the ground, while others fly through the sky freely. There’s even larger enemies that only serve the purpose of spawning additional small enemies for you to deal with. Having a wide variety in monster types also keeps the player on their toes, forcing them to constantly adapt and focus on multiple things at once during combat.
There’s also a good sense of challenge in the fact that the boomerang has no form of lock-on or auto-aim. Player accuracy is vital, despite the fact the boomerang can be recalled almost instantly. Playing on keyboard and mouse, I was able to adapt pretty easily.
In addition to its solid world pacing, the combat and character progression in Boomerang X is excellent as well. There are a number of unlockable abilities, such as a feat that lets you slingshot yourself to the airborne boomerang, or slow down time during throws. Having all of these abilities working in tandem makes combat exciting, and the wealth of functionality prevents the boomerang from feeling stale or repetitive as the game progresses.
In between combat sections in Boomerang X is when players will receive upgrades, get a bit of lore, and solve some minor puzzles. I wish that there was more to the sections that break up the combat. With all of the cool abilities featured and the physics of the boomerang itself, I feel like there was an opportunity for some really robust non-combat sequences. Though these sections aren’t bad, they just felt like connective tissue between combat areas.
A unique angle
Boomerang X is a fresh take on the arena shooter. Focusing on one weapon, the range in abilities and the ceiling for skill make frenetic combat exciting in just about every instance. The game is rather short, but that works perfectly for the pace of both the story and combat. Only feeling dull in the moments between the action, DANG! and Devolver Digital have an impressive indie on their hands with Boomerang X.
This review is based on a digital Steam code provided by the publisher. Boomerang X is available now on PC and Switch for $19.99 USD.
- Fast-paced action
- Wide array of abilities
- Boomerang mechanics are tight and satisfying to use
- Sequences outside of combat can feel dull
Donovan Erskine posted a new article, Boomerang X review: It's all coming back
This looks good