Fighting the darkness is a common trope exhibited throughout many video games of all genres. But none portray this battle quite like Boomerang X, developed by indie game studio DANG!. As you descend into the depths of the lost realms of a forgotten society, you aim to defeat the looming darkness. With each shadow you encounter, you get to slice them up with your razor-sharp boomerang.
This boomerang has to be one of the coolest weapons I’ve ever used in a video game. Not only can it cut through enemies with ease, but thanks to powers you ascertain throughout the adventure, you can defy both time and gravity with it. Rather than walking or jumping around, you’re flying through the areas pulling yourself to the boomerang with each throw or slowing time with each weapon charge, similar to “Bullet Time” mechanics in many shooter games.
As you fight and defeat waves of dark creatures, alongside some power-ups, you also get shields, which act as a health bar to indicate the number of hits you can take. Don’t let all the health gains fool you; this is not an easy ride. In fact, each time I picked up a shield, I was worried about what obstacle the next stage would bring. It gave me a fun sense of dread and anticipation.
While the game starts off relatively simple, it quickly becomes a fast-paced and intense arena shooter. The mechanics take a little time to get used to, but there is a lot of fun learning how to use them to your advantage. There’s a lot of flexibility with how you can play and fight. You can take it slow and steady using the bullet time mechanics; you can zoom all over the map and quickly slice up each creature or do a healthy mix of both. How you approach each situation is up to you.
The level design is also quite varied and beautiful. There’s a lot of depth to the backdrop and atmosphere to the different stages, which give a nice context to the remnants of the decrepit civilization that once lived there. With each stage, you get introduced to new enemies, which wonderfully fit the aesthetic of the surrounding environment. For example, in one of the later stages, which resembles a musky bog, one of the new enemies is a giant shadow bullfrog.
The variety of enemies makes you think about how to approach your playstyle. What’s great is that the enemy diversity keeps you on your toes as you have to adjust your style to combat their weaknesses. Rather than looking for their weak spot, a new enemy may have a shield attached to them from a different enemy, making you rethink how to strategize for the encounter.
To add to the intensity is the soundtrack. Each arena has a set number of waves to fight, and with each wave, the music ramps up with volume and beats. I could feel the rise in tension and sweat from my hands with each wave I had to fight. It made it that much more fun to play.
My favorite aspect of Boomerang X was the feel and control of the game. Despite moving around frantically and panicking for my dear life, the movement and momentum of the character and weapon felt so fluid and precise. If I wanted to make my way to a specific area, I felt comfortable flying to it. I’ve even had moments where the game felt so fluid and quick that it took my brain a second to register just how fast I got to my desired destination.
With Boomerang X, there’s no shortage of fun to be had. The different ways to maneuver the fights and levels provide players with options for replayability, like an arcade game you want to keep getting better at. The gameplay mechanics and the action made me feel like a badass as I sliced my way through hundreds of shadow creatures. I’m excited to keep on playing and potentially attempt a speedrun for the game.
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