Like the throwable object itself, I just keep coming back to Boomerang X. No matter how many times my shadowy foes best me, it’s hard to resist the temptation to go another round with the game’s high-flying, hard-as-nails combat. In the case I finally win, I’ll feel pretty good about the feats I pulled off, but even if I lose, I can at least take solace in the fact that I get to spend just a little more time with the game. Victory, defeat, it doesn’t matter what the outcome is; it’s a win/win situation, and that alone tells me that Boomerang X is doing something very right.
What Is It?
Boomerang X is a first-person action game that sees a traveler stranded on a mysterious island filled with all sorts of hazards — environmental and otherwise. Shortly after arriving, the traveler discovers a boomerang in the shape of an “X,” hence the game’s title. The intrepid explorer is then tasked with adventuring deeper into the island to discover whatever dark secrets lie within.
Why Should I Care?
First and foremost, Boomerang X is a hard game, but it’s not needlessly punishing. The game actively wants you to succeed and grants you quite a few tools to do just that. But to avoid overwhelming you with mechanics, techniques, and the like, the game patiently teaches you throughout its duration.
I found this piecemeal approach to progression rather effective. When I first washed ashore the island, I didn’t even have the titular weapon, but I still found myself toying around with the game’s movement options; I saw firsthand how fast-paced of a game Boomerang X was right off the bat. Upon receiving my weapon, I tried to get creative by mixing the new with the old. One tactic I employed involved chucking my bladed throwable forward, using my quick movement speed to position myself near another enemy who I wasn’t initially targeting, and then recalling the boomerang so that it hits said foe on its way back.
That barely scratches the surface of what’s possible while staving off your mysterious opponents. As you progress further, you’ll get more abilities, two of my favorite being flux, which allows you to slow down time, as well as an AOE attack capable of killing multiple enemies at once. Every ability serves a unique purpose in combat and figuring the ways in which they can be chained together is half the fun of playing Boomerang X.
Getting a handle on combat is, obviously, the key to obliterating your enemies, who are designed exceptionally well; there’s a common ghastly aesthetic they all share, but each has a distinct shape so that you can tell them apart with just a glance. As soon as I see an opponent, I can tell exactly what class it is, and promptly deduce how I can take it down. Enemy design may seem like a solely aesthetic touch, but here, it serves to keep the gameplay as fast and fluid as possible.
It’s worth noting that Boomerang X consists of almost exclusively combat. Most of the time you’re stuck in a combat arena fighting off waves of foes, and upon coming out on top, you’ll walk a few steps to the next arena to do it all over again. This may sound like it would get old after a while, but thanks to some stellar level design, it doesn’t. The levels themselves are like mini platforming challenges that add an extra bit of variety to every encounter. The layouts call on you to indulge different strategies and to think hard about what movement options best suit your current environment. They also look very impressive. Each of the distinct-looking levels are incredibly screenshot-worthy thanks to the game’s vibrant art style.
What Makes It Worth My Time and Money?
Boomerang X isn’t a particularly long game; I wrapped up my first playthrough in just over three hours. But this is clearly a game meant to be replayed over and over again. Upon rolling credits, you’re greeted with a New Game Plus option, where you’ll start from the beginning with the powerups you accrued throughout your first run. To be frank, it’s entirely possible you might not have a full grasp on how all of your abilities fit together upon your first clear, so delving into New Game Plus to further experiment with them is highly encouraged if you want to get the most out of the game’s combat.
If you’re into speedrunning, this might be a solid game for you, too. Two of the game’s achievements each task players with clearing it in less than 45 and 60 minutes. These are probably tasks best saved for New Game Plus, however, given the wider range of gameplay options one has there compared to their first run.
Lastly, it’s important to note that for as difficult as the game is, that it is rather accessible, too. Alongside various visual filters, gameplay modifiers are present that can do things like make enemies extra visible, or provide players with an infinite flux gauge. There’s even an invincibility mode so that almost anyone can get a chance to be a powerful, boomerang-wielding warrior without having to worry about whether they can keep up with the game or not.
In all, Boomerang X is an incredibly refined game that is about quality, not quantity. If you have a weekend and a few hours of free time, this game might be the perfect way to spend it. It’s a total power trip that only grows more gratifying with each victory, and I’m looking forward to starting more playthroughs, speeding my way through more combat encounters, and popping off with each new record I hit or close call I scrape by.