Boomerang X Review – Nintendo Switch/PC Gameplay

Boomerang X is a fast-paced action battler
in which you use, you guessed it, a boomerang
to dismantle an array of shadow creatures,
in a uniquely-styled world filled with lore
concerning the missing Yoran species.
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it. Thank you to the folks at Devolver Digital
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While I think this is a great game to play,
and will be an excellent one for speedrunners,
for my taste it’s a bit on the light side
concerning the story and world building. The
focus of the game is obviously on the frenetic
fighting sequences, so I won’t spend too
long analyzing the story here. But as your
faceless and nameless character washes ashore
a mysterious island, his only weapon has been
shattered, so he does what any madman would
do and enters the nearest cave. Fortunately,
he quickly finds an X-shaped boomerang, a
plot twist I’m sure none of you saw coming.
As he ventures through ramshackle tunnels
and remnants of a civilization left behind

time, he encounters a millipede named Tepan,
through which all of the history of the Yoran,
a group of mantis-like creatures, is conveyed.
Tepan is not a Mantid, but is well-versed
in their culture and history, and while at
times he might be inadvertently destroying
bits and pieces of said history, his heart
is in the right place. He tells of a magical
stringed instrument which imbued powers, of
corridors between worlds, and bits and pieces
about the history of the shadow creatures
too. There are plenty of remnants from the
Yoran culture, such as collapsed ruins which
will be helpful during the fighting sequences,
and plenty of statues, or petrified remains,
I’m really not sure which, but it does make
you contemplate. This is not a straight-forward
story, and even after playing through the
game twice, I still have questions, but I
like that, as it allows my imagination to
do some work and fill in the gaps, or play
through again and hope to pick up on more
hints. I have played through the game twice,
and indeed the second time I felt like I understood
the story a bit more. However, there is no
background given to your character, with his
mummified hands, so let your imagination run
wild regarding his identity and motivations.
Now before we get to the action in just a
second, I do want to mention the outstanding
art, combining ancient aesthetics with a graphical
style that I don’t even know how to describe.
It’s like there are little splats of paint
everywhere, even in the HUD graphics like
your shield meter. In the landscapes though,
the small splats add some texture to the area,
and make it feel a bit less pristine and polished,
which suits the run-down nature of the world
you’re exploring. The enemies are dark and
menacing, ranging from distorted spiders and
bees, to flying dragons and giant butterflies.
The more advanced enemies have glowing gems
which are their weak spots, and although in
my footage their color is reddish-pink, there
is an adjustable option in the menu to change
to whatever color you prefer, along with a
couple other colors that you can change in
case you are color-blind, or if you just want
to change them up for fun.
Okay, let’s talk about the gameplay now.
Like I mentioned earlier, you gain your boomerang
and are slowly introduced to its mechanics
one by one, as you fight your way through
waves of enemies in an arena setting. One
very important note here is that you don’t
need to defeat every enemy in each wave, but
only the ones which are required and highlighted.
In the top right of the screen you can see
how many required enemies are left to kill,
and if you start feeling overwhelmed by enemies,
just remember to kill the important ones.
Most times after you progress through an arena,
you will maybe learn a bit more of the story
and history of this place, gain a shield upgrade
at the ancient punch bowl, and sometimes be
granted a new boomerang power by playing the
conical stringed instrument of the gods. These
powers drastically change the way you play
the game, and see your enemies, and trust
me, you will need to use all of them to beat
the game. As you gain new powers, like the
ability to catapult yourself toward your boomerang,
or slow down time while charging up your throw,
your enemies will also increase, in number
and in intricacy, with some larger ones requiring
multiple hits, and oftentimes your choices
of a landing place will be pretty slim. The
slingshot power up is the biggest game changer
as it allows you to stay off the ground pretty
much indefinitely, but the time slowing mechanic
is also super useful in nailing the perfect
shots with narrow margins. In each arena,
you will also find a limited number of shield
regenerations, which restore one shield if
you have been hit. The only downside is that
you have to stand there long enough, maybe
2-3 seconds, for it to engage, and it takes
some planning so as to not be hit by an enemy
while doing this. There are some other power-ups
that you’ll learn, but I don’t want to
spoil everything, and while they might be
shown in the game footage, hopefully it will
be just a little teaser for you. I found the
gameplay to be extremely fun and addicting,
but at times especially early on I did not
feel much of a challenge. In the last 2-3
stages, the action and intensity ramped up
significantly, and the final stage took me
roughly around an hour to beat, and I did
so by the skin of my teeth. It’s rare for
me to actually feel a heightened sense of
urgency during games recently, but the level
of accuracy and precision that the final stage
required, combined with the fast-paced soundtrack
that I’ll touch on in a minute, really amped
me up. You’ll notice in the menu that there
aren’t any difficulty options, but there
is a New Game + once you beat the game, and
I can confirm that it really ramps up the
difficulty. I was struggling to progress past
the first two or three stages even, where
I previously thought they were a cakewalk,
like tutorial levels. In the menu, you can
also enable a speedrun timer, and I can’t
wait to see what kinds of times people are
The controls are ultra-responsive, and all
actions are rebindable on keyboard and mouse
and controllers, so if you don’t like the
way something feels, change it. Kudos to the
developers at DANG! for including that option.
On keyboard and mouse, left click served to
throw and slingshot me toward my boomerang,
and right click recalled the boomerang to
me. WASD is standard movement, with spacebar
to jump, and left shift to slow time. I did
not play using a controller, as I prefer keyboard
and mouse for games like this that require
precision aiming and twitch reflexes, and
Boomerang X feels so satisfying when you hit
a difficult shot.
I mentioned the music for a second before,
but for the most part, the soundtrack is absent,
only showing up when you are engaged in a
fighting sequence. While to me, none of the
music was particularly memorable, during the
fight sequences it really steps up and delivers
some blood-pumping rhythms, but often using
more traditional or old-style instruments.
Some string plucking here and there, some
drum beats, and it fits the style and atmosphere
of the game.
So the question is, should you play Boomerang
X? I recommend it, but with the concession
that I think it’s not perfect for everyone.
If long, fast-paced action sequences stress
you out, then this game is probably not for
you, but if you love a good challenge, and
that satisfying feeling of nailing an immaculate
shot on reflexes alone, then I think you’ll
love Boomerang X. It does have a stylish art
direction, and an interesting story and history
to decipher in between the lines. For me,
I think fans of games like Ghostrunner and
Adverse will probably feel right at home with
Boomerang X, and with the speedrun and New
Game + options, it provides a good bit of
replayability too.
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