At this point we are pretty confident that anything Devolver Digital touches will turn to gold. The publisher has made its mark on some of the higher quality indies we’ve seen in the past decade with The Messenger, Enter the Gungeon, and Minit. These are just a few that come to mind from various small teams. Devolver sets the bar high when it comes to quality, and that’s one of the reasons we felt compelled to give Boomerang X a try. This frenetic action game captures the spirit and feel of Doom and is full of interesting unlocked skills that will keep your exciting fighting feeling fresh.
At the beginning of the game, your character, who is being dragged to the coast of a mysterious island, discovers that your weapons have been destroyed. Soon, however, you will no longer be unarmed as you will find a boomerang that will serve as your main method of attack throughout the game. Other than that opening scene, there isn’t a lot of history in Boomerang X. You can learn more about your new environment by interacting with a talking centipede, but there aren’t any cinematics or collectibles to tell you more about the game’s story. Anyone looking for an interesting story should look elsewhere.
The highlight of Boomerang X is the action that manages to stay interesting throughout the game, despite repeating the same task over and over to defeat hordes of enemies. Each level contains between four and seven hordes and you have to kill all the enemies marked in yellow to advance. The pace is incessant as you have to constantly jump through the air to dodge projectiles and attack enemies both on the ground and on higher platforms. Walking is annoyingly slow and almost a death sentence, as spiders and squid-shaped enemies catch you instantly.
In the beginning everything is quite simple, since you can only start and recover your boomerang, but soon you will start learning a lot of new skills that will always keep the fight varied. For example, there is one that allows you to slow down time for more precise throws and another that allows you to make a powerful explosion on contact after killing three enemies in the air. As your arsenal grows, so does the challenge, and I was constantly on the verge of a nervous breakdown during the stress of the action. The endgame challenges you with large enemies that look almost like bosses and features other tricks like flies throwing shields at your enemies.
Something I liked too is the way to heal you. You can only withstand a limited number of hits before dying, and your shields can only be repaired by jumping onto multiple platforms in an arena. These healing platforms can only be used once and are usually located in tricky areas that will test your platform skills. Plus, you’ll look like a sitting duck while waiting for your shield to charge. So, you need to plan the best time to use these platforms. That means you have to be equally careful about healing yourself and killing enemies.
Plus, the steps you shoot your way into are expertly designed to get taller and grow vertically as you progress. They encompass a variety of different venues including gladiator-like stadiums, poison-filled pits, and lava-filled pits. Each of them is done with the precious Cel shading of the game, and in no time I’m sick of looking at her beauty while flying and using my ninja skills.
While Boomerang X’s frenetic action was extremely addicting to me, it has a few flaws as well. Although I had a more challenging mode with the New Game +, I got through the game in 3 or 4 hours in one session. In addition to its short duration, it also made me feel like Boomerang X is pretty repetitive. The game system is just based on defeating hordes and hordes of enemies and moving from one linear corridor to the next. There is no story or other puzzle-like element that needs to be solved in order to improve your overall intelligibility.
Complaints aside, Boomerang X is one of the most fun action games I can remember lately. The fights are fluid and quick, and the variety of enemies and skills help keep things entertaining. The game has been challenging me at all times because the basic aspects like healing require you to do them properly. I hope that in the future it will be released for other platforms besides PC and Nintendo Switch as it is a must have for fans of Doom shooters.