Boomerang X Hands-on Preview
I had a chance to take the boomerang shooter Boomerang X out for a test spin.
Boomerang X opens when your small sailboat is wrecked on the shore of an island. The beach is empty except for you, and all you can see are the remains of your sailboat and your own hands and arms, which are inexplicably wrapped as a mummy. Making your way off of the beach, you soon reach a small abandoned village where the only sign of the prior inhabitants is the skeleton (or a robot?) of what appears to be an insect-like alien. Pressing onward inland you soon come to a structure where you acquire a boomerang that you can use to defend yourself. The boomerang behaves as you would expect a boomerang to behave – throw it and it will arc its way back to you. Your first clue that this is more than just a simple boomerang is when you take a few steps after throwing the boomerang and discover that it will find its way back to you no matter where you are.
You’ll soon face your first battle test of your boomerang when you are attacked by a group of creatures. The enemies in the game are creatures that appear to be made of shadows. Some resemble familiar animals such as spiders, birds, and squid (albeit flying squid), but as you make your way further into the game more unfamiliar and sinister forms will appear. Surviving your first battle requires the use of what you’d imagine standard boomerang tactics to be, at least in a game world. Aim the boomerang at an enemy and try to maneuver so that the return arc cuts through another enemy or two.
Boomerang X’s time as a standard boomerang shooter doesn’t last long, though. You will quickly begin to earn new powers for your boomerang that will not only help in battle, but provide an aid to traversal as well. You’ll be able to recall the boomerang in mid-flight, use it to slow time, and teleport to its current location, among other things. As your powers accumulate, the game settles into a rhythm of traversal challenges that lead to arena battles. Make your way through the final arena in an area and you’ll transition to a new zone, which usually is done by making a leap of faith down a large well which appears to be formed from the hollow center of a massive tree – there wasn’t any kind of narrative in the demo of the game that I played, but the intriguing settings certainly got me interested in playing the game when it is released to find out where you are, who you are, and what it all means. New zones usually mean a new power, and with it the opportunity to try it out before facing challenges and battles where you’ll have to put everything you’ve gained so far together to survive.
The battles take place in closed arenas in which you must survive a set number of waves of attackers. You don’t have to entirely eliminate each wave, though. Some enemies are marked and once you’ve eliminated all of the marked enemies the round ends. Basic enemies can be eliminated with a single hit of your boomerang, but there are others that will require more skill to eliminate. The battles quickly start ramping up in challenge as you acquire more powers, and to survive you’ll need to make use of all of the boomerang powers at your disposal. The battles are certainly unique for an action/shooter, as you make use of the teleport and time powers to zip around the arena. And while most games feature “fire and forget” weapons, to be successful in Boomerang X you’ll need to be aware of where your boomerang is at all times.
I had a lot of fun with the game’s battles, and enjoy the puzzle-like nature of the traversal sequences. That combined with the game’s mysterious and unique setting left me wanting to play more and eager to play the game in its final form once it is released.
Note: I played the game on PC using an Xbox gamepad, but it will be released on both PC and Switch.
Transmitted: 3/26/2023 6:47:10 PM