I just didn't get on with Doom (2016), which surprised me. I'm all for FPS games that have you rocketing around arenas like a squash ball, but I hungered for more speed. Yes it was fast, but I never felt the need to reach for my bucket and hurl after each session.
Enter Boomerang X. It places a hand on your shoulder and a bucket by your feet. It says, "Go get 'em, tiger", then tosses you out of the window. But as you soar outwards, you curve back around and miraculously crash back into your room. "Cool, huh?", it says, looking down on your body sprawled on the floor, before you smile, then hurl.
Having played through Boomerang X, I know it doesn't faff around. There's no searching for coloured cards to open sliding doors, or a map, or optional objectives. Ew, gross, optional objectives, it would think. No, no. The only objective here is to murder insects and flying saws and poisonous frogs with your boomerang.
Boomerang X is as simple as that, really. You're this nameless protagonist that's washed up on the shores of an island. Immediately, you stumble upon this mystical boomerang, and you set to work cleansing the land of these demonic creatures. To do so, you career through increasingly complex stages filled with waves of baddies. Your job is to seek out and eliminate enemies marked in yellow to advance. Survive, and you'll dig deeper and deeper into the island, encounter more ferocious enemies, and secure some sweet, sweet super powers.
"It won't be long before you're bouncing around arenas like a heat-seeking missile made out of rubber."
I can't get over how good the boomerang feels to use. I'm genuinely worried it's ruined FPS games for me. Play Boomerang X and I promise you'll be awakened to a post-trigger world. "Shotguns are soooo one-dimensional, and putting a grappling hook on it is just soooo yaaawn", you'll say. Everyone, I repeat, everyone throws a bit of wood now because it's soooo much cooler.
Early on the boomerang's quite simple. You throw it and it comes back, as you'd expect. But then you get the ability to warp to your boomerang in mid-air. Then you unlock the ability to slow down time as you charge it. Then you unlock the ability to fire off a close-range burst of purple energy if you slice through two enemies in one throw. And the list goes on.
This barrage of abilities might sound overwhelming and even off-putting, but I promise you it isn't. At first you'll be a bit slow and might get yourself in a bit of a tangle testing out your new-fangled power, but it won't be long before you're bouncing around arenas like a heat-seeking missile made out of rubber.
DOOM and other similar games tout fluidity in their combat, but it comes in bursts. Unless you're some FPS god, you're still shooting enemies at a distance. Occasionally you can close the gap with a jump pad or a grappling hook, but for me there's this element of detachment. The bullets leave the chamber and you simply watch enemies shatter into cubes of meat. Sometimes you need to reload. Sometimes you grapple them with an animation you've seen a trillion times before. Sometimes you miss a platform, or you clunk into a wall and it throws you off your rhythm.
But in Boomerang X, there's this sense that you're attached to the boomerang. As you sling it forwards, cut through enemies, and warp to it, you're not only gliding through the air, it feels like you're collecting the dog-tags of your fallen foes. Fluidity is in-built here, because that's what a boomerang's job is, and it's basically an extension of you. In seconds you're airborne stringing together slick combos. And if you fall? No problem, you just sling that sucker back into the air and it's as if nothing ever happened. There's no downtime here. No loading bullets into a chamber or relying on pick-ups to keep your momentum going.
Momentum is a given in Boomerang X. Instead, each power's focus is to make you the coolest boomerang pilot in the land. I particularly enjoy the ability to slow down time to pin-point enemy weak spots, or just get my bearings as I figure out where I'm going to shoot off next.
And where am I going to shoot off next? Boomerang X, baby. Let me just grab my bucket.
Boomerang X is out on the 8th July 2021 and there's also demo on Steam right now. I would highly recommend it, if you too would like to channel the energy of a rubber cruise missile.