[REVIEW] Boomerang X – A simple case of ‘X marks the spot’

Does short and snappy automatically mean lame and crappy? Is a simple game destined to be labeled as a low-value one? I beg to differ and so does developer Dang! And so does Devolver Digital, for all I know. The mischievous indie-publisher has a knack for reeling in potential masterpieces (not you, Sludge Life…), and it looks like its instinct did the trick once more with Boomerang X. Oh yes, Boomerang X is as simple as they come, but boy does it make me return for more of it. Which is ironic, because that’s the sole purpose of a boomerang…

The premise of Boomerang X reflects that simplicity. We see animated shots of an island, accompanied by some oriental pling-plong tunes. And then… wrapped hands. That’s you. Are you a mummy? Are you something that likes to wrap toilet paper around your limbs? No clue. The only thing you know is that you can jump really far. We also figure out quickly enough that you’re really good at flinging shit. No, not literal shit (although you have TP around your arms), but a blade. Four blades in one, shaped like an X to be precise. And it comes flying right back to you. Like a boomerang. Hence the title: Boomerang X. It’s that simple actually.

Flinging that death trap at stuff is your primary focus in Boomerang X. The island you’re on is made out of plant-based corridors, which all lead to arena-like areas. Clear the arena of some designated black chop meat and you’ll get rewarded. Hey, I can’t help it that they’re black, so don’t go all BLM on me, please. Anyway, once you clear all enemy waves, you’re presented with an upgrade that can be used in the next arena to make your life easier. And that’s basically it. See? It’s that simple actually.

Then again, it is not. Boomerang X is great at easing you into it nice and slow, but it also knows how to test your agility. Throwing your thang at dark-colored critters isn’t exactly rocket science, but not getting caught in the crossfire is something else. You see, these entities might not look harmful and Boomerang X does help you out a lot by giving you visual and acoustic warnings when one gets close, but one single touch of ’em can end your run. You only have limited health (expressed in shields) and when it’s over, it’s over. More shields get added as you progress and you can replenish those in the arena, but believe me… you’ll need them. So you gotta be on your tippy-toes at all times, even when things seem easy. It’s that simple actually.

And yes, things might get a little hectic and tough as nails. But that’s the entire idea of Boomerang X. That’s also what makes it hella fun. Because if it were too easy, you’d be able to end it in under an hour on the first try. And if you feel like ‘cheating’, you can. Boomerang X presents you with a plethora of options to make the game “more accessible” to people who really suck at it. Options like heavy aim assist, invincibility, and more of that stuff. But it also adds options for visually impaired people by having you change the color scheme. If you’re blind, Boomerang X has no options for you, unfortunately. It’s that simple actually.

Boomerang X screenshot

If you don’t cheat your way through it and you play Boomerang X as intended, you’ll be hurling your cutters for approximately three to four hours. Maybe a few more, if you really have the aim of a stormtrooper with cataracts. But the game does not necessarily end there. With the addition of NewGame+ after finishing the game, you’ll be able to go through Boomerang-hell if you prefer. The game also doesn’t prevent you from giving it another run, just to see if you can do better. I mean, there’s a story there, but the narrative isn’t that important to the game. So not giving it another go “because you already know the plot” is jibberish. It’s that simple actually.

So how can I sum up Boomerang X for people on the fly? I’m not great at this but I’ll give it a try:

It's DANG! fun
The Hits
You play as someone with shit ribbon around his arms...
Simple (at first), yet oddly satisfying
Easy to learn, hard to master
Plenty of options to make life easier
NewGame+ will make a real man out of you, kiddo
The Misses
Expect to get cramped up fingers once things get feisty