EDGE

Boomerang X

- Developer Dang Publisher Devolver Digital Format PC (tested), Switch Release Out now

Hurl and hurtle: the two primary verbs of this blistering game of combat and survival say everything about its exhilarati­ng kineticism. It’s an arena shooter without a gun, essentiall­y. Think Devil Daggers meets Doom, with a bladed cross-shaped boomerang that scythes through anything in its path, and you’re in the right ballpark. The left bumper hastens its return when you’ve thrown it, but pulling the trigger again instead lets you slingshot to it while it’s still in flight. It speaks volumes that the button you’d normally use to jump is used instead to arrest your mid-air momentum, your mysterious warrior thrusting out their bandaged arm as if to say ‘whoa’.

You can never stop for long – not when darting amphibians, rolling wheels and floating eyeballs are all out to get you. Yet you can slow that breakneck pace, the left trigger activating your Flux ability and giving you a few precious moments of relative calm while you charge up the next throw, enabling you to career past a large brute, turn and aim for the red crystal on its back while still mid-rush. Some enemies have yellow tokens attached; in each arena, you need to kill enough of these before the next wave spawns. You’ll find circular zones which each replenish one of your limited supply of shields: the brief wait is agonising when faced with a bombardmen­t like this. This is the most we’ve held our breath while playing a game – and the most drained we’ve felt afterward – since Devolver’s own Disc Room.

Developer Dang smartly refuses to complicate things, instead relying on its diverse menagerie and devious level designs to keep you on your toes. Just as you think you’re safe in the air, you encounter a towering quadruped that produces circular storms around its head, with multiple crystals on its body to smash before it falls. A large butterfly might be shielded by an escort of smaller ones, while a projectile-vomiting toad only exposes its weak belly once it’s sprayed a cascade of poison in a circular pattern, giving you scant time to hit it before it slams back down. Vast columns of water force you to an arena’s edges, while later you’ll find yourself chasing a huge saw blade up and down a cylindrica­l ice tower. But it’s the movement that makes it: the handling is wonderfull­y refined, and yet you never feel in total control of that slingshot. The magic is in the weapon, not your hands, as you’re yanked around this way and that, feeling giddily disoriente­d as you reach once more for that left trigger to find brief respite from the chaos and get your bearings before you take flight once more. Whoa, indeed.

 ??  ?? There’s a faint whisper of story here, but Dang is clearly content for you to skip much of the narrative if you choose. A friendly millipede called Tepan, however, proves an affable guide should you want to take a longer break
There’s a faint whisper of story here, but Dang is clearly content for you to skip much of the narrative if you choose. A friendly millipede called Tepan, however, proves an affable guide should you want to take a longer break

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