Were it not for the fact I wanted to catch up with an old friend, I might have missed my chance to check out Boomerang Fu. The game’s display at PAX Aus this past weekend was to the side of a much larger booth on the PAX Rising floor, with one demo station set up. With the intense mania of the expo hall, and the indie floor in general, it would have been easy to overlook. But the game’s developer, Paul Kopetko, is a long time friend of my older brother, so upon learning he would be attending the event I wanted to pop by and say hello.
And it’s just as well I did, because Boomerang Fu was one of the most fun games I played the entire PAX Aus weekend.
Boomerang Fu is a brawler that pits up to four players against each other armed with a single one-hit-kill boomerang in a variety of game modes. On display was a traditional deathmatch mode, last man standing, as well as “Golden Boomerang”, where the aim was to gain possession of, you guessed it, a gold boomerang and keep it for 60 seconds, while others attempt to steal it.
What struck me most about the game was how great it felt to play. On the surface Boomerang Fu appears to be simplistic but at its core it is brimming with strategic possibilities. The controls are pretty basic, with joystick movement and one button each to dash short distances, throwing your boomerang and melee/interaction. But the nature of using boomerangs as your weapons opened up some amazingly satisfying/frustrating moments depending whether or not you were on the receiving end. For starters you can curve your throws around corners, but the real danger is that whole thing where boomerangs come back.
Seriously, the number of times I dodged someone’s throw, felt really proud of myself, only to then get hit in the back as the boomerang came back around is higher than I care to admit.
And then there’s the powerups and environmental hazards that mix things up a bit. Powerups can range from carrying multiple boomerangs (handy in case something blocks your first one coming back to you), faster running, shields, and even dashing through walls. On the environmental side, there are a heap of portals to zip in and out of (or throw boomerangs through), switches to activate crushing walls/doors, and hexagon shrubs to hide in.
All these extra elements made it the perfect game for my colleague Charlie to be a sneaky bastard, say by pretending to be dead but all the while hiding in the shrubs. Or by hanging out near switches while the rest of us fight and crushing us all at the opportune time. So like I said, it’s a simple game, but there’s room for some great strategies.
Bottom line, if you’re a fan of your hectic, local multiplayer brawlers like Starwhal, then Boomerang Fu is one to watch out for.
Paul told me he’s aiming to launch the game some time in 2018 for PC and Mac.