Tuesday, 23 March 2021

IMHO - Boomerang Fu

This is game number six of games that are part of the February 2021 Humble Choice bundle. The original depressinglnaïve version of this opening paragraph crowed that I was on track to finish the February bundle before the March one is due to be released. That's no longer even close to being true, but lets see if we can't get that monkey off our back by finally sitting down and writing about Boomerang Fu.

Boomerang Fu is a cute little three-button party game from a first-time Australian studio in which pieces of food try to slice each other up for fun and profit, causing them to die in various amusing ways (the coffee mug smashes, the milk carton spills, the avacado stone pops out, etc.). As someone who grew up sitting patiently waiting for my turn to play pretty much anything, any game that allows for a bunch of players to jump on the couch and duke it out it okay with me. As far as I'm concerned, couch multiplayer is the peak video gaming experience, nothing quite gets near the emotional rollercoaster of the near misses, drama and wiping the smirk off the face of the guy that's killed you three times in a row. It's practically sports, except that I don't need to go lie down as soon as it's over.

It's just as well that I like couch multiplayer, though, as this little title doesn't have online multiplayer at all, which particularly for a game released in 2020 in the height of a pandemic seems like just a little bit of an oversight. There is also the slight problem that there's no chance in hell of convincing Mrs. Owl to play a game like this, so I guess at the moment the only person that I have to play this with are the bots, who are pretty stupid even on the highest difficulty level, even if they're dead shots with a boomerang. The more I think about it, though, the less this omission it feels like an oversight, because I think the developers could tell that Boomerang Fu just isn't the kind of game that people are going to play online.

Will this powerup be awesome, like telekinesis, or a liability that will cause me to blow myself up?

There are three modes, free-for-all, teams and golden boomerang, but they are all pretty much the same idea. The whole game is extremely simplistic, able to be picked up in a few moments. It's a perfect party game to have on in the corner, letting players jump in and out: each level has different obstacles to overcome and it cycles through levels fast enough that nothing gets boring, and it even has a nice little catch-up mechanic or two, giving trailing players an extra life. It's just not the sort of game that people are going to be raving about so much that they want to play it online with their mates. This game just isn't worth the hassle of jumping into the group chat and herding the cats in order to play it.

 There's also the small matter of the price: Boomerang Fu, a party game that feels like a souped-up early 00's flash game, retails for £11.93 in a world where the big games that everyone is playing right now are Valheim (£15.49) and Loop Hero (£12.49). Are all your friends really going to shell out for it? If I were a cynic I'd wonder if this game wasn't picked for the bundle just so that the Humble Choice could have a retail value of £201.38.

Extra points for including my personal killer feature, the .GIF capture button.

I'm also in two minds about the name. On one hand, the name instantly told me exactly what this game was going to be, a dumb fighting game with projectiles. On the other hand, it frustrates me a lot that the phrase Boomerang Fu doesn't...mean anything. Big opportunity missed to at least call this Boomerang Fu'd (because they're food, get it?), that's all I'm saying. 

Some quick numbers 

  • Time played: 1.35 hours (7 or 8 games)
  • Maniacal laughs when flipping the switch squished all my opponents: 2
  • Times I blew myself up with explosive boomerangs: 9
  • Bots required to make it a fair fight: 4
  • Rating: 5 diced doughnuts out of ten

The rankings so far

It's not that Boomerang Fu is a bad game. It's not. It's well executed, everything works, and it feels good to play. It's a good addition to my collection that I'm glad I own, but I definitely wouldn't have bought it, because it feels like every one of these party-style brawl games I've ever played. Which is strange, because when I stop and try to name a game that it's like, my mind has been drawing a blank all week. I guess it feels like...Bomberman? Multiplayer Nidhogg? There's nothing in my memory just like this title, and yet somehow every part of me is yelling out that I've seen everything Boomerang Fu has to offer before, and that's not in it's favour.

Let's try it with humans instead of bots some time

  1. Trine 4
  2. The Wild Eight
  3. Boomerang Fu
  4. Valfaris
  5. Werewolf: The Apocalyse - Heart of the Forest
  6. Train Station Renovation

Six down. Six to go. Seven if I mean to intend the Humble Trove title, which I totally do. Next up the dice have declared that we must play game number 9, Valkyria Chronicles 4.

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