I love a good party game, but it's usually difficult/expensive to get enough controllers to really take advantage of them. However, the Switch gracefully solves this problem with its Joy Cons. While you do still have to buy another set to experience 4-player fun, one $70 controller purchase (which gives you two Joy Cons) is a lot more feasible than the three $60 purchases you'd have to make to get a PS4 or XBox One ready for group play. Couple this with the fact that Joy Cons are so easy to pair and re-assign controller numbers, and you can see that the Switch is easily the best console for party games. Boomerang-Fu is one of those games that takes a couple seconds to understand, but has enough fun to keep you entertained for hours.
Boomerang-Fu is a couch party game where you compete with up to six friends (or bots) to be the last man standing. Your only weapon is a boomerang that you can swing for close range attacks or throw for long range attacks. This is one of those games that you can fully understand just by watching a round of play, something that I believe is key for a party game.
Right off the bat, you'll see that Boomerang-Fu has a very fun design. The colors are bright, and characters are cute with fun animations, particularly their death animations. There's a coffee cup that shatters when it is defeated, and an avocado that loses its pit when killed. The environments are also colorful, but simple so as not to distract from the gameplay. This is very much appreciated, because the screen can get pretty hectic when playing a game, especially as you add more players to the party. Thankfully, one interesting thing this game does is adjust the size of the levels dynamically based on how many players are in the game. When playing a large match you may see the same arenas, but they will be slightly widened to provide a bit more room.
Boomerang-Fu has a couple different modes that you can play: 1) free-for-all, 2) team battle, and 3) Golden boomerang. The free-for-all and team modes work in essentially the same way. Your goal is to eliminate all your enemies, after which the last player standing is awarded a point and the next round begins. You are able to eliminate other players by slashing them with your short range attack, or by throwing you boomerang for a long-distance kill. The disadvantage with attempting a long range attack is if your boomerang gets hung up on some of the level geometry, it may get stuck. Then, you'll have to retrieve it, lest you be stuck with a punch attack that only stuns, not kills. The combat is made even more interesting by the power-ups you will often find scattered around the stage. Each time you pick up a power-up, you are given a random ability. These include abilities such as a shield, teleportation, fire or explosive boomerangs, or even the ability to dash through walls. You are able to stack abilities as well, the only catch being that when you pick up your fourth ability, your oldest one is discarded. This is a welcome feature, as some abilities such as the fire boomerang and multi-boomerang can make someone nearly unstoppable when combined.
The golden boomerang mode plays like Oddball from Halo. At the beginning of the match, a golden boomerang is spawned in the map. Your goal is to pick it up and hold on to it as long as possible. After a certain time, you gain a point and that round ends. To balance the gameplay, the player holding the golden boomerang has to attack with it too. This means that if you throw the boomerang and lose it, you will not gain any more points until you go pick it up again. Therefore, the golden boomerang holder has to decide if they want to risk being hit by attacking with only close range attacks, or risk losing the lead by throwing their boomerang for long range attacks.
In addition to the standard three modes that the game offers, you are also provided with a list of modifiers that you can adjust to make the gameplay even more interesting. In my opinion, a game with this simple of a premise really benefits from a modifier system. Giving the player a load of options to choose from allows them to tailor the experience to their preference, adding a ton of accessibility and variation to the game. Other games like Super Smash Bros. or Halo also have a ton of modifiers, which is why I have spent countless hours playing both of those games.
One thing to note about Boomerang-Fu is that it does not feature online play. However, I feel that this type of game really excels when you are in the same room as your opponents. I do understand that other people may want to play online though, and it's unfortunate that this is not an included feature. Although, at only $15, I feel like this game provides a load of value for its price.
Boomerang-Fu is a small, easy to learn party game that takes a central premise and runs with it. It offers fun gameplay with a surprising amount of options for a small price, all wrapped in a great looking package. If you have a couple friends that are either game experts or casual players, this is a game that can bring everyone together for hours of fun, so long as you're in the same room.
Heisengerm Rating = 4/5
Developer: Cranky Watermelon
Publisher: Cranky Watermelon
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, XBox One, PC
Release date: August 13, 2020
Reviewed on: Nintendo Switch