RPS fell hard for Devil Daggers, naming it our game of the year back when, but one of the most common criticisms from the “not for me” crowd was that it lacks a sense of progress.
Try Boomberang X, then. It’s a first-person arena shooter with escalating waves of greebly enemies and a focus on a single weapon, but you unlock new abilities and move to new areas in between fights. There’s a demo available now.
The weapon it focuses on is the X-shaped Boomerang of its title, which looks like a four-pointed version of Krull’s glaive. You throw it out, it kills what it hits, and it comes back to you. But like Devil Daggers’ spewing palm, there’s nuance beyond that.
Hit the right mouse button while the boomerang is in flight, and it’ll zoom back towards you faster. Hit the left mouse button a second time while the boomerang is in flight, and you’ll teleport to its location but adopt its momentum, meaning you can use it to fling yourself to the other side of an arena or high into the air.
You can also hold down the left mouse button to charge a longer throw, and a short while into the demo it introduces slow motion to help you perfect your aim. I imagine there’s more beyond what I’ve seen.
There’s nuance to the enemy and arena design, too. Most enemies die in one hit, but only some give you the resource you need to progress past a wave. You need to decide whether to personally clean up the entire swarm or just target the few. Some enemies also spawn others, or have specific weak spots that need to be targeted.
I found the demo challenging, particularly because death sends you back to the start of the arena, some of which are as many as eight waves long. But at the same time, I felt powerful and cool for moments during every encounter, even as I forgot I could slow time for long stretches and took nearly ten minutes to kill a single enemy as a result.
You can grab the Boomerang X demo yourself from Steam. The full game is due for release later this year.