Boomerang X is a new first-person game from DANG! a studio in New York state that is also working on a game called IO Interloper that reminds me a little bit of Republique‘s surveillance camera hackery. Boomerang X feels a little bit more like playing Quake 3‘s railgun and messing with the timescale console command to give yourself as much time in the world as you like to obliterate your enemies while they’re running in slow motion.
I didn’t care much for the look of Boomerang X‘s screenshots, but once you get into the game the motion of the boomerang is very fun to watch as the player character whirls it around and then launches it through your weird insectoid foes. At first you’re just slicing through arenas with waves of enemies, like in the brilliant shooter Devil Daggers, and then hitting right click to teleport away from the ones that are chasing you. Pretty quickly the game shows you that the shift key turns on a slow-mo effect while you charge up your boomerang shot and that makes Boomerang X feel like a more brutal version of the Quake 3timescale cheat.
Check out that demo with the Steam version it is incredibly fun and also has gamepad support.
Terra Nil was originally a more pixelated prototype on itch, and is now a more full game with not-pixelated 2D art in development for Steam by the team called Free Lives who previously developed Broforce, but both versions of Terra Nil share a terrific idea the developer calls a “reverse city-builder.” Where you’re helping to restore a barren wasteland and then removing everything man-made in order to leave the environment better than you found it.
I checked out the free demo available as part of Steam’s E3-ish goings-on called Next Fest (running until the 22nd) where there are a lot of demos for download from upcoming games. This new version of Terra Nil is very interesting. Terra Nil involves a bit of planning ahead to determine the best course of actions in order to restore as much of the procedurally generated map as possible while balancing three different types of biomes. For example, you can place different structures to clean the land to make it arable and then irrigate it with the irrigator structure, but it turned out that you also need some irrigators near streams in order to make the wetland biome. There’s a whole lot of if you’ve done this in Terra Nil, then you can do that. It seemed overwhelming at first but after a bit it became clear that you’re not trying to be perfect, just a bit strategic in advance.
An Ape has escaped, but he isn’t a friendly little hominid with a siren. No, this is a vicious one from Gabe Cuzzillo, Matt Boch, and Bennett Foddy, oddly enough. Ape Out is an overhead smash-em-up with noisy drums and it looks like much fun for anyone who enjoys escapism.
The whole game has an algorithmic masterpiece of a score by Matt Boch, frenetic drums that grow louder and faster as the violence increases, or dip into a lull at times of calm. Each death is greeted by a triumphant crash of cymbals, so you feel like a conductor in your own mad orchestra of carnage. You, somehow, feel part of the creative process. The way you smashed three men together, just so, leaving a blush of red over the blue carpet, and adding just a soupçon of orange viscera from your own wounds. “Ah, exquisite,” you think. “Perhaps I was always meant to be a great improvisational artist.” But there is no time to pause and admire your work, for you must knuckle on and create another.
Ape Out is $15 on the Nintendo Switch, and various stores for Windows, like itch.io, Humble, and Steam.
If you want to build a neighborhood in a sandbox mode or build and grow old with your boar friend in the story mode, you can do so on Windows, Mac, and Linuxon Steam. It’s supposed to be $15 but the price hasn’t been updated yet and is still showing as $10 (before the launch 25% discount) for me.