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Game review: Skeleton Boomerang returns to golden age of action adventure platformers

A fun game that references the 1990s and has plenty of gimmicks on its platforms, its strange screen ratio and basic gameplay will appeal to retro fans

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 August, 2017, 8:01pm
UPDATED : Friday, 25 August, 2017, 8:01pm

Skeleton Boomerang

Artisano

3/5 stars

Almost every week it seems there’s a new game released to appeal to our sense of nostalgia. And it makes sense: if you’re a young developer trying to break into the industry, it should be a no-brainer to look at the favourite games from your past and update them with modern technology.

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PC game Skeleton Boomerang is based on the 2D action adventure platform games of the 1990s – when the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis consoles ruled supreme. Sticking closely to the successful ’90s formula, Skeleton Boomerang deploys an interesting array of levels, characters and weapons that will keep you on your toes.

In the game, the player uses his magical boomerang to stop an evil villain who turns all in his path into skeletons. Things start to get fun when you use this weapon – it all comes down to how you aim the boomerang (because it doesn’t always come back). It takes a bit of trial and error before you master the weapon to use it effectively against your skeletal enemies.

They start out as regular human skeletons, but soon enough you’re faced with all manner of bony beasts – from dinosaurs to dancing monkeys. The variety of skeletons on offer is inspired, given its limited context, and the bosses are brutal, both in their pixelated presentation and the fierce fights they offer.

But bad guys wouldn’t be much without a setting, and a good platformer’s level design is often key to its success. Here, the developers have loaded them with gimmicks: moving platforms, underwater obstacle courses, icy paths – none of them are exactly original or inspired. The strange choice of a 4:3 ratio makes the game somewhat frustrating, but the themes entertain for the most part.

There are other issues too, mostly based on developer Artisano’s strangely strict adherence to retro-platformer practices. While most modern gamers might consider that to be a drawback, some will find that appealing.

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Skeleton Boomerang isn’t for everyone – it’s old-school and basic for the most part, but inspired at times, and in those rare instances when it harks back to the fun of yesteryear, the game just about works.