This week, MKAU got to sit down with Cranky Watermelon, the Winners of Best Gameplay for Boomerang Fu at the 2020 Australian Game Developer Awards.
Here’s how it all went down.
- What gameplay elements that would stand out for someone new to Boomerang Fu that you are excited about? And congratulations on winning Best Gameplay!
A: Thank you very much! I think the core combat will really jump out for someone new. You start with only one boomerang but you can use it to slash like a sword, deflect incoming attacks or throw it at your enemies. Your boomerang can bounce off walls, curve around corners and come back to you. But if you drop it, you’re in trouble because you can’t defend yourself until you get it back. It’s a mechanic that’s really easy to understand but it leaves room for a lot of strategic depth and skilled play once you start learning more advanced tricks.
Another element that gives Boomerang Fu its distinctive flavour is the stackable power-ups. The power-ups are pretty wild individually: explosive boomerangs, disguises, teleporting and mind-controlled boomerangs, just to name a few. But once you collect these power-ups, you keep them for the rest of the match, and they stack together to form ridiculous combinations that can be as dangerous to you as they are to your enemies.
- What was the inspiration for the character creation and using food as the avatars?
A: The food characters are instantly recognisable because they have unique colours and silhouettes. This was really important in Boomerang Fu because it’s such a fast-paced game: I wanted to make sure each player could easily identify their character at a glance. And I think the familiar, cute “deaths” of all the food characters as they get sliced, diced and fried makes the fighting feel a lot more gentle. It feels way better to get killed when you’re an avocado and you get to watch your stone roll away across the floor. Julian Wilton, the art director, designs characters that are super cute but they always have a slightly dark, surreal edge to them which fits Boomerang Fu perfectly.
- From Coffee to Eggplant, who is your favourite member of the Boomerang Fu?
A: I’ll always love Banana the most, its face always looks so bewildered.
- Will Boomerang Fu be cross-platform?
A: Boomerang Fu is out now on Nintendo Switch, Xbox and Steam!
- I can see the play on words with the studio being Cranky Watermelon and the game’s characters being food, was that on purpose?
A: Very much so: I was scrambling to get a company set up before launch, so I just used one of the characters as the company’s name. I’m glad I did, as I think “Cranky Watermelon” really suits the strange, cute games I like to make.
- With over 30 arenas to choose from, which one is your favourite and why?
A: My favourite level has two spinning rolling pins in the middle of it that move in an interlocking pattern, a bit like an egg beater. You can flick a switch to make them spin extremely fast, and I just love throwing a boomerang in between the spinning pins because you have no idea which direction it’ll get flung out in.
- With a variety of game modes/power-ups, from telekinesis, fire boomerangs to disguise, will there be plans for more game modes in the future?
A: We’ve been overwhelmed by the positive reaction Boomerang Fu has gotten so far, so I can’t wait to add more content to the game. We’ve got a few different ideas we’re exploring at the moment, but I can’t say which ones will make it into the game just yet.
- Off that last question, what game mode that makes you the most excited?
A: Personally I think “Free For All” is the classic game mode, but a lot of people have written to me to say how much they love the “Team Up” mode because they play on the same team as their friends against the challenging bots. The revive ability in Team Up adds a nice twist to the game as well, because it gives teams a nail-biting second chance to recover from really bad situations.
- Boomerang Fu allows up to 6 players, will there be plans down the track to increase the player count?
A: No, we’ll stick to a maximum of 6 players for now. I briefly experimented with 8 players early on in development, but the levels have to be much bigger to handle that many players at once, which in turn makes all the characters smaller on screen, and the whole experience becomes a confusing game of who can squint at the screen the hardest to figure out what on earth is going on.
- In the future, will all Cranky Watermelon studio games have a food-related name or theme?
A: Haha, I don’t think I’ll make that a rule! But the studio’s future games will most likely share common stylistic threads, like cute characters, accessible designs, and offbeat gameplay that you can share with your friends and family.
Again, huge congratulations on winning Best Gameplay. Be sure to check out Boomerang Fu HERE, and check out their latest trailer below.