Let’s not pretend that you’re not going to be IMMEDIATELY interested in a game called Gunbrella. It’s a gun… and an umbrella… a gunbrella. I want one, no, I NEED one in my life, and if it’s as fun to use as it is in this latest release from the team at doinksoft, I know I’ll be in for a good time.
Check out some screenshots down below:
A game called Gunbrella might not sound like it takes itself too seriously, but it doesn’t take too long for it to showcase its dark undertones, with the protagonist finding his home on fire, his wife murdered, and his daughter kidnapped. The only thing left to lead him to the person behind it is a strange weapon known as a gunbrella, though that’s more than enough to start his journey for revenge.
I told you it’s dark, though it does have room for some light-hearted moments and likable characters during your quest for vengeance. The story goes deep at times too with plenty of NPCs to encounter and side quests to complete, with a surprising amount of character building going on between both the protagonist and those he meets along the way. It’s an intriguing world to be a part of, and I didn’t expect to find myself quite so invested in the protagonist’s plight as I did.
“You’re just a man with a gunbrella, and sometimes, that’s all you need to have a f*****g good time.”
When it comes to the gameplay, Gunbrella feels like your typical 2D platforming-shooter. There are plenty of complex areas to explore that’ll require some precise running and jumping to get through, whilst enemies are plentiful and are dangerous enough to ensure you’re constantly having to spray bullets their way. It’s not a Metroidvania-style game so you won’t be spending endless amounts of time exploring, but there’s plenty to see and do across the world to keep things interesting – there’s even the option to backtrack to a few areas if you want, whether that’s to visit previously met characters again or clear a few of the side quests you might have found. There are some fantastic set pieces throughout the game feel like they throw everything at you too (and I mean that in a good way), whilst the versatility of your handy gunbrella means you’ve got plenty of options available when it comes to both combat and traversal.
Shooting feels satisfying and offers twin-stick aiming to land shots with accuracy from all directions, whilst the impact of your bullets ensures there’s PLENTY of blood spilt as you blast away at enemies who get in your path. It’s simple, but feels very, very good. The fact that you’re armed with a weapon that’s part gun and part umbrella lends itself to the gameplay really well too. Whilst most umbrellas are best suited for rainy days, this one can be used to deflect bullets with a well-timed button press, glide when jumping from a height, or even give you a dash of speed when traversing the world. You’re also able to unlock additional upgrades for your gunbrella, whilst the other ammo you find allows you to dish out more hurt, with the likes of grenades and saw blades used to cause even more destruction than typical bullets (I’ll ALWAYS love a game that lets me use saw blades to kill enemies).
Check out some screenshots down below:
It can be a challenging game at first too, with the boss battles in particular putting your skills with the gunbrella to the test… well… until I earned a few more heart containers, at least. Whilst Gunbrella can feel challenging at first, it doesn’t take too long before your health is boosted up, your arsenal is improved, and your gunbrella is upgraded to make further encounters a lot easier to manage. I suffered a LOT of deaths during my first hour or so playing, but once I got into the groove of things? It becomes a lot easier, so much so I was tempted to bump the difficulty up. But hey, it might not be the hardest game you’ve played, but it doesn’t make the boss encounters and set pieces any less thrilling.
Everything in the game is made all the more enticing thanks to the game’s slick visuals, which are packed with detail despite being deceptively simple in design. It’s gritty and got that noir vibe throughout, but each locale is wonderfully designed to ensure that they feel like a real treat to explore, whilst some clever use of lighting adds to the atmosphere. I always wanted to see more of the world, and whilst some of its sights were dark and eerie, they always left me impressed. And the enemy design? It’s spectacular, especially in some of the boss encounters where you’ll take on some real monstrosities.
Gunbrella might keep things simple, but its brilliant gunbrella, creative level design and set pieces, and enticing visuals ensure that it’s a blast to play. I found myself surprisingly invested in the hero’s plight for revenge too, with the colourful characters he meets on his journey proving to be a comical bunch – even if the game can be equally dark in places.
It’s just a lot of fun to play and doesn’t try to overcomplicate the 2D platforming-shooter formula. You’re just a man with a gunbrella, and sometimes, that’s all you need to have a f*****g good time.
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Platform(s): PC (Reviewed), Nintendo Switch