Published on September 19th, 2023 | by Gareth Newnham
Gunbrella Review (Nintendo Switch)
Summary: Gunbrella is a superb neo-noir thriller that will have you floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee.
Let it Rain
Whoever thought of the Gunbrella is an absolute genius. It just rolls off the tongue, Gunbrella ella ella hey hey. Developer Doinksoft, like Gato Roboto before it, has taken another simple but slightly mad concept and created a cracking action platformer around it.
The Gunbrella is a simple invention, part parasol, part pump action shotgun, the perfect weapon for a twisted tale of a drifter with nothing to lose, hunting the man who kidnapped his daughter and killed his wife with the weapon he now wields.
This gripping pixelated noir thriller is packed full of likable characters, dastardly foes, and a surprising amount of social commentary, as the dregs of society are left to literally live off the scraps left by a ruling elite that have retreated to the safety and luxury of an island off the coast.
The real star of the show, though, is the Gunbrella that’s used to both slay your enemies and get around the environment. Though you can run, jump, and hop up walls without it opening the Gunbrella lefts, you dash forward, throw yourself into the air, and then float back to the ground while opening fire on an unsuspecting foe like a psychotic lemming.
The offensive capabilities of the Gunbrella are just as fun as the athletic ones; with a pocket full of shotgun shells, our hard-boiled hero mostly likes to get up close and personal with the pump action parasol, flying forward and then blasting the killer cultists and ferocious fauna that make up the majority of the game’s adversaries never fails to satisfy.
As well as buckshot, the Gunbrella can also be loaded with a wide variety of ammo types, from long-distance rifle rounds to grenades, sticky bombs, and razor blades, while its basic blasting capabilities can be further improved by a quick visit to the repentant inventor of the revolutionary rifle, improving its damage and reload speed, and by the end of the game there isn’t a man, woman or wraith alive or dead that can withstand its overwhelming power.
The Gunbrella’s death-dealing capabilities are also matched by its defensive ones, as opening your brolly at the right time can not only stop bullets dead but bounce them straight back at your enemies, something you’ll want to master, lest you be torn to pieces by machine gun fire from the hundreds of turrets and bots begging to blow you away
This is all capped off with some tough but fair boss fights, which require you to zip and guide around arenas while avoiding attacks from hulking, hard-hitting monsters and duels against skilled gunmen. They mostly feel more Megaman than Dark Souls and are all the better for it.
Though you can freely explore the map and travel between areas by train, Gunbrella is fairly linear compared to Gato Roboto’s pure Metroidvania, and aside from a couple of side missions (that are well worth checking out), it’s a focused affair that is very much all killer no filler.
It may only take you a rain-soaked afternoon to play through, but Gunbrella is a journey packed with fantastic twists and turns, gripping gunplay, brutal bosses, and pixel-perfect platforming, and my only major complaint is that I didn’t want it to end.
Gunbrella is a superb action platformer with an inspired conceit tied to an instantly iconic weapon. Though it’s over in a few short hours, like its titular weapon, what it lacks in range, it more than makes up for in impact.