Review: Gunbrella – amazing platform game with running and shooting

A blast from the past, with an eye to the future

I accidentally came across Gunbrella. A friend of mine told me about it during a lunch break. I thought it was going to be another title in the 8-bit stylized genre, which, is usually amusing for an hour or two, and then you just forget all about it. Little did I know I was judging this book by its cover.

Gunbrella goes all in

Gunbrella is the product of Doinksoft developed by Devolver Digital, which appears to make run and gun games on a daily basis. Before I even played it, I was deeply amazed by the fact that Gunbrella is so widely appreciated amongst gaming communities. Most of the reviews I’ve read rate it from 8 up to 9.5 out of 10 – such a positive response is a rare thing to see.

Most reviewers love its old-school 8-bit style 2D graphics, wonderful controls and the dynamic gameplay, not to mention the dialogues, and tricky bosses.

 

Back to the past… or to the future?

Gunbrella definitely stands out from the crowd. Technically, it’s a platform game, that includes elements of running and shooting, but there’s a lot more to it. Sometimes, it feels like an adventure game, reminding you of the good old Dizzy games – especially, when it comes to collecting objects, which can grant you access to info from NPCs in order to make progress in the game. Mixing shooting elements with such RPG nuggets has been done so well, that it surely deserves praise.

Gunbrella starts as most of the games used to back in 90s. There’s an angry guy with a mission. After coming across a dead relative and the titular weapon, which is the only clue, our guy sets off to seek revenge. So, we start in Allendale city to have a better look at the situation.

At first glance, Gunbrella may seem like every other platform game; however, it’s certainly not. It’s a jewel in the crown of 8-bit like games, with shooting elements and various backgrounds, including, swamps, sewers, and many kinds of buildings. At every stage, there are different paths to take, doors to unlock, and traps to avoid on your way. Enemies will get busy – your presence is always unwelcomed and cheerfully greeted with vicious attacks. There are many places to unlock. Moreover, there are multiple side quests to complete, which makes it even more engaging.

Gunbrella is so good…

Seriously, I didn’t expect that Gunbrella would be such a deeply considered game; e.g., one of the side quests involves seeking a certain gem inside the cult’s mansion. On your way, you will come across two other guys, who want it too. Such RPG encounters remind me of the good old Fallout series. Moreover, completing a side quest rewards you with special items and weapon upgrades, which, considering the hordes of enemies, are extremely helpful. Also, I need to praise the stage design. Take titles like Castlevania or Metroid, where your character explores countless labyrinths within more or less the same location, whereas Gunbrella cleverly combines spaces like cities, forests, sewers and many other locations. I must admit there’s never a dull moment.

As for the gameplay, Gunbrella puts emphasis on sneaking, dexterity, and assassinations rather than mindless shooting and rushing, which to my mind is far more engaging and challenging for the player. There are always different paths to take when exploring a certain location. You can sneak up on an armed clerk and shoot your weapon from a distance to draw his attention. Generally speaking, the IQ of the enemies is pretty impressive. Human foes act naturally, especially during chases.

Fight with the boss!

I noticed that the difficulty level of the bosses mainly depends on your skills and how you employ your gunbrella. Bosses are neither overpowering nor too strong. You have to figure out how they move around the area and react accordingly. Players sometimes need to run up and unfold the umbrella in order to use it as a shield; those movements become critical during such confrontations. I love how the boss fights involve the mechanics you employ when coming across regular fiends.

Any bugs? – I’ve noticed some minor ones. However, most of them have been corrected with patches, and I strongly advise installing them. Despite that, it’s a very solid adventure-shooting game. What is more, the elements rich in narration and the story itself make Gunbrella attractive even for the players who normally wouldn’t reach out for a platform game of this kind. You just have to get the hang of your gunbrella and feel comfortable using it; the rest is just pure fun, and trust me, there are ways of using it you couldn’t imagine.

Conclusion

Overall Doinksoft has really gone all-in when designing Gunbrella; the developers wanted to make sure that their game would be absolutely brilliant, and I must admit they did an awesome job. This game has the atmosphere of the 1990s and feels like playing a modern title. I enjoyed it on my Nintendo Switch, and I must say it runs smoothly. It’s one of the best games I’ve played in a long time; I give it 9 out of 10.

The game is available for platforms: Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows (https://store.steampowered.com/app/1580180/Gunbrella/)

 

About Author
Meet Jack, a passionate gamer and esteemed video game reviewer whose journey with video games began in childhood. With a deep-seated love for gaming, Jack has dedicated countless hours to playing, meticulously analyzing every facet of gameplay, graphics, and storylines, developing an expert eye for quality and innovation in the gaming world. His vast experience encompasses testing over 1,500 games across various genres and platforms, showcasing his commitment and expertise in the field. Jack is not only recognized for his profound knowledge and insights into video games but also for his professional accomplishments. As a top-rated PRO freelancer on Fiverr (nickname: jackvonthor), he has established a remarkable reputation for his high-quality game testing services, offering invaluable feedback and detailed reports to developers looking to refine their creations. His professionalism and skill set make him a sought-after professional game tester in the industry. Jack's journey into the realm of video games began with classic consoles and computers such as Atari, ZX Spectrum, Amiga, Amstrad, Commodore, and PC. Growing up with these iconic platforms, he not only developed a deep appreciation for the evolution of video games but also gained a unique perspective on how gaming has transformed over the years. This rich history with games from an early age has equipped Jack with a comprehensive understanding of the medium, allowing him to connect with a wide audience through his insightful reviews and professional testing services.