Gunbrella Review – Excellent, engaging and punk as hell

Reviewed September 14, 2023 on PC


PC, Nintendo Switch


September 13, 2023


Devolver Digital



Expertly executed and with a lot of flair (much like many other Devolver Digital published games), Gunbrella takes a boilerplate idea and setting and goes the extra mile with it. You have found your wife brutally murdered. You are on a trying cross country journey, seeking revenge. Oh yeah, and equipped at your hip is an umbrella that also functions as a gun, found at the scene of the crime. Have fun.

Gunbrella is only about six to eight hours depending on how efficient and skilled you are, but what it does in that time is phenomenal. Thrilling boss fights, action set pieces, and even weird and quirky characters to engage with are just some of the highlights. Bubbling away throughout this entire runtime is a steampunk meets noir setting and story that I couldn’t get enough of.

What starts as a revenge story becomes something with an ocean of depths. You travel by train to a series of towns that open up to factories, junkyards and the like. Every individual you talk to will have an opinion to offer about the energy crisis that’s going on in the world. Seeing individuals debate the merits of the precious green material they’re mining to power with electricity while you note the pollution in the air, the ocean a yellowing colour that makes the world feel like it’s in sepia tones… It’s comically bleak but impactful, gritty environmental storytelling goodness.

So many other narrative threads and mysterious individuals will pop up throughout the game, with even the most unassuming of characters inevitably tying into your mystery man in key ways. More often than not these are streamlined to you via side quests. What may first seem like an unassuming fetch quest will lead you deeper into the world and its people. A father is missing his son. The Mayor has been kidnapped. Cultists will be performing wicked misdeeds in the underbelly of a town. Factions introduced will collide in conflict.

All of these events left me treating Gunbrella’s world with utter reverence. Suddenly the world didn’t feel so small. Though you only explore a small handful of towns, they all tie together and inform one another in incredibly complimentary ways as you see mankind slowly destroying and polluting the land they live off and the air they breathe. All because of their vestment in a resource that’s already rapidly diminishing as it is.

It’s because of this that it pains me to refrain from talking about the closing area and final act. To dance around it, it is both a twist and an awe-inspiring looker of a location with stark contrast to everywhere you’ve been prior. I was already immensely enjoying my time with Gunbrella, but upon reaching those final moments it all formed into place and became what I look at now as a modern classic action game. Within is a story, adventure, and world so morose that it’s both beautifully haunting and mesmerising, leaving me ruminating for days afterward.

Gunbrella is a 2D side-scrolling adventure, much like their 2019 debut in Gato Roboto. If that was their homage to all things classic Metroid, featuring clever level design with a scaled back scope, then this is what feels like their blank check action game sans the Metroid but evolving the level design even further. I don’t mean to say that Gunbrella is a game that has materialised with little effort, magically being the excellent game it is, but rather the opposite. Though following talks with Cullen Dwyer of doinksoft, it’s apparent Devolver Digital does let them run loose with ambitious ideas. For one, the attention to detail in the pixel art style had me taken aback often.

Rain falls constantly in-game, but work has been put into detail to make its appearance never all that bright or distracting from everything else around you. When you exit a town via a sewer network or cave system found below, the earth is very rocky and the sprite work reflects this in high detail. Even entering an individual’s house and seeing the attention to the way fire flickers on a candle or how populated a bookshelf is… It’s hard not to feel like you’ve stepped into someone’s life and like you’re getting a slice of their day to day.

Even little sound design quirks add to that fleshed-out feeling of a realised world. You take a step inside a bar to get out of the rain. The downpour becomes a distant white noise, still reminding you it waits outside. For now, though, you’re here, warm and safe.

“…a modern classic action game.”

Gunbrella is a far bigger world and experience than Gato Roboto, and a lot of that is due to the fact that there are more involved ways to go about finding secret paths, goodies and all sorts of tidbits. This traversal skillset is all thanks to your umbrella. Instead of things being just a few wall jumps and a well placed rocket away from being found, vertical dashes, riding ziplines are also thrown into the mix, along with getting to know the right people to find a key to unlock a door or two.

Plenty of mileage comes from that skill set. This is after all a game all about keeping you on your toes, with dashes opening up your umbrella to send you hurtling into the air or sending you back down to solid ground in a fly. Screens will often get hectic with enemies as you go about dodging projectiles, finding the right placement when you’re outnumbered and, if you can get the hard-to-master yet rewarding timing right, parrying bullets with these dashes.

Whether it’s a sprint across the top of a moving train while you’re in hot pursuit of a key figure in the mystery or battling a flesh amalgam brought to life by cultists, setpieces are aplenty. Like prior entries in doinksoft’s catalogue, Gunbrella is a game all about making you feel suited up and cool, blasting away to your heart’s content. This feeling of power increases tenfold with the ammunition types you can equip such as buzzsaws to fling around a combat arena, grenades and assault rifle rounds.

Boss battles are demanding in the best sort of way. More often than not they’re great beasts, thrashing about in your close proximity that will have you always on the move. The thrilling part of most of them is finding your own rhythm, just even trying to find the time to get an ample shot on them in between staying in the air to avoid ground attacks and vice versa. Other times you’ve limited platforms or you’re pushed into a corner of an arena as your environment and the foe lying ahead of you are working against you, leaving you forced to fight your way out.

No matter how you slice it, every single boss encounter is strong in their own right. Gunbrella really nails utilising the 2D plane in these fights, often leaving me with a deep exhale as I completed a battle by the skin of my teeth thanks to a well-timed heal or prior damage upgrade to my gun.

I have scarce complaints about Gunbrella. My biggest at the time of playing was a progression bug that occurred late in the game, where completing a boss encounter didn’t trigger and therefore I couldn’t progress for a short while. A few restarts fixed that issue, and the bug is also said to have been fixed by a pre-launch patch, so that may even be non-existent to players come launch day. Similarly, those looking for depths in an upgrade system might find the game a little lacking as the primary ones you’ll seek out are extra health and damage. While I appreciate this simple leveling up of nodes rather than a complex skill tree to be bogged down by in a game so focused in scope, I every now and then find myself wondering why upgrades were in turn there at all.




  • Thrilling 2D action combat that equally challenges and empowers
  • Dozens of curious characters each with their own stories to share
  • The polluted world is hauntingly, comically and beautifully bleak
  • Attention to detail in sound design
  • A final location and twist to die for


  • Limited upgrades to work through will delight some, but bum out others

Gunbrella is another example of developer doinksoft proving they know how to make a wicked cool video game. Featuring rainy nights and gorgeously bleak environments overrun with pollution as the backdrop, the steampunk and noir vibes are palpable as you investigate the inner politics of a town and, most importantly, your wife’s killer. Thankfully all that deliberate dreariness is complemented by a cool traversal system with the umbrella and frenetic 2D action that does a good job balancing the difficult task of empowering and challenging the player. Topping it all off is a final area and twist seen to be believed. Gunbrella is amazing and a must-have modern action title for your library of games.