Sometimes, a game title tells you everything you need to know about that game in just a word; Gunbrella is an amazing example of this. If you’ve ever had thoughts of becoming a lethal Mary Poppins, this is the game for you. The developers at Doinksoft have you playing as a quiet woodsman, decked out in a brown bowler hat and a long white scarf whose life has taken a tragic turn. At the beginning of the game, we see him out gathering mushrooms. In the distance, we see a wooden cabin covered in flames, this is our woodsman’s home. He runs there as fast as he can, and runs into the burning building. Alas, it’s too late to save his wife. She has been killed.
He will get revenge on the group or person responsible for ruining his life. But don't expect a traditional hero armed with a sword or superpowers. No, our woodsman wields a unique and visually striking weapon — the Gunbrella. It's a fusion of an umbrella and a firearm, a creation reminiscent of something you would see in one of the Kingsman movies. This unique tool not only packs firepower but also serves as a shield and a versatile means of mobility. It lets you reach heights no ordinary jump could reach, glide gracefully from high platforms, ride zip lines, and dash through both land and water, making you a formidable force when used with finesse — though it may take a few minutes of practice to become accustomed to.
You may think that the controls must be complicated since there are so many things that you can do. But I assure you that the controls in the game make sense, and they are very easy to learn. At the beginning of Gunbrella, there are signs posted everywhere that act as a tutorial teaching you all the different things that you can perform with this firearm-umbrella combo. The game also has a great sense of humour, begging you not to throw a grenade at a special machine to open a blocked path. Of course, I did the exact opposite and blew it up, but I needed that door open, and I didn’t see any other option.
However, don't be fooled by the gloomy setting; Gunbrella delivers non-stop action in the form of a 2D platformer brimming with intense shootouts. There's no shortage of bloodshed, but the pixel art style keeps it from becoming overly graphic. As you progress, you encounter creatures that feed off of the blood that has been splattered around the stage; as gross as this seems, it makes it easy for you to figure out where they will move to next! You will fight these creepy, mysterious creatures in boss battles, and they will definitely challenge you. It takes a few times to learn the patterns of how the enemy moves and which of your Gunbrella’s ammunition will deal the most damage! If you defeat the boss and happen to die on your way back to the save bench, the game will take mercy on you and start you off right after the boss battle, so you don't have to fight through it again.
The music, like the visuals, does a great job of capturing the gloomy feeling of the story. Though, it’s not always sad; when you are fighting off enemies like the freaky one-eyed “meat” creature, it is upbeat and gets you hyped up for the battle. Some areas that you explore, like when you are in the Cult-45 hideout, have music that gets more suspenseful and creepy sounding as you get further in and start discovering the horrors that occur there. Gunbrella’s soundtrack does a great job of mirroring what is happening in the game's story. There is no real voice acting here, just a sing-songy language, but that didn’t bother me too much because they sounded funny, and I would try to figure out what words it resembled. The sound of your weapon firing and the sound of shotgun shells hitting the ground adds a satisfying layer to the gunplay.
During the woodsman’s quest for revenge, you will travel to a variety of locations ranging from towns plagued by cult kidnappings and inhumane experimentation, a junkyard fortress controlled by the Scrapper Gang, and The Wilds, where everything is incredibly angry and trying to attack you. I never expected bees, fish, and turtles to be so violent and deadly. Remember, just because your enemy is small doesn’t mean that they are weak and easy to take down. I died more than a few times trying to get past these creatures. Fortunately for me, the spot where I restarted wasn’t far away.
Making sure that the woodsman is equipped with consumables that will replenish vitality and your health hearts will be important during your journey, especially when you are far away from one of the benches where you can save your game and replenish all your health. Fortunately, once you go through an area and clear out all the enemies, they will not respawn and come back once you leave the screen, but this does not apply to creatures in nature, so frogs and gorehounds will return. So when you need to backtrack to return to a bench or revisit an area, it's usually easier to get through. There was only one other spot where enemies reappeared, and that was the paranormal demon-like creatures that you can’t actually kill, you just interrupt them from constantly attacking you.
In each of these areas, you will meet a host of interesting characters, some more helpful than others. You will be asked to perform quests like finding a lost child; one wants you to catch rats for him to eat, and another is as simple as delivering a message to someone else. Whenever you get a quest or task to complete, it is logged into your handy notebook. Other intel or important information will also be recorded so that you have it to reference if needed. Not all of these are required to be completed, but if you decide to help these people out, you will usually be rewarded with an item or gold for your troubles.
Playing Gunbrella is a fun experience that I would recommend to everyone who loves action-packed, 2D platforming titles. Being equipped with the Gunbrella really made this game a unique experience that is full of action. The added bonus of being able to upgrade the Gunbrella MK-II by bringing spare parts to the Tinkerer really helps you keep up with the stronger enemies that you will encounter as you progress. With a multilayered mystery story that is full of politics and supernatural horror, you will want to play through to the end to find out what happened in this world. Besides, when will you ever get to experience mowing down enemies with a shower of bullets when you are floating through the sky holding an umbrella? The team behind Gato Roboto has done a great job with Gunbrella, and it is a quality title worth your time.
Gunbrella (Reviewed on Windows)
Excellent. Look out for this one.
Gunbrella is one of the most unique 2D action platformers that I have ever played, simply because of the crazy weapon that you use to explore and defeat enemies. There is some backtracking here and challenging enemies to face, but the mysterious story keeps you engaged.