Gunbrella Preview


Upcoming 2D platformer Gunbrella puts the player in the shoes of a woodsman armed with a very peculiar weapon, in a quest for revenge.

As the name tells you, our main character is armed with a gunbrella, which is a self-explanatory weapon. It serves as an umbrella but also doubles as a gun, and the game gets quite creative with this tool.

The gunbrella can be used to dash in any direction, can reflect bullets, shoot enemies, hook onto ziplines, and more. It’s a simple concept that gets taken to the absolute extreme with how many uses the weapon has.

The gunbrella’s main fire mode works just like a shotgun, but it can also hold rifle rounds and grenades, essentially being a Swiss army knife of a weapon.

There are also little tricks you can perform with your gunbrella, like dashing upwards and immediately shooting downwards, which gives you a little extra reach to access hidden areas.

Despite wielding it, the main character doesn’t seem too familiar with his own weapon; almost every NPC in the game can be asked about the gunbrella, and you get a variety of answers.

Some of the more naive shopkeepers see it as just a tool to protect yourself from the rain, while others recognize the weapon’s uniqueness. It becomes clear that the ones who do recognize the weapon are hesitant to speak about it.

Gunbrella has a very cinematic approach to its storytelling, framing the entire adventure in a gritty noir tone. Most places you visit are worn down, and people seem to be struggling, sometimes living in piles of trash.

The entire world is highly dependent on a natural resource called crude, which is rapidly dwindling. The impact of crude is ever-present throughout the world, especially through the miners, who are either dying of sickness or being forced to work in labor camps.

The main harvester of crude, a company called Avalon, also routinely kidnaps children, as it seems that exposure to this substance may have left people unable to reproduce.

Much to our chief editor’s dismay, I don’t talk about video game soundtracks all that much. The main reason for this is that many video games just have elevator music for a soundtrack, but thankfully, Gunbrella is an exception.

The soundtrack for Gunbrella has some amazing pieces, my favorite being a smooth jazz track that plays near the beginning of the game; it instantly sets the mood for what’s coming and just pairs up so nicely with the game’s rainy weather and mood.

Gunbrella‘s atmosphere in general is top-notch, and the game really knows how to maintain its serious tone without framing the world as completely hopeless or forlorn, even sneaking in some humor every once in a while.

The demo we were sent clocks in at around three hours, and takes place in the divided town of Orwell, where a barricade has caused both physical and ideological divisions among the locals.

Orwell’s mayor has been kidnapped by a cult, leaving the town in complete lockdown and severing the passage of trains and trade routes. The town is obviously going through unrest, as some citizens are already plotting to succeed the mayor, fully aware he isn’t coming back.

Before arriving in Orwell, we catch glimpses of this cult, and when we are finally compelled to enter their lair, we learn that they are using human sacrifices to try and resurrect an eldritch creature. The cult intends to sacrifice our main character as well, but they are murdered in a firefight, which completes the ritual and awakens a massive lump of flesh.

From then on, the main character starts running into more and more members of the cult, as well as flesh-eating specters that seem to show up everywhere.

Enemies are a big threat, but it never feels like they are positioned in ways meant to screw the player over. Gunbrella‘s level design and enemy placement are top-notch, and despite being difficult, they let the player tackle encounters at their own pace, only getting really tense during boss fights.

Gunbrella‘s combat is extremely tight and rewarding. The main character’s dashes are very responsive, parrying bullets feels fantastic, and the shotgun has just the right amount of punch to it. The game’s gritty tone also fully comes through when you shoot someone point blank, and they immediately get split into chunks.

The game’s combat is a bit on the harder side, since enemies react fast and can damage you quickly if you aren’t careful. Additionally, the only method of healing during combat is through the use bandages or food.

The main character starts limping when his health gets too low, so it’s important to keep yourself healthy during fights. Being near death is not encouraged, and you will have to find the time to heal during encounters, even if it’s a slow process.

Both in gameplay and story, Gunbrella is very deliberate in its pacing, slowly easing the player in before tackling the cult’s hideout. The game doesn’t really delve into horror before that, and only starts leaning into some darker themes after this segment.

Gunbrella‘s world is a very specific brand of dark, and the only comparison I could make would be to LISA: The Painful. Despite its somber mood, the game has an oddball sense of humor, which mostly comes from how odd the people you encounter are.

Overall, Gunbrella is an excellent example of noir storytelling through a video game, with a very well-paced and gripping plot. I firmly believe that it could be one of, if not the best, indie game of 2023.

Gunbrella is scheduled to release at some point in 2023, and will be available on Microsoft Windows (through Steam), and Nintendo Switch.

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Fan of skeletons, plays too many video games, MMO addict, soul-like and character action enthusiast.

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