Hands-on Preview – Gunbrella
Another Devolver title tested at BIG Festival this year was Gunbrella, originally announced at a Nintendo Direct and being developed by the same team behind Gato Roboto and Devolver Bootleg. The team has evolved from narrative-driven action-platformers starring cats to… narrative-driven action-platformers, but now starring a gruff dude with some interesting backstory the demo was not keen on sharing, who just so happens to wield the absolute coolest weapon in existence, a rocket-powered umbrella that also doubles as a rifle. And a shotgun. And a grenade launcher.
I couldn’t particularly get into the plot in such a short time for a demo, but Gunbrella did offer enough in other departments to catch my interest right away. Good pixel art? Check. Good soundchip music? Also check. Most importantly, a neat gameplay loop? Oh boy, absolutely. If there is anything I took away from this hands-on preview was the fluidity and responsiveness of Gunbrella‘s controls, and the way it mixes platforming puzzles with over-the-top action.
More than just a game where you jump and shoot, Gunbrella featured some neat elements seen in this demo, and I’m pretty sure a lot more will be unlocked later down the line. Sure, you can use the “gun” part of the “gunbrella” to shoot down enemies, with the added benefit of using the right analog stick to aim at foes with precision. You can carry different types of ammunition, with the gunbrella emulating as anything you can imagine. But it’s more than just that.
The umbrella also emulates as a shield. You can use it to protect yourself against bullets. Furthermore, if pressed accordingly, you can deflect said bullets. Say you find a machine gun constantly barraging lead in front of you. You have to go through it in order to progress. No worries, use the umbrella to deflect lead back to it. And there’s even more you can do with it that was shown at this demo.
I was able to use the umbrella as a mini jetpack of sorts, letting me reach higher platforms with ease. It also doubled as a Mary Poppins-esque glider, as well as a means to traverse railings. I could the damn thing as a torpedo underwater as well. All of those elements resulted in me wanting more out of this demo. I was legit disappointed it eventually ended.
The takeaway from this particular demo of Gunbrella was: I want the full package. The preview was just enough to make me learn about the core mechanics, and fall for the main gimmick. Being able to use the titular gunbrella as a gun, a jetpack, a shield, and anything else the developers could think of, was delightful. I just hope the plot, which was mostly absent from the demo, delivers in the same regard. I’m very much looking forward to the end product, whenever Devolver and Doinksoft decide to ship it.
Gunbrella is slated for a late 2023 release for both PC and Switch.