Review – Gunbrella

Just about two months ago, I was able to play a demo of Gunbrella at BIG Festival 2023, alongside a handful of other Devolver titles. It was one of the highlights of the event as a whole, even if the demo itself wasn’t exactly long. It showcased me the core essentials: a 2D platformer with an emphasis on platforming and gun-based combat, both of which would be performed by using the same tool, an umbrella. Yep, an umbrella which could glide, boost you up like jetpack, deflect bullets like Captain America’s shield, and shoot a wide variety of bullets from its tip. In true Devolver fashion, it looked pixelated, retro, slightly funny, and violent. I wanted to get my hands on the full product to see if it would be worth the hype. Thankfully, it’s finally out.

Gunbrella deflecting

Deflecting bullets takes some practice, but once you get a hold of the mechanics, it feels great.

So, finally being able to play Gunbrella in full was more of me wanting to take a look at its levels and plot progression, as I had already been sold on the gameplay nearly two months prior. I have little else to add about that particular aspect of the game, other than it’s still its main highlight. It might be a bit complex with its platforming gauntlets, but it manages to perfectly teach you all the tricks through visual hints alone. Sure, the game has text-based tutorials, but it really shines at just giving you progressively more complex challenges to deal with, be it in terms of combat or platforming. Combining your jetpack boots, Mega Man X-like wall hopping, and gliding in order to solve a puzzle feels super rewarding.

Oddly enough, I feel like the combat isn’t even that big of a focus. It’s not that it isn’t there, for it is in droves, but I have never had an issue with dealing against enemies outside of boss battles. There was never a sheer amount of foes onscreen at once (thankfully, as too many effects onscreen usually resulted in framerate issues), and their AI was pretty manageable for the most part. That didn’t make the game less entertaining, it just made things more straightforward.

Gunbrella boss

I don’t wanna kill him, I wanna pet him.

I can’t say I cared much about the plot, as well as my Eastwood-esque protagonist. It’s not that it was bad, but the journey was more interesting than the destination. That’s mostly due to the pretty good moment-to-moment gameplay and the characters I’d eventually meet along the way. In true Devolver fashion, Gunbrella is witty and funny, though not laugh-out-loud hilarious. Despite the drab color palette, deaths, and occasional splashes of ultraviolence, Gunbrella was a good time in scattered sessions in portable mode.

I think there was just one thing that somewhat disappointed me, and that was its presentation. Don’t get me wrong, Gunbrella looks good enough, but as previously mentioned, it’s a bit too drab. It’s brown and grey as hell, which gets tiresome after a while. I will give them credit for the fact that such drab color pallette is rarely seen in pixel art games, but I guess there was a reason for that. The music, while good, was also somewhat infrequent. The game is quiet for the most part. Slightly more dramatic undertones are only played during action-heavy sequences or boss battles. Finally, get ready to listen to a lot of Banjo-Kazooie-esque voice samples whenever someone opens their mouth. I don’t mind those at all (in fact, I always find them charming), but be advised.

Gunbrella Orwell

The friendliest and most excited guard in gaming history, BABY!

There isn’t a lot that needs to be said because Gunbrella, despite the unique premise, is really straightforward: what you’ve seen from previews and trailers is what you’ll get. It’s a really well-designed platformer that might be a bit too brown and dour at times, but plays like an absolute dream. With excellent level design, great boss fights, and just the right amount of funny dialogue bits to remind you that yes, you’re playing yet another high-quality Devolver outing, Gunbrella might not be one of the publisher’s top titles, but it’s still absolutely worth your while.


Graphics: 7.5

Decent spritework with small, but well-designed characters. I had a few issues with framerates whenever the screen was plastered with effects, but those moments were rare. I wasn’t a big fan of the drab color palette, though.

Gameplay: 9.0

A joy. The controls might be somewhat complex, but the game does a great job at teaching you everything your multitool umbrella is capable of doing.

Sound: 7.0

Quiet for the most part, with slightly more dramatic undertones being played during action-heavy sequences or boss battles. Sound effects get the job done.

Fun Factor: 7.5

More innovative in its platforming than its combat, it also excels in its boss battles, level design, and occasionally funny dialogue.

Final Verdict: 8.0

Gunbrella is available now on PC and Nintendo Switch.

Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.

A copy of Gunbrella was provided by the publisher.