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Review: Get Your Wellies on for the Bulletproof, Action-Packed Fun of Gunbrella

A little rain never hurt nobody
Gunbrella Title Card
Screenshot via doinksoft/ Gamer Journalist

Life as a simple woodsman is one that many may wish to have. With a family waiting at home for you to bring over the fresh produce and dry wood to keep the house warm, it is the little things that are always taken advantage of and sorely missed once taken away from you.

In Gunbrella, this woodsman would feel utter isolation as he returns home to find his family murdered and home lit alight. With wrath in his heart and the murder weapon of Gunbrella wielded, he sets out on a journey across foreign lands where different horrors await you at every turn. With decisions to be made on the fate of innocent bystanders and terrible monstrosities, what will you decide is best based on how it serves you in your playthrough? This is Vincent’s review of doinksoft’s Gunbrella.

Taking Side-Scrolling to the Next Level

Screenshot via doinksoft/ Gamer Journalist

Related: 10 Best Calming and Relaxing Games

In Gunbrella, the core gameplay mechanics stem entirely from your weapon being the title itself – a Gunbrella. A combination of a firearm and a bulletproof umbrella can provide various ways of attacking and defensive positions. As you face many enemies through traversing across the small towns, completing Quests, and helping out NPCs by completing their requests, you will get many opportunities to try out different moves against danger. With explosive barrels to throw at enemies, grenades to send down the gullet of anyone that stands in your way, or to charge and stun monsters with the umbrella side of your firearm – anything can be overcome, defeated, and pushed past its breaking point.

Gunbrella offers infinite shotgun slug rounds which I love as a choice. Instead of it appearing more like a Survival Horror Side-Scroller, the infinite ammo moves away from simple combat and more towards how are you going to evade the enemy to punish them after they use their moves or need to reload their weapon.

Screenshot via doinksoft/ Gamer Journalist

The Gunbrella itself and its movability is so fluid and effortless that simply jumping around is fun

Everything in the game offers you a chance to adapt and try a different move from another angle. Most enemies have their own move set and whilst enemies will repeat depending on the setting you are exploring, the lay of the land is enough to keep everything fresh and unique. The Gunbrella offers a unique mechanic where you can easily execute jumping, floating, dashing, and gliding. This is both your primary weapon and a means of executing platforming. As a console player, I struggled to get used to the controls for everything the Gunbrella had to offer, including the execution of combos such as wall jumping to immediately shooting at the enemy above me.

An important note: Although the game states that it has Controller Support, I was unable to get this working so I had to play with a mouse and keyboard. I hope the Support is updated in the near future after the Beta version.

Screenshot via doinksoft/ Gamer Journalist

The Gunbrella itself and the movability offered by it are so fluid and effortless that simply jumping around is fun. You can skip through sections by dashing with the Gunbrella in hand by using its umbrella mode and you will have little problem with backtracking in this game (which you will find yourself doing often). Whilst many Side-Scrollers can feel like a chore when completing Quests through backtracking or 100% exploring a dungeon/castle, Gunbrella offers fast solutions with its fast-travel system of the Train Station and ability to dash and glide.

Decisions to be Made

Screenshot via doinksoft/ Gamer Journalist

Unlike other video games, Gunbrella offers a saving system that overwrites your current save only. What this means is that any choices you make in the game are set in stone the moment you save via a Bed or Bench. There are a lot of moments where you are faced with a choice – be it something as simple as buying Ammo, or weaponry such as Sawblades or Grenades, to Health Items/temporary buffs using Pills. These choices can change your game depending on the next area you are heading into.

There are many places you will come across where you can trade. Resources such as cash or animal products can be foraged by breaking wooden crates or killing specific enemies. These can then be used inside stalls such as Bill’s Pills, Sewert’s Grill Food, or Merchant’s Wares. All of these offer their own unique set of stock for you to choose from. You can get sweeter deals by completing requests, or focus on saving that hard-earned cash by taking out the trash that waits for you in every dark crevice, deep below the quaint towns you visit. You want to be smart about what you choose as the Save Stations are placed quite generously, therefore temporary buffs may be more useful to buy than spending a ton on Bandages.

Screenshot via doinksoft/ Gamer Journalist

Any deaths you suffer from will send you back to the last save point. This also means that any decisions you make when completing Side Quests for town NPCs will be saved and there will be consequences depending on the choice you made and which NPC you favored at the time. You will not be able to check what pain you have caused the left-out NPC who feels hard done to or how it affects you in the future (positively or negatively) until later in the game. This means that if you are curious about how choices affect your playthrough, you will need to start multiple save files to find out the difference between each decision you make. This increases Gunbrella’s replayability factor which is a great thing.

A Dialogue-Driven Tale with Mystery

Screenshot via doinksoft/ Gamer Journalist

Gunbrella is a gem of a Side-Scroller

Gunbrella is a story about revenge but being uncertain about who killed your family, the story that unfolds is one that should grip you from the beginning. Backed with a super fun core gameplay mechanic and a platformer that won’t leave you rocking in the corner and crying from endlessly falling down (I’m looking at you Only Up), Gunbrella is a gem of a Side-Scroller. Its story offers a nihilistic perspective against a gritty background, with a fantastic score and bosses that perfectly encapsulate the overall feel of the game. Whilst the story is mysterious due to the initial wonder of who murdered the woodsman’s family, there are moments of greatness in the dialogue between the NPCs you will come across throughout the story that truly bring more life into the game.

Screenshot via doinksoft/ Gamer Journalist

Although each town is small in its design when you first enter, each offers an underbelly to explore and get lost in. You will find yourself leaving a trail of corpses behind you in your hunt for the truth. And the best part? Any enemies you kill will despawn so backtracking is made easy and is clearly welcomed by the Devs. Some enemies however will reset and spawn back in (typically flying enemies) depending on if you save and then backtrack.

Gunbrella throws a variety of enemies at you – Cultists, Turrets, Cops, Gangsters, Beasts, and Monsters, to name just some. Each town has its unique set of horror for you to become engrossed in, feeling like a different game with every area you bypass. Whilst everything is out to get you, it is down to your wit to uncover every secret and leave no stone unturned.

Gunbrella is available on Nintendo Switch and Steam for $14.99 (an absolute steal if you ask me). So what are you waiting for? If you are looking for the next best Side-Scrolling Platformer with a revenge story, great dialogue, quirky characters, intense boss fight music, and a peaceful escape on a bench to save your progress in between the chaos; Gunbrella is the one for you.

We hope you enjoyed our review! If you’re a fan of side-scrolling games check out our article on Midnight Scenes: From the Woods Story and Ending Explained. After that, you can join Gamer Journalist on Facebook and get more exciting guides and reviews!

About the author

Hadley Vincent

Hadley is a Freelance Writer for Gamer Journalist. They have been with the company since October 2022. With a BSc Honors in Psychology, Hadley focuses their creativity and passion for Video Games by primarily covering Horror, FPS, and anything with a great narrative. You will often find Hadley covering the latest indie horror games or deploying into Call of Duty's DMZ. They love a good story and one that can keep them up at night, be that for its scares or its lore.

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