Wandering the floor of PAX AUS 2022, the team at Switchaboo stumbled across Gunbrella and our initial impressions were positive. 11 months later and we've got a release and these initial impressions still hold up with a fun, intuitive 2D platformer where a woodsman wields a gun that doubles as an umbrella, all wrapped up in a pretty presentation and an emotional story of revenge. Doinksoft and Devolver Digital have worked together to create an explosive shot in a rain of games this year.
Gunbrella is an incredibly solid platformer that has some of the most fun movement I've experienced in anything within the genre. Being able to functionally dash in any direction with the umbrella side of the gunbrella just adds a layer of excitement when exploring. Everything in the way the game controls just flows naturally into all aspects of gameplay. There are a lot of opportunities to make full use of everything in your kit to move around fast, especially around towns by riding things like ziplines.
There's a difficulty option that allows anyone who isn't used to this style of game to work their way through, while offering veterans a real challenge. In addition to that, there are pills that provide buffs such as passive healing or increased loot drops, which really help if you're struggling. These are all optional choices to purchase and use, so if you want the challenge, they're not needed at all. Just providing the opportunity for less experienced gamers to enjoy everything Gunbrella has to offer is a good thing.
Because the controls are so fluid and easy to pick up, plus factoring in the accessibility options it’s very easy for players to learn the core gameplay loop of Gunbrella. Being someone who isn’t the best at metriodvanias (that would be Switchaboo’s dedicated “metroidvania guy” Steve Whiting”), I was able to quickly pick up the gameplay and make progress easily. I can’t help but sing the praises of allowing gamers of all levels to have full access to Gunbrella without struggling against a brickwall.
- Fluid gameplay
- Accessibility options
- Easy to learn
Honestly speaking, there really isn’t much I can pin against Gunbrella in a negative light unless you’re looking for more explorative and challenging gameplay. Levels are a bit more linear compared to other titles in the genre, however I think this is a good sacrifice to allow for accessibility. Overall, it’s up to the individual player if they think this is a negative or a positive, but I can understand why this would easily be seen negatively. On top of that, the actual story is not deep and expansive, which is my preference and follows a plot of revenge with only one clue to follow as you hunt down a killer.
- Less expansive than other titles
- The story is a bit bare bones
Final Score: 8/10
Gunbrella has solid gameplay with some of the most fluid controls I’ve encountered in a while, which just makes the whole experience a fun one. While lacking a good story or expansive exploration, there are still well designed levels and interesting NPCs to chat with as you work your way through the towns. This is one of the most accessible titles in the metriodvania genre and works perfectly as an entry point into the genre while still allowing for a challenge for the veteran in the form of difficulty options and omitting the use of the pill system.
Thank you for checking out our Gunbrella Switch review, thank you to Devolver Digital (via Powerup PR) for providing the review code and thank you to our Patreon Backers for their ongoing support: