September 24, 2023

Gunbrella is yet another highly stylized indie game published by Devolver Digital. Developed by doinksoft, this bloody noir sees a tragedy-stricken protagonist carving a bloody path through cults, corrupt cops, and cosmic horrors as he seeks to track down the man who murdered his wife. Using the murder weapon itself, the titular Gunbrella, you’ll navigate through combat and platforming segments alike with the same straightforward yet surprisingly deep mechanics that come with using a gun that is also an umbrella.

The game opens with our protagonist reliving the memory of his wife’s murder. With no knowledge of who killed her and only the murder weapon as a clue, you make your way to the big city, Allendale, working around the shoddy train system and the hordes of bandits and monsters between them.

Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

The early game does a good job of setting the tone of what’s to come, especially when it suddenly drops cosmic horror elements on top of you with the summoning of a giant evil monster baby. The sudden inclusion of the supernatural would have been like slamming the breaks on the story’s build-up if not for how well-executed it was and how fitting it felt for the style of the game.

Gameplay in Gunbrella is a familiar kind of side scrolling shooter on the surface. Run, jump, and shoot to navigate two-dimensional environments with the game giving you plenty of freedom for movement expression when taking on enemies or navigating platforming puzzles. The game’s biggest strength is how it manages to create a surprising amount of mechanical depth with only two buttons and directional movement.

Your titular Gunbrella is your main tool for both mowing down enemies and navigating levels. The Gun side of things stores several different types of ammunition that you collect throughout levels to give you a gluttony of firearms to approach your devious foes, with your default being a trusty shotgun you’ll never run out of ammo with. The -brella part is an invulnerable and aerodynamic brolly that is used to navigate the levels as well as block deadly projectiles.

Moving in a certain direction with the umbrella activated dashes you in that direction. You fall slower with the umbrella out, and can use it to latch on to ziplines to quickly fly across a level. Timing the opening of the umbrella properly allows you to deflect bullets back at enemies to hurt them while protecting you.

Gunbrella Baby
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

The imaginative applications of an umbrella are core to the game and give you creative options to take on your enemies. If you can immerse yourself in the role of a vengeful Mary Poppins you’ll find a clear advantage over your enemies in Gunbrella, though that’s not to say the game is without challenge.

Though you’ll face plenty of malicious frogs, corrupt cops and aptly named Gorehounds in Gunbrella, your main antagonistic force is a Waco-esque gang of crooks known as the Cult 45, or more specifically, the dark masters they serve. You’ll be introduced to these villains when you arrive at the town of Orwell, which is barricaded off due to the culty gang’s siege of the town and the kidnapping of their mayor. The sewers beneath the Cult 45 headquarters just outside of Orwell was the first section in the game where I found myself stuck. Thankfully, difficult locations aren’t too bad, as when you die you quickly reappear at your nearby save point without so much as a loading screen.

The main Cult 45 grunt I feel serves at the epitome of how you’re supposed to approach combat in Gunbrella. These cultists are armed with a machine gun, and as soon as they spot you they will open fire with little to no cooldown between shots, like you might expect an actual automatic weapon to perform. If you aren’t decisive, you’ll find yourself pinned in a corner unable to move, or simply dead. Your best bet here is to pop them once before they respond to your presence and then use the umbrella shield to deflect their bullets back at them. Two hits will take down almost any enemy in the game.

Gunbrella Cult 45
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

You’ll find yourself breezing through the early segments of Gunbrella pretty quickly. Enemies and dialogue are light, and you’re mostly building the scene as you make your way towards Allendale, Your first real difficult section will be the Cult 45 headquarters in Orwell. This sort of sets the pace of what to expect from the game; short peaceful sections where you get new quests and progress the story followed by long and intense dungeon-like levels where you fight your way toward some objective that’ll help you find your wife’s killers.

Even on hard, I didn’t find these sections unfairly difficult or unnecessarily time-consuming. Like a lot of games in the genre, learning the attack patterns of enemies and playing almost like a rhythm game of shooting and blocking between their attacks is key for progressing smoothly. It pays to take a second to hang back and make a plan before rushing ahead in Gunbrella.

Gunbrella Forest
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

Finally, it’s worth taking a moment to compliment Gunbrella for its sound design. Every sound, be it jumping off a wall, the croaks of frogs or shotgun shells hitting the floor is pleasant and even stylized in a way that fits the game. This is all accompanied by a smooth jazzy soundtrack that sets the tone of the noir adventure, be it in segments of great gory gunbrella violence or eerie in the moments where the game decides to pull out the stops and get really creepy.

The Final Word

Gunbrella is an interesting horror-noir with satisfying platforming and combat physics, the kind you can only get when you combine a gun and an umbrella. The game moves quickly when it needs to and slows down a bit to give you lore and introduce you to its characters, without ever killing the great pacing you’d expect from a side-scrolling shooter. Once again, Devolver Digital has published an indie darling that should quickly pick up a Cult 45 following.


Try Hard Guides was provided with a PC review copy of this game. Find more detailed looks at popular and upcoming titles in the Game Reviews section of our website! Gunbrella is available on Steam, Nintendo Switch and GoG.

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