Gunbrella Review – Super Noir-tendo

The streets are cold. The people are suffering. They took your daughter. An assault parasol is your only lead and the only thing you can trust. This is our Gunbrella review.

Published: September 13, 2023 12:00 PM /

Reviewed By:

The logo for Gunbrella, the gunbrella in red silhouette is seen behind.

Gunbrella is an action-platformer inspired by titles from the SNES era. The latest project by Doinksoft blends fast-paced action, gritty detective fiction, as well as a pointed modern message.

Murray in a large junkyard, gunbrella drawn from the game Gunbrella
Alright, the guy I'm looking for is here somewhere.

Gunbrella Review – Walking The Streets

In Gunbrella, you play as Murray, an older gentleman with a grudge to settle. He is on the hunt for the man who burned down his home, killed his wife, and kidnapped his infant daughter. His only connection to the killer? A mysterious device that is both an umbrella and a firearm.

Using this versatile parasol, Murray will travel the mean streets. Seeking vengeance and applying hot lead against anyone who gets in his way.

Two robed figures carrying away a mayor from the game Gunbrella
They are called the Cult 45. A pun that gets better every time I see it.

But the world gets considerably darker and stranger as Murray's quest for revenge continues. Mysterious cults, Government officials, and the police themselves are tied up in this mess. All seem to be against your protagonist. In terms of presentation, Gunbrella is a delightfully dirty bit of pulpy noir.

Houses are cobbled together from sheet metal and varnished wood. Streets are littered with garbage. Bodies of water are either sickly green or diseased brown. And the soundtrack is a great blend of jazz and low drones.

A portrait of a redheaded woman with a smile attending a fruit stand from the game Gunbrella
The wink and the smile is so striking.

Yet the world is packed with vibrant, memorable characters. Surprisingly helpful homeless men. Brash street types with chips on their shoulders. Speakeasy managers that are nurturing to their clientele.

All of it blends together into an infectiously entertaining world. Things may be bleak, but the humor and spirit of the cast keep things optimistic.

Murray traveling through an icy mountain road in the game Gunbrella
Watch your step.

Gunbrella Review – Have Gunbrella, Will Travel

Gunbrella's gameplay should be both familiar and welcome to fans of Devolver Digital's trademark style. You will shoot, dash, and wall jump through various sidescrolling levels. Along the way, you will navigate traversal challenges, and blast enemies into pixelated giblets.

Naturally, the titular gunbrella is your key to most of these challenges. In addition to shooting enemies, you can open the gunbrella to deflect projectiles, dash, and float through the sky like a bloodthirsty Mary Poppins.

Hands down, the controls and game feel are top-notch.

Moving Murray from place to place is smooth as butter. Gun blasts are packed with force and impact. Enemy attacks are vibrantly telegraphed. And the platforming challenge curve is fantastic.

Which is good because those fights can be unforgiving. They start relatively straightforward with one or two assailants but slowly escalate with ambushes, machine gun turrets, and tons of local wildlife trying to take a bite.

Murray leaping between two elevators in a mineshaft, a gigantic monster with a glowing eye can be seen below. The image is from the game Gunbrella
Updrafts don't fail me now!

Arguably Gunbrella's most nail-biting sections are its boss battles. Most of these battles are against giant enemies loaded with large screen-filling attacks.

In some ways, these battles are closer to something from a bullet hell shooter or one of the classic Contra games.

Thankfully, Murray does have plenty of resources to even up the score. In addition to healing items and health-boosting food, you can find alternate forms of ammunition. These range from ricocheting buzzsaws to sticky bombs.

While some of these items have some situational benefits, I mostly stuck to the standard shot throughout my playthrough. This is because ammo swapping is highly situational and hard to do in the middle of a fight.

Murray riding a metal hook across a glowing pool of acid from the game Gunbrella
These turrets will haunt me for a while.

Gunbrella Review – Spirit and Soul

As you progress through Gunbrella, you can complete side quests. Not only do these side quests flesh out the game's small supporting cast, they will supply you with helpful items such as health and weapon upgrades. Some of these missions contain moral choices.

These include giving a precious gem to a rich snob or a homeless man or telling someone the truth about the death of a close friend. These choices do have an impact both on the world and on your ending.

It is also where the game's themes are the loudest.

In addition to the rising supernatural threats you face throughout, Gunbrella becomes a very pointed observation about economic disparity and the dehumanizing effects on the world caused by those in power.

A character with a peg leg and two peg arms discussing the lies of major corporations from the game Gunbrella
The scary thing is he might have a point.

This, “the rich are the real monsters” subtext becomes flat-out text in the game's second half when conspiracies form of secret police, gangsters, cover-ups, ecological destruction, and dark human sacrifice lead to some grotesque setpieces. Chinatown by way of Akira.

This passionate voice is only amplified when you know that Gunbrella was mostly developed remotely during the COVID-19 global lockdown. It helps give a palpable texture to this title compared to past titles like Gato Roboto and Demon Throttle.

In that context, the game's social commentary was not just stated; it was lived.

While that passion and fury is felt in every aspect, it doesn't hide some of Gunbrella's weaker aspects.

The tonal mix of gritty noir action, supernatural horror, and quasi-steampunk elements, while visually cohesive, can result in some emotional whiplash.

Some enemy attacks feel excessively cheap. My personal ire goes to the annoying bee enemies that kill you in seconds. And the last handful of levels have some pretty unfair enemy placement.

Murray fighting a large mutated rat in a junkyard, two smaller rats are about to pounce on him. From the game Gunbrella
Okay, this rat problem might be too much for me.

Gunbrella Review | Final Thoughts

Gunbrella is a fun, fast, and infectious action platformer. It plays like something from 1995, invokes the tone and sensibility of 1930s pulp, and is a creative cry on the events of 2023.

You can easily finish this title in a few sittings over a weekend, but you will have a blast.

Gunbrella was reviewed on PC with a copy provided by the publisher over the course of 7 hours of gameplay - all screenshots were taken during the process of review.

Review Summary

Gunbrella is a fast-paced, rewarding action-platformer full of pulpy noir personality. Minor balance issues and tonal whiplash aside, it is worth your time. (Review Policy)


  • Quick, Responsive Action-Platforming Gameplay
  • Entertaining Vibrant Supporting Cast
  • Challenging Boss Battles


  • Inelegant Support Weapons
  • Annoying Late Game Enemy Encounters

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| Staff Writer

Ever since he was small, Tyler Chancey has had a deep, abiding love for video games and a tendency to think and overanalyze everything he enjoyed. This… More about Tyler