Review: Gunbrella Goes All Out with Ambiance
Image via Doinksoft and Devolver

Review: Gunbrella Goes All Out with Ambiance

Gunbrella is an unusual sort of game. It’s a platformer with run-and-gun elements. However, the execution and implementation of the story and quests into all of its parts makes it feel like more than that. It can often feel like more of an adventure, given times when you’ll need to collect items like rats or keys or get information from a specific person to progress. The blending of these things are all well handled and, some bugs that could be addressed by the time you see this aside, it’s a generally fascinating little game.

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Gunbrella begins with a man on a mission. After finding a loved one dead and the titular weapon left on the scene as the only clue, the survivor set out for information and, presumably, revenge. So, this person heads to the city of Allendale to get a better idea of what’s going on and get closure.

Review- Gunbrella Goes All Out with Ambiance 2

Image via Doinksoft and Devolver

In many ways, Gunbrella looks like any platformer with gun elements. You’ll find yourself in some stages, often in swamps, sewers, or buildings, that may have multiple paths, doors to unlock, and perilous dangers to dodge as you journey to reach specific spots. Enemies will be littered throughout, responding to your very existence with a desire to attack and shoot at you either with bullets or magic. However, there are also more towns to explore than I expected here. There, you’ll interact with individuals to take on side quests, learn more about the world, and find ways to advance in the event the path to the next series of “stages” is blocked.

I really didn’t expect the depth I saw there. For example, one early side quest involves finding a gem from a cult’s manor. However, there are two possible homes for it. You can meet the two folks who both want to own it on your way to “visit” the cult members, and likely pass at least one of them as you head back. These sort of things come up pretty often, and I liked how exploring off a beaten path or spending extra time in areas usually rewarded me with things like scrap for upgrading the gunbrella or ambiance that helped better define the world. Instead of feeling like I’m exploring some labyrinthine area like in Castlevania or Metroid or some straightforward series of levels like Mega Man, it’s instead this progression of spaces with towns, forests, sewers, and specific places in between. I appreciated the connection.

Review- Gunbrella Goes All Out with Ambiance 2

Image via Doinksoft and Devolver

I also appreciated how Gunbrella sometimes feels like it rewards being stealthy, agile, and clandestine more than straightforward, mindless shooting and rushing. It can feel like there are various paths through places. For example, one forested area I explored sometimes felt like I could grind on the rails above or go for a high road or stay closer to the ground and possible watery spaces. Maybe I sneak up on that armed official and shoot from someplace that isn’t directly in front of them, drawing their ire. Opponents seem reasonable, though I felt there is a noticeable increase in intelligence from human opponents that may more relentlessly pursue you than, say, certain animals. (Except bees. Bees are bad.)

However, one thing I noticed is that the difficulty level of the bosses often felt tied more to how comfortable I was wielding the gunbrella than they were about the bosses being unfair or exceptionally strong. How they move about the stage and knowing how I’d need to respond by dashing, unfurling the umbrella portion to act as a shield, and time movements was the more critical part. It’s interesting, and I felt it helped show the importance of the game’s core mechanic in a way some of the more common encounters with typical enemies did.

Image via Doinksoft and Devolver

Image via Doinksoft and Devolver

The one thing I will say is I noticed a number of small bugs throughout Gunbrella. Most of them did seem fixed via patches ahead of launch, so it might be fine once it’s in your hands. It’s a solid adventure aside from that. I’d even say the narrative-heavy elements mean it might be a bit more of interest to people who wouldn’t normally go for a platformer like this. Yes, you’ll eventually need to be incredibly comfortable with the weapon as you get near the end and face certain encounters. But it’s welcoming in a way I didn’t expect.

Basically, it feels like Doinksoft really went as far as possible to ensure it makes Gunbrella feel like it is taking part in a cohesive, connected world filled with ambiance, rather than some loose arrangement of levels. It made me feel like paying attention to different characters and exploring every possible house and area mattered. Especially since it often rewarded me for doing so. It’s a novel game that seems well-supported.

Gunbrella is available for the Nintendo Switch and PC.


Uncover the dark secrets of a gritty, tangled metropolis and battle diabolic villains with your trusty Gunbrella, a bulletproof brolly that doubles as a firearm. Switch version reviewed.

Doinksoft does a fun job of integrating Gunbrella's story into platforming gameplay, as well as making use of its "gunbrella" mechanic.

Food for Thought:
  • I recommend spending more time than needed in the early areas, so you can practice diagonal movement and quick maneuvers.
  • I really loved the noir nature and elements of things, and it sometimes did feel like I was investigating and hunting down materials even when I knew it’d be right in the next part of a “stage.”

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Image of Jenni Lada
Jenni Lada
Jenni is Editor-in-Chief at Siliconera and has been playing games since getting access to her parents' Intellivision as a toddler. She continues to play on every possible platform and loves all of the systems she owns. (These include a PS4, Switch, Xbox One, WonderSwan Color and even a Vectrex!) You may have also seen her work at GamerTell, Cheat Code Central, Michibiku and PlayStation LifeStyle.