I’ve done everything with an umbrella now except use it to stop rain from hitting my head. In Gunbrella, your umbrella is an offensive weapon, defensive shield, and maneuverability tool. It’s also a tool of mystery left by your wife’s killer in the game’s opening minutes. And as you head off as a gruff woodsman into the towns abroad, your once lovely home, just how to use the Gunbrella to its full extent, where it came from, and how to find your target for revenge are all mysteries that slowly begin to unravel themselves over the first few hours of the game.

Although PR said the preview build should take around two hours, I’ve spent nearly three hours playing Gunbrella. My desire to seek out as many secret corners as possible and to die a few too many times on a boss fight or two probably extended my gameplay time. 

If you’ve already managed to get hands-on with Gunbrella at a convention (it was at PAX AUS 2022), you’ll know it’s opening 30 minutes before the reveal of some much more supernatural elements that the original trailer may have revealed. And I remember walking away from that demo wondering how this noir-punk adventure would weave in demonic monsters and boss fights against kaiju-like monsters brought to life by a demonic cult, all amongst a world where steam trains seem to be the height of technology. I don’t know how, but doinksoft has pulled it off — at least so far — with my three hours of playtime interweaving fights against human enemies, crocs and Lovecraftian creatures all the same. All no match for the mighty Gunbrella.

Gunbrella is a side-scrolling action game built around fast-paced combat using the Gunbrella to fire upon enemies, dodge into the air, and counter-block projectiles. You start the game with only a handful of hearts and can die quickly, although you can buy food and other items to restore health. Still, it’s best to learn how to bounce off walls and use the Gunbrella to fling yourself between and around enemies. It all feels great to play, and although there’s been nothing so far in terms of Celeste-inspired platforming, a few optional sections have even provided opportunities to use the dashing and gliding parts of the Gunbrella for some platforming challenges to break up the action.

Combat is excellent, but what I can’t wait to experience more of is the intriguing world of Gunbrella which features both evil witches, monstrous rats, a police force in need of bringing down a peg or two and the consistent pull of getting more clues surrounding the person whom the Gunbrella may have belong to before you picked it up.

Amongst the more serious sides of the game, there’s plenty of humour to be found, with every town seemingly featuring at least two characters having odd conversations you can stand by and read, sure to bring a smile to your face. The writing here is clever, wild and with complete confidence that the world and characters will grab players’ attention.

The only bad news I have about Gunbrella is that there’s still not a solid release date. I want to keep playing dearly. You wouldn’t believe the cliffhanger I ended my preview time on! With a 2023 release date still on the Steam page, however, Gunbrella should be one of the year’s biggest indie hits with the backing of Devolver Digitial and so far, deservingly so with both great combat, fantastic art and world design and a noir-revenge narrative, I’m excited to see through to its, presumably, bloody finish. 

Gunbrella will release in 2023 on Nintendo Switch and PC.

A preview build of Gunbrella on PC was provided to us for coverage by the publisher.