Gunbrella asks, 'What if Mary Poppins was a hair-triggered desperado?'

Between blasting fiends and floating through fast-paced platforming, Gunbrella is shaping up to be a heck of a run-and-gunner.

Image via Devolver Digital

Times are hard in the world of Gunbrella. You take the role of a man whose family was killed and his home destroyed. His response? Take up the most unlikely of weapon combinations and chase down information on what happened and why. Gunbrella is an action-platformer, and after some brief time with the game, its gimmicks are great, its gore is gratuitous, and its gunplay is gratifying.

Float like a butterfly, sting like a 12-gauge shotgun

The core premise of Gunbrella can be found above, but there’s a bit more to it than that. Your nameless avenger has the titular Gunbrella, but beyond his familiarity with its use, he doesn’t seem to know much about it. What he does know is that it lets him zip around dangerous areas and blow their denizens to bits when they threaten him.

On his quest, the gunman finds a variety of towns suffering their own problems. He can lend a hand, and sometimes must if he’s to move forward with his own goals. In an early quest in the game, a town’s mayor was captured by a cult of gunslingers known as Cult-45. The town is blockaded due to an order the mayor issued should he ever be captured and the town’s train system is shutdown. That means you have to do something about it. We floated and blasted our way into Cult-45’s hideout where we found they were using townsfolk to summon a monstrous eldritch being at the behest of some unknown figure known as “Mama”.

A boss fight in Gunbrella
Source: Devolver Digital

More than that, there were also optional side quests we could take along the way. There was a sewer dwelling fellow on the way to the Cult-45 hideout that would cook food (rats, actually. Bon appetite!), but also lamented over a key and gem that he felt a nearby merchant was trying to steal from him. The merchant gives you the key, but he also wants that gem. If you get the gem while in Cult-45’s hideout, you get a choice: give it to the shady merchant or the eerie sewer man? I gave it to the sewer man and he graciously promised he wouldn’t forget. The merchant told me the same, but in a far more sinister tone that I’m sure will have implications later.

Beyond the story, gunplay and platforming in Gunbrella is a blast. Your Gunbrella is, at its basic function, a shotgun. You have to get close to enemies to let them feel the full effect, but when you do, you’ll blow most enemies to bits in a spray of gore and bones. You can also gain different forms of limited ammo such as long-range rapid-fire rifle rounds, sawblades that ricochet off walls, and grenades that can be lobbed at odd angles to hit otherwise unreachable targets.

Using the Gunbrella in Gunbrella to float up to an enemy and blow them away.
Source: Devolver Digital

Meanwhile, you can also deploy the umbrella part of the Gunbrella to give yourself a windy burst of momentum in the direction you point it. Keep it deployed while you’re in the air and you’ll float gently down to the ground. That’s not all. The umbrella part of the Gunbrella can also be used to skid on ziplines, dodge attacks, and block enemy bullets. You can even reflect enemy bullets back at them if you time your opening of the Gunbrella right before the shot would hit you. It made for a delightful tool of both combat and traversal through the game’s obstacles.

Gunbrella also has an interesting health system. At the start of the preview, I had four hearts representing the gunman’s life. Losing a heart doesn’t mean just grabbing a power-up. You have to acquire medical care items like bandages and pills to heal your actual wounds. You can also find food, but it won’t heal your main health. Eating an apple or a grilled rat from the sewer man gives you blue hearts that act as temporary extended health. Utilizing both forms of health when you need them is key to staying alive. It’s a neat little system that makes you prioritize how you use your items.

A spoon full of sugar helps the buckshot go down

Resting in an ornate room in Gunbrella
Source: Devolver Digital

Gunbrella is gory and grim, but also unabashedly silly. By the time I was done with the preview, I was really interested to see where it goes with not only the story of the gunman and his revenge, but also the eldritch summonings and the mysterious Mama. More than that, blasting enemies to pieces with a shotgun and then using said gun to float to safety might sound ridiculous, but it’s quite responsive and fun on all sides of the tool. I look forward to discovering the secrets of the Gunbrella and learning more about what it can do further along in the game. I just hope whoever killed the gunman’s family aren’t expecting any jaunty musical numbers.

This preview is based on an early PC version of the game supplied by the publishers. Gunbrella is slated to come out on PC and Nintendo Switch sometime in 2023.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

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