Taking a Look at Gunbrella, a Metroidvania About a Grizzled Detective From doinksoft and Devolver Digital

Have you ever picked up your umbrella and pretended it’s a gun? No? Uh… well, Gunbrella is a game where you get to do just that. Developed by doinksoft and published by Devolver Digital, this is a metroidvania about a grizzled noir woodsman, on a quest to find where the titular item comes from, and maybe get some revenge. However, he’ll find things are quite abnormal… even paranormal. Let’s take look!

So Much Work Just To Catch a Train

The demo begins with you on a boat just about to get ashore. The captain is saying that whatever you’re looking for, you’ll likely find it in the city of Allendale, and you must get the train in Orwell to get there. However, as you get to Orwell, you find that the city is under lockdown because the Mayor has been kidnapped.

There are also no trains leaving until the Mayor is freed. So you make your way through the city sewers to the entrance of Cult-45, who are responsible for the kidnapping. You make your way to some sort of ritual room, where they manage to bring some sort of eldritch monster to life.

You manage to kill the monster with your trusty gunbrella, and you free the mayor. After that, you hop on the train and the demo ends, with a thank you message from the devs. The whole thing should take you about 50 minutes, and there’s quite a lot here we skipped over, so make sure to give the demo a shot.

Gun + Umbrella = Gunbrella

The full game is going to be a Metroidvania, but that’s quite difficult to convey in a demo. It’s the rare breed where your main form of combat is shooting at stuff, quite rare compared to more melee focused Metroidvanias, which seem to be the norm. You start the game off with the wall jump, but that’s probably something you’ll unlock later in the full game.

The thing that sets Gunbrella apart from its peers is the titular gunbrella. The “gun” part is where most of your offensive capabilities come from, with the demo offering the option to switch between a gunshot bullet spread, a machine-gun like mode that travels further, and grenades. The gunshot is the default mode and comes with infinite ammo.

The “umbrella” part is where the fun lies! You can open it for a short sprint, or to act as a long double-jump. It can also be used to glide over long distances or use ziplines spread across the map, and it’s great at deflecting bullets. There’s a good chance the full game will give us more upgrades, and we can’t wait to see what the devs have in store.

The enemy variety is pretty good, with 5 different and quite distinct enemies in this demo alone, not counting the boss. On the exploration side, there were a few instances where we had to find the right NPC to talk to or solve a simple puzzle to progress, but there’s only so much you can do in a short demo.

Cool Background, Still Murder

The game has a pixel-art style, with a moody color-palette that complements the tone well. The music is also great, with tracks switching between calm when in a safe area, to more high-tempo when fighting enemies. The demo has full support for mouse and keyboard.

Something neat that we could do is use both a controller and a mouse at the same time. The controller would move the character around (including jumping, by using the left trigger) and cycle items, while the mouse handled aiming and using the umbrella. This is probably not something the devs intended, as there’s a few issues:

  • Moving the mouse around while using the controller doesn’t change the orientation of the gunbrella, which isn’t an issue with full keyboard.
  • Shooting isn’t accurate with this control scheme, as the character would shoot in front of them instead of where the mouse aims.
  • You can’t interact with items like this without taking your hand off either the controller or the mouse (not an issue if the full game lets us rebind the controller).

We don’t expect the devs to ‘fix’ this issues, as very few people would actually use this control scheme, but it would a great addition if they did.

Where Can I Get One of These?

All in all, Gunbrella left a very good first impression on us. The titular item is a great and versatile tool, and we’re eagerly looking forward to seeing its full potential once the game is released. You can find the demo on Steam, so go give it a shot (pun intended)!

What do you think of Gunbrella? Is it a game you’re looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below!