Gunbrella - Orwell Town

Back in May, when Gunbrella was first announced at the Nintendo Indie World showcase, I decided to look a little more closely into it. While the reveal trailer might have shown a fairly simple pixel-art game, I started noticing details that suggested there was more complexity to this game than that.

I now have the ability to investigate this even deeper, as the kind folks at Devolver sent me a demo build of Gunbrella. (I should point out that this is another project developed by Doinksoft and published by Devolver Digital — the same developer/publisher combo that recently put out the absolutely incredible Demon Throttle.)

As you can probably tell from the title of this piece, I enjoyed the heck out of my time with Gunbrella. And a huge part of that was just how good the controls feel, how dynamic your movement is, and how precisely all of this plays out in moment-to-moment gameplay. This thing just feels good to play. The last time I just completely gushed over the controls of a pixel-art platformer, if memory serves, was the quirky little medieval-themed Sir Lovealot. And now I’m about to do it again.

Part of this is just how awesome and versatile the Gunbrella itself is. It’s both a shotgun and an umbrella, but it’s also so much more than that. It can be used as a paraglider, and it can attach itself to ziplines to send you zooming off in one direction or the other. This is super fun, because you gain speed as you’re moving, regardless of whether the zipline is angled upward or downward, and you can then do a quick thrust with the umbrella and transition into a glide. Once you master this technique, you’re going to fall completely in love with ziplines.

On top of that, you can use the umbrella portion of the Gunbrella as a shield, and if your timing is good, you can even reflect projectiles back at your enemies.

But aside from that, your movement is so snappy and reactive that it just feels good to move around. And the icing on this cake is the wall jump — yes, Gunbrella has a wall jump, which is something every pixel-art platformer should have. In Gunbrella, though, you can transition a wall jump into an upward thrust to launch yourself up to hard-to-reach areas.

It all feels super smooth, and it’s been an absolute joy to tinker around with this, because the real fun is stringing all of it together on the fly.

There’s currently no release date for Gunbrella beyond the super-vague 2023 date listed on Steam, but I’m definitely looking forward to playing the final build of this one. Doinksoft is proving itself to be an extremely talented studio that’s making the exact sort of games I love playing, and I can’t wait to see what other weird and crazy things they do with their throwback style.

Disclaimer: I was given a preview code for Gunbrella on Steam, but the opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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