Gunborg: Dark Matters Review – PlayStation 5

Gunborg: Dark Matter is a new sci-fi, side-scrolling action platformer from solo developer Rickard Paulsson and publisher Red Art Games. The gameplay is smooth, fast, and paired with a synthwave soundtrack straight out of the 80s that was exactly my jam.

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I’ll start off with the story of the game which I didn’t find to be very well told or interesting. You play as a female character who is onboard a space ship and has to fight her way through it eliminating all kinds of aliens and robots along the way. I really didn’t care that much about it but thankfully every other area of this game makes up for the story’s shortcomings. First off, the visuals were very much to my liking as the pixel art is very well done and the environments are full of neon colors that just pop throughout. What’s great about them is that no matter how engaged I was when fighting the variety of enemies, the screen never felt too busy that I couldn’t tell what was going on. The music is superb too as the synthwave score perfectly matches the style of the game and the sound effects are equally as satisfying.

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Of course, the visuals and music wouldn’t matter as much if the gameplay wasn’t satisfying and thankfully it very much is in Gunborg. The controls are easy to grasp and very responsive throughout making it a joy to run and jump through these stages. Your character is armed with a laser sword that you can use to slash your enemies down and you also get a handy shield that is used for both deflecting enemy bullets and for platforming. I really liked this use of the shield as if you see some spiky crystals you need to cross you can throw down the shield at your feet and use it as a platform to jump across them. While it is handy in both situations you have to keep in mind it needs a short period to recharge before you can use it again. A game named Gunborg wouldn’t be true to its name if it didn’t give you some guns to fire and they do in the form of flame throwers, rifles, and more all of which can be found by defeating and taking them from enemies. I found myself always wanting to swap guns out for new ones that I found just to see what they could do plus the ammo doesn’t last long in them either so I kind of had to swap around. The game rewards you for killing enemies well too in the form of Dark Matter mode which activates once you build a combo chain up from killing enemies. This gives your attacks some extra oomph to them which can be very useful in more hectic situations.

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The stages and platforming within them got more and more challenging as I progressed with some later levels being quite devious. In addition to enemies there are hazards like saws and lasers that you need to avoid. Thankfully, your character is armed with a jetpack in addition to her standard jump so you can make a few additional hops when needed. There are also a few difficulty options to choose from if you find yourself struggling a bit with each one differing in the number of hits you can take before dying. While I was enjoying the game, I was sad to see it didn’t last very long clocking in at just a few hours before I finished it. Once I was done there was little reason for me to keep playing other than to try to find the collectibles I missed or clean up the rest of the trophies of which there are 15 of including a Platinum.

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Gunborg: Dark Matter is a short and sweet action platformer that is sure to test you. The 80’s synthwave soundtrack mixed with the neon colors makes the presentation very attractive while the gameplay is super smooth and fun to control. It won’t last you but a few hours but if you don’t mind that then you’ll have a lot of fun in that short time.

*Gunborg: Dark Matters is available now on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. PlayStation 5 version reviewed. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.

Gunborg: Dark Matters





  • Great presentation that makes good use of its color pallete
  • Responsive and satisfying platforming and shooting gameplay
  • That synthwave soundtrack


  • Not much going on in the story
  • Only lasts a few hours at the most
  • Some later levels can be quite punishing
Written by
Editor/Writer/Reviewer here on I've been playing games for almost 30 years now and play everything from AAA blockbusters to Indie games.

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