Similar to the studio's earlier shoot-'em-up Samurai Aces, Gunbird is an unusual shoot-'em-up that features a variety of playable characters with unique "ships" (such as a witch flying on a broomstick and a flying robot), each with their own special weaponry.
The story involves five eccentric adventurers of various backgrounds, who are each seeking shards of a magical mirror in order to be granted a single wish. Their efforts are hampered by a triumvirate of sky pirates, who seek the power of the mirror for themselves. Like Samurai Aces, the game includes numerous endings, including one for each combination of characters both players choose in their playthrough. The game later received a sequel in 1998, titled Gunbird 2.
The game was later ported to the Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn, both released in Japan by Atlus on December 15, 1995. The game was later bundled with its sequel for 2004 PlayStation 2 compilation Gunbird: Special Edition. It was later digitally released worldwide by City Connection and Zerodiv for the Nintendo Switch on December 7, 2017 and for the PC on May 11, 2020, with the Switch version later included in both the Psikyo Collection Vol. 1 and Psikyo Shooting Stars Bravo retail compilations.
The PS1 version of the game was notable for receiving a deceptive localization by XS Games in both Europe (in 2002) and North America (on March 19, 2003). Titled Mobile Light Force, this version includes box art that is completely unrelated to the game itself (showing a trio of women, based on the 2000 film Charlie's Angels, running-and-gunning against robots), which is also used as the game's title screen. It also removes numerous parts of the game, including its cutscenes. Along with a digital PSOne Classics release in North America on June 25, 2009, this version of the game later received a similarly-deceptive sequel using the same box art (this time based on the PlayStation 2 version of Shikigami no Shiro).
|Marion, Magical Girl - A 13-year-old witch from England who flies on a magical wooden broomstick with her companion: the vociferous rabbit "Pom-Pom". She's a fun-loving thrill-seeker (with a bit of a violent mean streak) who seeks to become the world's strongest witch, although Pom-Pom may have a desire of his own. Voiced in some ports by Chiharu Tanaka.|
|Yuan-Nang, Chinese Guru - A mysterious woman from China who flies on a personal cloud. Her design is heavily inspired by Sun Wukong from the Chinese classical novel Journey To The West. Her wishes and desires are unknown, although her fighting spirit may be detrimental to fulfilling it. Voiced in some ports by Naoko Matsui.|
|Valnus, Robot Soldier - A fighting robot from Russia who flies on its rocket propulsion device. It serves the Imperial Russian Army and is ordered to capture the mirror for them, although it may have a desire of its own. Voiced in some ports by Kazuya Tatekabe. Known in the Mobile Light Force version as MILF 2000.|
|Ash, Adventure Scientist - A 28-year-old adventurer from Germany who flies on his personal jet pack. He seeks to improve either his intelligence or his desirability for women (the latter of which, if he is paired with Marion, reveals that he might not have the healthiest interests in women). Voiced in some ports by Ryotaro Okiayu. Known in the Mobile Light Force version as Jason Last.|
|Tetsu, Miya Carpenter of Love and Spirit - A 60-year-old carpenter from Japan who flies on a wooden human-powered rotorcraft. Losing his partner four decades prior, he seeks to either revive his love or his youth. It is revealed that he is homosexual, often for comedic effect. Voiced in some ports by Sakunosuke Maya. Known in the Mobile Light Force version as John Suarez.|
Throughout the game's story, players encounter a rival group known as The Trump. A trio of swashbuckling baddies, this group consists of Rouge (the English chief), Ace (the German mechanic), and Claude (the French pilot). They parody the villians of two '70s anime series: Time Bokan and Yatterman. The latter parody is acknowledged as the voice actors for Rouge and Ace in some ports previously voiced their corresponding villain in Yatterman.