- Developer: Deadtoast
- Publisher: Devolver Digital
- Release Date: 20/06/2019
- Price: $19.99/ £17.99
- Review code provided by Devolver Digital
Welcome to the Internet
Over the top action! This genre is everywhere in movies and TV. Hits like John Wick, Deadpool, Happy and Crank feature a singular, usually weird or quirky, hitman or assassin, that is thrust in, dare I say, over the top circumstances. It’s one against one hundred in a whirl of bullets and blood. Many video games pull off over the top action, but not many make you feel like you are playing one of these movies as much as My Friend Pedro does.
My Friend Pedro stars an unnamed masked hitman and his friend Pedro, a flying talking Banana. Why is the banana talking to you? Why are you not freaked out, well I guess you know you have a talking banana friend, so that’s all the game cares to give you! Before you can second guess why he is there, he quickly enlightens you to the fact that you are both stuck in the basement of a shady arms dealer and need to make a hasty escape. Hilarity and bloodshed ensue through the 40-level campaign.
Bullets, Blood and Bananas?
Gameplay in My Friend Pedro is, frankly, bananas! The controls can take a bit to get used to as the main character feels floaty. It can be nice for the acrobatics that you will perform, but I felt like I never fully trusted where my jumps would lead me. Once you get movement down, then comes the more interesting aspect, gunplay. If you have ever played a twin stick shooter, then you have the gist of it. One analog stick mores your character and the other moves your line of sight.
Shooting is handled with the ZR button and if your gun has a secondary ability; it is activated with ZL. When equipped with the dual pistols or machine guns, get ready to aim at two targets. This ability, with the creative mobility options, adds a new layer of strategy and open-ended gameplay to My Friend Pedro. This allows you to keep your kill combo going and score more points to hopefully claim the top spot in the leaderboards. It wouldn’t be a self-respecting over-the-top action game without some sort of bullet time mechanic, and it does feature one, which allows your character to slow down time and gain more outrageous flips and twists while jumping and shooting.
As mentioned previously, My Friend Pedro features 40 levels broken between 6 different chapters. This can take around 2-4 hours to complete depending on skill upon completion for the first time. There are three difficulty levels, with the normal setting offering a fair amount of challenge whereas ‘Hard’ and ‘Bananas’ up the ante significantly. Aside from the score grinding, once the game is over, there isn’t much else to see in My Friend Pedro, but this doesn’t diminish the fact that it was quite a ride. The final level may be one of my favorite action sequences that I have seen in a game this year. I won’t spoil how it goes, as it was a nice treat and a definite “didn’t see that coming” moment.
It’s Bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S
The development team behind My Friend Pedro, Deadtoast, decided to not follow the trend of many recent indie games of having an 8- or 16-bit style, but a 2D/3D style and it’s an interesting choice indeed. It allows the character models to have nice rag doll physics but that might be one of the only positives. Character faces lack detail, but it’s hardly noticeable unless there are close ups on them, which is a rare case. The backgrounds for most of the time are muted, except for the third chapter. This area is so far removed from the rest of the game that it can be jarring, but I found myself wishing this area lasted longer. I am trying to be vague and not give spoilers as it is also a nice surprise.
The sound design of My Friend Pedro features some decidedly different electronic and techno tracks. While playing through the game, a few caught my attention, but they didn’t sink their teeth into me like other games. This is not to take away from the music, as sometimes there was just too much going on screen for me to keep up with the tunes. After going back and replaying a few levels to get a better listen to the music, I found myself appreciating it more. It might not have the catchiest hooks, but if it came on the radio, I wouldn’t switch it off.
Pedro wants to be your friend, and the journey he will take you on leads through many twists and turns. The story is a slow burner and by the time you get some meat for the story, it’s over. Thankfully the gameplay is fun, hectic and maybe a bit too floaty at times. Though it cannot be denied how fulfilling it is to ride a skateboard, doing a kick flip while spraying shotgun shells at your enemies. My Friend Pedro may not be the most polished game, but it is video game comfort food. Sometimes you just have a craving for over the top action, and it will certainly hit that sweet spot.
- Great Final Chapter
- Crazy & Hectic Action
- Great Sense of Humor
- Not Much Replayability
- Floaty Controls
- Not Enough Story