Review – My Friend Pedro

There is something special about the relationship between a man and his banana. Wait, that sounded bad. Let me try that again: My Friend Pedro is a crazy-go-nuts platformer/2D side scroller/twin stick shmup. It gives you enough story to keep it interesting while making sure that you understand, by way of your floating banana shaped sidekick, that this game doubles down on the absurdity and gameplay of its action.

My Friend Pedro

If the talking banana says he’s my friend, I guess I can’t argue with that.

Normally, I don’t like when developers try to use too many styles. I feel it waters down the overall pot and they would have been better served to try and put more focus in fewer areas. Less is usually more. Thankfully, DeadToast Entertainment and Devolver Digital do not subscribe to such a theory. More is more! More guns, more action, more buttons, and absolutely more WTF!

The sooner you stop trying to make sense of My Friend Pedro, the better. Yes, you awaken in a room with no idea how you got there. Your imaginary floating banana friend, Pedro, is there to help you uncover what is going on. From there, you run, shoot, jump, flip, kick, swing, roll, bounce, fly, and skateboard your way through mercenaries, haters, and disgruntled gamers who live in the sewers. Like I said; the sooner you stop trying to make sense of it, the better. Woosaaaah.

My Friend Pedro

Skateboard into an ollie while grabbing a zipline and shooting multiple enemies in multiple directions? Bring it on!

The gameplay is very simple, but highly intense. Think of it as an “easy to learn, difficult to master” kind of thing. Rewarding you for both. You can choose your difficulty, but you can also choose how you want to approach them. On normal: no level is too difficult, no respawn point sets back your progress too much, and levels take less than five minutes to clear. You can 100% hold back and methodically work your way through enemies until you clear the level. Or you can run headfirst into danger, John Woo style, slowing down time to better manage the chaos of an encounter.

Kick a decapitated head at an enemy before riding a skateboard off a ramp and jumping onto a canister, running on it to roll more enemies down before jumping out a window, targeting two more and killing them both as you ricochet your shots off a frying pan and spin to dodge their bullets. You are awarded points based on the number of enemies you kill each level, the speed in which you do it, and on the number of crazy different stylistic ways you employ. Of which, there is no shortage.

It’s this combination of styles, its embracing of its 90’s action flick absurdity, and its mobile friendly levels that can have you playing for 15 minutes or for an hour, that makes it so damn enjoyable. However, with so many necessary buttons, My Friend Pedro does require a good amount of muscle memory. Left stick, right stick, press left stick, up, A, B, Y, X, L, ZL, and R aren’t just buttons and movements you will use, but can very well be used in every combat encounter and at a breakneck pace. This can make the misuse of one a fairly common issue when using Joycons. I probably meant to activate the time slowing mechanic, pressing Left Stick, about ¼ of the time I actually activated it. But when muscle memory kicks in, it all just works brilliantly. To note, I also played while docked with the Pro controller and although it is an overall better controller than the Joycons, accidentally slipping into slow motion still happened regularly.

My Friend Pedro

If I had a nickel for every time I was Stupidly Rad….. well…. I’d have a nickel.

Graphically, when My Friend Pedro is played how “intended” and on the small screen of the Switch, it looks great. More importantly, it plays great with no obvious tearing or janky glitches. However, the action does slow down when enough things are happening on the screen. It wasn’t often, but sometimes it would slow down enough that I thought I had slowed it down manually by accidentally pressing Left Stick for the umpteenth time. I found myself often times pressing Left Stick to stop the slowness, only to activate it. Both docked and on a larger screen, the levels still look good, but nothing feels fantastic about them. Enemy characters feel especially rough when I take the time to look at them. You just rarely have time to notice as you rampage your way through them.

With no voice actors to worry about, all the dialog is done in text. The music fits the feel perfectly and really plays to the tone for the audience. The guns sound satisfying, especially when blasting someone at point blank range with your shotgun or spraying them with dual wielded SMGs. Beyond that, there isn’t much more to dissect. You aren’t getting spring noises as you jump off platforms, nor is the sound of crashing through a window overly dramatic. But just like I mentioned with the styles and the buttons, it all ends up just working with everything else. Everything becomes fluid and ties in.

My Friend Pedro is a brilliant game that caters to the casual and the hardcore alike. Whether you play for 15 minutes or for more than an hour, or you are simply running through the campaign or replaying levels to beat your old scores; this orchestra of blood and bullets is bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S.

 

Graphics: 7.5

On a Switch screen and playing full sprint, the graphics are simple yet good. But you slow down or enlarge it to a TV or monitor, it begins to suffer.

Gameplay: 9.0

The only thing that keeps this from getting a full 10, is that it can be somewhat difficult keeping up with the orchestra of button pressing while on the Joycons.

Sound: 8.0

Minimalist in everything, except the soundtrack that pumps throughout the levels.

Fun Factor: 10

Whether you play for 15 minutes or for an hour, whether you play to go through the campaign or to beat your old score: it’s a  solid 10.

Final Verdict: 9.0

My Friend Pedro is available now on Switch and PC.

Reviewed on Switch.

A copy of My Friend Pedro was provided by the publisher.

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