My Friend Pedro is a wild ride. If you had told me mixing gun violence with ballet and time physics was a good idea years ago, I would have laughed in your face. Now that I’ve played through the game, however, I realize how wrong my hypothetical past self was. Developer DeadToast Entertainment threw a bunch of different concepts into a blender and came out with a delectable banana smoothie of mayhem. It’s quite impressive to see how well these disparate ideas form a cohesive whole.
Pedro is an even better conscience than Jiminy Cricket
Things start off in a confusing manner. A talking banana named Pedro, who may or may not be real, wakes you from slumber. Controlling an unnamed character in a gimp mask, you attempt to leave the facility in which you find yourself. Unfortunately, the area is overrun with goons who look quite threatening. Luckily, Pedro has the best advice a sentient fruit can give: kill everyone who stands in your way.
Pedro teaches you the main mechanics of the game early on. The protagonist can dual wield and aim guns in separate directions, twirl to dodge incoming fire and slow down time for a short period. Using all of these techniques in tandem is key to not only surviving an onslaught of foes but also performing well in My Friend Pedro. Indeed, your execution is graded at the end of each level. Perfectionists such as myself have a good reason to replay stages over and over.
Keeping things fresh so Pedro is ripe enough to eat
After playing through a few stages, I thought I knew My Friend Pedro in and out. I was dead wrong. Refreshingly, the title provides new techniques as you progress to keep things exciting.
For example, I came upon a frying pan during a small reprieve from the murdering. Noticing I could kick it around at an angle, I proceeded to launch it upwards towards some hit men on a platform. Slowing down time, I subsequently shot into the pan, causing the bullets to ricochet into the tender flesh of my foes. Truly, it was a beautiful orchestration of mayhem on my part. Players will encounter similar objects they can use, including a skateboard and kerosene canisters.
The variety of killing tools isn’t the only thing keeping My Friend Pedro from getting monotonous. There are different points throughout the assassination party that offer unique methods of interacting with the environment. You’ll find a car chase where you ride a motorcycle, a boss battle against a helicopter, and even a free fall through the sky. In addition, the main character travels to a…strange land at one point. I won’t spoil it, but it’s quite trippy and bizarre. Surprisingly, it meshes well with the more realistic locations in the game, which is a testament to DeadToast Entertainment’s strength as a talented developer.
Odds and ends
I have a few minor gripes with My Friend Pedro. For starters, your kick has no heft to it. Trust me, it’s better to just shoot everything in the face. Also, it’s hard to change the direction in which you are facing. The star of My Friend Pedro does not automatically turn around when you move right or left, preferring to moonwalk. I understand this has to do with utilizing the dual wield mechanic, but I consistently forgot that the right stick turns your body around. Finally, one stage is dedicated entirely to platforming. If there is one thing My Friend Pedro does not do well, it is jumping. It always feels floaty and weird. Stick to wanton destruction, guys.
All in all, though, My Friend Pedro is an exhilarating indie title. There is no greater feeling than slowing down time, diving through a window, dodging bullets with a pirouette in midair, and shotgunning an enemy into bloody chunks on the way back down. Few games can replicate that moment of pure tranquility you get in Pedro when you make it through a room unscathed with bodies littering the floor. Lastly, and this must be mentioned, Pedro pops out of the side of the screen when you do something cool, wearing a different shocking expression each time. There’s no other game like My Friend Pedro, and that’s probably the greatest accolade I can give it.
A review code was provided by the publisher.