My Friend Pedro releases for Nintendo Switch and Steam today (20/06/2019); a shoot ’em up-style side scrolling action game that uses various different mechanics like slow mo’ and the environment to complete the levels, and it’s a hell of lot of fun!
So what’s it all about? Well to quote the game’s description “My Friend Pedro is a violent ballet about friendship, imagination, and one man’s struggle to obliterate anyone in his path at the behest of a sentient banana”. That’s right… You go on a murdering rampage all because a Banana with a sharpie face floats into your life and tells you to; if that’s not enough for you to drop everything and go get this game like… Yesterday, then stick around; I’ve spent the past week or so playing My Friend Pedro, so I can tell you all the good (And singular bad) things about it.
Firstly you wake up in a kind of cellar – A banana promptly pops into existence and informs you his name is Pedro; you’ve been captured by Mitch, an illegal arms dealer who has a butchery as a front… And not all the meat is from animals. You – a kind of banana deadpool – proceed to shoot your way out of this predicament; Pedro acts as your tutor and guide throughout the game, teaching you some (But not all) the tricks you need to kill everyone in sight. He also keeps you informed of storyline bits and bobs and occasionally when you do something notable, he pops his smiling or shocked little face round the corner of your screen to give you a little boost of encouragement. There is definitely something incredibly likeable about this sharpie-faced, homicidal, crazy, weird banana-shaped buddy; his inclusion certainly increases the games entertainment value tenfold!
So, as Banana Deadpool, you work through various different levels. These are fun because there’s always something a little new with each level – Early on Pedro teaches you how to ‘focus’, which slows down time for a really generous duration and how to split shoot different enemies. What I like about the slow-mo function is that everything is, well, slow-mo… Even you. The advantage of it really is it just gives you a little bit of extra time to think and line up the shot perfectly. I have definitely been under-using it as a tool through my button mashing playthrough – You also obtain a fancy pirouette you use to dodge bullets with the power of fabulousness. When replaying levels, I have not made the mistake of underusing these techniques, and it’s been so beneficial to my final ranking.
At the end of each level your performance is ranked – You get points for things like time taken, number of deaths, etc… I have found it hard to break out of C (For coconut or careless) on much of the levels reaching B (For bananas… Obviously) on only a few of them. I like this, as it means that getting a higher rank is a little extra challenge for players who want it, and for others that simply don’t care and just want to get through the levels in one piece it doesn’t really matter too much.
Each set of levels adds in new and fun ways to play – There are physics puzzles and things you can use to ricochet bullets like pans and boards; different types of gun to pick up and use. You can use the environment to kill by shooting out certain things, rolling barrels onto people, shooting explosives and more… What’s nice about this is that they aren’t all things that the game specifically points out to you. Where another game might be like “Oh hey look a barrel maybe try shooting it” or “Hey look, why don’t you shoot that explosive”, My Friend Pedro leaves you to work these things out by yourself, and some of them are so so so satisfying when you finally get them right! Some levels include car chases, some of which you can use a skateboard in – There’s just lots of little things that are included to change your strategy and gameplay level to level.
Banana Deadpool as a character is also super flexible. You can do flips and manipulate his body in any which way with really good control. Movement throughout the game is pretty seamless, and there is a lot of really nice subtle things that are done to make the game feel pretty high quality. One small thing I have noticed that I like is when you reach the end of a rope or you’re on a zip line and you shoot, Banana Deadpool will invert to get a better shot. He could of stayed upright, and it’s not a detail that is fundamental to gameplay, but it is one that I think demonstrates the thought that has gone into producing this game.
Now for the singular bad thing i have experienced… One tiny glitch where I died and kept respawning without the ability to move. I had to reset the game to fix this, but it only happened once, in one spot, on one level so no big deal really!
I have really enjoyed playing this game – It’s silly fun and quick entertainment. I think it’s been well thought out and put together well. The story-line may not be worthy of an Oscar, but it is amusing and it adds to the games enjoyment. I really feel this game is worthy on a 9.5… 0.5 taken off for that one teeny tiny little glitch