Blood. Bullets. Bananas.
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.
— My Friend Pedro 🔫🍌 (@deadtoast_com) June 19, 2019
Seconds after DeadToast Entertainment’s My Friend Pedro hands you your first pistol, the game immediately fulfills the number one promise of any run and gun shoot ‘em up: make you feel like an absolute god capable of any extraordinary feat that can only be solved by guns and things that help you use guns in creative and increasingly bizarre ways.
The premise of My Friend Pedro is incredibly simple. You are a hitman in a mask with a sentient emoji banana guiding you through a noir-esque city killing all of the bad guys that threaten to get in your way. Its execution of this idea is nothing short of brilliant and breathtaking. Your key abilities involve the standard jumping, splitting your aim, and rolling, but also the ability to spin dodge and “focus” where you enter into a bullet time like trance letting you slow down the action to let you plan different attacks and combos. Learning how to chain these abilities together and use the environment around you is the key to your success. You are jumping on construction hooks to cross giant gaps, breaking through windows while kickflipping on a skateboarding, ricocheting bullets off of hard metal surfaces (the frying pan being my personal favorite implement of death), and blowing up various explosive containers. A lot of the beauty of the level design stems from teaching you mechanics in nice chunks. Some of the skills carry throughout the rest of the game, and others are unique to that particular sequence.
With a base price of $19.99, My Friend Pedro is a phenomenal value. Going through the story mode on Normal took a few hours spread out over a long weekend, and the replay value is evident from the get-go. With an aggressive scoring system that rates you on time, kills, deaths, various bonus objectives, and difficulty, you could sink hours trying to get a perfect score on a single level. Even as I was going through, after the dust of a skirmish settled, I’d notice a missing frying pan or explosive container, that if I had accounted for, would have upped my combo significantly. Each level took me around five or six minutes, with some of the more difficult levels taking me all the way up to twelve. But each level, while fundamentally the same, the game always feels engaging in no small part that when the game does change mechanics it’s a fundamental shift that makes you go “huh. That’s pretty %&@$ing awesome” particularly for the boss fights.
The soundtrack complements the game perfectly with its adrenaline pumping beats. The mooks that occupy each stage have their own personality and quippy snippets like “GLHF” and “LOL.” It’s silly sure, but your mentor is a banana with an emoji for a face. It is a surrealistic journey that gives you a brilliant arsenal of tools to conduct a symphony of destruction.
My only complaint originates from my platform of choice. My Friend Pedro is available on both PC and Switch, and I played mostly in handheld mode on the Switch. Movement felt good, but a lot of abilities were mapped to the ZL and L triggers, which matters a lot when they enable your dodge and weapons specific abilities. But once you get used to the controls, it’s incredibly satisfying to work through a level and get to the end and see a highlight reel. I imagine that game plays a little more fluidly with additional key bindings and mouse aim, but honestly, it didn’t really hamper my enjoyment.
9 “Aerial Trick Shots With Dual Pistols While A Banana Reminds You to Dodge” out of 10