My Friend Pedro is a recent addition to Devolver Digital’s ever-growing portfolio of offbeat indie games with a unique flair. Part platformer, part shooter, My Friend Pedro is all parts batshit bananas. Players control an amnesiac assassin donning a gimp mask. Your job is simple: kill everything in sight as fast as possible. Why? Because a talking banana with a homicidal agenda instructs you to. Tight gunplay and an addictive scoring system combine to form an endlessly replayable game that is an absolute thrill to play, easy to pick up and hard to master. Read my full review to find out why!
My Friend Pedro
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Developer: DeadToast Entertainment
Platforms: Windows PC (Reviewed), Nintendo Switch
Release Date: June 20th, 2019
My Friend Pedro eases players into its world through lessons from Pedro, the game’s titular banana. Waking the unnamed protagonist from a disoriented state, this sentient fruit teaches players the basic skills needed to escape from a dingy urban basement. The first ability in your assassin’s toolbox is dodging.
With a simple press of a button, your character evades bullets with a graceful orbiting spin. Twirling like a ballerina can save your ass when your being gunned down by turrets, fighting off large groups of enemies or on the receiving side of sniper fire from across the map. In addition to your killer dance moves, you can jump off walls.
Bouncing from surface to surface, this parkour system is essential in navigating the world and avoiding fire while chaining together Matrix-inspired backflip kills. A bullet-time mechanic dubbed “focus” enables you to slow down time, perfect for planning elaborate attacks. Last but not least, split-aim locks one reticle on a target, freeing up another for manual control.
This enables you to focus your shooting on non-target locked enemies and objects. Blend these powers together to quickly create crazy combos that will effectively clear floors of enemies and raise your multiplier. Combos and speed are used to calculate a score for each level, encouraging multiple playthroughs to improve your rank.
With the basics under your belt, you’re ready to hit the streets and blow the limbs off of those that stand in your way. Throughout your journey, you’ll shoot your way through elderly mobsters, bounty hunters, violent gamers and a militarized force known as the “Internet Service Protectors”, simply because Pedro tells you to.
Decrepit cityscapes, sewers and even the Central Server for the Internet provide eye-catching backdrops in your quest for carnage. Neon signs are incredibly vibrant, blood splatters achieve a deep scarlet red and muzzle flashes pop with realistic hues. Objects that you can interact with stand out from the environments with bright highlighted colors.
Assets like barrels, moving platforms, ropes, skateboards and ziplines keep the flow of the game fresh with a variety of ways to traverse levels and dispose of foes. With objects like gas canisters, oil drums and reflective sign posts liberally scattered throughout missions, the game encourages you to chain together your own set pieces of absolute mayhem.
Dropping through the ceiling in one of the game’s earlier levels, I activated focus while separating my aim. With time at a crawl, I placed two shots into the head of the closest enemy with lock-on targeting while strategically sending a bullet towards a frying pan. With the reflective cookware airborne, I emptied an uzi clip into it, ricocheting and killing the wave of enemies below.
Experimentation like this is key to raising your score through the game’s 40 levels. You will die often, but when you orchestrate a flawless chain of kills with pure grace and see your combo meter soar, the appeal of My Friend Pedro makes complete sense. An in-game GIF maker automatically captures your best moves, generating visually dazzling highlights that are easy to download and share.
While the game oozes with style, it sounds even better. Rhythmic electronic music, full of wobble and pulse-pounding effects mirror on-screen insanity. At the start of each level, industrial tracks immerse you in a hypnotizing flow of jumping, shooting and dodging. Each discharge from one of the games multiple firearms is satisfying, from the pops of dual wielded pistols to explosive bursts from the assault rifle.
Guns can only do so much for you, as the Dream World sections in the game prioritize your platforming skills. You’ll fly, bounce and surf through surreal imagery comprised of a bald moustached man, Pedro’s “hater” enemies that slightly resemble teletubbies and banana clouds.
These sections are a nice break from the gritty urban stages in the real world and serve as a solid transition for location changes in the main story. The developers at Deadtoast fully embrace the absolute ridiculousness of the game, making the experience exponentially more fun.
Unfortunately, the zaniness of the game cannot mitigate the lack of plot. As the meager story unravels in bits and pieces throughout the course of the game, shocking revelations are hamfisted into the last five minutes.
Based on the premise of the title, I wasn’t expecting a plot similar to Red Dead Redemption 2. However, players who aren’t obsessed with chasing scores and simply want to play through the game for the story may find themselves disappointed at the end.
For those that want a fever dream full of fun and challenge, My Friend Pedro delivers. There’s never been a better time to hop into the game thanks to last month’s Code Yellow update. The patch added numerous quality of life improvements such as an in-game clock for speedrunners, the option to disable the in-game HUD and 14 discoverable gameplay modifiers.
Finding these unlockable modes adds even more possibilities to replays and can be combined to make the base game appear somewhat normal-ish (I’m looking at you tiny player paired with big head modifiers). Perfectly sized, tons of fun, and endlessly replayable, My Friend Pedro is one of the more stylish indie releases we’ve seen in 2019 and deserves a place in your library.
My Friend Pedro was reviewed on Windows PC using a review code provided by Devolver Digital. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here.