My Friend Pedro (Switch) Review
We come and go through life making friends along the way. Sometimes you find them in a dark basement, as you’re woken up by a floating talking banana called Pedro. My Friend Pedro promises blood, bullets, and bananas. Trust me, that there’s plenty of the first two and you’ll always be bananas with a friend like Pedro.
You wake up with no idea where you are. The talking, floating aforementioned banana called Pedro is encouraging you to escape from there, grab a gun and shoot your way through. What follows is a journey through some grimy looking places, inside the mind of a banana and right through to the internet. There’s a lot of bad people out there, and together with Pedro you’re going to leave a lot of dead ones all over the place.
Each area has someone you’re chasing, or somewhere Pedro is encouraging you to go. There is a story running throughout but it’s minimal, it isn’t the game’s strong suit and it kind of fumbles the ball at the end. It’s a good thing the game is all about the totally bananas bullet ballet and looking like a badass doing while aiming to get a high ranking.
Initially, you start off with just a pistol for some ordinary shooting of bad guys. Very quickly you’re dual wielding uzis and that’s when the game comes into its own. Holding down a shoulder button you can lock on to an enemy, leaving you able to aim elsewhere with the other free hand allowing you to shoot two different directions at once. This is convenient because there are often several guys on screen and some placed on opposite sides from each other, just waiting for someone with John Wick-like abilities to shoot them dead without even looking at them. Surely you’ll get shot up to hell with all these guns going off, but thankfully Pedro has gifted you with not only a dodge button but also a focus button. Dodging sends you twirling around, effortlessly escaping harm. The focus button is pressing in the left analogue stick, which slows everything down like bullet time.
Equipped with the lock on, dodge and focus abilities, you’re equipped to handle anything thrown at you (they mostly throw guys with guns). But then they go ahead and let you kick stuff with the press of the X button. Kicking might seem a bit useless when you’re able to unleash two uzis in two separate faces at the same time, but Pedro is the gift that keeps on giving and gives you the humble frying pan. Throughout the levels, there are opportunities for creative destruction using the kick button, for example kicking a frying pan into the air and shooting it, ricochet bullets everywhere and clearing a room quickly. You can also kick petrol cans and shoot them for an explosion, or show off your radical skateboarding moves with a kickflip as you shoot everyone in your path. Using the skateboard in a level is often like my skateboarding ever, quickly ending in embarrassment over very little distance. When you get used to the flow of the levels, you’ll often use all these items and abilities in a well-practiced grand opus of death and destruction.
Moving around the levels feels silky smooth. Moving from area to area each like its own puzzle to solve. Learning how to be the most efficient, build up the combos and minimise harm to yourself. Often it won’t fully click until after you’ve played the level the first time, but at least you’ll know where enemies will show up so you can anticipate them. Locking onto enemies and dual wielding is almost too much fun. As ridiculous as it would be, it’s a shame you can’t dual wield the larger guns for ridiculous’ sake. Levels can usually be completed in a few minutes. You can drag it out, methodically taking your time and getting an awful score. Or you can keep on the move and make the most of the environment and your weapons as you shoot everyone to bits. This game is going to be a speedrunner’s dream.
There’s also an online scoreboard so you can aim to do the best globally or just against your friends. When there are rankings at the end of the level I usually start off wanting to get the best, but by the end, I just want to finish the game. There are not many times I’ve wanted to go back and improve on my level rankings like in Pedro.
With a game like My Friend Pedro, where the game-play works as short tight levels, the worry throughout was ‘can it stay this fun a few hours in?’. The answer is mostly, with around 5-6 hours for a playthrough to unlock the levels and experience what story there is. There’s a lot of levels between waking up in a basement and the final credits, and not all of them are the straight forward shoot everything levels either. Early on there’s a motorbike level where you’re jumping around on the bike, changing lanes as you’re shooting at cars and other bikes. It was a surprising break from the usual levels. Personally, it didn’t gel with me as much as some of the later levels do because the shooting felt like a mess.
I also know others who have played that level enjoyed it, so it’s down to personal taste. But if you’re not enjoying a level it’s not too long and then you’re on the next one. Sometimes there can be a level with no combat, or needing to use stealth, or falling from a building. They do try and mix up the formula every now and then. In the home stretch of levels that take place in ‘The Internet’, it feels like the Pedro formula becomes a bit unstuck and it loses some of the momentum built up. There’s still good levels there, but anything with lasers felt like it slowed down the pace. Once again while I wasn’t a fan I know others enjoy these elements. The thing everyone can agree on is that it was a load of fun playing through it.
My Friend Pedro is a wild action-packed ride, where there is no such thing as too excessive. With hours of unleashing hell on a bunch of ne’er-do-wells is good and all, managing to do it while obtaining an S grade is a tougher task. Pedro might not be a grand narrative experience, but it brings everything else to the party. Some of the one-off levels might not work so well, but they are far outnumbered by those that do. If you’ve enjoyed the trailers or enjoy run based puzzles solved by shooting people, then My Friend Pedro is for you.
- Absolutely bananas action
- Feels great when working out the best path to a high rank
- Online leaderboards
- The ending isn’t as strong as the rest (but the rest is still awesome)
- Motorbikes aren’t as fun as wall kicking and shooting in slow motion