by Andrew Skelton (Outfoxed)
What do you get when you mix a masked protagonist, quirky humor, spectacular gunplay, copious violence, and a talking banana? You were thinking a certain mercenary just now, until the talking banana part, weren’t you? My Friend Pedro is a blend of platforming and twitch combat, with a little time distortion thrown in for good measure. Oh, and the talking banana, Pedro. He’s the most important part.
At its core, the game seems like a typical run-and-gun, though with a style all its own. It also borrows heavily from freerunning, though imagine parkour while dual wielding pistols or wielding a shotgun. By design, My Friend Pedro is fast paced, frantic, and violent. Enemies around the map aren’t mindless either. They will take aim and fire without hesitation, take cover behind objects, and position themselves to make reaching them as difficult as possible. The demo was mostly a tutorial level in this case, with Pedro helpfully and happily teaching everyone how to shoot, dodge, and kick their way to victory. What else would you expect a sentient banana do be able to do, right?
Part of the joy of the game is the style it exudes. From the yellow and black jumpsuit, to the various dress of the enemies, the characters stand out from the often plain backgrounds. In fact, more detail would likely hinder a game like this, where making shots counts. Further into the tutorial you’re also taught how to split your aiming, letting you fire in two different directions. The amount of options this gives you is astounding. Picture this: you burst into a room, jump over the first of four enemies in the room, and slow down time. You split your aim, firing one gun at the far enemy, and the one you just leaped over. Once they’re down, and once you hit the ground, you dodge (pirouette, really) the second mook’s salvo of bullets, and leapfrog him, too. You fire both of your guns at the third man in the room, taking him down, and quickly turn around to deliver a lethal boot to the head of the second. That’s just one of many, many ways you can handle rooms in My Friend Pedro.
Let’s not forget about other fun amusements, like hanging from a cargo hook to rain gunfire on your opponents, kicking a skillet into the air to ricochet shots into unsuspecting victims, or casually riding a skateboard down the street as you mow down your enemies. There are even boss battles in the game — the demo had the main character zipping along on a motorcycle as he plastered countless cars into explosions for whatever reason. The boss himself wields a shotgun, and as you pepper him with gunfire, he retreats into the back of his meat wagon to chuckle explosive barrels at you. You can dodge these, sure, but it’s far more fun to shoot them midair to make them explode.
In essence, My Friend Pedro is all about style. It wasn’t so difficult that I ever felt truly in danger, but it was also never so easy as to feel like the bad guys were just bullet magnets. I mean, they were bullet magnets, sure, but for different reasons! I know this because my banana told me so.