Now you’re probably going to think we are bananas, because we like this game a whole bunch and hope you too will find it a-peeling… Ever since My Friend Pedro was announced during the Nindie Showcase we have been looking forward to slipping this into our Switch library. Ok ok ok, enough with the puns, we should just get on with it before you split…
My Friend Pedro is the new game by Deadtoast and published by Devolver Digital for PC and Nintendo Switch. Described as a ‘violent ballet’, you have been befriended by a sentient banana and must shoot your way through various levels against the criminal underworld. Now this is more than just a side scrolling, action packed adventure, you have slow motion aka Focus, split aim and even the ability to kick knives at peoples’ heads. It’s chaos, it’s madness… it is totally bananas. If you’re thinking this is too weird, even for you, we have spent a lot of time with this game and it is truly brilliant, crazy and will certainly keep you entertained.
I suppose the controls are the trickiest thing to master, just when you think you have got it sussed, the devs have thrown in another unexpected enemy, changed up the levels and ramped up the difficulty to test you to your limits…. but in a really good way. Other than the split aim, dodging is something you will need to remember. I found the controls tricky at times on the Switch when in handheld mode, the slim joy cons just feel a bit too close for your fingers to hit the right button. As soon as I hopped onto a Pro Controller, it felt more comfortable and I was dodging left, right and all over the shop. You run, jump, somersault, shoot, swing, wall jump, kick all in slow motion. It’s pretty smooth and if you can tie all of your kills together, you’ll love seeing the points multiplyer increasing.
That’s right, you’re not just here to kill for kicks! Each level has a rating system so stringing deaths together will see you hopefully ending up with a sweet A at the end… well, if you ramp up the difficulty then you should certainly be able to obtain those good ranks, plus you can replay levels later to improve your score. This isn’t like some games where you have to get a good score to unlock the next levels, it’s there to make you feel good and want to play again which makes this a great game on the replay factor. I tried a couple of levels at a higher difficulty and did worse than I had the first time around but practice makes perfect and I can foresee speed-runners playing through this on the hardest settings and putting on one a hell of a show. In all seriousness though, the levels aren’t repetitive and do throw a few curveballs at you, it’ll just be down to your quick reactions to make sure you’re making the most of your surroundings, having fun and looking damn cool too.
The levels themselves vary in madness and mayhem. As you progress through, more enemies will appear, there will be new obstacles such as alarms and turrets and the levels keep getting crazier and faster! Their design is that of a platformer puzzler in some ways but remains totally unique in its style of game play. There is an underlying narrative that you are following throughout but it’s there to add some context to the chaos you create more than requiring your focused attention and I suppose that is another aspect that makes this game so enjoyable. While it is a single person game, you can pick up and play a few levels at a time and not necessarily forget what was happening before. So for those who only get a few minutes or a short amount of time free to play, being able to pop in and out of this game is really handy. I would either spend my lunch break playing or get a long session in during a spare evening but I would be glued to the screen the entire time which shows how enjoyable it is.
I didn’t feel frustrated if I died, I could see that I wasn’t reloading quickly enough or dodging well enough so I had to really work on utilising the Focus aspect and I would recommend getting to grips with this pretty quickly in order to make the most of it. This will help you with your somersaults, taking out a number of bad guys in one go and give you a spare moment just to catch up with the madness that’s going on around you and when the levels really ramp up, you’ll be grateful for a few seconds of slow motion. I would also suggest getting used to your weapon wheel as if you’re getting low on ammo, you’ll be wanting to swap quickly before returning back to all of the shooting. It really does make this game some sort of ballet.
So is there anything really wrong with this game? I suppose if you have a problem with being spoken to by a banana and being shot at by ALL of the bad guys, then you”ll probably not get on with this game… but that’s about it. As I mentioned earlier, playing on the Switch in handheld mode felt a little uncomfortable at times and I can’t comment about the PC controls but imagine they will be pretty standard to a degree. The Switch is a great console for Nindie titles like My Friend Pedro but I did find split aim and dodging tricky on the left joy con which attributed to a lot of my deaths… either that or my hands are just rubbish which is more than likely the cause but I would be interested to see if anyone else had a similar experience.
Overall, I love My Friend Pedro. It’s fast, it’s fun, you can pick up and play. It’s nuts… sorry, bananas and has tonnes of levels to play through again and again. Once you’ve got your technique down, you’ll be storming through the levels and having a blast while splattering the bad guys all over the walls. I loved the additional things that were thrown in to mix the game up a bit just as you thought you had the hang of it. It’s everything I hoped it would be when it was announced and we loved the demo at EGX Rezzed so were delighted to have the opportunity to review it. My Friend Pedro is available now on Nintendo Switch and PC so hurry up and get it or the banana will find you!