Look, I don’t care what you’ve been told. All those dead bodies, wanton destruction and piles of glass that came from windows which were dramatically broken in glorious slow motion action? It’s not my fault, I swear. The banana told me to do it. The talking banana made me engage in a reckless killing spree that painted the town red with the blood of nameless goons, live-action role-players and the Internet police.
And what a tour of carnage it was! My Friend Pedro is the kind of game that may have one trick up its sleeve, but it’s a damn good trick at it and one that you’ll never get tired of seeing. It’s stylish and weird, polished and mental in its execution of action that would give famed Hong Kong film director John Woo a rush of blood to the head that would be foreshadowed by white pigeons flapping past the screen.
It’s a deceptively simple game on the surface as well, as all you have to do is get from point A to point B in My Friend Pedro and not use your body soak up an entire East Russian bloc’s supply of ammo in the process. To do just that, you’ve got a few skills in your bag that can pay the bills, as you’re able to slow down time and weave your way through a blitzkrieg of bullets while you take aim. Several guns can be dual-wielded, your faceless character can vault over obstacles and there’s a reward for thinking outside of the box.
That’s where the real charm of My Friend Pedro lies. Taken as it is, it’s a superb action romp that feels like the bastard 2D child of Max Payne and Bethesda’s underrated 2009 Wet. The akimbo gunplay influences are fantastic, the controls are tight and each pull of the trigger feels like a hefty release of lead in the right direction. But as much fun as My Friend Pedro is as an action game, it’s even better when you approach it as a puzzle game.
My Friend Pedro pushes you to not only survive a gunfight, but to do so in style. With a tagline of bullets, ballet and bananas, there’s an emphasis on fighting, thinking and acting smart in any showdown. Every stage is a linear puzzle box that is filled with opportunity, chances for you to not only survive unscathed but to do so in style. Why engage in a gun show where your best tactic is to merely leap over a table with both pistols blazing, when you can kick a severed head through a goon’s skull and use a frying pan to ricochet bullets into the torso of the assassin behind you?
Don’t just run through a level, grab the nearby skateboard and do a gnarly kickflip through a glass window while henchmen are left dumbfounded by your awesomeness and bullets. Twirl around a stage with submachine guns vomiting out rounds as you clear the room from all angles. My Friend Pedro absolutely nails that sensation of big budget Hong Kong action, but the real triumph lies in how its controls are just smooth enough to allow you to do a perilous pirouette through danger when the situation calls for it.
Smooth and balanced with gameplay that rewards creativity and still remains challenging, it’s a delight to backflip off of a wall and feel like the coolest badass around. That sublime sense of joy completely eclipses the few faults that still creep up inside of My Friend Pedro: Cosmetic level design that veers towards bland for the majority of the game, hit or miss boss fights and the occasional dropping of frames during the most hectic showdowns you find yourself in.
Outside of that, My Friend Pedro is a short and sweet experience. It has dozens of levels that can be blasted through in around 6-8 hours, but the joy of coming back to a stage that previously gave you trouble and completely waxing it with your newfound skills and experience puts many a bigger budget game to shame.
Last Updated: June 20, 2019