Blasting onto the Nintendo Switch is My Friend Pedro: Blood, Bullets, Bananas, a brand-new game from DeadToast Entertainment and Devolver Digital. Wild, bloody, vicious, and fierce, My Friend Pedro is an astonishing action experience that features a commoving tale of friendship woven within rousing gameplay.
My Friend Pedro begins with you slowly awakening from a painful slumber and seeing a banana. This banana is your best friend, and it is indeed real. The Banana seems appears as a wholesome fellow, acknowledging that there is danger around you, but refusing to panic. Upright, the Banana encourages the player to arm themselves and escape captivity The goal is to find out why people are after you and give them plenty of pain with boxes of bullets, and some explosions in between. Somehow, you feel connected to this sentient banana. The mystery of this floating fruit, that gives you directions and tries to keep you safe, is a mystery to be unveiled along a trail of perforated bodies.
My Friend Pedro is a side-scrolling shooter and platformer in which players jump, flip, kick, and most importantly, shoot their way through armed and deadly bad-guys. Players begin with a simple hand-gun and then move on to a small arsenal of weapons, including dual-wielding SMG’s and even a powerful compact shotgun.
A nice mechanic that My Friend Pedro provides is the ability to use dual-wielded weapon independently. By pushing the ZL button on the Nintendo Switch joy-con, one hand can aim at one enemy and the other hand can aim at another. Doing this allows players to dispatch two enemies at once if they are in a position to do so. This is effective in landing more sophisticated shots, such as enemies on the opposite ends of the player.
Another one of the mechanics is bullet-time. There’s always a first time for everything, and I fondly remember the first time I witnessed a brand-new innovation in film making and special effects: bullet time. Bullet time was brought to us by The Wachowskis in The Matrix. The technique also caught up to video games as well, with Rockstar Games’ Max Payne ushering it into the game space. By pressing down on the left stick of the left joy-con, you can focus and use bullet time, slowing the game down and allowing the player to make precise movements and place their shots more accurately. This is especially helpful when the player is in motion, such as riding a skateboard or hanging from a zip-line. Now, this control takes a small degree of getting used to as the left stick is also responsible for movement, and sometimes, you may accidentally trigger bullet time. However, I got used to it quickly.
The biggest draw with My Friend Pedro’s gameplay is the scoring system. During each level, players earn points by how they shoot. These points are tallied from a variety of combat moves and the style to which enemies are slain with both adding to the score and multipliers. The goal, in addition to reaching the end of the level, is to build that score and increase the ranking to compete with the rest of the world.
My Friend Pedro provides a sharp array of stunts to perform while dispatching enemies. From backflips to Skateboard tricks, and even using trampolines and frying pans, there is a thrilling amount of creative ways to dispatch enemies. Finally, players can hit the L-button on the joy-con to dodge, allowing them to spin and dodge bullets. This move also makes players temporarily invincible and it lead to big points if players land a kill while performing a dodge. However, relying on this move too much will get players downed. With these mechanics in place, it’s up to the player to jump, flip, and shoot their way through a long list of 38 levels.
The gameplay is absolutely sharp as a razor in My Friend Pedro. Players will learn the ropes right away and easily pull off insane acts of gun-fu soon after booting up. Players will roll on barrels to crush enemies, throw body parts in the face of enemies, and even use a frying pan to ricochet bullets upon unlucky foes. The shooting, coupled with a solid presentation and amazing soundtrack, all lend themselves to a fantastic action sensation, where dodging each bullet feels like a small victory, and ruthlessly punishing your enemies is genuinely exciting.
The stunts are both insane and joyous, bringing refreshing ideas to the mechanics of shooting gameplay. One scenario will find you throwing basketballs at enemies and doing backflips with shotguns while another will have you flying through a surrealistic landscape. Perhaps my favorite moment of my playthrough is a huge chase sequence on a motorcycle, with the gameplay, presentation, and screaming synthwave nirvana, is a scene I will remember against other titles this year as, 2019 marches onward. Players will have immeasurable enjoyment while performing insane bullet-time stunts, especially as the game progresses into the surreal.
While playing My Friend Pedro, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the joyous comedy of Deadpool, Marvel Comic’s “Merc With A Mouth.” Between the sheer violence of the guns firing and blood splattering, there is a wholesome gravity of friendliness and friendship, as well as moments of surreal dreamscapes. The similarities are apparent as well, especially with the main character not revealing his identity. The small quips from the Banana made me chuckle, and the absurdity of the gameplay experience kept a big smile on my face. Seeing a game like My Friend Pedro is most profound in an ocean of gritty, dark action games, save for titles like Rage 2.
The only real set back I can say about My Friend Pedro is the length. The overall game can be beaten in a few sittings, at around six hours. Though, this is on the normal difficulty setting and does not include the higher difficulty settings, which increase the challenge by giving fewer opportunities to receive health, fewer checkpoints, and more damage received by enemies. This leaves a significant degree of replay value following the first completion, but I couldn’t help but want more levels and missions. It is possible for that to happen via DLC, however, that remains to be seen. The foundation for more exists in My Friend Pedro. All that is left is for the developer to make it a reality, should they choose to. Adventures on the Moon, under the ocean, in various cities, or parodies of existing action films are all possibilities that I would love to see.
My Friend Pedro: Blood, Bullets Bananas is a wildly imaginative ride that will have you appreciate friendship, and nature’s perfect fruit, the banana. The sharp presentation is met with even sharper gameplay that is one of the most entertaining executions I have played this year. The game is only held back by its length, but since that is the only setback, this is a sign that it is an experience that mustn’t be missed. My Friend Pedro: Blood, Bullets Bananas is an excellent execution of ideas and fruit.
My Friend Pedro: Blood, Bullets Bananas is available now on the Nintendo Switch and Steam.
My Friend Pedro
- Rating - 9/109/10
My Friend Pedro: Blood, Bullets Bananas is a wildly imaginative ride that will have you appreciate friendship, and nature’s perfect fruit, the banana. The sharp presentation is met with even sharper gameplay that is one of the most entertaining executions I have played this year.