My Friend Pedro Review – B is for Banana
Pirouetting through a two-dimensional world as a faceless time bending bandit. Shooting your way through enemies while receiving homicidal instructions from a floating banana. This is what My Friend Pedro is all about but the downside is it’s more fun to watch than play.
It’s such a cool/dumb concept but if you watch even a short video of My Friend Pedro in action you’ll get it. Videos treat you to a sort of ballet-inspired stylistic feast which looks amazing. Seeing the twirling action and dropping in and out of slow motion makes
My Friend Pedro look like a lot of fun. And it is but in actuality, it’s also kinda fiddly and doesn’t feel how it looks.
My Friend Pedro Review
In this 2D action game, you’ll find yourself moving through linear levels while shooting enemies. The kicker is that you have a few skills up your sleeve which includes the ability to slow time and dodge bullets. As you encounter enemies it’s up to you to use these skills to take them out in the most stylish way possible.
Given that you literally have a ‘push to dodge bullet’ button it’s not a particularly difficult game. Sure, the button may not always save you but it’s clear you are the superior foe.
My Friend Pedro absolutely gives your character a sense of power and ability. This isn’t about being stealthy and lucky to survive. It’s about how many flips you can do while kicking people’s body parts into other people’s heads while cool music pulses in the background.
It’s sort of like you’re Neo in The Matrix, only the red pill was filled with lots and lots of drugs. Hard ones.
And again, my main frustration comes from how cool this sounds and looks. The fluidity visible on screen doesn’t seem to translate to the controller in my hand. I can look at what I’m doing and be impressed but that feeling of doing it just isn’t there.
It’s not that it’s entirely unsatisfying.
More there’s a level of enjoyment that should come from kicking a frypan into the air and using it to ricochet bullets into unsuspecting bad guys that it just doesn’t reach.
The Building Bananas of Life
Something My Friend Pedro does do really well is slowly build and add new elements. When I noticed that while fun, it wasn’t as exciting as I’d hoped I was worried boredom would quickly set in.
Thankfully, My Friend Pedro shakes it up by introducing new things at just the right pace to keep you interested.
Starting out you have one simple gun, which you can return to at any time. Progressing will give you new weapons to play with and this can help you really tune in to your own playstyle.
Sometimes I found myself wanting to go back to simpler or dual wielded weapons to deal with specific scenarios. Other times I liked having the option just to explode their faces with a grenade. Variety is the spice of life, at least, I think that’s what the Banana told me.
It’s not just weapons but also environmental features which can help or harm you. Things like the aforementioned frying pan or getting a skateboard for brief periods really add to the game.
Every time I saw the skateboard I became excited for some more kick board to enemy face then do a sick jump action. It never quite worked out how I wanted due to the floaty controls and my own inability but it was still fun until I had to abandon it like Mario to Yoshi for a big jump.
Obstacles such as new enemy types, lasers, turrets and you-seeking bombs also help shake the world up. They’re added at a great pace and help keep the world interesting. Some levels go deep into platforming side of things and for the most part, this is a welcome change. Towards the end, though, the floaty controls got in my way multiple times when trying to dodge around laser configurations.
I like My Friend Pedro’s willingness to shake things up and give you new things to learn and overcome. I just wish I felt like the controls had a bit more tightness to back this up.
This is also apparent in the level designs and art too. For the most part, everything is dull and grey in this setting but that helps to make yourself, enemies and other notable objects stand out. It didn’t stop me from repeatedly shooting dead bodies while trying to shoot the bad guy behind them but it tries.
There are a few levels where it gets a bit crazy and I think it had just the right touch to these. It could be overwhelming to constantly jump through a bouncy fantasy land killing (and I’m not kidding) “haters” for your banana pal.
As soon as I felt a bit done with one setting it seemed to switch to another. I had this sensation that it was always one step ahead of me for when I was about to get bored. It’d be nice if I never felt that worry but the constant change was really refreshing.
Unfortunately, there’s one place where I felt like My Friend Pedro didn’t shake things up enough.
The boss battles.
There aren’t many and though they’re different, they’re all fairly simple. I’ve already come to understand this game isn’t about difficulty, it’s about style. It doesn’t want to kill you. Instead, it wants you to look as cool as possible to appease your brain banana overlord and get a high score.
When I think boss battles I feel like they should be at least a little bit difficult. If anything, they seemed easier than other portions of the game and mostly had simple gimmicks.
One only needed you to fire behind the main enemy to ricochet bullets until you win. Another had you facing off against someone I thought would be super difficult to defeat but it was all quite simple. It also didn’t feel like there was a real way to make these more stylish and instead, the levels automatically awarded a higher score than most others for my feeble flailings.
The reason the boss battles felt like such a problem is My Friend Pedro is a game for perfectionists. Sure, most people will get a kick out of how amazingly dumb the whole thing is. It’s fun to watch how crazy your moves are and try to plan out some cool tricks. Even if they don’t feel that cool or work out quite as planned.
Perfectionists will enjoy it to finer detail.
They’ll hunt down the higher scores for each level and try to pull off the best looking and high scoring combinations. For my money, My Friend Pedro is going to explode on the internet for those who can master it. There’s a lot of entertainment in watching someone nailing a super double twist into a somersault while shooting two dudes in the head.
Surprisingly, though, there’s just not as much fun in doing it.
My Friend Pedro was reviewed on Switch using a digital code provided by Devolver Digital.
Game title: My Friend Pedro
Game description: My Friend Pedro is a violent ballet about friendship, imagination, and one man’s struggle to obliterate anyone in his path at the behest of a sentient banana.
Conceptually dumb in a great way - 9/10
Really fun to watch - 7/10
Floaty Controls - 5/10
Lots of variety in levels - 8/10
Boring boss battles - 5/10