When I first saw the announcement trailer for My Friend Pedro during E3 last year, it immediately had my attention. A side scrolling shoot ‘em up that lets you slow down time, wall jump, and aim your guns at two different targets, all wrapped up in an unique art style and fourth wall-breaking humor? Gimme. Well, it’s as goofy and crazy as you’d expect from a game whose mascot is a talking banana.
My Friend Pedro is a shoot ‘em up video game developed by DeadToast Entertainment. You, the unnamed protagonist, awaken in a dark room with no memories of who you are. Your only companion: a sentient, wise-cracking banana named Pedro, who acts as your guide as you carve a bloody swath through the criminal underworld.
My Friend Pedro’s main draw is the crazy, over-the-top ballet that is its gunplay. Your character has the ability to wall jump, dodge by spinning, aim his guns at a two different targets, and even slow down time, making it probably the best Matrix game-that-isn’t-a-Matrix-game you can get your hands on. Movement feels buttery smooth, as you combine slow-mo with wall jumps, dodges (during which you can still fire your weapons) and zip lines, making this one of the few games where the trailers released for the game (like the one below) accurately portray how it feels to play the game.
There are a couple problems I have with it, though. Your character tends to feel really slow, and it can ruin the rhythm of the game to go from flying between walls and through the air during a fight to feeling as slow as a turtle once the combat is over and you’re not keeping track of multiple enemies at once. This could be a choice by the developer, but it hurts the flow of the game.
In My Friend Pedro, you have access to a number of different weapons, including pistols, and submachine guns–both of which can be dual-wielded. There’s also a shotgun, an assault rifle with an under-barrel grenade launcher, and a sniper rifle. Everything feels great, especially the shotgun, which even has a special kill modifier for when you blow an enemy to bits at close range. The dual submachine guns are another highlight, as they allow you to split-aim and target two enemies at once, which leads to some of the best moments in the game.
The level design in My Friend Pedro stars are great, but there are definitely levels that stand out compared to the rest, for better or worse. The last few levels of My Friend Pedro feel dragged out, with lots of puzzles that, while not bad, are nowhere near as fun as the levels filled with zip-lines where the aforementioned dual aiming really shines. These levels end up feeling like padding.
My Friend Pedro is full of great moments. The boss fights are particular highlights, all sporting a certain gimmick or mechanic that distinguishes them from each other. Probably my favorite section of the game though is the motorcycle section that has you speeding down a highway, fending off enemy bikers and cars all while pulling off wheelies and crazy jumps.
As you go through levels killing enemies, you’ll gain points for kills, with consecutive kills within a period of time increasing your combo number. The more stylish the kill, the more modifiers it has–and the more points it’ll be worth. Try to beat your personal best, or compete on the leader boards by beating levels as quick and as flashy as possible.
My Friend Pedro is the 2D Matrix simulator that I never knew I wanted. The crazy combinations of dodging, split-aiming and slowing down time make for some amazing moments, despite the movement not always being perfect. Even so, I’d highly recommend My Friend Pedro, especially if you’ve ever fantasized of sliding down a zipline while you blend goons into a fine red pulp in a hail of bullets.
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