Pedro De Amigo
HIGH The short, unique boss sequences.
LOW When the focus is on pointlessly simple puzzles instead of combat.
WTF The sewer level that drags on long past its welcome.
In My Friend Pedro, players take control of a dual-wielding acrobatic madman in a gas mask, spurred into bloody mayhem by the urgings of an imaginary talking banana called Pedro. (Hence the title.) The storyline’s paper thin, but that’s fine since it features an imaginary talking banana, and everyone knows that imaginary talking bananas are rad as hell.
Since everyone in the game is out to kill him, it’s handy that our masked protagonist is a pretty capable dude when it comes to shootouts.
He can aim independently of his movement with the right analog stick, pirouette on the spot to effortlessly avoid bullets, wall-jump to get around (or just look cool), slow time when things get too hairy, and aim in two different directions at once via a handy lock-on feature. As if that’s not enough, he can kick enemies in the face and pick up a number of weapons such as shotguns and sniper rifles, then swing upside-down by his legs from meat hooks while effortlessly blowing away anything that moves.
There are also tons of environmental objects scattered throughout to take advantage of — everything from gas canisters and destructible walkways, to a skateboard which is used as a speedy getaway device as well as a thing to be kicked at lethal speeds into the face of some hapless mobster. Also, ricocheting bullets off frying pans and into eyeballs is consistently amusing.
This all sounds great as I’m listing it here, but the problem is that the murderous rampages feel too manufactured, limiting the amount of player agency. Each sequence feels almost like a puzzle with an obvious solution for optimum efficiency, and the limited AI doesn’t lend itself to dynamically fluid combat encounters. When they see the player, foes either start shooting or rush in with a melee weapon, so don’t expect thrilling duels against skilled opponents.
That’s not to say they bad guys can’t be bastards, mind — ramp up the difficulty and Pedro’s mask-sporting chum will drop dead in a hurry once the bullets start flying, but it’s simply because he’s taking way more damage from way more accurate shots, not because opponents have suddenly become more varied and cunning in their approach.
My Friend Pedro doesn’t lean into its strengths, either. The gunplay at least looks impressive most of the time, but many stages feature simple lever-flipping nonsense that only gets in the way of stylish murder. Worst among these is a section in where platforms disappear upon being touched and reappear shortly afterwards — it’s like something from another game entirely.
There are a couple of standout moments where My Friend Pedro suddenly shakes things up, such as blasting down the highway on a high-powered motorcycle while trying to take out a fleeing target, or skydiving in pursuit of a boss. These bits tend to be awesome, but they’re far too brief to make a dent in the title’s overall flavor.
My Friend Pedro is clearly designed to encourage score-chasing replays, but there wasn’t a single stage I wanted to revisit except for a few isolated boss sequences — the idea of doing a section dozens of times to nail the most efficient and high-scoring route had zero appeal.
My Friend Pedro seems like it should be wall-to-wall adrenaline-fueled gunplay and spectacle — and it is at times — but it’s too frequently dulled by stretches of tedium, switch-flipping, misplaced platforming and visually bland environments. With that banana on board, it could (and should) have been so much more.
Disclosures: This game is developed by DeadToast Entertainment and published by Devolver Digital. It is currently available on Nintendo Switch and PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the Switch. Approximately 4 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was completed. There are no multiplayer modes.
Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated T and contains Blood, Violence and Language. It’s a fairly cartoonish take on hyperviolence and does feature a child-friendly talking banana, but maybe keep the wee ones away — everyone here’s getting their faces blown off by a nutjob in a gas mask. That said, the blood and gore can be turned off in the options.
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available in the options.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: It should largely be fine to play My Friend Pedro without sound since the onscreen information is more than adequate to convey important information to the player. All dialogue is text based, though not resizable.
Remappable Controls: Yes, this game offers fully remappable controls.
The chance discovery of a muddy, burnt out copy of '50 Shades of Grey' in a hunting pit gave him an appreciation for complex plots, characters and overarching narrative, and the unexpected gift of a Spectrum 48k allowed him to indulge in these newfound sensibilities with intelligent, highbrow games such as 'flee from the badly animated spinning turquoise dolphins' or 'avoid the deadly glowing bricks of doom'.
The fusion of both these interests finally culminated with Darren teaching himself how to write by basically guessing at what words might look like when jotted down on paper as opposed to being howled inarticulately at the skies.
Now others occasionally get to read his scribblings. Lucky them.