Thank you so much to Tinsley PR & Devolver Digital for providing a review code.
So I never really thought I would get the chance to review a game that had a talking, flying banana. My Friend Pedro is one of the most anticipated games this year and finally it has been released on Nintendo Switch. Now let’s take a look at this weird and interesting title.
My Friend Pedro centers around an unnamed character and his living, breathing, talking banana Pedro. You wake up with no recollection of who you are or where you are. All you have to guide you is your moral compass, which happens to be the banana. You’ll be guided through an action packed journey that will no doubt end in a lot of bloodshed. Many foes will try to take you down, but you’re precision gun slinging, and whimsical ballet moves will help you conquer any foe. During your 3-4 hour journey one thought will constantly run through your head, “Does my friend Pedro really have my best interest in mind?”
While I did find My Friend Pedro’s short story engaging I felt like it wasn’t as intriguing as I expected to be. There was some humor like I expected, and although it didn’t fall flat, it wasn’t as strong as I would have liked. The story itself feels like it could of built itself into something so much more creative considering there’s literally a talking banana. Unfortunately, it ends up slightly lacking, but manages to be interesting enough.
My Friend Pedro is a 2.5D action platformer, that’s all about it’s ballet like movements. Initially upon playing My Friend Pedro the first aspect about the game you will notice are it’s very floaty controls. Every step, and jump feels like you’re doing some Parkour or gymnastic style moves. It makes every kill satisfying, but is also difficult to maneuver. Wall-jumping becomes very important as well as you’ll have to back flip between walls to reach new platforms and sometimes it can be a daunting task. It takes a fair amount of time to get used to the strange movements and then the game throws everything else at you.
You may have thought the movement were going to be the difficult part of My Friend Pedro.. Well you’d be wrong, it’s actually the movement in conjunctions with the controls. The ZR button will be used to fire whichever weapon you’re holding while if you want to fire at two enemies at once you have to hold in the ZL button and target a second enemy. As you’re getting gunned down by a hellfire of bullets the only way to avoid damage is using your invincible ballet moves. That’s right, to avoid being hit by bullets you can actually twirl through them. On top of all that, you also have the ability to slow down time and do some really cool slow motion action.
It’s great to have a wide arsenal of moves to use and My Friend Pedro definitely gives you the ability to do that. The difficulty comes in properly combining all these abilities and using them in an efficient manner. Throughout my entire playthrough I always felt like I was spamming the dodge button, while jumping and rapidly firing at any enemy I could see. It was an awesome experience, but I couldn’t help feeling like I never truly mastered the controls.
At your disposal are a range of different weapons that you’ll unlock all throughout your playthrough. You start with your dual wielding pistols and then gain access to dual wielded machine guns, a shotgun, an assault rifle, and finally a sniper rifle. Unlike your dual wielded pistols these weapons don’t have infinite ammunition so you have to make sure you pay attention to how much you have left. There’s also objects in the environment you can use to take out enemies like fuel cans and frying pans (that rhyme was unintentional, I promise). Finally, if you’re more of an up close and personal type of person the X button will let you perform a kick to take out enemies. From playing through My Friend Pedro it’s easy to see just how much work the developers put into the diverse variety of options you can use to massacre enemies
Every one of the 40 levels of My Friend Pedro have puzzles and obstacles that go along with them. The puzzle aspects that are added in each level are what help the gameplay from getting too repetitive. There’s quite a few different small puzzles like shooting at metal pans to rebound bullets, deactivating blue death lasers and the general pulling levers and buttons. Some levels also have other little gimmicks that come along with them like the occasional skateboard barrel you can ride on top of for mode fast paced action. This all sounds interesting and these are all aspects about the game I liked, but they didn’t feel special. These aspects added on to every level just didn’t feel unique. That doesn’t mean that i didn’t enjoy myself, but for the most part the levels felt very average. That was until I made it to “Pedro’s World”
The entirety of this game spans across 5 environments and one final level. The smallest of these environments is Pedro’s World, being only 4 levels. Up until I got to “Pedro’s World” my time with My Friend Pedro was relatively average, but this changed it all. Pedro’s World is essentially exactly what I would expect the mind of sentient banana to look like. It was strangely colored and the background was absolutely bizarre. The enemies in this level were known as “haters’ and wore weird masks and looked completely different from any of the other enemies. In this world the platforms disappeared after you jumped off them and wouldn’t reappear for a few seconds making you actually have to think about each move. I felt like “Pedro’s World” embodied the crazy over the top nature of the game and it truly gave me what I wanted. Unfortunately, it ended so quickly and one of the best parts of the game was already behind me.
My Friend Pedro isn’t something that’s going to appeal to everyone. The 40 levels available go by pretty quickly and I expect most will be done within roughly 3 hours. What keeps you coming back after this are the added difficulty options and the stage rankings. Every stage keeps track of your kill combos and points that were awarded to you from doing flashy moves or not dying. At the end of every stage you’ll be awarded a grade from C to an S rank. There’s also global leaderboards that will rank your performance against others. If you’re not he type of person that enjoys replaying levels for a better score then your time with My Friend Pedro may be very mixed. Without the want to improve your score you essentially have higher difficulty options to play on and that’s it. I think My Friend Pedro is a fun journey to experience. What you’re getting is a relatively average experience with some nice high points. Luckily the game never felt boring it just didn’t feel as enthralling as it could have.
I enjoyed the 2.5D visual design of My Friend Pedro and I think it added a lot of charm to this crazy game. The character visual designs looked great and had a sort of ragdoll look to them. The level environments were something I wasn’t big on, because I felt they kind of looked bland. Besides “Pedro’s World” the other environments like the “Sewer”, and “Old Town” just looked bland. The environments lacked color and detail and looked a bit to generic. The sound design, however was really good.
I can happily report that My Friend Pedro plays very well in handheld and docked mode. The frame rate stays consistent and rarely did I ever have a noticeable dip in it.
My experience wasn’t perfect, however, as I did run into a bug that once I died it would restart me on the ledge of a platform, but it would restart me in a moving motion which forced me to jump off the platform. This caused me multiple deaths that I thought I could only fix from restarting the level. Luckily, I managed to do some wall jumps after awhile, but it was very difficult to do since the game itself was moving me. This only happened twice and it happened in the same level, but I wanted to mention it.
My Friend Pedro is a fun new action packed adventure if you’re looking for something to run through in a day. The gunplay is solid and there’s plenty of options you can use to eliminate your enemies. If you’re a fan of replaying levels for high-scores and trying to get to the top of the leaderboard then My Friend Pedro will offer quite a bit of enjoyment to you. For those looking for a one time experience, there’s a level of polish the game lacks for me to make a solid recommendation. The controls are hard to get used to and the level designs aren’t anything special. There’s an enjoyable experience here, but it’s not an experience made for everyone.
Solid Gunplay & Platforming
A Variety of Ways to Take Out Enemies
Enemy AI Is Good
Character Designs Are Very Fitting With the Game’s Style
Controls Are Difficult to Get Used to
Puzzles Aspects Are a Little Too Generic
Most Level Designs Were a Bit Bland
If You’re Not Interested in Obtaining High Scores My Friend Pedro May Not Appeal to You