My Friend Pedro – a run and gun experience game
I first got to unpeel My Friend Pedro back at EGX Rezzed 2019 and to say I’ve been eagerly anticipating the return of this yellow sidekick to my screen is an understatement. Pedro is the game’s titular banana, a talking fruit that inhabits the ramblings of the game’s protagonist. Waking from a seemingly unsolicited slumber, the game’s masked protagonist wakes to find themselves confined and hallucinating. Talking fruit is, unfortunately, the worst of your worries. In order to escape, you’ll need to blast, bash, and flip your way through a myriad of opponents all out to gun you down.
Initially presenting as a 2D platformer, My Friend Pedro quickly establishes itself as a run and gun experience, introducing players to the basics of both. In order to move through the upcoming maze of masked thugs, players are able to achieve some quite astounding athletic feats, jumping off walls, performing flips, and pirouetting past bullets. This is complemented by a bullet time system that slows down the action to a snail’s pace, allowing for precision targetting. This stylish carnage seems easy enough at first. The initial tutorial sets the entire tone of this title, culminating in an acrobatic shootout against grandma’s pottery in Pedro’s imaginary attic. Yet, despite the silly start, its obvious things are about to become a bloody messy the minute the first pistol is locked and loaded. Gunning down enemies in My Friend Pedro is intuitive enough. Players vault across levels using an analog control stick and some well-placed action buttons. Our masked assassin’s deadly hair trigger is manipulated using the remaining analog stick and death comes to enemies with a simple slip of the finger.
For the first few minutes of Devolver’s appropriately bloody fruit based murder device, everything seems peachy. My Friend Pedro is like a gorgeous love letter to every gun fu movie Kenaue ever made, then things escalate quickly. Between the gorgeous explosions and the impressive acrobatics, targets need to be adequately assessed as they start to appear in droves. Using two independent hair triggers and cool looking kickflips all become desperate flailing survival strategies. Rather than a friendly stroll of destruction, My friend Pedro quickly becomes a chaotic haze of blood and bullets. Deadtoast manages this mix of controlled chaos through some incredibly intelligent level design. Deadtoast constructs almost every area of My Friend Pedro as a series of contained encounters. Running through office blacks and abandoned warehouses, Pedro and co come up against closed doors and new unexplored stairwells where a range of guards mill around waiting for trouble. It’s like a well-prepared movie set piece. These staged attacks add a nice element of strategy to the game’s visceral moments. Before bursting into action, all guns blazing, it allows players to devise an approach to a particular scenario.
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