With a wealth of side-scrollers on the Switch, My Friend Pedro arrives on a wave of pre-release hype. Does it execute with aplomb, or does it slip on a banana peel?
Waking up as an amnesiac and accompanied by a sentient banana (the titular Pedro), My Friend Pedro is surreal and irreverent in equal measure. While the plot isn’t likely to win any awards, it’s a good excuse to pull the player through varied environments to forge a trail of destruction. You’ll wage war with the criminal underworld through warehouses, across rooftops, and along neon-drenched streets.
My Friend Pedro is a balletic journey from point A to point B, with players flinging lead and somersaulting their way from one puzzle-like encounter to the next. A steady stream of platforming elements are introduced, but the main focus here is combat - stylish, exciting combat.
Your agile assassin can dive across cover, dual wielding weapons, and aim both individually. You can dodge bullets with the press of a button, all while returning fire and triggering slow-motion. Bullets can ricochet off of hard surfaces, like a frying pan you can use as a weapon. Decapitate an enemy with a shotgun blast and you can kick their severed head at their cohorts. It’s dark, it’s silly, and it’s a hell of a lot of fun.
Combine these offensive options with zip lines, ropes, and barrels you can push downstairs, and the best players will be able to travel through a level with equal parts grace and gratuitous violence - a whirling dervish of bullets and blood. Just be prepared to jump into walls and take a few hits early on - there’s a learning curve, although on the standard difficulty you can take plenty of knocks.
All of this ludicrous violence is shot through with hilarious banana-based dialogue, and the absurdity ramps up as you progress. Car chases, skateboards, and plenty more are thrown into the mix to keep players guessing, and each is more fun than the last. At its best, My Friend Pedro is an elaborate puzzle, requiring constant forward momentum.
All of this plays into the game’s score-chasing, with each stylish kill rewarding points that are multiplied by keeping the blood flowing. At the end of each level, you’re awarded a letter grade, and while chasing a new personal best may not be to everyone’s taste, it feels compulsive when paired with the game’s excellent combat and traversal. Perhaps my favourite thing is the short replay of your most stylish moment that plays after each mission, and PC users can upload these straight to Twitter as a gif.
My Friend Pedro is one of the year’s best titles, and is easily among the Switch’s premier indie titles. It’s funny, it’s stylish, and it’s challenging in all the best ways, and definitely needs to be played by anyone looking for their next quick hit of action gaming.