I was telling the missus a while back that I’ve played games with blood, and I’ve played games with bullets. Hell, I’ve even played games with bananas, but what I really want is a developer with the cajones to add all three together. Imagine my delight when developer DeadToast Entertainment and distributor Devolver Digital announced that shoot ’em up game My Friend Pedro was finally coming to the PS4. I’ve thought about picking it up on the Nintendo Switch when it released in the summer last year, but I never got around to it. Now that it’s here, was Pedro worth waiting for?
My Friend Pedro is a 2D shoot ’em up with a heavy focus on the “bullet time” mechanic that slows down time. Of course, we’ve all seen this mechanic done a million times, and it only really works when there is something going on that is so cool you want to see it done in slow motion. You know, like kicking a frying pan through an open window and firing twin uzi’s at it effectively killing everybody in the room before you even step through the door. I honestly can’t remember enjoying the bullet-time more than I did playing My Friend Pedro. Besides kicking frying pans in the air to act as makeshift bullet deflectors, you’ll be riding a skateboard, a motorcycle, or sliding down a zip line, all the while firing any number of weapons at the bad guys.
My Friend Pedro is a game that throws a lot of stuff at you but somehow still manages to be on the easy side. With a press of the L1 button, your masked character does a Michael Jackson like pirouette that spins him free of enemy fire. When you combine this with the bullet time mechanic, I can see how the no-damage-speedrunners are gonna love this game. But even without mastering these techniques, it’s a fairly forgiving game to play. I finished the game in one seven-hour playthrough, only taking a break to make lunch and to replay several levels that I found especially cool. Of course, I played this on the “normal” difficulty so that’s easy for me to say. There is also a “hard” and a “Bananas” setting, because of course there is.
There are 40 levels that are meant to be played over and over as you find new and inventive ways to kill every mf’er in the room. When you finish, you’re graded with a letter grade, with the lowest being a C (I think). Much like in real life, I got a lot of C’s. I got a few B’s and one S, which is the highest grade. Each level has a leaderboard so you can see just how bad you truly are at this game. This is where the replayability comes from. While I enjoyed my first playthrough, the real fun is mastering the pirouette, bullet time and firing the twin pistols or uzis at two different targets at once. Using these three mechanics to avoid damage will keep your modifiers going and the points will skyrocket.
Unfortunately, it isn’t the story that will keep you coming back. Your character wakes up wearing a mask with no real recollection of where or who you are. Your only friend is a talking banana, who gives horrible advice. Honestly, with friends like Pedro, who needs enemies? The good news is that the story doesn’t take away from the gameplay. The cutscenes are short and most of the dialogue happens during game time so, it isn’t too obtrusive.
The graphics look great here, which isn’t surprising considered it’s a 2D sidescroller that wasn’t very taxing on the Switch. It’s not about hyper-realism, after all. Lest you forget the talking banana. The soundtrack fits perfectly and ratchets up the tension just the way it should. I love the way the guns sound and feel, as well. Especially the sniper rifle at the end. You can really feel it when a round of that sucker lands home.
The 40 different levels are spread out over 4 main areas keeping it fresh. You’ll play through restaurants and factories in Old Town. There is a motorcycle level (the only S grade I got in my first playthrough), a Christmas themed office building, some strange dreamlike levels and much more. There is even a level played while falling from a building. Towards the end, they will slow the pace with some puzzles that force you to wait for lasers to line up, or tripwires to slowly navigate. I preferred the fast pace of the bullet ballet to these dreamscape or puzzle levels, but it was still fun.
My Friend Pedro is geared for gamers that want to replay their favorite levels, looking for the craziest, bloodiest, and most ridiculously cool and beautiful ways to murder everyone they see. The leaderboard chasers are sure to find plenty to keep them entertained, regardless of the lackluster story. This game is about style and cool, and god forbid the story gets in the way of that.
For twenty dollars, My Friend Pedro is well worth your time, especially if you like bullet ballets or bananas. Or both.
My Friend Pedro PS4 Review
Overall - Fantastic - 8.5/10
My Friend Pedro is a bullet ballet shoot ’em up with more style than the latest issue of GQ. The story doesn’t always hold up its end of the bargain but the gunplay and action are so fun and over-the-top that it doesn’t even matter. I haven’t played a game for seven straight hours in a long time, and My Friend Pedro made the time fly.
- Mixing the slo-mo of The Matrix and with the gunplay of Equilibrium make for a great time
- The shortish levels max out the adrenaline and make for great replayability
- The guns feel and sound great
- The story is shallow
- Some of the levels, while unique, take away what the game does best
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using PS4 Slim.