MY FRIEND PEDRO
Do a barrel roll.


REVIEW
By JAY TEE
20/06/19

Easily one of the best ‘feeling’ games of the year. The controls, player movement, weapon feedback, and traversal are top notch.

The dance heavy soundtrack totally fits the vibe, and although the lack of voice acting is disappointing, the guns sound excellent.

Going back to previous levels is a lot of fun, and you’ll constantly be presented with new ideas that keep things moving.

There are compromises to get it running smoothly on Switch, but the visual effects and character design are both great.

THE LAST WORD

My Friend Pedro is a satisfying combination of slick player movement and thrilling combat. One of the best games of the year.  

THE FINAL SCORE

5/5

REVIEW POLICY

We use a simple “out of 5” rating criteria for all reviews.

5 out of 5 is FANTASTIC.

To put it simply, something with this rating comes highly recommended, and is pretty much close to perfect.

*Reviewed on Nintendo Switch, with a copy provided by Devolver Digital*


The BAM! DONE! badge lets you know that within minutes of picking up the controller, you can play this like a pro.

The HOMEBOY badge is for the kind of game that is perfect for playing at home, AND when you’re on the go.  

The PICK N’ MIX badge is awarded for a game that has a wide variety of things to do, or continually presents new mechanics / ideas.

The BOND THEME badge is for a game that makes you feel like a badass.

The UNRAVEL MY LOVE badge is for a game that is clearly a passion project for the developers.

The SMALL FRY badge is for a title from a smaller development team that is absolutely worth your time and should not be ignored.

The FALCO FEEL badge is earned when the gameplay mechanics, controls, and/or learning curve feel just right.

IS IT FUN?

*Yes, and it constantly throws new mechanics into the mix.*

As you progress through each chapter, you’re frequently presented with fresh ideas. You’re never quite sure what the hook of a particular level is going to be, but when it clicks, it’s extremely satisfying. These can take the form of platforming challenges, new weapons, enemies with different tactics, or something truly out of left field like a rideable skateboard. Whether you’re blazing through the streets on a motorbike, using ziplines to smash through windows, or crushing enemies with a well placed barrel, My Friend Pedro offers plenty of ways to dispatch your foes. But it goes beyond mere level design and combat mechanics. There’s a real sense of momentum here as you move through each level. The ranking system encourages repeat playthroughs, and you’ll find yourself regularly hitting the record button to capture some absurd feat of John Wick esque dexterity.

My Friend Pedro places the highest priority on the things that matter. From the moment you take the reins, character movement, aiming, and traversal quickly fall into place. It’s these core elements that make it instantly memorable. Each area introduces a new mechanic or challenge. Given the speed of combat, nailing the controls and sense of momentum are two huge, necessary wins for a title that knows exactly what it is. Like a side scrolling Hotline Miami mixed with a John Woo action flick, My Friend Pedro’s deceptive simplicity will continuously surprise. I couldn’t help but smile whenever I’d slow motion dive through a window, unleashing my shotgun with reckless abandon. There’s a pleasing amount of variation to the combat; I’ve never seen such inventive use of a frying pan! Ultimately, it’s a simple premise, but one that absolutely delivers on almost every level.  

MEMORABLE MOMENTS?

*Yes. There’s loads.*

There’s an almost undefinable secret sauce which can make a game feel just right. Sometimes this takes the form of intelligently mapped controls, or solid audio design that creates a totally immersing experience. In the case of My Friend Pedro, it’s the ease with which you can string together complex movement and gunplay that creates an almost balletic sense of rhythm. One sequence had me transition from quick fire wall jumping, into a slow motion dive. Blasting dual wielded pistols, I dove through a window, grabbed a rope, and swung down through a second pane of glass, knocking down one enemy with a swift kick to the head, whilst split aiming at, and subsequently executing, a second foe. Achieving this didn’t require any kind of hand cramping button manipulation. There was no context sensitive prompts. This game goes out of its way to make you feel cool.

Ingenious use of kitchenware. This is as fun as it looks.

ANNOYING STUFF?

*Not really!*  

If we’re entering nitpick territory, I suppose I could level a slight complaint against the visuals on Switch. There has clearly been some compromises made, particularly in texture detail and lighting, to get it running at a decent framerate. However, I should point out that this is by no means a bad looking game. The slightly bland backgrounds and character models are designed to put the action front and centre. I’m glad that the player character really pops from the environment, which is especially handy when the action ramps up. To be honest, I’m struggling to find stuff I don’t like. The lack of voice acting is a shame, especially considering how brilliant and genuinely funny much of the advertising has been. If there’s something truly annoying to be found here, it’s that the voice actor of the banana from the launch trailer didn’t make it across to the final game!

NEXT STEPS?

*The potential here is massive. Devolver Digital hopefully have a hit on their hands.*

I have absolutely loved my time with it, and the opportunity to explore new traversal mechanics, weapons etc… seems almost limitless. The 2.5D style perspective makes a world of sense, so there’s no need to reinvent the wheel there. I’d love to see more environmental hazards, that push your timing and reflexes beyond ‘don’t fall down this gap’. I could see a grapple gun working particularly well, especially when combined with the slow motion functionality and your ability to split aim. With a slightly pulled back camera, and perhaps less linear level design, campaign co-op could also be an incredible addition. Synchronised kills, alternate paths; a sequel to My Friend Pedro could end up being the side scrolling Army of Two reboot we never asked for, but absolutely deserve. At this point, some kind of sequel is surely a given?

THE BASICS - Side scrolling arcade shooter, with platforming, bullet time, and a skateboard of death.

PLATFORMS - Nintendo Switch, and PC

MAX PLAYERS - Offline - 1, Online - 0

CO-OP? MULTIPLAYER? - None.  

DOWNLOADABLE CONTENT - None announced.

TARPS? - At the bottom of all our reviews, you’ll see a series of absurd looking images (with equally stupid, in joke laden names). These are the TARP badges, which represent our ‘Totally Accurate Rating Platform’. They allow us to identify specific things, recognise positive or negative aspects of a games design, and generally indulge our consistent silliness with some visual tomfoolery.

When you combine traversal with split aiming, armoured enemies, and destructible cover, you’re guaranteed a chaotic good time.

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