Blood. Bullets. Bananas. These are three words that accurately describe this flashy side-scroller shooter called My Friend Pedro, developed by DeadToast Entertainment and published by Devolver Digital. There is plenty of blood, more than enough bullets to be found, and the storyline is utterly bananas. I will not get into spoilers here, but there are a few plot twists that will have you chuckling out loud. This should be no surprise, considering that My Friend Pedro is all about a guy in a weird mask killing large groups of nameless enemies because a floating banana tells him it is a good idea.
First things first, the gameplay. At first glance, you would think that the controls would be tricky to learn, considering that you need to aim and fire in multiple directions while flipping, and controlling time. This is not the case at all. The controls are well explained in mini tutorials as you progress through the early sections of the game. I played My Friend Pedtro on the Xbox One and had a lot of fun experimenting with the ability to focus on a secondary target with the left trigger. The game and controls flows smoothly, and when you have learned all of the abilities and weapons your character has, you will be able to pull off some spectacular moves, particularly when you slow down time. I will admit that it is quite rewarding to front flip into a room while aiming in two different directions in slow motion, guns blazing. There is also the ability to spin to avoid gunfire that really comes in handy in large groups of enemies.
I rather enjoyed the level design of this game. At times the player will need to trigger levers to open doors or lower platforms to advance and they are not always straightforward but they are not too difficult to figure out. There is also the added touch of being able to use objects, such as frying pans, to redirect bullets and take out groups of enemies from a safe distance. All of the weapons are fun to use and they each have their own special benefits. Some of the levels in the middle of the game are nonsensical and extremely colorful, which is a welcome break at the right time from the urban landscape of the rest of the levels.
The realistic 2D graphics and soundtrack are very enjoyable. Everything is highly detailed and the music is fitting for the feel of the game. There is a techno/EDM soundtrack in the background that keeps your heart rate going throughout the game. I found myself bobbing my head to the beat of the soundtrack more than once.
Overall, My Friend Pedro is an exciting game and great when you want a unique shooter experience that is not a battle royale or a first-person shooter. There are enough secrets to discover and there is the ability to go back through levels to beat your best times if you want a personal challenge. I would say that there is moderate replay value based on these aspects alone. I recommend giving this game a shot. Chances are that you will have a very good time with it.