E3 2018: My Friend Pedro Gets My Vote

It’s a story as old as time itself. Man wakes up. Man gets cajoled by a talking banana to go on a murder spree. Man turns out to be a killer on par with Chow Yun Fat’s daydreams. People die. When one hears the name of the game, My Friend Pedro, they imagine a peaceful title centering around bright colors and the power of teamwork. Considering Devolver Digital is publishing this, we all should know better. DeadToast Entertainment’s My Friend Pedro is a hyper-violent splatter fest that focuses on the importance of being as badass as possible when clearing out the levels in myriad clever ways.

The controls are rather simple for all of the options it presents. Basically, it’s a 3D platformer with twinstick controls. Layered on top of it is a locking mechanic that allows the player to aim in two different directions at once, a spin button for dodging bullets, a bullet time mechanic, a roll for narrow spaces and to duck under bullets, and a directional kick that can be used for all sorts of shenanigans. With extreme ease, players will find themselves kicking a pan into the air, shooting it to ricochet bullets into the heads of a couple of criminals waiting in ambush, then wall jumping and spinning midair to convert the rest into ex-obstacles.

It’s not just the basic moves that the player has at their disposal that opens up the options for hi-test chaos; the levels themselves are smartly laid out to increase the shenanigans. Zip lines, skateboards, flipping tables, and more all lend themselves for use in choreographing the most awesome action spectacle possible, and there are ways the player can make their own tools of destruction on the fly. For example, if a room as teeming with baddies and there are no easy options to clear if, feel free to splatter one foe, kick his severed head into another to stun them, and keep working through the grouping until complete.

All of these options meld together into a game that is one part puzzle game (how to efficiently clear out a room with minimal fuss) and one part Tony Hawk (chaining wall jumps, splitting the guns, environmental attacks, etc all multiply the score which contributes to the end of level rating). The game revels in making the player feel as rad as possible, with the end of level screen showcasing the player’s best moment of the stage in a loop. With each level brimming with action scenarios that can be solved in different ways, the replay value is off of the charts. It will take quite a few runs to put together the perfect level playthrough, and what might seem like the obvious way to solve an ambush might not be the highest scoring.

While the basic levels offer up levels of hijinks that will take forever to wear thin, the developer was certain to add some variety. During the demo, I was able to play through a stage on a motorcycle, destroying cars and other violent bikers, flipping from front to back of the pack, and leaving the highway more pockmarked than the roads of Peoria, Illinois. This all culminated with a boss fight against a large, mortar firing van. Shooting the boss when he pops out of the window and slowing down time to knock the mortars out of the air, it was a harrowing battle. Eventually, I finished him off. It was by the skin of my teeth, with just a sliver of health left, but it was done.

That is what makes My Friend Pedro so great. It has a three section regenerating health bar, but still manages to be challenging. It provides innumerable ways to spread the love one round at a time, but the player is never quite invincible. Each of the awesome moments is something the player earns through observation and then skills and reflexes, but it’s never a situation where the player feels like they are fighting the controls; they are playing the game.

It’s no secret that My Friend Pedro was originally a flash game released for free. That was the proof of concept. This upcoming title is a full on refinement of that original, adding more to the game for a complete experience. It’s been a long time coming, but the end result will realize its potential. With a release for PC and Switch coming, My Friend Pedro will be well worth the time, whether bullet or regular.