My Friend Pedro - Worth The Price? Or Wait For A Sale?

I don't know if I'd call a hallucination my friend, but OK.
I don't know if I'd call a hallucination my friend, but OK. Devolver Digital

Think of this as an indirect review, where I take games and look at them for how they're priced - however, you'd find that, more or less, all of the games here are good in their own ways. It's just a question of whether or not the content they're offering is worth buying at full price or not.

Madness takes on many forms, but if there’s anything that video games can teach us, it’s that sometimes some of these forms can be tolerable – humorous, even. Especially when your insanity manifests itself in the form of a talking banana named Pedro.

This is the basic premise presented by DeadToast Entertainment for their title with Devolver Digital, a recreation of their 2014 Adobe Flash game called My Friend Pedro. It’s been out on Steam for PC and the Nintendo Switch for a good while now, bringing a ballad of bullets, parkour, gore and some absurdist humor to a 2D side-scrolling shoot ‘em up world. It’s priced at $19.99, and is currently holding a perfect score rating on Steam, with over 10,000 positive reviews.

All of that said, is it worth the price of admission? Or will you get a better deal by waiting for a sale?

The basic gist

You play as an unnamed mask-wearing hitman on a quest to rid the city of its bad guys by gunning them all down with the help and advice of a talking banana. It’s pretty simple, and as far as I’m concerned, the overall story is pretty negligible, as this is a pure gameplay game. It can also be pretty challenging at times, but for those looking for a challenging game, they should feel right at home.

My Friend Pedro plays like a 2D side scroller shoot ‘em up, but you’re also very well equipped with some parkour moves. First off, with a press of a button, you can split your aim, allowing your character to fire on two separate enemies once you start to dual wield weapons. Split aiming is pretty essential, and the game is made harder if you don’t cope with it. It’s still doable, but you’ll find yourself getting better scores if you split aim on your enemies.

The hitman can also dodge, which messes up your aiming reticule, but allows you to dance through bullet fire. It’s a very nice complement to the split aiming, giving you incredible control over how you gun down enemies while avoiding enemy fire yourself.

Early on in the game, the banana also gives you the power to slow down time in true Matrix-style fashion, which in turn allows you to pull off some majestic and incredibly flashy moves. It also gives you more time to center your aiming reticule, plan out which targets to hit next, and weave in and out of incoming gunfire.

The game is broken down into levels, which sees the hitman and the banana taking on various goons armed with different guns. There’s also a hefty amount of platforming involved, as you need to wall jump some sections or use swinging ropes to get from one platform to another. Movement is pretty smooth overall, and there’s a definite feel of the game doing its best to give you options on how you will approach each gunfight – you can just barge in, gun down everyone and avoid enemy fire, or you can do it with finesse and use the environment to your advantage.

There’s a decent amount of replayability to be found in the various levels, and to top it off you also get different difficulties. The game can be finished in a short amount of time (my first playthrough ran for around three hours) but if you’re willing to hone your skills a bit more you can go and replay it on a higher difficulty.

My Friend Pedro works on a scoring system, which you get to see after each and every level. The game rewards you with creative kills, and how much finesse you had in the level, along with the time it took for you to complete it.

The great

There’s something very satisfying about the gameplay which makes My Friend Pedro really amazing. Sure, there’s a bit of novelty attached, given that most people describe the game like John Wick, but that didn’t weigh down the title at all. It’s good enough to defy being put in a regular genre, but not subversive enough that you feel like the whole thing is a gimmick – there’s a lot of enjoyment to be had playing it for what it is, much like your character is unquestioning in his almost trance-like belief in the transcendent being that is Pedro.

Take all of this apart and you’re still left with a very enjoyable and somewhat replayable core gameplay loop that sees you shooting bad guys with the lightest of context. It’s refreshing to see a game just put more care and thought into how it plays, and My Friend Pedro is just that – a simple and really good game.

The not so great

The game is not without its negatives, however. The controls can be a bit weird for some, especially if you’re using a controller. My first few levels were with one, and I immediately noticed the difference after switching to a mouse and keyboard combo that the game runs and plays more naturally for me while using it. In my opinion, it comes down to the sticks and how they tend to slip during the aiming sections, as well as sometimes when you cross the platforming sections.

Then there’s the issue of length. As I said, I completed the game at around three hours, although I did find some people completing it in faster times. This can be an issue once you consider the game’s price, and some may begin to chalk up the entire game as just a novelty. I tend to agree with the complaints about the length, and wished that there were more levels in the main campaign.

Is it worth the full price?

Well, it depends. My Friend Pedro is certainly a very good game, and I would put it at 4.5 out of 5 bananas, but some players may take issue at the game’s short length. There have been some requests to add in a level editor for players to create their own and share with others, but so far there hasn’t been any indication that there are any plans for this. That said, you can always try to beat your own and others’ scores, as My Friend Pedro has a leaderboard for showing off your epic gamer skills.

  • If you can forgive the game’s short length, and are prepared to put in some more time perfecting your killing skills to achieve new and better high scores on higher difficulties, then this is definitely worth twenty bucks. The game has a lot to offer in terms of artificially replayable content through the scoring system, and for those serious about getting on a leaderboard, the money spent is actually worth it.
  • If you’re looking for more content in the form of more levels, or possibly even game modes, then it might be good to wait for a sale instead. From this kind of mindset, I’d say that 15 or maybe even 10 bucks is a good price.

To help you decide

If you want to know what you’re in for, then check out the original My Friend Pedro Adobe Flash game here. It’s free, runs in a browser, and will give you a basic gist of what to expect from the full-priced game in terms of how it plays. The full game runs much smoother, and there are a lot of changes made to graphics and quality of life (plus a kickass soundtrack), but playing through the original should give you a handle on how My Friend Pedro the non-Flash game works.

My Friend Pedro is now available on Steam for PC and the Nintendo Switch.

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