My Friend Pedro is a 2.5D no-holds-barred shooter whereby the protagonist is goaded on by a banana called Pedro.
Players make their way, from left to right across the screen, shooting bad guys, following Pedro's instructions. Starting with just a handgun, your unnamed character soon picks up another allowing for a unique dual targeting mechanic to come into play, with one gun locking onto an opponent, whilst the other can be aimed at another. Takes a bit of getting used to.
Our “hero” can also spin to avoid enemy fire and leap about the screen. Add a very generous focus mode, slowing down time for what seems like an age, and the game becomes a beautiful, well-choreographed ballet of blood and bullets. Fun to watch and even more fun to unleash.
The game's masked protagonist looks uncannily like Marvel's Deadpool, but dressed in yellow. If Deadpool was a 2.5D shooter, it would be My Friend Pedro, with the banana Pedro being a surrogate for the Marvel madman's internal monologue.
As well as an ever-increasing arsenal of weapons, your character can also take out bad guys with a well placed kick. You can also kick dismembered body parts (I know, right?) at opponent. Kicking a frying pan into the air makes for an ideal target to which gunfire can ricochet off of taking down some of those harder to reach bad guys.
But it's not just about shooting your way left to right like an old-school shooter. In amongst the mayhem of blood and bullets, the developers, DeadToast Entertainment, have managed to work in some pretty fiendish puzzles.
Some levels have switches that need shooting to open doors and/or raise/lower platforms. There are also mesh fences that allow the enemy to fire at you but restrict your immediate path.
The puzzles are never complex, but manipulating the environment under a barrage of gunfire makes some areas quite the challenge.
A bang on the head takes us to Pedro's pastel-hued world. It's a stark contrast to the alleys and sewers that we've been shooting our way through up till then. Now we can bounce off the spongy objects, tackle weird gravity, vanishing platforms and, of course, deal with enemies shooting at us. Surreal and strange, it's clear that the developers had a lot of fun with this game.
The rule of cool also comes into play with the occasional addition of a skateboard to complement the games general acrobatic gameplay. Some wonderful set pieces such as a ridiculous fall from a building, surrounded by enemies to be shot and kicked to death, and an over-the-top motorcycle sequence also break things up.
All the while, Pedro continues to egg your character on. And you oblige, with a hail of bullets, blood and guts. It's worth noting that, whilst the violence is humorous, it is also a bit gratuitous- enough for me to suggest some caution if you are thinking of letting younger gamers have a go.
The 2.5D visuals remind me a bit of the old Impossible Missiongame from way, way back and the more recent Shadow Complex. The graphics are nothing to shout about and some of the animations are a little off, but none of this distracts from the awesome spectacle and immense sense of achievement when taking out multiple opponents in a slow-motion mix of pirouettes, akimbo gun-play, leaps, rolls and kicks.
Mixing up acrobatic jumps, impressive bullet dodging, slo-mo focus and dual wield targeting, the gameplay is exhilarating to say the least. It's bloody and violent but, at the same time very self-aware and tongue-in-cheek. Action fans looking for something different should definitely check out My Friend Pedro, which is available on PC and Nintendo Switch.