My Friend Pedro review | Bananarama

Overripe humour doesn’t sully an a-peel-ing shooter. Here’s our review of My Friend Pedro…


My Friend Pedro stars a beady-eyed talking banana, and boy howdy does it not need to star a beady-eyed talking banana.

The side-scrolling shooter from DeadToast Entertainment comes as close as video games ever have to replicating the feeling of being an action movie star. As you charge through a series of perfectly paced levels, you’ll dual wield Uzis, no-scope goons with a sniper rifle, and blast heads off in slow motion with a punchy shotgun.

Once a head has been separated from a goon’s shoulders, it becomes a weapon, a fleshy football you can kick into another enemy’s noggin to knock them out. Kicking is a very useful skill in My Friend Pedro; you’ll kick dudes in the face, kick skateboards into dudes’ faces, and punt a frying pan into the air then ricochet bullets off its cast iron surface and into dudes’ faces.

Why unleash all this head-kicking mayhem on dudes’ faces? Because Pedro, that beady-eyed talking banana we mentioned up top, is telling you to.

The game begins with your potassium-rich pal waking you up in a grungy, heavily guarded warehouse, and teaching you the basics of combat. You’re an unnamed, masked, amnesiac protagonist (as blank as blank slates come), and as you set out on an aimless murder quest, Pedro fills you in on the workings of the vaguely dystopic world.

Pedro is the source for most of the game’s narrative and world-building colour. But, as green and brown bananas remind us, colour is not always a good thing. This game has everything: a Christmas Party Santa, a lame ‘roses are red, violets are blue’ joke, bullet-spongy hardcore gamer enemies, and a butcher making people into consumer goods.

It’s capital Q Quirky, but the quirk never amounts to a real personality. My Friend Pedro doesn’t want to be self-serious as it revels in ultra-violence, but the writing doesn’t present a viable alternative.

But, if you’ve seen a GIF of this game in action, you know that the writing isn’t the draw. The draw is all that head-kicking. My Friend Pedro is, thankfully, long on shooting and short on story, and the action is perfectly paced. You’ll begin your bloody journey with a pair of pistols, but you’ll gradually unlock the full shooter arsenal, and each weapon makes the moment-to-moment action feel satisfyingly different.

A shotgun allows for quick hits while a sniper rifle enables you to clear out a dangerously packed arena from a distance. Other mechanical twists – skateboards, motorcycles, trampolines, a propellor hat – enter stage left and exit stage right quickly, providing novel tweaks to an excellent core loop.

And that core loop takes surprising inspiration from a very different kind of side-scroller: stunt bike racing games, like Trials Rising and Urban Trial Playground. Going into slo-mo is as easy as a button press, allowing for bullet time-style flying and flips. Killing goons in quick succession will get a combo going, and a kill’s value differs depending on how you achieved it.

For example, a headshot you nail while swinging through a shattering window is worth more than one you land flat-footed. It’s a smart system, encouraging thoughtfulness. Before leaping into the fray, you need to think like a choreographer – ‘That would look cool!’ – and like a stuntman – ‘I should be able to pull that off!’.

It’s a simple system, but too often games with cool emergent play fail to incentivise experimentation. On this front, My Friend Pedro is one perfectly ripe yellow ‘nana.

Additionally, multiple difficulty levels make replaying the game worthwhile. On Normal, My Friend Pedro is easy enough that you likely won’t need to reach into your bag of tricks too often. But, when I upped the difficulty, quicker, stronger enemies forced me to go back to the lab, perfecting the art of the slo-mo flip and fire. My Friend Pedro is fun even when you’re fumbling through it, but it’s excellent when you ascend to your rightful place as a banana-befriended Keanu Reeves.

Its writing may be dumb, but, mechanically, My Friend Pedro is a smart game that demands equal smarts from you.


My Friend Pedro makes brilliant use of the ‘Play of the Game’ feature popularised by Overwatch. After each level, a GIF of (what the game has algorithmically dubbed) your best moment plays on the score screen. Though you will likely have performed it in slo-mo, it plays at normal speed here and will often make you impressed at your god-tier reflexes.


My Friend Pedro makes you an action hero and fight choreographer, but, unfortunately, not a screenwriter.


Genre Side-scrolling shooter
Format Switch (tested) / PC
Developer DeadToast Entertainment
Publisher Devolver Digital
Price £15.49
Release Out now

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