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My Friend Pedro

Detailed Review


Arcade shooters have been around ever since we have known about gaming, and irrespective of what generation you belong to, there’s a fairly good probability that you have grown up playing some arcade shooter. That’s why a substantial number of gamers have a special affinity for arcade shooters. But that isn’t only solely due to the nostalgia associated with the genre. There’s a rewarding appeal to the genre, which is irreplaceable. Just like nothing can replace the feel of getting through a boss in Dark Souls after hours, days, or maybe even weeks of trying, and the feel of getting that SSS in DmC, nothing can beat the sense of accomplishment when one beats a level by getting the highest rank/score as well. My Friend Pedro, prima facie, is just a simple 2d arcade shooter. However, it has the punch which makes sure that it doesn’t remain just another 2d arcade shooter.

My Friend Pedro is a shoot ’em up video game developed by DeadToast Entertainment and published by Devolver Digital. The game was released for Microsoft Windows and Nintendo Switch on 20 June 2019.

Gameplay

Mechanics-wise, the game has a lot to offer. There are numerous ways to take down the enemy and depending on how you approach the encounter, you get points. Somewhat similar to the style points you obtain in DmC games by using different combos and abilities. The game does offer a lot of versatility and flexibility by throwing an array of elements in the environment which can be effectively utilized to punch up the game the way you want. For instance, you can throw up a pan in the air, and it’ll ricochet bullets to each and every enemy around it. The concept is not completely new, but the way it’s pulled off is what is praiseworthy. The mechanics feel close to flawless and the randomness in the shooting as well the ricochet just fortify the same.

Essentially, My Friend Pedro is a pretty fast-paced game. However, the developers have ensured that the pace doesn’t get monotonous with the introduction of the bullet time mechanic. Most of the time, you wouldn’t even need the bullet time mechanic to get past a level. However, do mind that this is an arcade-y shooter so getting past the level shouldn’t be your goal. Instead, if you are looking to do some amazing cool stunts, and watch yourself absolutely obliterate enemies in slow motion, bullet time is the way to go. And trust me, nothing beats the satisfaction of watching all that in slow mo.

Traversal and platforming in the game is nothing extraordinary, but it still has a unique satisfaction to it which a very few games offer despite pulling off the traversal pretty well on a mechanical level. For instance, the skateboard which is found in a lot of places in the game, adds up to fun in the traversal and platforming in the game, and many a time I was craving to find a skateboard just to do some cool stunts on it while I take down enemies.

The platforming is supported by some decent, if not amazing level design. While at a mechanical level, the game impresses a lot, the level design was a bit of a letdown. Don’t get me wrong, in the initial few stages, or rather in the initial half, the level design got me impressed. However, that uniqueness eventually dies out and the game doesn’t do much when it comes to level design later on in the game. To be precise, while the later stages are fairly decent too, My Friend Pedro itself fails to uphold the standard it sets during the initial stages of the game. That is further let down by some shallow enemy variety. There isn’t much change in the enemies as you traverse through the various levels except them changing a few weapons, but that isn’t something fussing much about since the game does add a bit of variety in the levels here and there to make up for it.

One example of the periodic variance in the level flow is the motorcycle and falling sequences. Both of these offer an escape from the platforming sequences and try to make up for the shabby sequences for the game in the subsequent half, and they do, to some extent. Add the puzzle platforming sequences to that and you have more with you to hide the shabbiness. Don’t expect much from the puzzle sequences, but, they are fairly decent and add a nice little twist. That being said, My Friend Pedro offers a very short journey which gives you some sequences worth remembering. The satisfaction brought due to the fluidity at which the game pulls off the various mechanics inherent in the game is what adds to the fun factor in the game and will definitely make you forget about the not-so-good sections of the game.

The versatility and flexibility My Friend Pedro throws at the player adds some stellar replayability value as well. Every time you try to replay a level, you’ll definitely have a different experience since there are a number of ways to take down the enemies. And, you will definitely find yourself replaying some of the levels because they are simply flawlessly done and you will have the urge to quench your thirst of getting that ‘S’ rank.

Story

The game doesn’t have a story as such, and neither is the focus on the same, but it exists just as a placeholder. Nonetheless, you begin off your journey in a shady looking place with a banana, Pedro. The protagonist neither has a name nor you get any information about his whereabouts until later on the game. But, all of this is practically irrelevant because the story exists just for the sake of being there. However, one thing that’s worth appreciating is the lame but kinda funny at times punch lines used by Pedro during the course of the game. They are very silly, lame and foolish, but they still add a nice touch of humor to the fast-paced action theme of the game.

Graphics & Sound

My Friend Pedro is a 2d shooter, and if there is one aspect in which it flawlessly delivers, it is the graphics. The lighting, textures, character design isn’t something very unique or ground-breaking, but it still looks stellar, in-place and phenomenal. Add the dark theme of the game to the visuals and you have a complete package of a visually striking game. The animations are slick, and the way bullets ricochet to the enemies is a very satisfying and appealing sight to watch. Performance wise I faced no hiccups at all. The game ran at a constant 60 FPS. However, there were subtle drops consisting of only a few frames during the intense set pieces, but that isn’t much of a concern and is hardly noticeable.

The OST of the game is pretty decent too and it just complements the other aspects of the game really well. It’s punchy, has that adventurous tone and everything you’d expect from the OST of an arcade shooter. In short, in the graphics and sound department I have absolutely no reservations against the game and the developers have indeed done a fabulous job.

Verdict

My Friend Pedro has everything you would want from an arcade shooter. I wouldn’t call it a flawless game because the game shares an equal set of shortcomings as well. That being said, the fun you get from the game is unparalleled. The action sequences are memorable, the visuals and sound design is excellent and the story is silly enough for you to not pay any heed to it but still have a laugh or two along the way. Overall, if you are a fan of arcade shooters and looking for a short five hour game with some excellent replayability value, My Friend Pedro is definitely worth a buy.

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