Thursday, 05 September 2019 05:00

My Friend Pedro Review

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Flash games dominated the early 2000s by being fun, free, bite-sized experiments from developers. While flash games have sadly become outdated, Devolver Digital is constantly praised for teaming up with developers who still have that creative flash-developer-attitude by creating fresh, neo-retro titles with unique mechanics on the regular. My Friend Pedro is no exception to this with its ragdoll-based gun fu gameplay and a huge emphasis on linear, yet creative level design.  

Somebody PLEASE get this man a gun… and a frying pan

My Friend Pedro’s story is a bit all over the place and need I say redundant, so let's just jump into the meat and potatoes of the game: the gunplay.

Saying that the gameplay is satisfying is an understatement. The world is heavily influenced by ragdoll physics, so there’s a sort of grace in the way that everything and everyone flows at any given time. Your character has a nice weight to him and, even in slow motion, doesn’t feel like he’s hopping around on the moon as enemies collapse and fly back in your onslaught of bullets. My praise for My Friend Pedro’s use of physics is how it laughs at the rulebook and then proceeds to light it on fire just because it can. You can kick knives into enemies, skateboard then kickflip attack them, use giblets of foes as weaponized soccer balls, and, of course, kick a frying pan into the air then shoot at it to create a flurry of bullets to mow down hordes of enemies from impossible angles. My favorite part about all of this is that the developer knew that this would be fun as hell. I would come across conveniently placed frying pans in the sewer levels, skateboards in the construction levels, and knives in multiple areas. There is no rhyme or reason, it’s just fun.

If you happen to be playing one of the few levels that doesn’t throw a deadly arsenal of everyday objects your way, your character is more than capable on his own. The gunplay is extra smooth, allowing you to do all sorts of tricks, such as splitting your aim when dual wielding and spinning to avoid being shot. All of this is complemented perfectly with the slow motion ability which, when triggered, has you doing cool flips and other autonomous style moves for added dramatic flair. The ragdoll physics and controls really help you feel responsible for all of the cool things you’ve done, rather than feeling like you pressed a few buttons and the animators did all the work for you.

A hell of a ride

There are two things in particular that are misinterpreted about this game based on its description. It is partially a puzzle game and it has a large variety of options at any given time.

While there are certainly physics-based puzzles in the game, they’re very simple and won’t slow you down for more than a few seconds, especially if you plan on more than one playthrough (you will). The early levels, which don’t seem to focus on puzzles at all, are the most entertaining because they seem to be designed to be much more open ended. Certain paths are inevitable, but up until those turning points in the level, I found myself constantly hitting reset just to see if I could pull off cooler stunts.

In the later levels, the “puzzles” are a much bigger part of the design, so levels become much more linear. I felt my options being limited more and more as time went on. While I do love the platforming, as it flows extremely smoothly, some levels just do not complement the gun mechanics as well as they could. Many levels are more or less stylish mazes that twist and turn as you’re running through them, frequently having you shoot at enemies that are revealed after you press a button.

Orange you glad I didn’t say banana?

As I mentioned earlier, the story for My Friend Pedro is there, but it isn’t a priority. There is always an explanation as to why you’re doing things, but I never found myself caring. It is only at the very end of the game that the story really fleshes out in any way whatsoever, but that’s okay because like most people who will purchase this game, that’s not what I’m here for. There’s a very broad sense of lore overall and that’s one of the many contributing factors as to why flash games were as great as they were. Just like the old days, you can just hop right in and have some fun. The replay value is certainly there as well, which compensates for the very short story that only took me three hours to complete on hard, including all the times I replayed levels to try to best my score in the first chapter. For the price, there are no complaints, although I certainly wouldn’t object to allowing players to design and upload custom levels for added replay value.


The Verdict: Excellent

My Friend Pedro is fun, plain and simple. Developer DeadToast knows that games are meant to be fun and don’t need justification for every little tool thrown your way. For anyone who loves action movies and over-the-top ridiculousness, this is a must have. While it feels short, the price couldn’t be more appropriate. If DeadToast’s future projects resemble anything like this, Devolver Digital has an all-star developer on their hands.

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Stephen Martino

Stephen is the dedicated game critic of his friend group and always has a new recommendation he just can’t keep to himself.  Whether a AAA release or a hidden indie gem, he’s always the one his friends will consult when thinking of picking up a game.  Stephen started his love for gaming back with Resident Evil : Code Veronica on the Sega Dreamcast.  After dumping way too many hours into it, he moved to the Xbox 360 and then the PC upon realizing just how much he loved modding and customization in games.  If you ever plan on playing a game featuring customizable characters with this Brooklynite critiq, you’d better free up your schedule because you know he’s going to be fine-tuning every last slider and color.