Devolver Digital has a distinctive personality to their games, unlike most companies in the industry. Their latest side-scrolling shooter, My Friend Pedro, highlights the brains behind the studio. This action-packed title is a little treat that went above and beyond my expectations, which will rival everything else coming out for the rest of the year.
The unnamed protagonist wakes up in a basement of a building owned by Mitch the Butcher, a high ranking man in a dangerous crime organization. A magical banana named Pedro guides the masked killing machine to help him through his journey to eliminate this organization from the city. A psychedelic, delightful narrative that flies by without staying around longer than it needs.
This 2D side scroller seems straightforward enough until I got deeper into the depths of its campaign. Initially starting with parkour and shooting, more mechanics get introduced after a chunk of progression. Once it began to feel repetitive with its massive waves of enemies, a new trick was thrown in for more complex gameplay with vehicles, traps, and plenty of new enemies.
To enhance the gameplay. Focus puts the game into slow motion for any situation. Along with dodging, a lot of tactics get piled on for a challenging experience. I only played on average, the easiest difficulty, and I had my fair share of moments where I had to rethink how I played to get past an obstacle.
The movement is fluid and feels right with every jump, roll, and swing. Wall jumping and some other moves took time to feel settled, but I enjoyed the journey of learning how to maneuver within the world.
Boss battles are far and few between the many levels, yet when they arrive, it is a blast to tackle. Each principal opponent to fight has something new to the table that feels different from the rest.
Finishing any level grants you a score based on time completion, enemies killed, and other bonuses. Depending on the number of points earned, a rank appears. Nothing really happens, but for players who are hungry to improve upon their score, then this is for you, but I was not a fan of this arcade-esque system.
Level design is tight to flow with each step without any confusion. I am dumb, so I got lost on what to do for brief moments, but that rarely happened. The linear direction enhanced the intense gunfights while feeling lacking in any optional activities. Collectibles or other optional activities would give a lot more substance to the experience.
The best aspect of the levels is the length. Pacing here hits perfectly to never have a lull in the gameplay. I could easily hop in and out for short bursts of fun or can go on a binge with large chunks of my day flying by as I shot criminals for my magical banana friend.
A particular style makes this a standout title from anything else in years. The aesthetic and colors pop to make every moment enjoyable. A lot of the characters and environments repeat too much, but the graphics and shortly lived story makes these issues less annoying.
The music never stops in the best way possible. The beats are straight out of a nightclub that goes strangely well with the brutal violence. The flow is already flawless, but the neverending tunes make it all that much more fun as I went around gunning down every baddie in sight.
This $20 adventure is full of surprises to keep itself from getting stale. While it lacks in content in the game and no endgame at all, the price and amount of joy, I had made up its flaws. A well-written story with plenty of twists, yet I felt voice acting would have made the humor land harder, but the tongue-in-cheek writing still put a smile on my face.
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