My Friend Pedro is a gun-fu ballet 2D action-platformer in which a talking banana assists a man with glowing eyes in the mass execution of, from what I’ve seen so far, geriatric gangsters.
Are you having trouble visualising what that might actually mean? Yeah, I thought as much, so I brought some gifs.
The problem for your humble video game writer is that the sheer, beautiful excess of My Friend Pedro is extremely hard to put into words. It’s a game that presents you with all the tools to do incredible things almost immediately, and turns its snaking levels into playgrounds for you to put them to use.
Tools like mixed-aim dual-wielding (achieved by aiming at a target and locking one arm on it, then aiming the other), walljumps, Max Payne-like slowdown, or the weirdly graceful pirouetting dodge. Sometimes, the tool is just a frying pan:
There’s no enforced impetus to use any of this. You could more than likely play through My Friend Pedro cautiously, inching forward and using cluttered rooms as cover. I can’t imagine why you’d ever do that, but the point is clear – all of your abilities are there for you to make of them what you want.
You’ll never be told you should use a carelessly dropped skateboard as part-transport, part-weapon, but the very fact you could is the game’s charm. Pedro provides a recipe for gorgeous violence, but you’re the chef interpreting it.
One-man developer Deadtoast is creating a perfect feedback loop for that emphasis on experimentation. Like Devolver stablemate Hotline Miami, levels are entirely fixed, meaning you can learn and perfect them like some sick dance. Kills are treated like skateboard game tricks, awarding more points for more extreme actions, and multiplying with combos. Leaderboards will become something to behold.
Best of all, the end of every level provides a clipped out replay of your most impressive moves – not unlike Overwatch’s play of the game feature – with the option to download it as a gif. Twitter will be a better place once this game arrives.
I’ve only seen around five levels at this point, but it’s clear the developer knows attention spans run short, even in a game that offers this much scope for play. Every level throws in a little something new, and every set of levels ends with a big something new.
In the case of our demo, it’s a motorbike chase that runs with the same hilariously fractured logic of the on-foot moments. Wheelies let you ramp off the back of cars, allowing you to blow them up while performing picture-perfect backflips, before big boss The Butcher begins throwing explosive meat from a freezer truck. All of this will only happen once in the game; it’s a palette cleanser, except the cleansing is being performed through the media of explosions.
My Friend Pedro is shaping up to be one of the most ridiculously exciting, and excitingly ridiculous, new games to emerge this year. You have to see it to believe it, but you have to play it to understand what I’m talking about. Here’s hoping that vague “2019” release date means sooner rather than later.
Oh. I haven’t used all my gifs. Can’t let those go to waste, can I?
Did I say this was coming to Switch? Amazing.
Joe Skrebels is IGN’s UK News Editor, and he was told to shut up talking about this game. No regrets. Follow him on Twitter.