My Friend Pe­dro

2019 is too long to wait for this ex­cel­lent ac­tion shoot-’em-up

PC GAMER (US) - - CONTENTS - Tom Se­nior

If you kick a goon’s head at an­other goon’s head, it will kill that goon

Wall jump, spin, split fire, and take two goons out. Land, spin, reload, kick a fuel can into the air, det­o­nate for a big mul­ti­kill. In My Friend Pe­dro you play a bal­letic gun­man on a mis­sion to dis­patch pha­lanxes of thugs with max­i­mum style. Ev­ery slow-mo­tion spin­ning kill ticks up your score. The point here isn’t to merely sur­vive and com­plete the level, it’s to dis­patch perps with com­bos that are so spec­tac­u­lar you have to cap­ture the footage and share a gif on the in­ter­net. There’s a but­ton that will pack­age up mo­ments into gifs for you, be­cause My FriendPe­dro knows what it is. Your slow-mo bar is gen­er­ous enough to keep you in bul­let time for pretty much as long as you like. That lets you aim your twin pis­tols at mul­ti­ple tar­gets us­ing a neat con­trol sys­tem. You mouse over your first tar­get and hold the right mouse but­ton to pin a ret­i­cle for your off-hand gun, then you aim at your other tar­get and use left mouse but­ton to fire both weapons at the same time.

This is use­ful for div­ing into rooms full of flank­ing gang­sters, which you do a lot. Ev­ery room in the playable demo felt like a toy­box full of ob­jects to play with. The kick but­ton lets you knock over ta­bles for cover, kick goons through panes of glass, or even kick bits of goon at other goons. If you kick a goon’s head at an­other goon’s head, it will kill that goon, and you will earn points. This is a very fine game.

Your char­ac­ter feels as light as a pa­per cutout as you jump around, reload and spin to dodge en­emy bul­lets. You’re fre­quently spring­ing off tip­toes and float­ing over the heads of your track­suited foes. It feels great to play around with, and the con­trols are so slick I was string­ing to­gether awe­some com­bos af­ter just a few rooms of prac­tice.

MyFriendPe­dro is due out in 2019, but there’s a chance you’ve played it in some form al­ready. An early Flash ver­sion was re­leased ten years ago. Since then the game’s lone de­vel­oper Vic­tor Agren has pur­sued a ca­reer at Me­dia Mol­e­cule work­ing on the Lit­tleBigPlanet se­ries be­fore go­ing indie once again to ex­pand MyFriendPe­dro into a full game.

It looks great, too. The back­grounds are in­spired by the Tokyo street pho­tog­ra­phy of artist Liam Wong, who uses a strong pur­ple pal­ette. Your gun­man’s yel­low jacket and red ex­plo­sive can­is­ters help­fully pop out of the de­tailed ur­ban back­grounds. Agren men­tions Bol­ly­wood ac­tion scenes as an­other in­flu­ence, and I can see that in the way the physics of the world bends to en­sure the most stylish ac­tion hap­pens in any given mo­ment. If you kick a saucepan into the air and shoot it, the ric­o­chets are guar­an­teed to hit nearby en­e­mies.

Sick flips

Once I have com­pleted the demo level, Agren boots up an­other one from a later point in the game and shows off his deft skills with a skate­board. You can ride it, of course, and you can kick it into en­e­mies to kill them. Ide­ally you will land right back on the board af­ter­wards af­ter a spin and a reload to earn more points. I wit­ness a spec­tac­u­lar mo­ment where Agren rides the board straight through a win­dow, jumps off it, and swings on a rope back into the build­ing to gun down more sur­prised goons.

I also get to ride a mo­tor­bike in a boss fight level. I shoot cars full of yet more goons un­til they ex­plode and even­tu­ally duel a gang boss in a big truck. He lobs bombs out of a hatch that I shoot in slow mo­tion while back­flip­ping on the bike. It’s stupidly good fun. If the game keeps up this level of slap­stick non­sense car­nage for its en­tire run­ning time it will be de­light. The 2019 re­lease win­dow sud­denly seems so far away.

There’s a sig­nif­i­cant amount of blood splat­ter.

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