My Buddy Pedro is a side-scrolling motion recreation by which you kick skateboards at gangster’s heads beneath the steering of a speaking banana. Would you want an extended introduction, or we could crack on?

Yeah, that is what I assumed.

Your anonymous protagonist (Pedro is the identify of the banana, simply in case “the speaking banana” wasn’t particular sufficient) awakes fairly inconveniently within the basement of a mafia hideout. He has no reminiscence of how he received there, and his solely companion is a floating piece of fruit that strongly encourages him to kill everybody, which I suppose is nearly as good a motivation as any.

A bunch of touchstones are evident in My Buddy Pedro’s design, from the psychotropic storytelling of Hotline Miami, to the bullet-time gunplay of Max Payne. However it’s best to consider it as Tony Hawk’s Professional Shooter, the place killing your enemies is of secondary significance to killing them in cool methods, and it is at all times well worth the threat of smearing the bottom with your personal blood to tug off that barely extra unbelievable stunt.

And what stunts! Along with the staple online game interactions of leaping and taking pictures, your masked vigilante can carry out dramatic dives and balletic spins to keep away from bullets, springboard off partitions like a shocked cat, and roundhouse-kick all method of objects from enemies to explosive canisters. If geared up with a gun in every hand, he can intention in two totally different instructions without delay, with the participant locking on to at least one opponent with the left set off, and utilizing the appropriate analogue follow intention at one other.

Stop hanging round.

On their very own, these primary controls allow you to carry out a formidable array of action-movie stunts. Diving from a excessive platform, twin Uzis akimbo, and blasting a room filled with mooks whereas pirouetting to keep away from return fireplace will shortly change into your normal methodology of progress. However My Buddy Pedro goes one step additional than, say, Max Payne, combining these core talents with ranges crammed with interactive objects. There are ropes to dangle from, skateboards to trip, tables to kick over and use as ad-hoc cowl. You possibly can even kick a frying pan into the air and use it to ricochet bullets into your opponent’s faces, like Gordon Ramsey in his last kind.

A few of these extra superior tips aren’t straightforward to pull-off – directing a kick with any accuracy could be notably difficult throughout fight. However mastering the skillset is a part of the enjoyable, and My Buddy Pedro helps you out with its beneficiant means to decelerate time. Killing enemies considerably refills your bullet-time bar, so maintaining the momentum allows you to play massive chunks of ranges in syrupy slow-motion.

For the primary half, My Buddy Pedro delivers its ‘Tony Hawk with weapons’ fantasy nigh-flawlessly. The platforming is elegantly constructed based on the Nintendo precept of introducing a brand new idea, then evolving and twisting it as you progress. The main focus is at all times on enabling your means to kill skilfully. The skateboarding sections, for instance, are at all times accompanied by fastidiously positioned ramps and conveniently stood enemies, letting you launch your skateboard into the neck of your first opponent, then strafe the others with gunfire as you sail over their heads.

My Buddy Pedro’s taking pictures additionally has a splendidly surreal streak to it. The primary stage is ready in a retirement residence for gangsters, the place your opponents are all chubby, silver-haired mafiosos who lumber round clad in polyester shell-suits, excellent fodder for the sport’s introductory ranges. That is adopted by you crashing the native bounty hunters’ Christmas celebration, the place you might have simply been chosen as the current for everybody’s not-so-secret Santa. Pedro himself acts as a comic book buffer between the bouts of relentless homicide, popping up intermittently to supply a daft quip, or leaning out silently from the sides of the display screen if you pull off a very spectacular stunt.

But after a delightfully absurd central stage that I will not spoil, My Buddy Pedro’s slick design begins to peel across the edges. The primary crimson flag is a murky sewer stage which cracks a joke about video games that includes murky sewer ranges. This specific sewer can be populated by “hardcore players” who’ve had their brains melted by taking part in too many violent video-games. It is a faltering stab at edginess that is about 20 years behind the occasions. This is not to say gaming is immune from a little bit of satirical criticism, however I would argue the sect My Buddy Pedro targets is much extra prone to be induced into frothing rage by one actual lady than any quantity of digital violence.

The power to shoot in two totally different instructions is supremely satisfying, though the controls take some getting used to.

A extra urgent difficulty is that it is round this level the place My Buddy Pedro’s circulate abruptly adjustments. The degrees start to position far larger emphasis on difficult puzzle-platforming, together with massive numbers of timed puzzles that require you to maneuver at exactly the appropriate second. They don’t seem to be terribly difficult, however they inhibit your stunt-craft fairly than facilitating it. Motion choices change into way more restricted, and also you’re continually compelled to cease and begin. It would not assist that the character motion is sort of slippery, which is not an excessive amount of of an issue earlier on, however turns into extra of a hindrance because the puzzle fringes harden.

There are nonetheless just a few highlights in these latter phases, together with a superb (if brief) practice stage, whereas the ultimate boss battle is splendidly ridiculous. However it is not sufficient to assuage the extra normal dip in high quality. The designers are clearly attempting to provide you with new methods to problem you, however within the course of they find yourself overcomplicating the construction, and compromising the central premise that makes the sooner phases so thrilling.

Ultimately, My Buddy Pedro’s two halves of the banana reveal the perilous balancing act of recreation design. The primary half is a stellar instance of find out how to construct an motion recreation, of find out how to engender a way of creativity by means of the participant’s toolset, and find out how to bake seamless circulate into complicated and difficult environments. The second half is not fairly the alternative of that, but it surely tries a lot too onerous to be intelligent, with humour that is much less goofy and extra edgy, and stage design that is too exacting in its construction.

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