McPixel

By: Ben Rose

Published: August 3, 2012 Posted in: Review

McPixel! Kicking balls! Drinking beer! Defusing bombs! McPixel! McPixel the man is a true hero, his pixelated ginger locks present wherever danger is afoot. He’s also a complete idiot, extremely antisocial and psychopathically dangerous to himself and those around him.

McPixel the game is, in essence, a combination of traditional point ‘n click adventure games with the Four Second Fury style of rapid fire puzzle solving. You find yourself in a situation which is about to explode, and you have twenty seconds to do something about it. Each chapter contains 6 levels, which can be set anywhere from the moon to a football stadium, with no ongoing theme of any description. Failed levels rotate back around, until you’ve solved all six, at which point you can move on to the next chapter.

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The twist here is that this game is completely insane. Each little vignette has its own twisted internal logic, which follows no known laws of physics, storytelling or, often, decency. McPixel himself is the only constant, though even he is impossible to predict at times. His standard method of interaction with anything is to kick it, eat it, drink it or, occasionally, to pick it up and hit somebody with it, but there’s no way to know what exactly he will do the first time you enter a new scene. This sounds a lot more annoying than it actually is – this is one of the few games in which the process of trial and error leading up to the solution is often more rewarding than the solution itself. Having no way to predict how your actions will affect the world can mean that some levels are little more than a guessing game, but more often than not the various comic failures of each scene will subtly hint towards the solution, paving the way for the occasional moment of genuine puzzle solving.

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Honestly, if you’re looking for a rich, detailed gaming experience, you’ve already stopped reading this review. McPixel is, above all else, a comedy. Failure is often more rewarding than success – indeed, there’s a whole series of fantastic bonus levels at the end of each chapter, chock full of pop culture references, which are unlocked by finding every single outcome of the preceding levels. You’re finding jokes in order to gain access to more jokes. Truly, McPixel wants nothing more than to make you laugh.

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Having such a tight focus on humour does mean that replay value is basically nil, even more so than with most point ‘n clicks – once you’ve seen all the gags, you’re not going to find them funny anymore. That said, the existence of a menu item labelled “Free DLC” would seem to suggest that the devs are far from done with this carrot-topped hero. On top of that, fully completing the first set of bonus levels gets you access to a fully-featured level editor, into which any image can be imported.

McPixel is insane – brilliantly, hilariously insane, to the point where I had to take frequent breaks so I could calm down and let my sides stop aching. In a world where the vast majority of mainstream games are super serious and utterly devoid of humour, the mere existence of something like this is comforting. As it stands, it’s more than worth your time and money. In terms of sheer laughs-per-pound, you’re getting more value out of this than most comedy DVDs. On top of that, if the developer and community can keep pumping out new levels with fresh, interesting ideas, this could stay funny for a long, long time. Anyone with a functional sense of humour should pick this up without hesitation.

McPixel is currently priced at $9.99, and is available direct from the website, as well as on Desura. A Steam version is apparently in the works, as are ports for Android and iOS.

Ben Rose