DESPITE the confusing numerical naming conventions, McPixel 3 is the long awaited sequel to the ever-popular, crudely-humoured McPixel, a point and click adventure & puzzle solving game (if you want some insight on the un-making of McPixel 2, check this out). It’s very comparable to games like WarioWare, as you’re presented with time-based puzzles you need to solve as quickly as possible, but with a heavy emphasis on the puzzle solution being outright crude and at times; stupid.
Playing as the titular pixellated hero, you need to navigate your way through secrets, quirkiness and pure stupidity to save the day from disaster in bite-size 20 second puzzles (or less). If you’re like me and have the mental maturity of someone still in Primary School and enjoy short bursts of insanity, McPixel 3 should be right up your alley. The game revolves around unexpected gags and puzzle solving at every turn in a point-and-click style of gameplay, as you interact with various aspects of every level to try and uncover how to successfully solve the puzzle in a short time period (or in my case, try and view every possible unsuccessful outcome.).
Levels range from political debates, retro arcades, 90s sitcoms to microscopic endeavors after being shrunk, all of which manage to find new and creative ways to present confusing puzzles to the player. I cannot reiterate this enough – if you don’t enjoy crude humor, McPixel 3 really isn’t for you – I’m still not even sure if it’s for me, but it is a lot of fun. The ‘introductory’ puzzle alone is the perfect example of the comedic styling of the game, as you need to solve a bomb-themed jigsaw puzzle which acts as a metaphor for McPixel pooping (that’s right, we’re at poop-joke level comedy).
The best part of McPixel 3 in my opinion, is the simple premise that nothing you interact with ever go according to plan. McPixel’s actions are always unpredictable, which makes the time-based puzzle-solving that much more wild, as perceived interactions are never quite what they seem: For example, when I attempted to move a passed-out pilot, so I could save a crashing aircraft, McPixel proceeded to repetitively smash the face of the pilot into the aircraft controls for absolutely no reason. It should came as no surprise, that Devolver Digital are the publishers of McPixel 3, because every aspect of the game screams Devolver.
Progression in the game is rather straightforward, as you get rewarded for simply playing the game and getting different outcomes in each level thrown at you. Every level/puzzle has multiple outcome (dependent on what you interact with), so if you play out every wild ending for each level, you’ll be rewarded with more in-game currency, which is used to unlock other areas of the game-map. In total, there’s 100 levels to play through, with more than 900 gags, 1,500 interactive items, and over 20 microgames. There’s a lot of unexpected fun to be had (admittedly some a lot better than others), and an overwhelming amount of gags thrown you at every turn.
In terms of visual and audio developments, the game hasn’t strayed all that far from its’ roots. There’s not an immensely deep soundtrack or as the game instead uses tracks throughout the entirety of the game (which surprisingly was rarely if ever outright annoying, as I was a lot more focused on the chaotic nature of the gameplay). The exclusion of sound effects in the game was a lot more noticeable than I remember from the original McPixel, especially in the retro-arcade levels where expected sound effects were very clearly lacking. Visually: it’s called McPixel for a reason. Visuals aren’t what’s important, and although the pixel-art is a bit more in-depth than it’s predecessor, it’s nothing to rave home about.
Throughout my time playing the game, my main gripe resided in the design of he level/world menu that is used. The level menu is an explorable city block you must navigate through whenever you want to start a new set of levels, which in it’s infancy is a really fun gimmick. The further you progress however, the more of an irritant this becomes, as successful completion of a ‘level pack’, returns you to the start of this street, which you need to navigate through. There’s a clear lacking of ‘checkpoints’, which really would have made sense in a game that revolves around quick, chaotic, time-based puzzles.
All in all, my time with McPixel 3 was wild, idiotic fun that I haven’t felt since I last played the turn-based South Park games. It’s definitely not for everyone sheerly due to the humour-style, but for those who are looking for some quick, unpredictable laughs, it’s definitely worth picking up and experiencing. McPixel 3 is out now on PC, Nintendo Switch & Xbox Series X|S.