McPixel 3 is a game about saving the day in the stupidest way possible

McPixel, released in 2012, is a series of 100 "short challenges" in which you, as the titular pixellated hero, must dig through secrets, silliness, and stupidity to save the day from disaster in 20 seconds or less. A decade later, developer Sos Sosowski is preparing to follow it up with a sequel, McPixel 3, published by none other than Devolver Digital.

McPixel 3 promises another 100 levels to bumble through, with more than 900 gags, 1,500 interactive items, and over 20 microgames "in all imaginable genres." Once again, the name of the game is to avert disaster in very short bites of gameplay, with methods of crisis aversion including—this is direct from the Steam listing—"summoning a spider-billionaire, having a BBQ in his pants, punching a T-Rex into outer space, peeing into sports cars, and kicking Fork Parker in the balls."

After playing some of the early levels in McPixel 3, I can say with confidence that the game is even more deranged than it sounds. Nothing makes any sense, and McPixel's actions are utterly unpredictable: For instance, when I attempted to get into a sports car, McPixel instead opened the door and, as mentioned above, peed into it. (There's a bomb in the car, you see, and I assume he was trying to defuse it. In another level, McPixel also pees on a cruise missile in an attempt to prevent it from destroying a highrise building. Neither "solution" is successful.)

Spoiler warning ahead, the proper sequence of events in this level is:

  • Kick the driver in the balls so he drops his keys.
  • Pick up the keys.
  • Give the keys to the driver. He drives off.    
  • Car explodes a safe distance away—day is saved!

The real fun in McPixel 3 isn't solving the puzzles, though, but discovering the intense weirdness in failure. Each level has a number of achievements based on actions and outcomes, and each achievement earned nets you some coins that can be used in a virtual arcade machine. I haven't earned enough coins to fire it up yet so I have no idea what it does, but it's almost irrelevant: The fun is in the random slapstick idiocy that emerges from McPixel's utterly bizarre and monumentally stupid interactions with the world around him.

Overall, it reminds me a bit of Amanita Design's Chuchel, which I adored—It's short, sharp, and absolutely bonkers. If you're into that kind of thing, you'll have a chance to try it out for yourself very soon: A demo for McPixel 3 will be playable in the upcoming Steam Next Fest, which gets underway on February 21. The full game is expected to be out later this year.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.