Platforms: PC, Mac, iOS, Android
You know you’re in for an interesting experience with a game when the opening screen says: “Warning: it is highly recommended to take breaks while playing this game. Longer play sessions can damage your brain and gameplay experience.”
The utter madness of Polish developer, Mikolaj Kaminski’s Mc Pixel more than lives up to this audacious claim. The game’s premise seems to have been inspired by the scene from the 1966 Adam West Batman film where Batman is running around a crowded pier while holding a bomb over his head. “Some days, you just can’t get rid of a bomb,” sighs Batman. The eponymous Mc Pixel would certainly agree.
Mc Pixel sees you taking control of the title character across over 100 Warioware style micro-games in which you have only 20 seconds to try to dispose of a bomb by any means necessary. Using a point-and-click format, you manipulate objects and your surroundings to try to avert the impending explosion.
The game has an intensely bizarre internal logic so your actions more often than not have unexpected and hilarious consequences. These consequences can range from Mc Pixel using a chicken to beat an old man to him kissing Obama. Sometimes you want to fail levels just to see whatever absurdly random event will occur. Indeed, the game actually rewards you for finding all of its joke fails, as this is the only way to unlock the bonus levels. The bonus levels are even more ludicrous than the rest of the game. They’re chock full of pop culture references to Star Wars, Minecraft, Simpsons, Portal, Dragon Ball Z, Mortal Kombat, the Powerpuff Girls and Pokémon among many others.
The game’s aesthetic is an endearingly retro pixelated style that would look at home on the Commodore 64 or the Atari. The game’s music is also incredibly catchy, and has the ability to get stuck in your head like the themes from the early Mario games.
In terms of extras, Mc Pixel offers an endless mode, the ability to create your own levels which then have the chance of becoming future free DLC for all players, and the utterly incomprehensible fart along mode.
While the game’s humour is quite often crude (as was Warioware’s), it forms a logical part of the game’s tapestry of insanity, and only the most stoic of gamers will be unable to find something to laugh at. What Mc Pixel delivers in spades is something that not enough big budget releases deliver these days: a fun experience. Testament to this is the fact that Mc Pixel is the first title to be greenlit on Steam. Not bad for a game that started life as an entry to a 48-hour games development competition.
By Steven Balbirnie