McPixel 3 Review

Published: November 14, 2022 11:00 AM /

Reviewed By:

McPixel 3 Key Art

There's a fitting absurdity to the decision to wait a full decade before following up on the success of McPixel. The original rode a wave of success that can't be duplicated in 2022. It gained an audience thanks partly to being among the first games on Steam Greenlight, a program that signaled the end of Steam as a walled garden full of quality releases. It got lots of attention from Let's Players as that format rose to prominence and turned video game coverage on its head forever. Perhaps most importantly, it was released when a MacGruber parody was at least a relevant cultural pull. Despite the best attempts of PeacockMcPixel 3 has none of these advantages and succeeds despite that. The game's unique, surrealist humor won't be everyone's cup of tea, but this is a fine continuation in the chronicles of our kick-happy hero.

You play as the titular McPixela red-haired chap tasked with saving the world from everpresent explosives placed into increasingly ridiculous scenarios. Whether strapped to a prisoner's leg or hidden in plain sight, there's almost always a bomb to defuse, although your best plan of attack can be to hurl it in the other direction and survive the blast unscathed. You do this by pointing and clicking on citizens, tools, and garbage cans, often with no idea how they'll help you in the long run.

The fun comes in discovering how McPixel interprets your commands and unpacking the delicate moon logic that permeates the entire experience. For example, when you know that your protagonist will insist on kicking or punching every other living being he meets, you can start to plan your strategies. This helps you improve your McPixel skills and makes you laugh when McPixel decides to smooch or lick your chosen target instead of giving them a wallop.

Beat Em Up

Finding the correct solution to any puzzle is often at the bottom of my priority list whenever I load in. The solo developer of McPixel loads in as many random jokes, gags, and non-sequiturs as humanly possible. These bits of color are often way more enjoyable than finding the correct solution that lets you progress. The levels themselves break up into 5-10 mission chunks, and you go through them rapid-fire in the style of WarioWare. Fail at escaping an out-of-control roller coaster? You have to wait to try again, instead getting a chance to outrun a giant snowball and the legally distinct cousin of the SkiFree yeti.

There are plenty of references throughout McPixel 3, but none feel out of step with the game's unique sense of humor. From different video game aesthetics to television tropes, nothing feels off limits, and everything comes out a little off when seen through the unique lens of developer Sos Sosowski. This range of topics helps keep the level variety high and mitigates the burnout from banging your head against a particularly tricky task over and over. Still, there are disadvantages to this unique structure.

Hot Tub

McPixel 3 is far more iterative a sequel than most in modern times, mostly to its detriment. Each level has a strict timer to keep things moving, much like WarioWare and the original McPixel before it. The timer is no longer a set time per level but instead often reflects just how long it will take for a player to reach any level's logical conclusion. Since you always know that you'll have enough time to complete every stage, there's no time pressure as long as you comprehend what a level asks of you. There are also some advantages to the timer regarding certain jokes, as doing nothing can sometimes be a vital strategy.

On the flip side, the timer is an unnecessary hindrance if you're having trouble with a stage. Remember, failing at any point sends you into another scenario unless you've completed everything else in the sequence, meaning that you could find yourself repeating something over and over because you don't know what else to do. You don't have enough time to explore the space around you. For a game that should be about delivering rapid-fire humor, you can find yourself looping through the same gag five or six times in search of the correct answer, and that robs you of any humor you might have gotten from the intended finale.

Fisht ime

Another problem is McPixel 3's lack of respect for a player's time. It makes sense that a microgame-sized mission wouldn't have checkpoints, but McPixel 3 presents plenty of oversized levels with multiple screens and multi-step solutions. On all these levels, failing at any point makes you repeat the entire sequence when you return to it. In one regrettable situation, I needed to kick six people to get to my seat in a theater. It was a fun joke the first time but just became tedious busywork on the seventh run-through as I puzzled my way through a later point in the stage.

This redundancy also extends to the "main menu," an explorable city block you must navigate whenever you want to start a new set of levels. The farther you get in the game, the more walking you have to do to get to the next batch of content. There aren't even that many jokes or side activities to make your repeated trips interesting, just more citizens to kick randomly to diminishing returns. I would have liked to see McPixel 3 embrace its arcade leanings and step away from its inspirations with a structure that feeds me real levels over and over. It may have been a shorter game overall, but I'm not sure I need my time with McPixel to extend to the same length as a Call of Duty campaign, especially if half that time is spent wading through needless repetition.


McPixel 3 is not a perfect sequel, but it does live up to the quality of its predecessor and delivers exactly what it promises. It's a humble game technically but it squeezes a lot of character out of that tiny visual palette. I wish the mechanics and structure on offer evolved to keep up with the last decade of game design, but I also can't say that it got in the way of my enjoyment too much. Even if games are getting better at getting players to laugh, McPixel 3 offers a distinct style of humor that can't be found anywhere else. That's worth a lot in my book.

TechRaptor reviewed McPixel 3 on PC and Steam Deck with a copy provided by the publisher. The game is also available on Xbox Series X|S and Nintendo Switch.

Review Summary

McPixel 3 delivers a unique brand of humor that you can't find anywhere else, but it's sometimes a struggle to work past its aging mechanical structure. (Review Policy)


  • Masterfully surreal humor
  • Continually surprising scenarios
  • Inspired level themes throughout


  • Structure and mechanics show their age
  • Main menu overworld is style over substance


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More Info About This Game
Learn more about McPixel 3
Game Page McPixel 3
Sos Sosowski
Devolver Digital
Release Date
June 20, 2022 (Calendar)
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