Daleks stole my lunch box
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Full disclosure: I got a free review copy from the developer. Screenshots are from the game's press kit too.
McPixel is a traditional point n'click adventure games on Ritalin and crack: a story that could be written on the back of a subway ticket, 100 different puzzles, more explosions than in a Michael Bay movie and plenty of groin kicking.
The story: McPixel must prevent a whole lot of places from exploding. He has 20 seconds to figure out how to defuse the bomb. And since he's a bit of a jerk he'll kick a lot of crotches along the way (or whatever happens to be where a normal human crotch would be).
Eyes and ears candy: the retro 8 bit graphic style fits with the general silliness of the game. Characters and scenery are well-drawn and animated. The in-game music is a catchy tune, with enough variations to avoid being boring.
How does it play: Select a batch of levels (they come in groups of 6). The first level of the batch starts, you have 20 seconds to find the correct actions to defuse the bomb. The correct moves range from the almost obvious (peeing on the fuse to extinguish it) to the completely silly (throwing a fire extinguisher at an old man in order to stop a lift in freefall). If you fail (and you will fail a lot), the level explodes and the game takes you to the next level of the batch, until you've cleared all 6. If you successfully complete three levels in a row you gain access to a bonus round, in which I must admit I haven't got a clue as to what you're supposed to do. You can come back to a previously completed batch to find all the different ways of screwing up, in order to unlock additional levels. Each of the 100 levels takes place in a different setting.
Only 3 seconds left to find out what to do with the TV antenna and save the world. Or not.
There are also a few minigames included. Only one is unlocked at the beginning, the Fart Karaoke (which is exactly what it says on the tin).
Tech: I tested the Linux version, it needed an install of the Adobe AIR runtime but it went smoothly, and I haven't noticed any bug so far.
Bottom line: Once I accepted the premises of the game (poking fun at classic point n'click adventures and delivering absurd slapstick comedy) and stopped trying too hard at resolving the puzzles (and it's hard to turn off that part of the brain when you're conditioned by decades of adventure games), I had fun. I guess the humor style may not be for everyone, but I enjoyed the weird mix between the Monty Pythons and South Park.
Did I mention crotch-kicking?
- you like slapstick comedy and/or surreal silliness
- you've suffered through one too many adventure game and want revenge
Not recommended if:
- you like your point'n'click puzzles to make sense
- any mention of farting or bodily fluids causes your pants to spontaneously combust .
You can check out the game demo at the game website. At $10 a copy the price is a bit steep so make sure it's your kind of stuff.