A review by Jeremy Hardin
Game – Little Inferno
Developer/Publisher – Tomorrow Corporation
Version – Wii U eShop
Price – $14.99
Obtained – Review Copy courtesy of Tomorrow Corporation
Gameplay and Controls
Little Inferno is a very unique puzzle game, one which comes across more as an interactive story than a game. Nearly the entire game is played in first person, sitting in front of your new Little Inferno Home Entertainment System. So just what is Little Inferno and what do you do with it? Simply put, Little Inferno is a fireplace. There really is no story, except the one you concoct in your own mind and any interaction takes place in the form of letters from either Tomorrow Corporation (makers of Little Inferno), the weatherman, or your next-door neighbor Sugar Plumps. Yes yes, this is all well and good but, what do you do with all of this?
Well, you burn it. The sense of humor in this game is odd and sometimes creepy, but nonetheless, it’s all still humorous. You’ll spend these few short hours burning dozens of items that you purchase from catalogs. Every item you burn will drop coins in the Little Inferno. Touch the coins to collect your money and then use it buy even more junk to burn. At first you’ll only have 1 catalog and only a few items available for purchase. As you burn these items, additional items will be unlocked. Once you burn all the items in a catalog, a new catalog becomes available and you can purchase it with your coins. The puzzling aspect of the game comes in the form of combos. There are a total of 99 combos to complete in order for the game to come to its final conclusion. The combos offer just a hint of what items you need to burn and that’s it. The first several combos only require two items to be burned together, but eventually you will have combos with up to 3 items needing to be burned. There are 140 items spread out across 7 catalogs in all, so you’ll have quite the time mixing and matching what you want to burn. The humor really stands out in these catalog and all their items. Each of the catalogs has a specific theme and the items themselves have tongue in cheek descriptions, thumbnails and each with specific behaviors or properties. For instance, when you burn the school bus, not only will you hear the explosion, you’ll hear people/children screaming (creepy, right?) On the lighter side of things, you can always purchase a squirrel whistle which has the the following description – “The gentle sounds of nature, only a firm squeeze away!” Every single item is described in this quirky manner and I found myself laughing out loud or smiling at so many of these descriptions and pictures. So, just to recap. You buy items. You burn said items and collect your coins. Buy even more items. Rinse and repeat. Observe the humor and contemplate what is going on outside of this room you’re in. What is happening out there in the world? Hmm…? Right, so another point to mention is your wait time. See, there is no timer in this game, but each item you order does have a time to wait before it arrives to you. This is real world time, so there are moments where all you are doing is waiting for something to arrive. If you aren’t that patient, don’t worry. Not only does burning items net you coins, it can also produce stamps. If you collect enough stamps, you can exchange them to make an item appear instantly, rather than waiting for it to ‘ship.’
You will use the stylus to control the game and all you need to do is wait for you items to arrive in the queue at the bottom of your screen. Once an item arrives you just drag and drop the item into your fireplace. If you tap and hold down with your stylus, a flame will appear. You can move this around the screen and this is how you will start a blaze. That’s all there are to the controls. It’s simple, easy and relaxing.
Visuals and Sound
The visual style is reminiscent of World of Goo and is fairly plain, but not boring. The items and how they burn are where the visuals really shine. Oh and the flames look so good. Tomorrow Corporation did a great job with the aesthetics and I enjoyed just staring at the screen for those few hours taking in all the details. There is no music, but the sounds of the roaring flames, the crackling spiders eggs, and the exploding school bus were ‘music’ to my ears.
Concluding Overall Impressions
Little Inferno is different from any other game I’ve ever played before. I hesitate in saying that it’s a puzzle game (although it really is), because it just doesn’t feel like a puzzle game, but that’s a good thing. Tomorrow Corporation has done a great job in drawing me into the game and making me feel as though I’m sitting right there in front of my Little Inferno Home Entertainment System. I had a great time achieving the 99 combos, plus it’s fun to mess around and incinerate whatever items you want just to see how they react. The game is fairly short, but enjoyable all the way through. It’s on sale for $9.99 through January 31st and I believe this price is easier to justify than the normal price of $14.99. Regardless of the price, I recommend adding this unique experience to your library of games.