I was introduced to Little Inferno from a friend, who only told me that you “burn things” in the game. I tried to learn more about it, but was only told that I need to play it. The game had a sort of mystery to it with such a vague description. I went and found the trailer and watched the morbid, yet wonderful, advertisement for “Little Inferno Entertainment Fireplace.” I hadn’t even touched the game at that point, and I knew I had to play it.
Little Inferno is a simple point and click game. You drag items into the fireplace then click and hold to start your fire. That’s it. There’s no scoring, no time limit, just burning. You obtain coins from the things the you burn to buy more things from catalogs that you can access. As you are burning, you get letters from other characters in the story. Ms. Nancy, owner of the company that creates Little Inferno Fireplace, tells you about your progress through the game with bonus items that you can burn. Sugar Plumps, your neighbor discusses how fun it is to burn things in her fireplace. As the game continues however, players start to realize what’s actually going on in the Little Inferno universe. The characters you interact with also change, but I won’t ruin the surprise for anyone.
Money to buy items is never a problem, as you obtain more from the item that was needed to buy it. There is also a “combo” system: burning two specific items together for bonus money. Players also get stamps to speed up how long it takes to obtain some items. Each new catalog players buy unlocks new combos and items for the player to burn. Game mechanics make the game easy to come to for a few minutes and then leave it be for a while.
Little Inferno has a very stylized look to it. The cartoon graphics remind me of a “Nightmare Before Christmas” knock off, which is not a bad thing by any means. The game is playfully demented, and achieves this from the mix of content and art style contributing to the atmosphere. The style comes into play even more with some of the items that players can burn. When you watch as little marshmallows scream in pain as you burn them, it gives a very unsettling feeling, but still makes you want to continue. Most of the game is centered in front of the fireplace, so graphics don’t play much more of a part until late in the game.
Audio is almost non-existent for the game, at least in the sense of music. The crackling of the fire and the solemn sounds that some of the items make as players burn them are about it for audio. When players are browsing the catalogs, there is music that makes me feel like I am in one of those “Little Johnny” 60’s infomercials. The audio is perfect for the game itself, again leaving the player in wonder of what exactly is going on in this game.
A game like Little Inferno can leave you, to say the least, with mixed feelings. Personally I enjoyed it. I loved the dark storytelling and having fun trying to burn the different combos. The game is currently only on PC and the Wii U eShop, but clients for Mac and Linux computers are coming soon. A short game, but satisfying. Definitely worth looking into.
Publisher: Tomorrow Corporation Developer: Tomorrow Corporation
Release Date: US: Nov 18, 2012 EU: Nov 30, 2012
Platforms: PC, Wii U Digital: Yes
Price: US: $10.00
Rating: ESRB: T