Little Inferno: A Game Of Fire, Soot, And Satire
Little Inferno is the kind of title that catches the eye, which is always a good start for an indie game. Tomorrow Corporation, the company who brought us ‘World of Goo’ in 2008, is responsible for this highly financially successful independent pastime.
Having never heard of 2D Boy (consisting of Kyle Gabler and Ron Carmel), nor heard of Tomorrow Corporation, I was simply interested because of one word…Inferno.
As shallow as it may be, no game should be overlooked that has the possibility of burning things. Little did I know that burning things is literally all you do. However, bizarre characters, beautiful graphics, achievements, and the seemingly endless objects you can obtain to burn are just enough to see this through. At a whopping two to three hours of game play, I personally thought it was worth it, and here is why:
An unknown, unnamed character stands in front of a fireplace with a single item, which happens to be the Terms and Conditions of your “Brand New Little Inferno Entertainment Fireplace!”. Of course…you burn it. For a short time there is no indication who you are, where you are, or what you are doing there.
Little by little, you receive notes from the Mayor, who tells the story of the town.
Little Inferno is apparently the perfect gift for the home, allowing the citizens to burn endless objects they order from a catalog to stay warm through this ostensibly endless winter.
Despite a new friend, a weatherman reporting snowy news, and a mayor who can’t seem to stop sending letters, the story seems to drag into a pointless void of flames and occasional screaming. Of course with everything that goes on in the game, it is obvious that the story was not a number one priority.
Yet somehow, as I neared the last hour of playing “Little Inferno,” a whole world formed. It’s not as pointless as I originally thought, though it did feel a little out of place. I compare the ending to something like Mass Effect.
It doesn’t matter what you do or how you do it because the ending will be the same. Of course, “Little Inferno” was nowhere near that drastic, but don’t feel bad if you don’t feel like attempting to achieve an alternative ending.
The setup of the game is extremely simple with a catalog, a money count, and of course, the fireplace. Having to look at the same backdrop for 90% of the game does get a little tiring, but it gives, again, just enough of a push to keep you interested. A few minor setbacks of the game play would be the limited space for your items. Unless you have the coins to dish out, you can only hold four to five items at a time. You also have a length of time in which you can receive each gift. The higher priced it is, the longer it takes to “arrive”, and sometimes, you honestly have nothing to do but wait. This can get exceptionally frustrating, should you want to complete the in game combo’s/achievements.
I found it only mildly worth completing, as I enjoyed trying to figure out which item goes with another to create a combo. Even with these minor annoyances, “Little Inferno” brings enough creepiness and quirky items–and the perfect sounds that they make upon burning. The music is beautiful, hopeful, and inspiring, which greatly contradicts the heavy overtones and foreshadowing of a possibly extremely warm ending.
As far as mechanics go in game play, it’s very much a click and drag system. This does not make it challenging as far as controls and combos go, but it does reach out on another, deeper level, and by far what I admire most about the game.
The whole game is written and designed for the strict purpose of satire. It’s not a game to teach about possible fire safety (or lack thereof), but to basically mock the very people that are playing it!
I feel I should be somewhat angered for falling into their trap of contradictions and spoofs, but the game is just too good at making fun of someone who simulates playing with fire and not expecting to get burned. Pun intended. It also has a more moral approach, sending several messages if you choose to pay that much attention to them, and, in the end, leaving you with an odd since of both relief and dismay.
Graphics do participate greatly in the game play. The fire itself looks amazing, the lighting effects and movement of the flames makes it look real and fun to manipulate.
The ash crumbles perfectly as you fling it about, and the items you purchase act according to what they are and what gravity would do to them should you, say, drop them from the top of the screen. On the flip side, the objects, characters, and even the creepy wall spider creatures give a very oddball/Tim Burton feel.
Not much more is to be said about the graphics other than it is a favored component in the game no matter the system it’s played on, whether it’s PC, Wii U, or the Ipad.
In a Nutshell
To quickly put it, ‘Little Inferno’ is a cheap pick up that allows a couple of hours of pure, heated fun when you are waiting for something or can’t get to sleep. It takes little to no concentration and…hell, you can burn things. It doesn’t give a solid mold in story, nor give any feeling of humanity or comfort, and some things in it just don’t make sense, but it does shine through in other, more satiric ways. I was sold with the graphics and music alone… and… you know… the fact that everything can burn.
- Operating System – Windows 7, Windows XP 32, Vista
- CPU – Intel E1200 dual core / AMD Athlon 64 X2 4000+ Socket AM2 or better
- RAM: 2 GB memory
- HDD: 1 GB free hard drive space
- GPU: NVidia GeForce 230 GT / ATI 6550D or better