I picked up Little Inferno by Tomorrow Corporation at the End of Year Steam sale, and finished it in one sitting. …it’s not exactly _that_ short to be finished in one sitting; I just couldn’t stop playing… when the ending credit rolled my reaction was “F***, it’s already 3AM?!” Thankfully it was the weekend…
Recommended, if you like a simple game hiding a profound question and contemplation.
Quick note, if you’ve played World of Goo then the art in this game should be familiar. It’s one of the reasons I was alerted to this game.
The premise of the game is deceptively simple. It’s been snowing outside for the last few years… so why not stay inside and keep yourself warm? To this end Tomorrow Corporation started marketing a toy/product called Little Inferno. Do you have old toys you no longer play with? Why not throw them into your Little Inferno to burn them and keep warm? Out of toys/stuff to burn? Why, you can order more from our catalogue! We’ll even reward you as you buy more!
The gameplay is a breeze to learn. You’ll start the game with 1 catalogue accessible and only a few items available for purchase. As you buy items, more will be unlocked… and once you’ve bought everything in the catalogue you can unlock the next catalogue. There are 2 ways to get more money: by burning stuff or killing spiders that occasionally wander into your Little Inferno. When you burn stuff, it will give out money that is worth more than the item itself. For example, if an item costs 7c, when you burn it you’ll get 8c back… the more expensive the item is, the more ‘profit’ you’ll be making. I think the amount of ‘profit’ is a % of the purchase price.
Each item has a waiting time… basically, the time it takes for the item to be shipped to your home. If you don’t want to wait, you can make the item ‘arrive’ immediately by using stamps. You’ll get stamps when you discover a combo or (randomly) when burning stuff and (randomly) when killing spiders. Click-drag items to place them in your Little Inferno, and hold click to start fire… then sit back and watch stuff burn. If you have ever sit in front of a fireplace and just watched stuff burn you’ll understand how this can be quite enjoyable/mesmerising to watch. To add, some items will have different effects when they burn.
Unlocking combos is where this game gets difficult, and you’ll most likely need a guide. …that, or patience and perseverance. The game has a checklist of combos, which you unlock by placing the necessary items in your Little Inferno and have them burn at the same time. The name of the combo is a hint on what the items are… some of it were pretty easy to guess, the others completely baffled me (hence my using a guide). For example, a combo called “Movie Night” is unlocked by burning corn (popcorn) and TV together. Or another combo called “Cat Lady”, which is old lady + cat… which was still easy. Some of it you’d need to think further, like “Learning is Fun” (schoolbus + rocket spaceship), or Cold War (cardboard Uncle Sam + matryoshka doll). I’ll admit that I tried to burn ice cubes and globe to unlock Cold War…
There are 99 combos to unlock (although I’m not sure if they’re necessary for the storyline). In view of that, this game… should actually provide you with HOURS of playtime, if you refuse to use a guide. I followed a guide (lazy bastard, what can I say) and finished the game in 4 hours. But I can see how this game would be a lot of fun if you’re playing with a friend, trying to figure out the combo yourself and trying out different combinations… In a way, the game also felt like a casual game which you can play in small chunks.
I won’t spoil the story for this game (yes, there’s a story). To me it’s one of those games where it’s not about what happened in the story; it’s about how the story was delivered. And while I can spoil the story, reading typed up words won’t have the same effect as experiencing how it’s told in the game. …I was still thinking about the story and the message it delivered, days after I finished the game. And for that, I’ll echo the comments on the official website and highly recommend this game.