Like a troublesome kid with a newly found pack of matches, sometimes people just want to watch things burn. There’s an odd calm to fire, and we often find ourselves gathered around one when relaxing outdoors. We also often find ourselves throwing things in said fire – like firecrackers, toys, pictures, and other random objects. Sometimes it’s to get rid of them, but others it’s back to that “watch them burn” ideology. It’s there that Little Inferno comes in as a rather safe alternative, as the only thing it’ll irreplaceably burn is your time – in a good way.
While I wouldn’t necessarily call Little Inferno a game, it’s certainly qualified in being a time hog of sorts. It offers seven catalogs of items to burn, a fireplace to burn them in, and cash for everything you burn – with bonus tickets for shipping coming from achieving pre-determined combos. Just buy an item, wait for it to ship (or use tickets for express service if you’ve got ’em), and then burn it alone or with other items. It’s simple!
At the beginning of the game you’re only given access to a single catalog and a limited number of item slots, however both can be expanded through progressing in the game. Finding enough of the game’s hidden combinations, using all the items in your newest catalog, and getting enough cash will allow you to expand to a new book of goodies. Getting an exorbitant amount of cash (relative to progress anyways) will allow you to buy additional slots, with the amount required to purchase going up sharply as you expand.
That’s pretty much the whole of it.
While there is a semblance of a story here, it’s vague and told only though a handful of cutscenes and a bunch of mail from your neighbour. It’s very light on details, and seems to be there only as a bit of motivation paired with comic relief. While I found these bits to be somewhat interesting, their whole (read: how you see them once you’ve finished the game) is much better than their parts. Unless you plan on seeing this one through, they might not grab you as intended.
Little Inferno is a decent looking game for the most part. It does a good job of giving you a realistic looking fireplace and crisp graphics to look at. That said, it’s not likely to be pushing many boundaries – aside from when we’re dealing with fire effects and explosions, that is. The flashiest bit of the game is almost certainly the fire and the effect it has on the items you’re burning, and in that they’ve done a good job.
As for the title’s audio, I might even say it was done better than the visuals. The fireplace itself offers a quiet environment in which to interact with via fire and items, so aside from your own influence you’ll find the game rather quiet in that area – which works quite well. Menus and anything that serves to take you out of the fireplace focus will offer a musical accompaniment, which seems much like the background music you’d find in The Flintstones to me (repetitious but not grating).
After sitting in front of the digital fire for near on five hours to finish Little Inferno, I like to think that I’ve basked in its warm glow – even if not physically warmed by it. I had fun burning the things the game offered up, and the effects that some of the combos had were quite interesting. I also enjoyed the back and forth with my neighbour via mail, was ever curious about what was going on outside my house (thanks, Weatherman), and couldn’t wait to see what was in the next catalog. It was a unique ride to say the least, but I enjoyed it while it lasted.
As such, my advice to you boils down to this; get your own Little Inferno, and take a seat with it. If you’re anything like me, I think you’ll quite enjoy having it light up your screen.