This post is spoiler free.
Greetings chumps! Today I want to talk about a game that holds a special place in my heart. Little Inferno is a beautifully made story game by the independent studio, Tomorrow Corporation. I’ve written about this game in the past, but I’m going to take a new approach to this whole game review thing. I will score a game on a scale of 1 – 5 in 4 categories , game mechanics, art, story, and a rule that I’ve created – the $1 per hour of game time rule. The overall score will be the average grade from each of the individual category scores. Make sense? GREAT!
Now we can start talking about what you’re really here for…THE GAME!
At face value, this game is incredibly simple. You have an item in your inventory, you drag it into the fireplace, you light it on fire…and that’s it. So how did Tomorrow Corporation make such a simple premise last for at least 4 hours worth of game play from beginning to end? Well for starters, they feast on the minds of people like me who want to unlock every single combo in the game possible.
The combos don’t have instructions, but that’s what makes it more fun. The names are little puzzles for the player to figure out what two items to burn together. And if you unlock all the combos, you’ll get an achievement. A lot more goes into what makes this game playable for more than an hour, but the mechanics themselves are not really indicative of that.
Game Mechanics Score: 3
I am a sucker for the Dark Arts (whaddup HP reference). Jokes aside, I have a legitimate bias for games that just look dark and twisty. Since you play as a character who has never left their house, sits in a cold dark room all alone, with nothing to do but light things on fire, it make sense that you look a little…well…
The attention to detail is fantastic. From each and every item, to the spiders in the fireplace, everything being so creepy really helps develop the darkness of the story. From the very first moment of the game, with an art style like this, players can tell that this is not supposed to be some “happy ending” game. Because of this, the lack of actual game mechanic is forgivable.
Art Score: 5
This is where Little Inferno excels. I know what you’re gonna ask. “But Andrea, how can a point and click game that you don’t even leave the room have a story?” WELL SIT DOWN AND LET ME TELL YA! Periodically, you’ll receive letters from your neighbors and the ever so insightful “Weather Man.” The letters raise tons of questions. How are you receiving them if nobody goes outside? Who are these people, and how do they know you? What the heck is even going on!? Yes. The letters reveal that there is something much more sinister laying in wait.
To keep this post spoiler free, I’ll just leave these questions for you to answer yourself. To score this properly however, I must say that there are a lot of things in the story that are left open for speculation and interpretation. Players won’t get fully direct answers for the dark forces behind the game, leaving them wanting more.
Story Score: 4
This rule is pretty self explanatory. When I purchase a game, I want to get at least 1 hour of game play for every dollar spent. So if a game costs $20, I want at least 20 hours of game play or more. Little Inferno has a base price of $10, but the most play time you get out of it is about 4.5 hours if you take the Completionist route. So it’s about $2/hr, which isn’t bad. I would be complaining more if that was the case and the game was $20. Regardless, it doesn’t meet this rule, which is unfortunate for the individual score.
The Golden Rule Score: 3
DRUM ROLL PLEASE
Overall Score: 3.75
This game really takes the cake when it comes to developing a fantastic story with next to no traditional game play or time. If you ever have a few hours in your day to play something short and sweet, this game has my personal stamp of approval! If you do play it, let me know on Twitter so we can talk conspiracy theories!!