Great story, but gameplay is not for everyone.
It’s not often that a game sticks around in my head as long as Little Inferno has. Usually about a day after playing through a game there’s not much thought put into the game, and one moves on to the next one. This is not the case with Little Inferno. Even a while after beating the game, I’m still thinking about the themes and issues addressed within Little Inferno. Be wary, though, as Little Inferno is not a game for everyone. Those setting out on this four to five hour journey better be ready to think about what is going on, as most younger players will have no idea about the deeper underlying meanings in the game.
At the basic level, Little Inferno is about burning stuff. A player burns something, gets money after it is burned, then goes on to burn the next thing. Every time a new item is burned, another becomes available. Each item reacts differently with the fire and it is interesting to watch each object burn. There are also 99 different combos to find. The game will give you the title of combo, and the player’s job is to find out what objects must be burned in order to complete the combo. This system is interesting, as each combo has a cleverly devised title and solution. For example: The combo “Springtime” requires the player to burn seeds and a clock. These thought out combos are fun to find and keep the player entertained while the story unfolds.
The one downside about burning items is that a player must wait for each item to be delivered from the mailman. This may not sound that bad, since for the first items the wait time is just ten to twenty seconds. But, once approaching the end of the game, items will take upwards of a minute to arrive. A minute may not seem like a long time, but just waiting for a minute for your package to arrive may become annoying eventually. Fortunately, the developers tried to avert this problem with Tomorrow Coupons. Every time a combo is completed, the player receives these coupons. These coupons lead to immediate delivery of an item, and in the end, less wait time. Unfortunately, this could be a turn off for some players, and overall the gameplay will not appeal to everyone.
Why people should really be playing this game is for the story. While burning items, the player will receive multiple different letters from different people. There are multiple subplots present throughout the game. Each letter provides some food for thought, and the ending is especially rewarding. The game provides an allegory for many different issues within our society and in the whole world. The story alone makes Little Inferno a must play for all those that are capable of dissecting media for the deeper meaning.
Unfortunately, in the end, Little Inferno is not a game for everyone. After all, the gameplay simply consists of burning things. Personally, I loved the game; and so will most players willing to think. My twelve year old brother, on the other hand, couldn’t appreciate Little Inferno as it’s supposed to be. As a result, he didn’t enjoy the game as much as I did. Therefore, although it pains me to do this, I can’t recommend Little Inferno to everyone, but only to those ready to look at video games in a new way, through a different lens.