“Hey kids! Do you like toys? Do you know what’s more fun than playing with toys? Setting them on fire! With your new Little Inferno Entertainment Fireplace!” Well who am I to question the instructional video of a questionable “toy” created by a massive corporation?
I have to say, they’re right; there’s a massive amount of fun to be found in burning toys, lightbulbs, batteries, sentient foods, and a large number of other odd items.
Little Inferno is best described as a “burning things in a fireplace simulator”, as that is what the game consists entirely of. However there is an underlying story as to why this is how you are spending your time; sheltered from the outside world whilst burning everything you can get your hands on, and it’s mostly delivered (excuse the pun) through the medium of letters that come to your house… in between shipments of new objects to burn. And of course once you have read the letters; you can burn them.
The gameplay is simple; you burn items in the fireplace and they drop money with which you can buy more items from the catalogue to burn, which in turn, produce more money again (if only all money was as easy to come by). There is a delivery period for the item to arrive which means waiting between creating massive bonfires of odds and ends, but this doesn’t make the game feel stilted at all; as well as getting occasional tokens to speed up the delivery, it all adds to the game’s ability to completely relax you. As well as the stock in-game items to be burned it also allows you to import pictures to burn, which allows for a nice amount of creativity should you wish… or perhaps something more cathartic in burning remnants of the past.
You can unlock new catalogues by first unlocking a certain number of special “combos” and this allows them to then be purchased with the coins you have earned. Each catalogue has a general theme for the items it contains and brings around new combos. The example combo given is “Spring Time” and you’re told in a letter to burn a clock and a packet of daisy seeds; this gives an idea of the somewhat cryptic nature of the combos, which are fun to figure out. Of course if you don’t want to work them out, or you’re struggling with the clues, buying a large varied amount of items and then burning them all in a massive bonfire is also a viable option…
Another nice touch of the things offered to burn is that they usually do something special either when placed or burned. A few examples are ice which freezes anything it touches allowing them to be shattered and get their money out that way, totems which produce a note when burning, a heater fan which short circuits and starts a fire without your input, items which displace gravity causing other items and fire to float or orbit, and multiple items which change the fire’s colour or texture, all of which are very visually pleasing.
The art style of the game is fantasy based, being somewhat dark and creepy in certain circumstances and hilarious in others. The style is very recognisable and that is a sign of lasting power in the mind. The whole game is very aesthetically pleasing and returning to it filled me with all the same emotions I had felt on the first play through of it.
The music when implemented is powerful and full of suspense, which is only heightened by the periods of silence while you’re burning your way through catalogue after catalogue. The soundtrack has given me its fair share of goosebumps. The in game sounds are also all very high quality and add to the overall immersion and relaxation which this game fully instills into the player.
When rating a game with numbers it’s often difficult to decide in which way to rate; if you’re looking for high octane action then this is close to a zero. But for what it does; the relaxation, the pleasing interaction, the satire, the suspense and emotion and wondrous underlying story that ends with a fantastic climax which should all be experienced firsthand. I recommend that you consider it as I do and think of it as a modern masterpiece. Just please remember despite how satisfying it is to burn all these objects, keep the pyromania in the game.