A terrible blizzard has struck the city of Burnington — I can’t believe that’s the name. People huddle in their homes for warmth. The magnaminous Tomorrow Corporation sees opportunity. They design and dispense the Little Inferno Entertainment Fireplace! The perfect product to keeps kids occupied and warm the homestead — While you’re at it, order some fine products from our Little Inferno burnables catalogs! You play as one of the children sitting at their fireplace, burning things, never looking away… just burning all the time.
Little Inferno was developed by the Tomorrow Corporation. An indie group composed of Kyle Gabler, Kyle Gray, and Allan Blomquist. They had previously worked on Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure — which actually looks pretty cool — and World of Goo — which is a much better known game that I’m sadly not fond of — and came together to form their own studio.
The development of Little Inferno was inspired by watching the Yule Log Program. You know, the one with the 14 second loop of a burning log in a fire place — yeah that one. They thought, “I wonder if we can start with an underwhelming premise, but then actually make the game really really surprisingly good.”
Little Inferno was released for Wii U and PC on November 18th 2012. It’s competition was ZombiU (WiiU), Thomas Was Alone (PC), and Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition (PC).
Little Inferno gets me in an oddly contemplative mood. What begins with mindless pyromania eventually evolves into existential questions. Who am I? Why am I here? Why am I doing this? They begin grounded in the character and the setting but reach out to me soon enough. Why do I find it a suitable pass-time to burn things. The game does it best to keep things happy and upbeat until chapter 4 so I’m not sure if my reaction is intended or not.
Little Inferno is a… Simulation(?) game in which the player has catalogs of things to purchase and subsequently burn. Burning objects produces more coins than they cost and as such the player can purchase more expensive products from the catalog. While objects burn, the player can order more items and wait for them to be mailed.
Each item has its own attributes, abilities, and delivery time. Deliveries can be expedited with stamps which can be acquired from burning things or performing combos. Combos are achieved by burning certain objects at the same time and are hinted at in the combo menu.
Occasionally the player will receive a letter from their next door neighbor; Sugar Plumps, The CEO of Tomorrow Corp; Miss Nancy, the mail man, or the weather man — reporting from the weather balloon, over the smokestacks, over the city, of course. These letters can be subsequently burned and serve to push forward the plot.
What can I say, it’s a pleasure to burn. There is something satisfying about tending a campfire and that definitely translates to the Little Inferno Entertainment Fireplace. Sometimes I ignore the types of objects and just throw as many highly flammable things in at once.
Between the character dialogue, item descriptions, item animations, and item effects, this game is hilarious. Wooden spoons doing ballet, coffee cups shaking in caffeine frenzies, Sugar Plumps. I love it all.
This game has an epilogue. It is a thing. It’s weird. I love it. It is major spoilers though so this is all I can say about it.
I understand how the wait times insentivize spending stamps wisely but I think it would be cool if there was some sort of free-play or creative mode. Waiting 5 minutes for my tiny sun to ship is fun the first time — with the Christmas present-esque anticipation and all — but it loses its luster quickly.
I wuv this game to little burning bits — I’d go as far as to put the ashes on my mantle. It’s a little, short lived, compact experience that burns the candle at both ends. I’d say it’s worth the ten dollar price tag it has in most stores so if you like what you heard then check it out. And as the Kurgan says…
Next Week: Worms 2