Friday, March 22, 2013

Little Inferno - A Little Inferno Just For Me

Around a recent E3, a pair of new game announcements caught my interest: Sony's Rain, about a boy who can only be seen in the rain, and indie developer Tomorrow Corporation's Little Inferno, about a child burning toys in a fireplace to keep warm. Released last year, Little Inferno is a game that I had wanted to play upon its release, thanks mainly to its unique premise. However, I only recently bought it through Steam when it was being offered at a 60% discount ($4 instead of the usual $10). After spending a few hours in front of the fireplace, I consider it money well spent.

In a world that's been getting increasingly cold, there has to be some way to keep warm. That's where Tomorrow Corporation comes in with their Little Inferno Entertainment Fireplace, where a child can keep warm by burning their possessions. As you try to stay warm, you are also kept up to date on things through letters from Miss Nancy, the Weather Man, and the mysterious Sugar Plumps. This premise, while sounding simple, can actually be emotional at times, going into the realms of thought-provoking by the end. For what it is, it's actually very engaging and, along with the gameplay, makes you want to keep playing to see the overall outcome of things.

A useful tip for surviving real life.

The gameplay of Little Inferno is simple, but mildly addicting. You can start a fire in the fireplace by clicking and holding the cursor. As long as you hold the flame, you can drag it onto an object to light it up. These objects can be bought from a set of unlockable catalogs by way of Tomorrow Bucks, then dragged into the fireplace once they arrive. You can earn more Tomorrow Bucks by burning objects, and the currency can also be used to expand your inventory space. Burning two or three particular objects at one time creates a combo, which yields stamps; these stamps can be used to deliver objects faster, the number needed depending on how close the object is to your abode (these can be useful when you have enough, since waiting for a new object can get pretty boring). You can also burn letters you receive during the game from various parties, some of which are requests for an item from you. A simple tactic, but enough to get you to see how many Tomorrow Bucks you can rack up. (Don't worry, if you're short on cash, burning a crawling spider on the wall will earn you more, sometimes even a stamp.) I should also note the lack of a save feature, but in this case, you will find out why that is as you go.

The art style is also simple, but effective, much like the gameplay. It has a stylized, rough sort of look to it that actually fits with the tone of the game and looks rather appealing to the eye. The soundtrack to the game is very good, ranging from heavy to a very catchy jingle for the Little Inferno Entertainment Fireplace. Tomorrow Corporation (the game developer) also provides the soundtrack for free on their website, which I would suggest downloading if you enjoy it.

An example of the gameplay.

In short, Little Inferno is a great example of an amazing indie game. The gameplay is mildly addicting and the story, for what it is, is actually pretty gripping. If you're looking for a good 4-5 hours of entertainment in front of a fire, I would suggest a purchase. Just keep in mind that, in the game, you can go as far as you like, but you can't ever go back.

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