Wii U Download | Tomorrow Corporation | 1 Player | Out Now | $14.99 / £12.99
Controller Compatibility: Wii Remote (pointer); Wii U GamePad
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3rd January 2013; By Patrick
When the game (for lack of a better term) starts out, you are simply told to begin burning the Terms and Conditions of your new Little Inferno Entertainment Fireplace. After you burn them, you receive money and access to the game's catalog. You can go to the catalog to buy more objects with the money you earned, creating a vicious cycle.
While you play with your fireplace, you begin receiving letters from three sources: the weather reports from your local weatherman, the creator of the Little Inferno Entertainment Fireplace, and your next-door neighbour, Sugar Plumps. Of all of these, it's the letters from the latter that will keep you engaged in the experience until its haunting and unforgettable conclusion. Using both the letters and the powerful ending, the game utilizes storytelling methods that I've never seen in a videogame before in my entire life but hope to see used again.
As far as the "gameplay" is concerned, it's fairly simple. Once you are allowed to buy more and more toys from the catalog, you can start trying to discover combos. There are 99 in the game and they are achieved by burning specific items together. Some are obvious, such as the Bike Pirate Combo -- achieved by burning the Wooden Bike and the Toy Pirate together -- while others, such as the Cold War Combo, may not be so obvious.
There are seven catalogs of toys to buy and burn, each one becoming unlocked as you complete more and more combos. Some toys just burn, some make noises, while yet others scream or create special effects that affect the other burning toys. The variation in effects keeps you interested in burning toy after toy, while the ninety-nine burning combinations to discover can help you want to come back after the game's four-hour run time.
Therein lies my biggest problem with Little Inferno. My first playthrough of the game took me about three hours and forty-five minutes, while my second took me about two hours and ten. The price of the game ($15) is justified based solely on how much I got out of it. The gameplay was addicting; both playthroughs were played in one session from start to finish, and the story was meaningful long after the credits finished rolling. However, it is difficult to recommend such a short game for such a comparably high price to everyone as it's definitely aimed at a specific target audience.
The soundtrack itself doesn't have much to it, but the ones it does have are great original compositions. When you first enter the catalog and hear the shopping jingle, it not only makes you laugh, but creates a stark contrast to the morbid silence of the fireplace. The graphics are gorgeous, with vibrant colors that really shine through in 1080p, but like the music there aren't too many of them.
Little Inferno is almost impossible to review, period. Anything I say that would definitely sell you on the game would ruin part of the magic for you. However, if you are a patient person who is also looking for a beautiful story that is woven throughout performing a rather silly task, or are just a pyromaniac, ignore the below score: the game is for you.
21/30 - Good
Gameplay 7/10 - Burning, burning, burning, 7 catalogs allow for toy variations which all behave differently, combos fun to discover and burn
Presentation 7/10 - Game looks and sounds great, dozens of objects to burn, slightly disappointing lack of songs
Enjoyment 4/5 - Haunting ending, excellent at keeping you hooked, patience required to fully enjoy, new methods of storytelling
Extra Content 3/5 - Short running time, very replayable, 99 combinations, engaging storytelling keeps you part of the experience
Equivalent to a score of ??% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating) - Our Rating System