3/10 – Little Inferno is an interesting fireplace simulator, a great interactive screensaver, but a terrible game. ♪ Little Inferno just (not) for me. ♪
The jingle is perhaps Little Inferno’s single best attribute. The visuals are charming, the limited soundtrack is great and the small morsels of story are intriguing, but the gameplay (if you can call it that) actually aggravated me. My save file has logged a ridiculous 10 hours because I would just leave it on and walk away. I did not do this because I was deeply moved and had to process what I had just experienced. I did this because I was either bored or I was being forced to wait (and also bored). Forced to wait in real time for a virtual item to show up in my virtual mailbox which I ordered on the virtual catalog. Being forced to wait, it turns out, is a horrible game mechanic. Shocking. And you are forced to buy, burn, order, wait for every item in every catalog. By the end, the theme of the game basically confirmed what I had felt throughout, I had wasted my time and I hated Little Inferno for it. I actually hate Little Inferno. I don’t think I’ve ever had such passionate contempt for a “game,” so at least there’s that.
There is an optional puzzle element, where you try to guess which products, when burned together, will match a description in the “combo” menu. Creating these combos will yield more coins to buy more stuff with. (You get coins for burning things, obviously.) If you guessed the wrong items, you’ll be forced to wait again. You may even be forced for the items to be stocked in the catalog, in addition to waiting for them to arrive in your mailbox. Fun.
If you like the art style and music, I’d recommend World of Goo by 2D Boy, comprised of one of the same developers and actually fantastic. On the other hand, if the idea of buying stuff, waiting for that stuff to be available, and burning the stuff sounds appealing to you, then you may very well enjoy this experience, as that is all you do. And these people exist! I’ve met them. But I am clearly not one of them, and how this “game” achieves a 79 on Metacritic is beyond me. That’s primarily why I’m writing this, as a public service, a caution, an equalizer: Little Inferno is incredibly boring. You’ve been warned.
Here’s a nice video echoing my sentiments and showing “gameplay.”