So, I got Little Inferno as a gift at Christmas and obviously I had read stuff about it saying that it was a disappointment. And I agree, but only if you want it to be the next World of Goo. Iím guessing that most of you know about Little Inferno but in case you donít hereís a quick run down. Itís an interactive fireplace where you burn items that you purchase and unlock more items to buy and burn until youíve burnt everything and you finish the game. It was created by some acclaimed indie developers, eg. Kyle Gabbler, so it has some expectations behind it. I can safely say that it is not as good as World of Goo, but, it is pretty awesome when you really look at it.
The gameplay itself is satisfying enough, the objects you burn each have a different outcome to being set on fire, for example a toy bus has screaming passengers and egg sacks spew baby spiders. The game does have fairly dark undertones and the art style is just so good, I wouldnít mind getting the game just for that. It does get repetitive though, quickly. Around the fourth catalogue, I was ready to stop. Burning things and buying more things to burn isnít fun forever. Youíll have to stop eventually. But I kept going, and Iím glad I did.
The story is told to you through letters sent to your post box, the little bar at the bottom of the screen where your toys are also sent. There are three main characters: your neighbour, a little girl named Sugar Plumps; the owner of the little inferno company Miss Nancy, and a weatherman. The letters tell you of a post apocalyptic sort of world where the weather just keeps getting colder and children burn all of their possessions to keep themselves warm. The letters do have some seriously creepy dialogue in them but the story is so well told that at the end, I was pretty shaken up. When you reach the final catalogue the game just gets really deep. The story is really good. Really good.
Now we edge into spoiler territory, I wonít spoil the ending but I will say something about the overall message. When you finish the game, you realise that everything that youíve been doing was a waste of time. All games that you play are just a waste of time. Buying more and more items until you need to get more, itís all a waste of time. And then you stop, and nothing has changed, it was all pointless. It really impacted me in a way no interactive fireplace ever could, I just felt empty at the experience. Not just because of the lack of gameplay, but because that was what the game was trying to achieve. Itís very clever and hurts your brain a little bit. The game justified its high price to me, by telling me that I shouldn't have bought it, and to me, thatís a good enough reason to have bought it. So, I suppose, I win. But have I really?