Seems the critical reception of last year’s Little Inferno was decidedly mixed. One gets the sense that reviewers did not appreciate being beaten over the head with the game’s theme. (One also wonders if they’d have gotten the message at all if the game hadn’t.)
Even without the game’s final act, though, there’s this one moment that really just sums the entire game up brilliantly.
As many a summary will tell you, Little Inferno is a game about buying things, putting them in a fireplace, and then setting them on fire. This gets the player coins, which allows them to buy things, put them in a fireplace, and then set them on fire. Etc. etc. etc.
Somewhat early on, the player can buy a moon, and it’s the first time that something really interesting happens. I mean, every item does something interesting when the player sets it ablaze—there’s a regular stream of a quirkyness throughout. But the moon is expensive, the first really expensive thing that the player buys; it has gravity, and everything else in the fireplace will orbit around it, and it’s cool. It’s new and totally unexpected, the first time it gets dragged into the fireplace. So but then the player sets it on fire. Because that’s what the game’s about. But even that’s alright, because while it burns, it’s brilliant and bright and solar—
And then it burns out and everything falls to the ground with a dull thud.
Then the player can play with the ashes.
Then they have to burn something else.
Because that’s all the game is.
Well—not exactly all. ↩