Little Inferno Is The Weirdest, Oddest, Bestest Burning-Things Game You’ll Play All Year [Review]

Hey! Hi there! Grab a chair, pull it closer to the fire. It’s cold outside isn’t it? And you look like you could do with thawing out.

Yes, it’s a lovely fire, isn’t it? Feel free to add some more fuel – anything you like. Your chair, for example. Or your aunt. Or yourself. This fire burns anything. ANYTHING.

Of course, I’m playing Little Inferno. It has divided opinion among reviewers on the App Store – some people don’t see the point, and call it a waste of time. Others call it a masterpiece. I’m with the latter group. Little Inferno is gorgeous to look at, frighteningly addictive to play, and deliciously dark and twisted.

It’s different.

Warm and cosy, huh?

Warm and cosy, huh?

I mean really utterly, imaginatively, cleverly, fantastically different. You can stick to your Angry This and your Cut The Whatsit clones if you prefer, but if you’re looking for an iPad game that pulls you in, won’t let go, and entices you with secrets and challenges and new ideas almost everywhere you look, Little Inferno is the one you should get. Delete the others.

Playing is simple: you have a fireplace, in which you can burn anything you can lay your hands on. Thankfully there’s a catalogue to hand, from which you can order combustible materials. As they burn, you earn money to buy more, and stamps to get them shipped to you faster. Trust me, it makes sense when you’re playing. Certain things, when burned together, produce special effects (and more money for you to spend). The more of these you discover, the better you’ll do.

The pace is fast. If you want to keep your fire lit (and you will want to, even though there’s no gameplay penalty for letting it go out), you have to constantly order more items from the catalogue. Very quickly, you find yourself tapping furiously between the fireplace and its beautiful pyrotechnics and the store with its crazy products and hilarious sound effects.

We love our Little Inferno...

We love our Little Inferno…

The story – hell yeah, there’s a story – starts odd and gets odder. Then it gets weird. Then it takes a few darker, more sinister turns. The weirder the better. It only serves to keep you hooked, which is precisely what a good story is supposed to do.

There are many traditional gaming motifs missing from Little Inferno. There are no points to score. There’s no time limit. There’s no cause for alarm if your fire goes out. “Just build a nice fire,” you’re told. OK. There’s no shooting, no platforms to leap, no need for great dexterity or fast reflexes. Just build a nice fire. OK?

... don't we? Right?

… don’t we? Right?

Fair warning, then: Little Inferno is divisive. You’ll love it or hate it. I love it. My only complaint is that it’s iPad only, so I can’t play it on my iPhone. I can’t remember the last time I played a game so intently, and for so long, from the very first sitting. Weird, in the best possible way, and highly recommended.

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  • bdkennedy

    Well, I was going to download it but $5 is a turn off, especially for a game with a storyline that ends so quickly.

About the author

Giles TurnbullGiles Turnbull is a freelance writer in England. He also writes for the Press Association and The Morning News. You can find out more at his website, and follow him on Twitter @gilest.

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