Little Inferno (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Drew Hurley 18.03.2017

Review for Little Inferno on Nintendo Switch

Little Inferno comes from the twisted minds of Tomorrow Corporation, previously of World of Goo fame and Human Resource Machine, and has a very simple premise: put stuff in a fireplace - the titular Little Inferno - and then burn it. Yup, that's it! Sit there watching things burn. This "game" is as much a commentary on the state of social games and consumerism in general as much as it is an actual game, and comes filled with satire and snubs towards a whole genre of titles that have popped up, like Farmville, which consist of sitting watching timers tick down for no real reward. After reviews on PC and Wii U, Cubed3 now looks at the new Nintendo Switch port.

The whole game is centred round the "Little Inferno," a play fireplace for small children to burn all of their things. A brief exposition video lays out, in a dark Invader Zim/Ren & Stimpy-style cartoon, the reason for burning things is that the world has started to freeze and the Little Inferno can be used to burn all possessions to keep warm. There is not really much of a story here, but this video sets up a premise and world, at least, which is further expanded on with occasional letters that turn up along with the packages, and topped off with a very surprising ending. Never mind the end, though - what about the start? It all begins with the burning of a welcome letter that comes with the Little Inferno, followed by ordering more items from a catalogue… to burn. These items take varying amounts of time to arrive, and a little timer ticks down on the package. When the mailman calls and the packages are opened, the items are next onto the fireplace, spitting out embers and also reward coins to order more fuel for the flames.

Other than just burning stuff, there is the extra layer of achieving "combos." There is a considerable list of combos, which are completed by burning specific items together, triggering a little animation, and bonus cash. "Movie Night," for instance, means a TV and popcorn, "Iced Coffee" is obviously just Ice and Coffee. They aren't all quite so obvious, though; some of these are actually a little tricky, requiring reading of the flavour text or checking out details shown on the items to figure out combos, like "Legal Charges" or "Deadly Vices." There isn't enough challenge in these combos, however, with the game itself being mindless fun, requiring no real skill or thought.

Screenshot for Little Inferno on Nintendo Switch

The style is great - a charmingly dark, almost Burton-esque approach, which is familiar to the team's previous work in World of Goo. The soundtrack is equally enjoyable; during shopping in the catalogues there are pleasant '60s-style jingles, and during the gameplay there are rich crackles and pops as the items ignite. Those items are well designed, too - toys, food, robots - 140 in all, each filled with self-deprecating flavour text, and each behaves differently when burnt, too; a toy Dragon can breathe fire, mini planets with their own gravity, laser firing fingers, and more.

Creating the fire itself is done via the Switch's touch-screen when used out of the dock, pressing anywhere to create a spark in that location, and holding to create a flame that increases in strength. While docked, a finger icon floats around, controlled by the right Joy-Con in much the same way as the mouse on PC. There is also a planned Day One patch that will allow use of both Joy-Con in a Nintendo Switch exclusive multiplayer, which sadly wasn't available to test at the time of the review. That's not the only Switch exclusive feature, either, as there's also the full original soundtrack - 22 themes that can be listened to from the main menu.

Screenshot for Little Inferno on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

"Games as an art form" is still a touchy topic. Little Inferno, however, is very obviously more art than game - an experimental meta piece that is a commentary on the mindless time waster games and consumerism in general around games... and it's both interesting and well put together. However, while it's evident the creators (impressively, just three people, Kyle 1, Kyle 2 and Alan) hold a real disdain for this type of title, they have managed to perfectly capture the compulsive addictiveness these products hold and have packed in some dark, yet witty, writing here and there, along with great presentation. Whilst this may be a commentary on the state of consumerism, though, it loses its own message thanks to one small issue: the cost of it, which may put some off. It's a nice, short, fun offering, but the cost could be a stickler for some given it is something that will only take an hour or two to "complete," and there is little reason to return to it afterwards. Those wanting more bang for their buck may be better off sticking with World of Goo, but those going in with the right expectations will no doubt enjoy this clever creation.


Tomorrow Corporation


Tomorrow Corporation





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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