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Little Inferno Review

I love indie games created by small teams doing the impossible, pushing limits and impressing even the most hateful critics. The gaming industry needs more people like that, with imaginative minds that know how to create works of art in playable form on a scale grander than any multi-billon dollar company could ever dream of monetizing on.

With that said, Little Inferno is quite possibly the worst indie “game” I have ever played. I put “game” in quotes because I’m hesitant to even call it that. I’ve seen free, ad-ridden iOS apps more enjoyable than Little Inferno. It’s not a game at all, it’s a tech demo shamefully marketed as a full-priced indie game.

The fire is pretty. That’s about all the praise I can give Little Inferno.

Little Inferno (Wii U[Reviewed], PC, Mac, Linux)
Developer: Tomorrow Corporation
Publisher: Tomorrow Corporation
Release: November 18, 2012
MSRP: $15.00 [Buy Now]

The gameplay in Little Inferno is nonexistent. You pick up items, put it into your fireplace and then light them on fire. They burn up and you start the process over. Doesn’t that sound fun? Of course it doesn’t, because you’re not a 4-year-old impressed by lighting bugs on fire with a magnifying glass. And if you are, well, playing with bugs in the sandbox is more enticing that playing this tripe. I’m not saying a game has to be mature to be good. I do, after all, love the Skylanders franchise. However, I do expect a game to feel like a game. Heavy Rain even had gameplay segments and most reviewers considered that a several hour-long cutscene.

Throughout Little Inferno you unlock more toys and appliances to burn by simply purchasing the items before them. Once unlocked, you can burn them. That’s the point of the game. Buy things, burn them and buy them again. If that’s not fun enough for you, there’s a wait time before you can use each item. No, this isn’t an iOS game trying to lure you in with its cutesy appearance and hidden microtransactions; this is a full priced indie game that punishes you just for playing. The wait times aren’t minor cooldowns either; some of them are over a minute. I didn’t know this was a literal waiting game.

Breaking News: No one gives a shit.

Little Inferno attempts to force a story down your throat in the form of annoying letters sent to you by neighbors. The world is cold, so you need to burn your toys. That’s about as deep as the story gets, despite constantly spamming you with mail.

I understand the desire to test out new technology, I really do. With dev kits available for only $5,000, there’s no reason why some of the smallest indie developer wouldn’t be able test the waters on the Wii U. Of course, there’s a difference between a tech demo and an actual video game. That’s something I fear Tomorrow Corporation has forgotten since their last indie gem, World of Goo. Little Inferno manages to maintain some of the appearance and personality of World of Goo, but it will never hold a candle to it.

Little Inferno is a waste of time and space; if released for free, I would honestly consider it a cute novelty app along the lines of a the Zippo Lighter app for iOS. It’s a novelty app for showing your friends that you are  a sadistic bastard that likes to burn things without reason and an idiot who paid $15.00 for the worst “game” to hit the Wii U just hours into its official launch.

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Like any good gentleman of the evening, Dustin has been around the Internet more than a few times. He's co-founder of Geekenstein Media, a regular co-host on the Nuts and Bolts podcast and co-stars in the Broke and Bored video series. He does a lot of co-things.
  • ploj

    so you played for a few minutes and didn’t make it to the end did you?

    • http://www.dustintriplett.com/ Dustin Triplett

      As a matter of fact, I played it for four hours and did make it to the end. The ending doesn’t make it any less of a laughable excuse of a video game. The only enjoyment the end brings is the ability to turn the game off once and for all.

  • Neonridr

    Disappointing to say the least. I had pegged this and Trine 2 as day one purchases from the eShop. Glad I haven’t had a chance to make those purchases yet. Still plan on getting Trine 2, but maybe the money I had planned for Little Inferno can go towards Nano Assault Neo instead.

    • http://www.dustintriplett.com/ Dustin Triplett

      I can’t speak for Nano Assault Neo, but Trine 2 is worth every penny. I haven’t played the Wii U Director’s Cut, but I had a lot of fun with the PC version.

  • http://www.facebook.com/xvszero Andrew Nee

    This game definitely has a story. It’s a pretty brilliant one too. How did you miss it?!

  • Pingback: Il bello dei giocattoli? Vederli bruciare! [Little Inferno] - Il Forum ufficiale di Multiplayer.it, con discussioni, sondaggi e le ultime informazioni

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  • SporeH

    Your reviews are the dumbest things on Earth.

    • http://www.dustintriplett.com/ Dustin Triplett

      Thank you. I try my hardest.

  • John

    LOL U MAD BRO?

    Go play COD instead, you dolt.

    • http://www.dustintriplett.com/ Dustin Triplett

      Nah. I have standards, “bro.”

  • Jake

    It’s not hard to tell that the entire point of the game flew entirely over your head. You should probably at least make an effort to understand a game before you critique it.

  • Krygstak

    To say that this game is bad shows how you don’t understand anything at all. Those little dialogues and messages means so much more than what it seems at the surface. It does not take much to realise that. This game is more towards dark comedy and you should really try to understand not just at the surface but the meaning behind the ‘metaphors’.

  • anonymous

    Its quite hard to judge this game based on its game play, simply because it is meant to ridicule facebook mini games and others in a similar genre(with “cool down times” and pointless game play). The story is what makes Little Inferno so special, I believe. Perhaps the reason you rated the game so low was simply because Little Inferno cannot be rated as a game at all. Its more of a critique- an anti game.

  • Logan

    Either you haven’t played the game or you couldn’t identify a story line to save your life

  • nadepower

    clearly the reviewer didn’t finish the game and didn’t get the meaning behind it…

    • http://www.dustintriplett.com/ Dustin Triplett

      We don’t make a habit out of reviewing games that we didn’t finish. I finished it, understood the “meaning,” and didn’t feel it was nearly as impactful as they wanted it to be. When the “gameplay” is literally dragging shit to a fireplace and waiting, it’s hard to blame someone for not being impressed by the ending. I was just glad it was over so I could put the game out of its misery.