The niche indie darling, Little Inferno, has now incinerated its way onto the new Nintendo Switch screen. One of the first of many indies to be expanding the Switch’s catalog, Little Inferno’s charming and elementary appeal will burn a smile right onto your face. Questioning whether you are playing a pyromaniac simulation or an actual game, the simple pleasures of its touch-based mechanics and motion controls, along with its unconventional plot will warrant your time spent. Tomorrow Corporation has given new Switch owners a well worthy port of their fiery gem.
The plot behind Little Inferno is quite simple, yet strangely obtuse. The winter is harsh and never ending, and the only way to keep warm is to make sure your Little Inferno Entertainment Fireplace is cranking. The best way to do this is by burning through multiple catalogs of various items. Each one smoldering into a crisp in its own unique way. Eventually, and I’m cautiously approaching spoiler territory, there is an excellent, unexpected twist towards the tail end of the game. This later portion showcases Tomorrow Corporations ability to present a distinct narrative, and bring home the plot nicely.
When I initially began Little Inferno, I wasn’t really sure on how to actually play the game. Soon you discover the easy objective of burning items to maintain warmth. As you burn items you are awarded with money. The more items you burn, newer items will begin to unlock amongst the numerous catalogs. When these new items unlock you can create combos by burning certain ones together at the same time. Achieving these combos are important because they are required to unlock the different catalogs. It’s during these first few minutes I wasn’t exactly sure if I was playing some pyro’s dream simulation, or a video game. But as you progress, you begin to see there is more than meets the eye. The earning and unlocking of combos almost becomes a meta-game within itself. It was actually pretty fun seeing more and more combos scratched off the list as you kept your fire ablaze.
Another interesting component to Little Inferno is the quirky characters and their relationship with our nameless protagonists. During your playtime you receive a string of numerous letters from your neighbor, Sugar Plumps. Although you never meet, you start to build an almost flirty bond with each other. Her odd requests of random items and bits of small banter seem to be our main characters only true friend. There’s also the weather man that will deliver grim reports of the sub-zero conditions on the outside, further solidifying your need to keep the fire roaring. At points you will even get letters fro Miss Nancy, the creator of your Little Inferno. These small interactions help carve out more depth in between the mundane burning of loot.
There are two methods of control for Little Inferno utilized on the Switch. One being the touch controls, which are just as responsive and fluid just as you’d expect. Although not many titles at the moment showcase the touch controls of the Switch, its a nice option in Little Inferno. The next control method, and most impressive, is the motion controls. Using the right Joy Con, you can control just as if you had on old Wiimote. What makes this so impressive is the fact this is done without any cumbersome sensors to hook up, or constant syncing issues. After a quick format prompt, you are up and running using the motion controls to burn away the night in your Little Inferno. It was nice to see Tomorrow Corporation harness some of the many features the Switch possesses.
In terms of visual fidelity, Little Inferno is right on par with its previous ports. The Switch’s 720p screen displays nicely as the flames dance across your screen. While its not re-inventing the wheel, or outshine the console and PC versions, it proves that indie ports can cross over smoothly to the Switch. Whether on the go, or blowing it up to the big screen, there is no disparity in quality.
Little Inferno is a satisfyingly odd blend of simplistic joys and peculiar storytelling all done in the perfect indie fashion. It brings to light the unique functions of the Switch’s hardware without jeopardizing the core of its gameplay. Burning away all my possessions to stay warm and finally unveiling the truth of this world proved to be more rewarding than I expected. Little Inferno made me a virtual arsonist, and I loved it.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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