DescriptionLittle Inferno is a game about burning objects in a fireplace. It is played from the first-person perspective of a boy with a fixed, single-screen view of the fireplace. That fireplace is called the Little Inferno Entertainment Fireplace from the company Tomorrow Corporation and the boy is encouraged to stay inside the house because it is too cold outside, and to burn all his toys to stay warm.
Most of the screen is filled with the fireplace. The player can interact with it through a sliding motion to start a fire and ignite whatever is inside. At the bottom of the screen there is a shelf where messages and items are stored. The goal of the game is to complete a list of 99 combos by igniting different combinations of items, each with a different effect. Items are dragged from the shelf into the fireplace and then the player observes how they interact when ignited. When a combo has been performed successfully, it is ticked off in the list. The player views the list of 99 combo goals right away and has to figure out the objects involved through a cryptic description. The list also shows the amount of items needed (two or three) to complete the combo.
Items are bought with Tomorrow Bucks through catalogs in a store. Eventually there are 6 catalogs available with 20 items each. Items bought in the catalog are delivered in cardboard boxes on the shelf as long as there is a sufficient amount of room. Earning bucks for shopping is done by burning items. It is impossible to completely run out of money as there is a mechanic that provides additional coins through spiders or burning items. Later on the bucks can also be used to extend the shelf space to store more items at once. After the initial catalog, the 5 other ones are eventually opened up when a certain amount of combos has been completed. Inside a single catalog the items become available one by one whenever a previous item has been bought, encouraging the player to experiment with all items available. These include toys, plushies, animals, objects such as a magnet, a moon, blocks, a photo etc. — each with different effects. Some objects will for instance colour the fire or transform it, while others cause huge explosions. Figuring out the combos requires an amount of trial and error, but there is always a logical hint in the description or a connection between them, often with humorous effects. Physics play an important role and almost all objects are also animated when burning or interacting with another item.
It is not possible to buy all items right away: shelf space and money is limited. When ordered, there is a cooldown period before the same item can be ordered again. The order also takes a certain amount of time before it arrives. When the cycle is complete, the player can unwrap the cardboard package and reveal the item to use it. By completing combos Tomorrow Stamps are earned that can be spent to speed up the delivery process. With a single catalog the initial combos are figured out quite fast, but once all of them are available, the player has to select items between the different catalogs to test the effects with a much larger amount of possibilities and less room for mere guesswork.
There is a background story where the player regularly receives messages about the setting and the meaning of the burning through different characters. These include Tomorrow's Corporation CEO Miss Nancy, a weather man, and a little girl called Sugar Plumps. They each provide hints and contribute to the story. Sometimes they also ask for a gift or send an object to the boy. Throughout the game the fireplace is also altered with cosmetic items or through weather effects. After completing the 99 combos and a final one, there is another, shorter interactive sequence leading up to the ending of the game with completely different gameplay. It is played from a side-scrolling perspective and the boy is able to walk around and talk to other characters through dialogue trees.
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Game referencesVarious games are referenced:
- Duck Hunt (item)
- Plants vs. Zombies (item combination)
- Super Meat Boy (item)
- The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom or Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure (item combination)
- World of Goo (item)
Related Web Sites
- tomorrowcorporation.com/littleinferno (project page on the developer's website)
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