Tomorrow Corporation is selling gadgets world wide. Somehow a freak snowstorm smothers Earth. So they ship out “Little Inferno” and suggest people burn their stuff to stay warm. They do and then they run out of stuff. So Tomorrow Corp finds a way to let them burn things they order Tomorrow Corp and help them make money. In turn they buy more and then burn more, etc. etc.
I like this game, but it’s one of the most exceedingly weird games I’ve ever played. While it is a puzzle based game it does have its fair share of uselessness for a sandbox game. It falls along the lines of The Incredible Machine, but you set it all on fire. Regardless it doesn’t have much of a story. It seems like its going for a anti-consumerist and anti-pollution statement, but it is rather bland due to there not being enough backstory, or even a story to promote said message. You can watch the trailer and pretty much surmise that’s what they’re talking about.
You get a few characters who pop in from time to time. Who give some back story, but are mostly useless. Like one lady who turns out to be your neighbor, Sugar Plumps, but she doesn’t say much more then Hello and then asks for items. She eventually gets weirder as the story goes on, but its nothing unusual if you’ve already accepted the dreary world. Then there’s the Weatherman who is virtually useless. He gives the forecast for the weather for the next few days, but since you never go outside I don’t see the point of him at all. Sure his character could be hinting at the anti-consumerist and anti-pollution statement in the game, as mentioned before, but I’m not interested in politics when I play a game unless they are vital to the story like Metal Gear Solid.
Many of the puzzles are damn simple. It combines almost a match the objects and a reverse pictionary game, where its words instead of pictures, and you have to guess the combination of things to burn. Like in the first book in order to solve one puzzle you have to find two things to burn simultaneously that match the theme. In a way its like poetry for pyromaniacs. They’re fun, but they aren’t required in order to play the game. In all honesty the game isn’t possible to fail. So you can play it as much as you want or as little and avoid the puzzles all together. The thing that distracts from the puzzle is the disturbing nature of some of the puzzles. Some when combined you can hear whatever it is scream as its set ablaze. Or the explosion will be so bright it will wash out the screen for a bit.
The graphics and art style are probably the most notable things about the game. They are consistently dark and mulled. The crudeness of the figures are almost reminiscent of those ‘troubled kids’ you see in all horror movies. You know they draw ugly frightening bears and they come to life or something. Some would even say it’s reminiscent of Tim Burton’s art style, but his has a round features to it while this has a crude grease pencil look followed by someone’s tormented 5th grade scrap booking project. Sometimes the creatures are too damn dark and it seems that the artist forgot to use his white crayon to highlight details on the item. Other times it gives you a odd cozy feeling while still feeling mildly disturbing. Now since the things you buy to burn come to life and scream in pain while you’re burning them it just makes it that much more creepy. Its like the items want to be burned. It sounds evil in a way, but its funny/odd to observe.
I can’t recommend this to everyone, because it’s a weird puzzle game. I like these kinds of things, but it has maybe 4 hours worth of play time total. So if you can stand a mild morose atmosphere and teddy bears crying as you burn them alive then this is at least worth a try. If you can find it for $5 I’d say it’s worth it. There isn’t any replay value, but it is a fun and very creepy experience. I wish I could give it a higher rating because it is really a fun game, but it doesn’t have enough story for me to warrant it.