Little Inferno, from the guys who made “World of Goo”, is another game set in a world dominated by industry. But instead of going up against this indomitable machine, you face a deadlier foe: lethargy. You see in this game, you burn things. In fact, you burn everything. Burning things gives you money, which you use to order new things to burn. Combining different things gives you greater rewards, and that’s the trick: finding the best combination of things to burn. All while this is happening, you’re getting letters from a friend who as a way of finding out more about the world that is beyond the fireplace. That’s where the simple game mechanics give way to excellent storytelling.
The world is on the verge of apocalypse. Ever present snow threatens to freeze everything solid, leaving no survivors. It’s a poignant issue, especially comparing now to when the game was released. The notes you get hint that a long period of time is passing, a theme the game plays heavily upon. The game isn’t long (a casual estimate would be 3ish hours) but after reading all the notes left for me and seeing the end of the game, it feels longer. A difficult separation to describe, but one used to great effect.
Something I don’t see online, and I’ve searched quite a bit after beating the game, is what the game means. The narrative is simple enough to follow, but after beating the game I felt like there was more implied than what was given. Theories that passed through my mind were “am I in purgatory or am I dead?” and while I see no discussion upon the various forums of the internet I will note that the game is called Little Inferno and one of the best known bits of literature regarding purgatory is “Dante’s Inferno”. Perhaps a coincidence but one I’m not willing to let go of.