Review: Little Inferno

It is unusually difficult to describe Little Inferno. The talent behind the game sits somewhat paradoxically with how uninteresting the gameplay might be construed. You simply buy various items in-game and burn them – ultimately in order to buy more stuff... to burn. Little Inferno is impossible to sell without playing it, which it makes it all the more frustrating to explain just how flaming addictive it is.

First things first, you should already be intrigued by this Wii U launch title solely by the pedigree behind it. It's the first official game from Tomorrow Corporation – a studio set up by most of the talent behind the superlative WiiWare gem World of Goo. We say most; Tomorrow Corporation consists of just three men: Kyle Gabler was half of the duo behind World of Goo, and Allan Blomquist was responsible for porting it to Nintendo's system. They're joined by Kyle Gray, who was the brainchild behind the cult DS platformer Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure. You'd be forgiven for having rather high expectations for Little Inferno.

In a very short introduction, you're introduced to your Little Inferno Entertainment Fireplace – a red-hot commodity that apparently occupies everybody's homes due to the unexplained and mysteriously long winter the world seems to be enduring. The aim of the game is to burn through all sorts of different (and often bizarre) objects, and you're started off with a single catalogue of twenty items. Unfortunately, stuff costs money, and the only way to earn cash is to burn through all your bits and pieces as soon as you purchase them, by simply flicking them into the fireplace and pressing the touch-screen to start a blaze. Systematically burning through your catalogue will enable you to afford further items, and so on.

little-inferno-1, review, wii u

To what end does one buy stuff just to burn it? Well, there are seven catalogues of items unlock, and the only way to get your hands on the next catalogue is to perform a requisite number of combos. Combos are achieved by burning certain pairs (and sometimes groups of three) of items together. The real challenge is to work out what the combos are, and the only clues the game provides you with are the actual names of the combo as cryptic clues. For example, one of the early combos is 'Bike Pirate', which doesn't take a terrible amount of cognitive ability to lead one to burning the toy pirate and the wooden bicycle.

Getting the combos unlocks more catalogues, and of course more items, which allows you to work out more combos, and so on. With there being a total of 140 items available to you by the end, some of the later combos require quite a bit of figuring out, and many are really quite satisfying to crack, especially as you need to consider not only what the item is; but what it might look like, what the catalogue's brief description specifically says, and how it reacts upon burning. For example, the corn cob turns into popcorn when you burn it. And the gaming tablet? Might the fact that it seems to be playing Duck Hunt have some significance? You'll need to get familiar with every characteristic of each item if you're to figure out all of the 99 combos, and what better way to achieve familiarity than to keep on burning?

Little-Inferno-2, review, wii u

Once you start playing, it is remarkably difficult to stop, but this isn't so astonishing considering the pedigree behind the game. The World of Goo inflection is thankfully carried over in the presentation department, with a marvellously cartoon-gothic art style complemented by a soundtrack that sounds like it's consisted of left-over pieces from the 2008 puzzler – a point meant in the best possible way seeing how gorgeous the music was in that game. Perhaps most importantly, the dark humour provided throughout meets the high standards set by its spiritual predecessor, and it's topped off by a completely unexpected but strangely beautiful ending that deserves to be experienced pure and unspoiled.

Whilst it remains difficult to pin down its appeal, Little Inferno is pure, unadulterated joy. Just a quick trip to the game's Miiverse community reveals what unexpected fun there is to be had by those willing to take the plunge on something a bit different (and it's also an invaluable source of help for the more opaque combos). You'll be absolutely hooked for the hours you spend racking your brains on the combos, and whilst there may not be a lot of incentive to come back once you've polished it off one hundred percent, you'll have enjoyed the ride of one of quirkiest hits of the year – even if you'll find it difficult to explain to your friends why they should drop a dozen quid on it.

N-Europe Final Verdict

A wonderfully addictive, completely self-aware satirical swipe at a consumerist 21st century. You’ve hopefully never realised burning stuff can be so flaming fun.

  • Gameplay4
  • Playability5
  • Visuals5
  • Audio5
  • Lifespan4
Final Score



Neat and oddly addictive gameplay
Gorgeous style
Great value for money


Limited incentive once fully completed

Game Summary

N-Europe Score



Platform: Wii U
Developer: Tomorrow Corporation
Genre: Adventure/Puzzle
Players: 1

Release Date:





Perhaps most importantly, the dark humour provided throughout meets the high standards set by its spiritual predecessor, and it’s topped off by a completely unexpected but strangely beautiful ending that deserves to be experienced pure and unspoiled.

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