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Little Inferno Review:
If you are a fan of indie games and have purchased some of the previous Humble Bundles, there is a good chance Little Inferno will look familiar to you. That is because it is from the designers of World of Goo, a rather popular indie title. The two titles may look similar, but they are quite different.
In Little Inferno you character is set in a freezing world that uses Little Inferno fireplaces to keep warm and as a source of entertainment. At one point you even see an advertisement telling kids how fun it is to play with toys, but that it is even more fun to start them on fire. Not entirely sure if I completely disagree with that assertion, but the game does have multiple 'Don't Play With Fire' warnings, including those children in the advertisement exploding while their house burns down around them.
The gameplay is somewhat simplistic as all you do is buy stuff, place it in the fireplace, start a fire, and watch as everything turns to ash. As the conflagration continues, coins and stamps will appear to purchase new items and speed their delivery to your mail box. These purchases are made from catalogs of items, which are unlocked as you burn their contents and burn combinations of items. The combos award you with more stamps and are also just fun as items burn or explode together. Eventually you will be asked to burn a certain combination of items to advance the story, if that is what you want to do.
The options for Little Inferno are somewhat lacking on the PC, as all you can really control is which of three save slots to use and if you want to play in windowed or fullscreen mode (which you toggle between with the F key or Alt-Enter combination). Fortunately I never noticed the graphics blurring when switching to fullscreen.
On my smartphone however, the game was stuttering and showed many artifacts. There is good news, though! My smartphone has an old chipset that has not been supported for some time now, meaning that these issues are quite possibly the result of my device's bad drivers. If you have a different device, there is a good chance performance will be better for you.
The soundtrack tends to keep an ambient background throughout, with a more driving foreground. While a driving soundtrack is good for most games, it is hard to say it works well with this one, for a few reasons. One is that what drives it is very story related, which means for me that every time I listen to it I will remember and replay the game in my head. I do not know how representative of other minds mine is, but it is not a soundtrack I would use for background noise specifically for that reason. Another reason this driving soundtrack does not necessarily work well with this game is that you do not experience it often. The majority of the game does not have any music; it only plays during special events.
Overall Little Inferno is enjoyable, but it almost perfectly matches the definition of a casual game. You could easily spend hours burning different things and watching the rather good-looking flames consume all manner of items, but it does feel like something best enjoyed while riding in a car or bus, just trying to pass the time. On a desktop, I would not be surprised if most people install it, maybe put an hour into it, and then forget about it.