Little Inferno

 

Learning(i)

An absorbing puzzle game with a cryptic message.

What parents need to know

Ease of play

The game couldn't be more simple: buy things, put them in the fire, and watch them burn. Financing is never a problem. The tricky part of the game is figuring out which items need to be burned together to earn badges, but this is easily overcome with experimentation.

Violence

Some creatures scream when they're put in the fire, while others explode. The violence is made to seem comical and not realistic. 

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

The game actively addresses consumptive consumerism and the effects it has on our psychological health and the environment -- although it does this in a winking manner. Although specific brands aren't mentioned, the fact that players simply buy and burn things critiques the seemingly disposable-minded nature of our society.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Among the items you can burn is a bottle of wine.  

Privacy & safety

There are some privacy concerns; players can opt in to Apple's Game Center to track scores and achievements and challenge friends. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Little Inferno is a game that revolves entirely around burning things in a fireplace. Some of the stuffed animals or insects scream or explode comically when burned, but, overall, the violence is minimal. Bottles of wine are present but also get burned in the fire. Parents of young kids may be more concerned, however, if a child is impressionable and may be inspired to burn things in real life. Players can share high scores in Apple's Game Center social network, but participation is optional. Although the game's satirical message may initially be lost on younger players, it presents families with an opportunity for discussion.

What kids can learn

What Kids Can Learn

Little Inferno wasn't created with educational intent, and we don't recommend it for learning.

What kids can learn

Little Inferno wasn't created with educational intent, and we don't recommend it for learning.

This Learning Rating review was written by Chris Morris

What's it about?

Players start the game as the new owners of a fireplace and are quickly encouraged to burn their belongings -- then purchase new products to burn as well. Burning an item is as simple as moving it into the fireplace with your finger, then \"lighting\" a fire by pressing another finger alongside, or under, the item. As items burn, coins (which let you buy even more items) and stamps (which speed up the time it takes to get those items) appear. Burning specific objects at the same time earns badges and unlocks new catalogues. Messages from a mystery sender begin appearing in the mail, suggesting there may be more to the game than meets the eye.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

LITTLE INFERNO is a deceiving game. On the surface, buying things and tossing them in the fireplace doesn't sound like a lot of fun, but the game still manages to hook people (who give it at least 10 to 15 minutes) with an intriguing story line and the odd fun that comes with, well, burning things. It's mesmerizing, almost hypnotic. 

The game makes a critical statement about the consumptive nature of our culture and the effects this can have on both the environment and our own psyches. However, this satirical message is likely to be lost on younger players. Older ones, though, will appreciate the deviation from the usual suspects of game genres and the chance to explore an entirely new style of play. 

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Price:$2.99
Release date:September 25, 2013
Category:Puzzle Games
Size:45.50 MB
Publisher:Experimental Gameplay Group
Version:1.21
Minimum software requirements:iOS 5.0 or later

This review of Little Inferno was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent Written bySteve S. November 8, 2013
age 9+
 

App is a version of the WiiU game

I've only played that version and it is a very addictive, deep but easy-to-play, casual game for grown-ups as well as kids. A big part of the fun (at least in the WiiU version) is the pun/puzzle aspect that rewards the player for figuring out which items to burn together based on the pun. If you liked World of Goo, you'll love this off-the-wall game too!
Teen, 15 years old Written bySalsander December 26, 2013
age 11+
 

OK for kids in middle school

Little inferno is more of an passive experience rather than a game. You spend a majority of the game burning items you buy from a company called the "Tomorrow Corporation (TC)". The TC has a dystopia nature. Everyone in you neighborhood has a fireplace and burns items from the TC and doesn't go outside in fear of freezing in the snow. There are many themes of consumerism throughout the game and it shows the pitfalls of over-consumption. The most mature part about the game perhaps is the burning, which may cause kids to have an itch to start a fire. The items you will burn range from a number of household items such as toys and kitchen utensils. Nothing you burn is alive (except for some bugs and fish), although what your protagonist burns isn't safe. You can burn the fuse of a bomb, a package of batteries, a chainsaw, and many other dangerous items without consequences. However, as the story progresses, your neighbor who constantly sends letters to you has an accident with her fire place and nearly dies. Apart from that, you can burn liquor and some pharmacy drugs, although you can never consume these yourself. There is a toy you can burn called "low self esteem action doll" who carries a bottle of wine and says "come here boys" in a drunk voice, but doesn't wear anything revealing. There is a but if crude humor here too. You can burn a toy named "kitty kitty poo poo" that shoots out black pellets when it is burned. Thats pretty much all the mature content you will find here. Make sure your child knows the consequences of burning things in real life.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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