What parents need to know
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'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?
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.