Not only moths should flock to this flame.
"Do not play with fire," Little Inferno warns you at its outset, with a man engulfed in flames acting as its visual representation.
By following its guidelines, Tomorrow Corporation's debut title may not get any play time at all. You'll just sit there, looking into an empty pit.
But as you'll quickly learn, Little Inferno isn't any ordinary game.
In reality, Little Inferno's one true rule is to burn everything. Ignore whatever you can get your freezing cold mitts on. As far as the narrative goes, you live in some sort of perpetual winter, and your titular toy is all that stands between you and death. But even in times of need there's profit to be made.
The items you burn are ordered from a less-than-kind catalog. You can order family photographs, collectible posters, sacks of spider eggs, jars of fireflies—you know, the usual.
Using the Wii Remote (MotionPlus is not required) or GamePad (if you opt for Off-TV Play), I place the objects of my choosing into the Little Inferno's maw. From there, I start to flame. The controls work well; the Wii's tradition of expertly handling pointer controls continues with the Wii U, and the GamePad's touch screen keeps things just as simple. The Little Inferno's play area is limited to a 2D plane, so placement is kept simple.
As the smoke begins to billow, the toys, paintings, and what have you begin to warp and bubble from the heat. The fire moves and burns realistically (or, at least as realistic as one can imagine a dysfunctional magnet would burn), and looks wonderful as the flames lick the stone fireplace.I wave the cursor over the screen, flames trailing closely behind. Coins pop from the embers, and I make sure to collect them.
I then pop open my mail-order catalogue to see what tickles my fancy, and the process begins anew.
But it doesn't have to be mindless burning. If you want to earn the big bucks, you'll need to discover combos, handily displayed in the combo list. They start off simply enough, "Horse Pirate" requires you to burn the wooden horse and toy pirate together. But the combo names get more obtuse as you progress further and unlock more catalogues to peruse.
You need a creative mind to progress. Simply burning whatever I have never yields much cash, so it is important to experiment and earn bigger payouts. Which in turn you use to buy bigger and better items (to burn, of course).
The real carrot teasing you along is the game's narrative, delivered in letters you receive as you progress. A neighbourhood girl shares your excitement for the Little Inferno toy, but she soon begins to unravel as her letters get more odd by the page. Miss Nancy, a woman who seems to hold a high position at the company behind the Little Inferno Entertainment Fireplace, keeps you abreast of the latest features of your toy fireplace. Appearances can be deceiving, however, a message that flows throughout the game.
So far, it's been a joy to laze about in front of my Little Inferno, chucking household items and deformed toys into its pit for my own pleasure.