Little Inferno, like Tomorrow Corporation's other titles, has found new life on the Nintendo Switch. First released back in 2012 as an early title for the Wii U eShop, then ported to PC and mobile device platforms, it was met with good reviews for its innovative take on the puzzle genre. Fortunately the trip to Nintendo's latest platform has treated the game well and brought with it an answer to a question many gamers had.
There is one major change to Little Inferno on the Switch: the inclusion of two-player co-op. The second player operates in exactly the same way as the first, meaning both have access to pull up menus, purchase items from the catalogue and start fires. Little Inferno sits you down in front of a fireplace with one goal: burn whatever you like. Each time you burn something you'll be rewarded with money, that money can then be used to purchase items to further burn things. It's very simple, but we found it - in a way - to be almost relaxing.
So, how does a Wii U game that used a Wii Remote as its primary control handle on the Switch? The answer is surprisingly well. The Joy-Con carries similar tech to that found in a Wii Remote (particularly the accuracy of MotionPlus) and so it's able to emulate screen pointing, though a bit differently as the Switch doesn't have an sensor bar. Instead the game will prompt you to lay the Joy-Con on a flat surface, then pick it up and press the plus button to center your cursor. After the brief initial setup it works just as a Wii Remote did and allows you to point and click your way to your fiery doom. Alternatively, you can treat the Switch as a tablet and use the touch screen in portable mode.
As you purchase items from the catalogue you'll unlock more items; once the first catalogue is completely filled you'll be prompted to unlock another that contains more items to buy, and the cycle goes on until you have purchased all seven catalogues. There is another prerequisite to purchasing new collections of items, however, and that is completing combos. At the top-right of the screen there's a small tab with a star on it. On this tab is a combo list; each combo on the list is named in such a way as to give you a hint as to what items you must burn together. The names are intentionally somewhat vague, as figuring out these combos is the main way you progress through the game's story, which is told to you through a series of letters you receive from other characters.
The impetus for burning everything is to survive a seemingly endless Winter going on just outside your home. Tomorrow Corporation - a reference to the game's developers - sells the Little Inferno, a home entertainment fireplace which is supposed to keep you safe and warm. At one point in the game you'll unlock a truly eerie commercial for the device which made us question Tomorrow Corporation's intentions with the device. The narrative is a bit of window dressing for the main experience, but we found it compelling enough to warrant pressing forward in this pyromaniac's fever dream.
The items that can be purchased, meanwhile, range from everyday household items like a cob of corn or a small toy, to strange wooden idols that will sing as they're engulfed in flames or, perhaps the creepiest of the lot, a school bus replete with screaming children. Each item you purchase has a delivery time attached to it that is given to you in real-world minutes. As you burn more items and complete combos, you will occasionally receive tickets that will remove that time in case you would like to plow through the story and get to the end.
Unlike most games of this nature, there is indeed an ending to be reached. You can reach this ending in short order if you're able to get through the combos quickly enough, though we found them to be just clever enough to keep us guessing for about four or five hours. Money isn't scarce, as you often get more for burning things than you paid to get them in the first place, so the length of play really is all about how long it takes you to figure out combinations. There are 99 total in the game, but you needn't find them all to clear it.
The Switch version of Little Inferno is a worthy update, adding two-player support as well as portability; it's also one of the Switch's most versatile titles, working in handheld mode with the console's touch screen, as well as in tabletop mode and TV mode with the option of playing in either single- or two-player, with each using a single Joy-Con as a pointer.
Like other Tomorrow Corporation games, Little Inferno is both dark and cute at the same time. If the concept appeals to you it's a title still worth your time, especially at its modest asking price.