It's Little Inferno, it's Little Inferno just for meeee!
Little Inferno is an indie sandbox game made by TomorrowCorporation for iPad, Steam and Wii U.The game takes place in a freezing world, one that is getting inexplicably colder with every passing day. As a solution, the sinister Tomorrow Corporation sells the Little Inferno Entertainment Fireplace. All that is needed are some things to burn, and a couple of complimentary catalogs, given to the player at the start.The story is told via a series of letters sent from different characters you meet along the way: Sugar Plumps, a little girl who is in the same situation as you, a pen-pal named Miss Nancy, an employee from Tomorrow Corporation, a figure called The Weather Man, and a mysterious figure. Throughout the game, you burn items and spiders that crawl through the fireplace, get coins, then buy and unlock various new things to burn from the aforementioned catalogs. True to the real world, you have to wait for the items to arrive, but usually do not surpass a minute, and can be sped up with stamps that are collected from burning things. There is also a combo system in place that is sometimes required to move on to unlock the next catalogue. The combos are fairly easy to figure out; for instance, Alarm Clock + Instant Seed Packet = "Springtime".Tomorrow Corporation started looking into modding in late 2012. The soundtrack is available here, and the fansite is here.
Little Inferno provides examples of:
100% Completion: You get a mouse pad that spews stamps when burned and a congratulatory letter.
After the End: Maybe. There are a few obvious apocalyptic themes ("This can't last forever" and "you can't ever go back"), and several mentions that it's been snowing for years without end and no-one seems to know why ( though the amount of ash being pumped into the atmosphere all the time may have something to do with it). Everyone is willfully enslaved to their fireplaces for warmth and entertainment. The sun is either way bigger or way closer than it ought to be and it's constantly in a state of half-rising, half-setting (implying the world has literally stopped spinning.) And in the epilogue, it turns out that it's still getting colder. Miss Nancy tells us that the whole city is slowing down and wasting away, and soon enough it's expected to stop altogether and remain frozen forever. It's unclear whether the rest of the globe is in the same state, but if it weren't why would Miss Nancy write off the entire planet as a lost cause and leave for space?
Miss Nancy says that she always wanted to be an astronaut, and implied that she, personally, had little time left; it might be just a rich woman deciding to finally follow through and explore the cosmos.
Cyborg: The Transhumanist Action Figure has 4 robotic arms, a metal body, and one robotic leg.
Cuddle Bug: Miss Nancy. She even gives you a hug coupon!
Disney Death: Sugar Plumps' house burns down before the sixth catalogue and she seems to have burned to death, and her letters return by the seventh catalogue, apparently being written by her ghost. In the epilogue she is revealed to have simply walked out of her burning home, and left the city.
Distant Finale: Sugar Plumps looks older and refers to her house burning down as happening "so long ago", so it is implied that it takes place several years after the game. She is on a beach getting a tan by the end, The Weather Man takes the player out of the town, and Miss Nancy has gone to space. In addition, while you received the Free Hug Coupon only hours ago in game-time, Miss Nancy remarks that they "Haven't printed these for years!" if you keep it and give it to her in the epilogue.
Foreshadowing: Very subtle, but it's there. The four items that you need to burn down your house are the only four items that the "face" will interact with in normal gameplay. It will eat the Fireflies, wear the Sunglasses, the Magnet will make the gears spin faster, and the Exterminator's flamethrower will make it turn red. They are also the four items that Sugar Plumps requests that you send her.
Genre Deconstruction: Seems to be a deconstruction of games like Farmville as you are, as one character puts it, burning your stuff which drops more money to buy more stuff and then the cycle just repeats itself. The dev team said in an interview the idea came from a "7 second loop of a flaming log. And [they] thought "Man, that's like a super boring game that some awful company will totally make for the Wii or smartphones." Also there are constant parallels in game between the game and reality. The friend sending you letters brings up that you can't turn away from the Entertainment Fireplace, as though your character were addicted to it like a game, and she brings up how burning things is basically like burning time. They also mention how the fireplace is basically an escape from the cold harsh reality outside, among other things.
Fake Longevity: Some people view the combo system and the waiting times as this.
Interface Screw: There are times when the game reacts in ways you wouldn't expect an ordinary puzzle game to act, spooking many gamers in the process. Also, at the end of the game, the money counter and the coupon counter break and fall off, among other assorted effects.
Kill It with Ice: Some objects freeze others, preventing them from being burnt. Frozen objects can either be defrosted or shattered.
Large Ham: Despite only talking in letters, Sugar Plumps is this because a third of the time makes her works as looong as possible, and another third she CAPITALIZES HER WORDS!
Lost Forever: As fits the theme, there are some unique items that cannot be reacquired after burning them, including all the letters and the hug coupon, which causes a (very) minor change in the game's ending if you keep it.
Mascot: The Eager Bunny seems to be becoming this, appearing in several promotional materials and things.
Money Spider: In a literal fashion, the spiders that crawl down your chimney ensure a steady supply of coins.
Mundane Made Awesome/Dramatic Gate Raising: When you reach the Tomorrow Corporation building at the end of the game, the gate operator will only let you through if your request to open the gate is appropriately dramatic for such an important location. Apparently, the four booms are powered by two giant steam engines that produce booming honks and eject huge jets of steam into up to the sky, in one of the most awesome moments of the game. Or any game, for that matter.
My Little Panzer: The fireplace. Heck, even the promotional video that Miss Nancy sends you shows the whole city burning.
Playable Epilogue: Unlocked by burning a secret combination of items. It reveals that Sugar Plumps survived her house burning down and left the city for a beach and that Miss Nancy is the CEO of the Tomorrow Corporation, among other things.
Poe's Law: It appears many reviewers and players actually believe this to be just a rehash of many modern social and casual games, rather than a critique of them.
Platonic Cave: Referenced heavily. Sugar Plumps' letters mention how you can't turn from the fireplace, suggesting the tied down nature of the trope, and in the epilogue when you talk to the postman, one of the dialogue options is "I've only just realised I exist" implying it's your first taste of life not sat in front of the false reality of the fireplace.
Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: All of the major characters say this at the end. Sugar Plumps leaves the city to live on a beach somewhere, Miss Nancy leaves the planet, and the Player Character floats away in a balloon with the Weather Man.