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Video Game / Little Inferno

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It's Little Inferno, it's Little Inferno just for meeee!

Little Inferno is an indie sandbox game made by Tomorrow Corporation for iPad, Steam, Wii U, and Nintendo Switch.

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.
  • Arc Words: "You can go as far as you like, but you can't ever go back."
    • "It can't last forever."
    • More subtly, "There's something more dangerous than fire." It seems to be lethargy, complacency or time-wasting.
  • Absurd Cutting Power: The Super Juicer 4000 and the Manly Razor will slice up just about anything.
  • 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 old/older woman deciding to finally explore the cosmos before age catches up to her.
  • All There in the Manual: The official fansite contains the solution to every combo and every item in the game.
  • Advertisement:
  • Anthropomorphic Food: Some of the food comes to life when burned.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: You almost never have money troubles.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Book of Darkness creates a plague.
  • Author Company: Guess who's the distributor of all the items (including the titular Little Inferno) in the game? The Tomorrow Corporation.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Drill Chain Thrower. Awesome, but it lights itself on fire.
    • The Glass Cards.
  • Baby Planet: You can buy miniature versions of real celestial bodies that have a considerable gravitational pull in spite of their small size.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The can of spring snakes, the kind that come out of fake peanut butter jars, which advertises itself as being sneakily not filled with spring snakes. It's full of syringes.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Set the cat toy on fire and it unleashes a torrent of poo larger than itself.
  • The Cameo: A few in 1st Person Shopper.
  • Catch-Phrase: Sugar Plumps is fond of saying how everything goes "up, up, up the chimney". Depending on the context, it can make her sound creepily gleeful, oddly thoughtful and introspective, or scathing towards your wastefulness.
  • Chainsaw Good: The Drill Chain Thrower.
  • Cool Down: Some items need a little time to restock.
  • Cool Gate: The gate to the Tomorrow Corporation. Or at least, the way it opens.
  • Crapsaccharine World
  • Cuddle Bug: Miss Nancy. She even gives you a hug coupon!
  • Cyborg: The Transhumanist Action Figure has 4 robotic arms, a metal body, and one robotic leg.
  • 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.
    • Sugar Plumps also says multiple times that she and the player character burn things "For hours and days" even though only a couple real-life hours have been spent playing the game.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: The wine bottle is called the "Midlife Crisis Mitigator."
  • Easter Egg: The sunglasses can be put on the face. Tetronominoes disappear when arranged in a line. The magnet makes the gears spin faster.
    • Two of those are actually hints about the endgame. All of the items used in the final combo are ones that interact with the fireplace's face in some way.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: The Pyranosaurus Plushie.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Most of the names of the items don't beat around the bush.
  • Explosion Propulsion: Some of the exploding items send fragments of other items around it flying.
  • Expository Theme Tune
  • The Faceless: The mailman who's been delivering you packages the whole time.
  • Faking the Dead Sugar Plumps.
  • Fire of Comfort
  • Flat Character: Of the characters who send you letters, the Weather Man doesn't get as much characterization as Ms. Nancy or Sugar Plumps.
  • 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.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: If you manage to grab the photograph from "The Wandering Eye" camera after it goes off and keep it from catching fire, the "player's" face can be seen in the photo.
  • 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.
  • Fictional Currency: Tomorrow Bucks.
  • Hikikomori: The player character appears to be one, and likely most of the population as well. The player character never responds to Sugar Plumps, who at least attempts to socialize through letters, and is so addicted to the Little Inferno that he can't look away from it even when the house next to his is burning to rubble and he hears screaming.
  • Infant Immortality: Double subverted with Sugar Plumps.
  • 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 Fire: Pretty much the whole point of the game.
  • Kill It with Ice: Some objects, like the Freezing Rain Cloud and the Snow Globe, 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 she makes her words as looong as possible, and another third she CAPITALIZES HER WORDS!
  • 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.
  • Nice Hat: The Gentleman Adventurer Doll.
  • Nightmare Face: The creepy smiley face in the middle of the fireplace, which changes if you use a magnet, fireflies, exterminator, and/or sunglasses on it.
  • Ninja: The Toy Ninja.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Minus the robot, putting these together is one of the combos.
  • No Antagonist: The game has no real enemies or villains. Ms. Nancy and her Tomorrow Corporation have a few moments where they act kind of shady, but you never really find out enough about them to say for sure, and at the end of the day they don't seem that bad anyway.
  • No Bulk Discounts
  • No Name Given: The protagonist
  • Non-Fatal Explosions: In the ending, the explosion that destroys the protagonist's house blasts him so high into the air that it takes him about 30 seconds to land. When he does, though, he's more or less unharmed. It's implied something similar happened to Sugar Plumps.
  • Parental Abandonment: Where are the parents of Sugar Plumps and the kids in the commercial?
  • Permanently Missable Content: 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.
  • Phlebotinum Pills: The Best Friend Supplement Pills.
  • 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.
  • Rated M for Manly: Pretty much all of Catalog 6.
  • Ridiculously Loud Commercial: Parodied in the description for the Mustache Rider.
  • Rule of Symbolism: The fireproof curtains burn up around the time of Sugar Plumps's Disney Death.
  • Sanity Slippage: Sugar Plumps becomes increasingly Cute and Psycho, up until her house burns down.
  • 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.
  • Shout-Out: Several items in the catalog, but here are some notable ones.
    • The gooballs and gem game found in the '1st person shopper' catalog.
    • The Tetris blocks from the same catalog.
    • The Opera Singer sings a piece from the World of Goo soundtrack when ignited.
    • The cardboard cutout that resembles Super Meat Boy.
    • The zombie doll that looks like it came out of Plants vs Zombies.
    • The black robot is from Kyle Gablers experimental online game, Robot And The Cities Who Built Him.
  • Something Completely Different: The Playable Epilogue, a complete shift from the first person puzzle experience to a third person fixed camera adventure view. You also directly interact with other people for the first time.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Sugar Plumps, not Sugar Plums, as it is frequently misspelled. And in the Nintendo Power preview article it's consistently written as "Sugar Plumbs."
  • Spoiled by the Manual: A magazine, but this Nintendo Power god. It reveals the player character, the entire 4th catalog, and a screen from the ending.
  • Take That, Audience!: The game not-so-subtly chides you for wasting your time playing a game where you do nothing but burn things in a fireplace.
    "Your time and effort have been well spent!"
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The trailer shows quite a few items, and one of the later letters from Sugar Plumps.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The Celebration Bus and the Mini Nuke, among others.
  • Technicolor Fire: The fire will change colors when you burn the Zesty Beetles, Powder Bomb, or Beta Version. Probably some others, too.
  • Toilet Humor: Kitty Kitty Poo Poo Plushie.
  • Verbal Tic: Sugar Plumps has this. The Weather Man as well. Heh hey!
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: At one point, Sugar Plumps sends you an egg that her bug friend laid. The only thing you can do with it is burn it and the bug inside alive, and the only way to avoid doing this is to never take it out of your inventory.
  • Walking Wasteland: The Toy Leperchaun rots everything he touches.
  • Winged Soul Flies Off at Death: When you burn the Transhumanist Action Figure, you can see his soul floating away.
  • You Break It, You Profit
  • You Can't Go Home Again: After burning the four things Sugar Plumps tells you to, your house burns down. The remainder of the game is spent walking around town, talking to people. In the end, your character gets into the weather balloon, leaving the city for somewhere else. This fits in with the Arc Words listed above.
  • You Shouldn't Know This Already: You can burn the four items together before Sugar Plumps asks you to, but to no effect.
  • Your Head Asplode: The end of the commercial shows the kids doing this from the heat.

It's little Trope-ferno just for me! *Head Explodes*

Example of: