By Thursday of each new week, Apple staff picks a very special app to receive the coveted “Editor’s Choice” award, just enough time for us to download a new app or game and waste our entire weekend exploring it. Last week, the honor went to Might & Magic Clash of Heroes. (Actually, they always pick two. One is a game and one is not.) This week, Penultimate won for its new Evernote sync feature, making it one of the most productive note taking apps in the App Store. They also picked Little Inferno as this week’s Editor’s Choice game of the week.
This game wins awards all over the place for its innovative design and fantastic graphics. It is definitely an unusual game, if you can even call it that. You don’t earn points. You don’t chase bad guys or run from enemies. You simply set things on fire.
If you have every played Kick the Buddy, you’ll get the basic idea. In fact, I thought the same game development company made it at first. Players buy items that they throw into their “Little Inferno” to see what happens. Some items will explode when ignited. Some will sprout flowers. Some items will react differently, depending on what other items are also in the furnace at the same time.
You’d almost have to call this an entertainment app more than a game except that players unlock new items by finding combos. For example, to find the combo, “Spring Time,” players must put the alarm clock and the packet of flower seeds into the furnace at the same time. Once you’ve found enough combos, you can unlock new catalogs with new items.
As you play the game, you’ll get gifts from your neighbor, Sugar Plum, messages from Miss Nanny, and weather updates from Mr. Weatherman. Each letter pushes the game’s plot forward and sends you down a deeper hole of mystery concerning the planet’s odd weather patterns.
The graphics are fantastic. Some of the items do very interesting things when they catch fire. For example, there are a couple of “Zesty Beetles” that actually change the color of the fire when ignited. The audio is also amazing. Almost every item has it’s own clever comment or sound. Some things make different sounds when they’ve caught fire.
For being innovative, clever, and well-made, Apple chose Little Inferno for this week’s Editor’s Choice. The price is steep at $4.99. However, unlike Kick the Buddy, you don’t ever really run out of coins. There is no in-app purchase option. Think of the price tag as being what you probably would have spent on a “freemium” game anyway.
Little Inferno is available for $4.99 in the App Store today.