Puzzles, relaxing music, and a cat. What more could one want from developer Max Inferno?
We all want friends. We all want connection. In a weird kind of way, I felt like I built a relationship with the developers of A Little To The Left. This was due to the fact that, ironically, I went in with so little information about this cute indie puzzle game, that I initially had to ponder more about what the developers were thinking, than the actual puzzles themselves.
For instance, in the second puzzle of the first chapter, I was simply presented with a cat basket and some scattered toys. I was so involved in analysing each individual item that I couldn't see the wood through the trees - I simply had to put the items in the basket. At that moment, it occurred to me that the developers wanted to make the player create order from disorder.
Once you crack this concept, the puzzles all seem rather similar. Obviously, they get more complex as the game progresses, and refreshingly you’re sometimes thrown a curveball.
If you get stuck, sometimes a feline friend will intervene. In one puzzle, there was a tiny item I needed that was hidden under a sheet of paper. The cat pawed at the paper, hinting that the sheet could be shifted, revealing that something was hidden underneath.
Other times, the cat was a hindrance and an intrinsic part of the challenge. During one conundrum, I had to straighten up a dinner plate, knife and fork. But each time I started to do this, the cat pawed at the items, messing them up again. The key was to act swiftly to achieve victory.
If you find the cat isn’t helpful enough, the game has an additional and rather clever hint system. In the pause menu, you're shown a frame containing a picture of the puzzle, covered in pencil scribbles. You can use the eraser to remove as much of the scribble as you like, to reveal part or all of the finished puzzle. You never find yourself getting too frustrated whilst playing A Little to the Left because it's almost impossible to get stuck. This is intended to be a relaxing, stress free experience after all.
Speaking of relaxation, the game's music is extremely soothing. We are sometimes treated to a nice satisfying 'ting' sound effect when an object is put in the correct position. Oh, and let's not forget about the purring cat. That's quite lovely also.
Each day you play, you can receive a special puzzle called 'The Daily Tidy'. You get rewarded with stamps when you complete a certain number of them, based on how many days you've completed a puzzle. They're great for someone who has finished the main game and desires something more to go back for.
Although this game is designed for solo play, it can nevertheless be beneficial to have multiple people involved. If a puzzle is proving difficult for you, the fresh perspective of a friend or partner can help you reach that eureka moment more quickly. And let's not forget - games are better together.
A Little To The Left is a relaxing puzzler with a layered and ingenious hint system. I found it to be a great bang for your buck, providing a tonne of puzzles at a budget price. There's a slight learning curve to begin with, but once you understand what the game and, by extension, the developers are asking of you, you'll be able to complete puzzle after puzzle without too much trouble, and get into a satisfying rhythm.
You simply can't go wrong with this game. Why not add it to your Nintendo Switch library and stimulate those brain cells?
Where to Buy
Price correct as of publishing.
A code was provided by the publisher for NPUK to review this game.
Written by Daniel Oakes
Edited by Mark McAllister, Paul L. Russell and Jen Griffiths
Graphic by Paul L. Russell