Most of us use games as a form of escapism. We dive into farming or sim-life adventures to get away from the stresses in our real lives, albeit only for a few hours. A Little to the Left shows that escapism can be found in the mundane, though, taking everyday activities that are actually quite important and turning them into puzzles that are satisfying to solve.
The gameplay in A Little to the Left is simple. Organise dull, ordinary objects from a strewn-about mess into something you’d be proud to show your parents. This includes putting pencils in the order you’d use them, or lining up your books. It sounds mundane because when we do this in real life, it quite often is. But there’s always a level of satisfaction to having everything “just so”, bringing your world to order no matter how chaotic it is.
While on the surface A Little to the Left looks like an organising simulator, it’s a bit more complicated. Some puzzles have multiple solutions, but there’s always a predetermined one. You can’t just organise your books or post-it notes how you want to. The solutions are usually easy to work out once you’ve spent some time moving the objects around, but there’s a great hint system for those that push your brain a little too far.
The hint system allows you to get as much of a hint as you need to see the full picture without being a game-breaking and forceful push. If you’re not into hints, you can choose to “let it be” and move to the next puzzle without completing the last, making the game feel much more approachable.
As you might expect, a puzzle game built around organising everyday objects doesn’t last too long, and A Little to the Left’s runtime will only take up an afternoon or so. That afternoon will be a blissful experience, though, because you’ll explore a wonderful world of pastel-coloured furniture and trinkets. Each item is accompanied by an audio cue that plays when you move it, with a distinct sound for getting the placement correct. With the low-key soundtrack simply filling the void instead of overstimulating you, it’s possible to lose yourself in this immersive experience.
If you’re worried that you’ll plough through the game a little too quickly, don’t be. Some puzzles have a surprise in store that will shock you at first but then draw you in deeper. There’s a cat that just loves to play with you, and it does so by pawing items back out of place once you’ve organised them. It mimics just how your best friend would behave at home and acts as a sort of difficulty spike for some puzzles. It’s always a nice reset when you see an easy puzzle but find that the solution is much more challenging than you first thought because of that feline.
A Little to the Left is one of the most charming puzzle games we’ve played in a long time. It’s quirky, fun, and scratches an itch you might not realise you have. While, at times, it can make you feel a bit insane as you try to put these objects in some semblance of order and make sense of the chaos before you, it’s ultimately an experience that leaves a lasting impact on you in the form of the smuggest of grins.
A Little to the Left £12.99
A Little to the Left is a very charming puzzle game that takes you by surprise with how addictive it can be. While some elements might rub you the wrong way, it’s been designed to bring enjoyment, not frustration.