A Little to the Left review

Just two decades ago, publishers wouldn’t touch anything that wasn’t heavily action orientated, with even puzzle games occasionally struggling to secure a publishing deal. Indeed, the landscape is very different today, where games fall into every genre imaginable. And perhaps some even beyond the typical imagination – A Little to the Left is based around organising, stacking, and sorting various household objects so that everything is perfectly placed.

While this may not sound too appealing initially, many puzzles are similar to those found in horror or narrative-driven games, such as reassembling broken objects, spotting patterns, and reorganising bookshelves. Of course, there’s one major difference: instead of a sense of dread and despair, A Little to the Left is intended to be a chilled experience. The piano-led musical score is harmonious and relaxing, puzzles can be skipped by selecting ‘leave it be’ and there’s also a hint system – which involves using an eraser on a piece of paper, revealing as little or as much of the solution as needed. A destructive feline out to make a mess completes the package, while also helping induce personality.

A Little to the Left review

Around 100 puzzles feature, spread across five themes. As you’d expect, things start simple, merely aligning photo frames. Then much later, more elaborate puzzles such as organising a toolbox and an artist’s kit appear, requiring dozens of items to be placed into the correct locations. There’s the occasional surprise too, including an innovative puzzle involving tilting picture frames perfectly so that a spherical object can magically travel from one to another, changing shape as it passes through. Said feline can also cause mischief, wrecking puzzles – although this is always tied into the challenge.

What’s neat about A Little to the Left is that many puzzles can be completed in different ways, meaning you’ll need to revisit them and work out the less obvious means of completion. This results in lots of satisfying ‘eureka’ moments; the first solution is always going to be clear despite the game’s complete lack of guidance, but the second or third solution will likely need closer examination.

A Little to the Left review

There’s also a bit of magic going on behind the scenes, in the way that it’s programmed to recognise solutions. It won’t, however, provide any assistance if you’re barking up the wrong tree or have made a minor mistake, leaving you to work out what exactly is misplaced or misaligned. In the game’s defence, most items ‘snap’ into location…but there will still be times when everything looks perfect, only for something such as a single screw to be facing the wrong direction. I wouldn’t call this frustrating, but it can be a smidge annoying.

The whole thing takes around 3-4 hours to play through, and for those looking to stick around a little longer, it has Daily Challenges. Although, these are mostly variations of puzzles found in the main game. It definitely feels well made enough to want to play it beyond the campaign, with thought clearly going into the vast majority of puzzles, and only a few (mostly symmetry-based) being too samey. It’s an ideal proposition for any downtime between big releases, or for those seeking something relaxing. It may help educate younger gamers on the importance of being patient too. If your draws and shelves magically become neater, you’ll know its positive influences have rubbed off.  

Max Inferno’s A Little to the Left is out now on consoles. Published by Secret Mode. It first launched on PC in 2022.