November 8, 2022
As far back as I can remember, I was always the little boy who loved puzzles. From moving tiles around in Zelda to taking IQ tests for fun, I’m not ashamed to admit I’m a bit of a logic nerd. This extends outside of your usual puzzle books and video games too. It isn’t unusual for me to see some books lined up and for my brain to suddenly kick in and start thinking of how best to arrange to organise them, and when you think about it that’s almost a puzzle in itself. Well that’s exactly what A Little to the Left is all about, seeing the little puzzles in everyday objects and solving them in a cosy video game package.
Each level of A Little to the Left is a single screen with a selection of household objects and it’s up to you to figure out how they should be arranged. Sometimes this is really obvious, like when you’re presented with a toolbox full of different shaped holes and you need to slot different doodads in. Other times you need to use your noggin a bit.
Maybe you’ve simply got a selection of jars full of coloured sands, and you need to arrange them in an order that makes the colours blend together. Or you might have a handful of rocks that you can sort in a grid so that middle rock of each line contains a mix of the colours on the outside. You’re never given any indication of how you’re supposed to organise the mess you start a stage with, it’s just up to you to look at what’s in front of you and see what makes sense.
The best levels of A Little to the Left though are the ones that can be solved in multiple ways though. It was really clever of the developers to find different ways that people might think to organise items, and figuring out all the variations is very compelling. When I first realised that my basic size ordering of some pencils was only one of three ways to beat a particular level I was just delighted to go back and keep looking at those little lead filled sticks of wood.
Although it’s often fairly easy to figure out how to correctly solve most stages of A Little to the Left, some are a bit more abstract. When presented with a random potted plant and not even realising what you can even interact with you might need a bit of help, and fortunately the devs have you covered. The hint screen shows a scribbled over solution to the problem you need to solve, and using a rubber you can reveal the solution underneath. It’s a clever way to allow people to decide how much information they want to find out about the current problem, although admittedly it can mean the reason for the solution still eludes you.
Other than the constant puzzles, there’s one other hurdle you’ll face on your puzzling adventure. The cat. Every few stages this pesky feline will start pawing at the puzzles you’re trying to solve and knocking objects out of place. There’s a chance you’ll find this annoying, but it’s honestly a very good representation of what it’s like to own cats. If you’re a cat person you’ll probably appreciate this little twist, but anyone less kitty inclined might not be so forgiving.
It’ll only take you a few hours to finish A Little to the Left, but when you’re done there’s reason to return in the form of a daily puzzle. I really enjoyed my time playing this relaxing little puzzler, so having a reason to boot it up after I’d seen the credits was certainly a nice bonus.
A Little to the Left might not be action packed or full of emotional story beats, but it provides a really charming twist on traditional puzzle games by bringing everything into a real world setting. If you find yourself sorting out other people’s shelves or thinking pictures would look better hung up in a different order in your daily life then you’ll be grinning from start to finish, and not even an annoying cat will stop you from having a great time.
An interesting way to present puzzles
Levels with multiple ways to solve are really clever
The daily puzzle will keep you coming back
The hint system doesn't always help you understand
The cat will annoy some people
A Little to the Left isn't for fans of fast paced action, but if you need some cosy puzzles on these cold winter nights then it has you covered.