App Reviewed on: iPhone XR
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Little Misfortune is a strange game about a cute little girl who seems cursed with bad luck. Although it fits in the mold of something that could be called an adventure game, Killmonday Games have made an experience that is more like interactive fiction, and this fiction is surreal and confounding, but ultimately worth experiencing for yourself.
A simple game
The star of Little Misfortune is a young girl named Misfortune, and she seems to make the most of what appears to be a pretty miserable living situation. Her parents are in an abusive relationship and it’s clear that there isn’t much attention being paid to Misfortune’s needs. Despite all this, Misfortune is a cutesy and charming character that just wants to bring joy to her family.
Little Misfortune begins with Misfortune discovering a mysterious voice (that ends up doubling at the game’s narrator) who suggests she play a game. If she agrees and wins the game, the mysterious voice promises Misfortune a gift, referred to as the “Eternal Happiness.” Misfortune agrees, and this sets off a meandering adventure that takes you all over a dystopian landscape, where you spend a lot of time steering Misfortune, answering dialogue prompts for her, and solving the occasional puzzle as you try to uncover what exactly this game is about.
Throughout the experience of playing Little Misfortune, it’s hard to get a read on where the game is going. There’s a lot of fourth-wall breaking happening upfront, which coincides with the revelation that Misfortune is destined to die by the end of her adventure. After that, there’s the revelation that apparently bad things follow Misfortune, which is then borne out in some grisly scenes. All the while, Misfortune is her cheery and clever self, going on about how she loves glitter, is in love with a fox, and has an imaginary friend that only speaks Japanese.
These revelations all add flavor to the world of Little Misfortune, but they’re also a bit confusing. Killmonday Games just keeps layering on different character details, tone set pieces, and narrative threads with little regard or interest in keeping them consistent or exploring them before moving onto something else. To be clear, this doesn’t mean that it is ever hard to understand what is going on in Little Misfortune, but there are plenty of moments where you might be wondering why things are happening and how all of these pieces could possibly fit together.
I personally found the strange storytelling in Little Misfortune highly compelling. Each time I entered a new scene or inspected and object, I never knew what I was going to get in return, which was exciting. What I didn’t find particularly compelling were Little Misfortune’s puzzles, which were thankfully pretty trivial and spread thin across the adventure.
The only real issue I had with Little Misfortune was that I wish that the jumbled mess of disparate threads in the game somehow tied together in some way by the end. Killmonday Games barely tries to do this, so consider yourself warned. You will not get many answers to the questions you’ll ask while playing this game.
The bottom line
There’s a lot to take in when playing Little Misfortune, but as this is happening one thing remains constant: Misfortune is an irresistibly lovable miscreant. The voice and animation work done to bring this character to life impresses amid wild tonal shifts and even the most absurd moments. So, even though there isn’t a whole lot of challenging gameplay or narrative satisfaction to be found in Little Misfortune, it has enough awkward heart and ambition that makes well worth playing nonetheless.