I first saw A Little to the Left at Summer Game Fest this past summer as a part of the Day of the Devs booths. The game is as cute and quaint now as it was then, and I’ve gotten to put a lot more time into being outsmarted by a cat than I did the first time around. This puzzle game fits right into the cozy category, so it is right up my alley, and though there are a lot of things that work, some small quality of life fixes could push A Little to the Left to the top of my puzzle game list.
Essentially, A Little to the Left takes you on a journey cleaning out your home. Whether it’s loose papers lying around, cleaning supplies in the cupboard, or a drawer full of batteries, there is always something that needs tidying. Now, the methods used to organize might be a little questionable, but in each screen you’ll find a new puzzle, some with multiple ways to solve them.
A Little to the Left may have you sorting objects by size, arranging things to create a flow or image, or even just setting the table. However, in some levels, you’ll find a pesky cat, and you’ll have to race to complete the puzzle before the cat knocks it over. These are few and far between, and I was happier without them, but it gives the game a little character I suppose.
For most of the puzzles you’ll be able to see pieces pop into place when you’re on the right track, so you aren’t just flying blind. If you get stuck on a particular part, you can hop out to the menu and grab a hint. Max Inferno has put a little twist on the usual puzzle game hints, handing you an eraser because someone has scribbled out the solution on a piece of paper. Erase the markings and the solution is yours!
“A Little to the Left is a great game to jump in and out of at your leisure, and the Daily Tidy will keep you coming back for more.”
Though this is a neat variation, heading to the menu, into the hint, erasing, back into the menu and then back into the game, is a pretty tedious process (especially on a bad brain day!). The hints are pretty close to the entire solution for a lot of the puzzles, so it really feels like you’re giving up when you have to take one, rather than just a little nudge in the right direction.
Everything about this game is the definition of cozy. From the soft colour palette and simple graphics to the soothing background music, diving into the game is easy and relaxing. I won’t lie, some of the puzzles in A Little to the Left got me. They got me good. Thankfully the hint system was there to guide me. It starts off simple and slowly gets harder and harder, and then you catch yourself completely overthinking each round. I caught myself audibly cheering when I solved some of them. Don’t tell anyone.
“I won’t lie, some of the puzzles in A Little to the Left got me. They got me good.”
Something else A Little to the Left does well is the “Daily Tidy”, “With the Daily Tidy, you’ll get a puzzle delivered EVERY DAY with a variation on one of our favourite puzzles that’s unique to you.” Head into the game each day and complete a puzzle to earn badges along the way. I could see this game being put on the back burner, but the completionist that lives in most gamers will be coming back for those daily puzzles. The Daily Tidy continues even after you finish the regular chapters, giving A Little to the Left more longevity.
My only grip here is that I believe A Little to the Left would be better suited as a mobile game, or even handheld. The controls are ideal with a mouse, but I’m sure that can be worked around, since there are keyboard controls as well. Something about this quickfire puzzle game makes me want to have it in my pocket to pull out when I’d normally choose to scroll social media idly.
It’s been said that there is a release coming to Nintendo Switch which would suffice, though Steam Deck players will end up with this luxury sooner! When I want to sit back and relax with a quick puzzle, I want to do it on the couch or in bed, not on my PC. So just something to think about if you’re planning to dive in.
A Little to the Left is a great game to jump in and out of at your leisure, and the Daily Tidy will keep you coming back for more. If the game was a little more travel-friendly I could see myself really getting hooked on it. As cozy as the game is, bringing challenges and charm, when I want to unwind, I don’t want to do it on my laptop or PC, so I look forward to future ports.