This indie game is about organising household items
I quite like organising objects in games, up until I bump into someone else’s incorrect organisation system. I cannot believe the state of some people’s Minecraft and Stardew Valley chests. Today I’m experiencing that distress while playing the demo for A Little To The Left, a puzzle game about organising someone’s household items while a mischievous cat sometimes interferes. And, I cannot believe how incorrect the ‘correct’ answer is on a key-arranging level. The wrongest of the wrong. Look, come on, you tell me how you’d do it.
A Little To The Left is due to launch later this year, and has a demo on Steam and Itch right now. It has us sort, stack, straighten, and otherwise arrange household objects like books and pencils and papers, sometimes dealing with the interfering paw of a cat who really wishes to play with that table placemat right now. I was enjoying the demo up until the level with keys to organise.
Starting from that ↑ jumble, I set about arranging the keys, which snap to invisible anchor points. Every key is different so obviously your goal has two facets: 1) colours should progress along a spectrum; 2) the arrangement should echo the jagged profile of a key’s blade, with interesting peaks and notches. I think I’ve got it:
When no shiny star pops up to tell me I’m right, I rethink. Ah! The radiator key stands out. It’s a different type of key for a wildly different purpose. I need to add a new facet to my organisation goal: 3) sort by function. So let’s shuffle that to the end.
This still is not the solution? I don’t get it. Maybe the problem is facet #1, my colour progression is off? I take another pass. I don’t think it’s right but I suppose I could see how the designers might think this is the solution:
Nope! At this point, I abandon all good sense and taste and attempt a solution I think is clearly a ghastly way to arrange keys, just to see what happens:
I am distressed that this proves to be correct. I see the order in it, sure, but more than that I see the chaos. It fails on all three of the obvious criteria. What terrible aesthetic sensibilities! But now I’m a bit riled. The game has multiple ‘correct’ solutions to some levels so I try to feel out what the others might be. Oh god, would this domestic Joker sort their keys by the number of holes in the head?
Yep, this is considered another correct answer. I hate it. Supposedly this level has a third solution but after a few minutes trying different arrangements sorting by direction and quantity of bits, I need to stop. This can’t be good for me.
“Come to understand the motivation behind the whimsy of an individual by arranging their home as they intended,” the Steam blurb says. Whimsy?! The game is attempting to force you to think like a Far Cry villain. I don’t know if this should be allowed; this could permanently rewire your brain. I can only assume the cat in this game isn’t a force of destruction, it’s a force of protection trying to save the main character from themself. Whimsy my foot!
This is the bad feeling I get seeing how other people arrange goods in Wilmot’s Warehouse. But that game recognises that I’m organising objects the correct way; it simply happens to also have the compassion to smile, nod, and look supportive while misguided people arrange their warehouses incorrectly, bless their little hearts.
It’s curious because some levels in A Little To The Left do have straightforward solutions, like rearranging the knick-knack drawer into an organiser with unlikely compartments perfectly sized to fit each item and the quantity thereof. This level is simply shape-matching:
Tell me, reader dear: how would you arrange those keys? I’ll even label them so you can easily repeat my solution back to me in the comments. I suppose you could download the demo and sort it out in-game too. But I’m right, aren’t I? I was right all along, wasn’t I?
Disclosure: I’m pals with some of the folks behind Wilmot’s Warehouse, who are part of The Wild Rumpus with me.