A Little to the Left review: Relaxing game capitalises on human urge to organise

Feel the satisfaction of completing chores without actually doing them

A screengrab from cosy puzzle game A Little to the Left. Photo: Max Inferno / Secret Mode
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Video games today are usually known for their large battle scenes or stealthy attempts to evade and survive hordes of zombies. But every once in a while a game comes along and reminds you that some gaming calm and relaxation is also possible — and necessary.

Cleaning and tidying up can be very meditative, and no game better exemplifies that more than A Little to the Left. Released last year, the game is playable on PC, Mac and Nintendo Switch consoles.

A Little to the Left

Developer: Max Inferno
Consoles: PC, Mac, Nintendo Switch
Rating: 4/5

Designed by Annie Macmillan and Lukas Steinman in Nova Scotia, Canada, the game delivers a serene experience that feels much needed as we navigate hectic everyday lives.

With 90 puzzles to clear and five levels of difficulty, A Little to the Left can be cleared in about five hours. That isn't where the fun ends, however, as unlike most games, which can be forgotten once completed, this game can become a staple players return to when in need of a moment of Zen.

The basic objective of the game is tidying. You will be presented with domestic scenarios that require you to either put things in order or clean, all the while a playful but pesky cat is trying to sabotage your best efforts.

Whether it is putting coloured pencils in order or finding a pattern in everyday house objects, the game allows you to tap into the part of our brains that seeks satisfaction from completing chores, without actually doing them.

Procrastinating over housework is something many of us are guilty of doing. So, we can all use a reminder of how satisfying it is to finish a task and this game rewards innovation, as most puzzles and tasks can have more than one solution. There is no one right way so to speak, you just have to start and see what you can achieve.

Calming games have gained popularity in the past few years, with the pandemic providing people with ample time to explore what they enjoy and looking to find a quiet escape from reality.

At the start of 2020 there was an explosion of popularity for Animal Crossing on the Nintendo Switch, which resulted in a short-term shortage of the consoles.

What made Animal Crossing so popular was just how relaxing it is.

For new players, the amount of work and hours you have to put in a game like Animal Crossing could seem daunting, and that is where a game like A Little to the Left will be a good alternative.

You won't feel too pressured by progress, you can just pick it up when you feel like you need to clear your head.

In addition, if you’ve become addicted to the Wordle format of games in recent years, with new daily challenges, you’ll be happy to find out that this game has a similar feature called the Daily Tidy.

Knowing you can return every day to be tested and try to clear a new level will elongate the shelf life of this game even more than most disposable games today.

A Little to the Left is available on the Nintendo Switch store for £12.99 ($15.70) and on Steam for PC and Mac for £11.86 ($14.50)

Updated: March 17, 2023, 6:02 PM
A Little to the Left

Developer: Max Inferno
Consoles: PC, Mac, Nintendo Switch
Rating: 4/5