Ever find yourself organising your pencils by length? Or your coloured pens in the order of the rainbow? Or tidying your desk drawer when you should be doing something more productive?
A Little to the Left, coming this summer from Inferno and Secret Mode is, quite probably, the game for you. It’s the latest game to join a wave of cosy ‘organising’ games, following in the footsteps of the likes of Unpacking and Strange Horticulture. But rather than being given an entire space to organise, A Little to the Left is concerned with tiny scenes at a time. Maybe you’ll be setting out a placemat for dinner, or putting books in size order.
When it’s going well, A Little to the Left feels wonderfully serene. If you’re a person who thrives in organised spaces, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment wash over you as you correctly arrange post-it notes, or line up bits of paper so they make a perfect square. The demo of the game – which is available to try out now on Steam – gives players a 10-15 minute slice to try, taking them through several scenarios.
There’s one big hitch in your organising in A Little to the Left, however: there’s a cat on the loose. And so, while trying to set the table in the demo, my progress was frequently halted by a cat’s paw who continually dragged the placemat out of place. If you’ve owned a cat, you’ll chuckle at the way it perfectly captures their mischief. If you don’t own a cat? Well, it may well make you glad that you don’t. (I have two, and so being organised and tidy in real life is something I abandoned long ago.)
A Little to the Left seems to suffer with one issue, something that also blighted Unpacking: everything has its correct place according to the developer – which is not necessarily what feels right for the player. In organising a set of keys from largest to smallest, I wondered why the level wasn’t completing. It turns out they had to be the other way around. In another, I had to organise a desk drawer, but every single item had its proper place. It was all-too easy to get something slightly wrong.
In other levels, it’s less obvious what needs to be done; when presented with an envelope and stack of papers, I assumed I needed to pile everything up tidily, or simply stuff everything inside the enveloper. Not so – everything instead had to be carefully laid out to make a perfect rectangle. Thankfully, A Little to the Left does provide a hint for each level in the menu – though it’s less of a hint and more of a full-blown solution. More subtle, in-game cues would go a long way in nudging the player in the right direction.
Still, it’s hard not to be charmed by A Little to the Left. There’s something quite magical about an understated, quiet game about tidying up spaces. In our hectic, busy lives, this is exactly the sort of thing that helps us unwind and switch off – and I can’t wait to play more.
A Little to the Left is due out on PC and Switch in August this year. We’ll have more closer to launch. Until then, be sure to give the demo a try.