I am not, by nature, a particularly organized person. My living space is generally a mess, and cleaning is a chore that I have to force by promising myself a hot bath or a nice dinner afterwards. Thus, it was very much to my surprise how much I truly enjoyed A Little to the Left, an indie game that takes the joy in the simple acts of cleaning and organizing and puts it front and center. If real-life cleaning was that fun and relaxing, I would have the most spotless house on Earth.
In A Little to the Left, players are presented with a series of puzzles centered around the art of organization. One level might feature sorting pencils by length, while another might involve properly arranging colored postcards, separating differently-shaped pieces of pasta, or adjusting pictures so that they hang straight on the wall. The gameplay is simple and addicting, and it is very easy to get caught in a “just one more puzzle” loop and then suddenly realize that several hours have passed. The pastel color palette, simple UI, and gentle music and background noises all work together to make A Little to the Left a uniquely pleasant game.
One of my favorite things about A Little to the Left was the sheer lack of pressure. You can skip a puzzle at any time and come back to it when you desire. Some puzzles have multiple solutions, all of which are accepted as valid. Even during the levels where the game’s resident cat destroys your hard work (a very true-to-life experience, I can confidently say as a cat owner myself), you can always redo your work and you are never timed or rushed. A Little to the Left truly strives to make playing it as much as a stress-free experience as possible, and I greatly appreciated these efforts.
There was, however, one major drawback when it came to playing A Little to the Left: the hint system. The game is committed to being a dialogue-free experience, meaning that there is not a single written word with the exception of some labels on the menu. The hints, too, are nonverbal – they are pictures suggesting a direction one might take with the puzzle.
Unfortunately, because the hints are purely pictorial, they are either frustratingly vague or simply provide the answer outright. Several times I found myself stuck on a puzzle and wanted a nudge in the right direction, but was instead given the solution, taking away the thrill of finding the answer for myself. A revamped hint system with written clues or clues that aren’t just full pictures of the solution is likely needed for A Little to the Left.
Most of the puzzles in A Little to the Left are highly logical and can eventually be solved with some clever thinking – although there were several I stared at for quite a while or tried several arrangements before finally lighting on the correct solution. However, there are a few that come across as frustratingly irrational, occasionally breaking the player out of the otherwise relaxed, low-key vibe of the experience. The issue at the core is that organizing – and what counts as “organized” – can be deeply personal and vary greatly.
There were several times when a group of items came across as “organized” or “neatly sorted” for me, but the game simply didn’t accept them as a solution. (Puzzles about hanging pictures were particularly bad – I tend to like everything hung straight, but some required creative angles or tilts to solve the level). Again, while this issue is largely mitigated by the “Let it Be” function allowing you to skip any puzzle at any time, these few instances did leave me feeling frustrated rather than relaxed and irritated rather than calm.
Overall, though, A Little to the Left is a highly effective “cozy puzzler” that offers hours of relaxing, yet somehow addictive gameplay, paired with a truly pleasant, low-key aesthetic. It takes the simple act of tidying up and turns it into something genuinely fun. Fans of logic puzzles, games with calm atmospheres, and the kind of images you might find on r/oddlysatisfying, will absolutely love this one. As Mary Poppins once said, “a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down”, and I think that A Little to the Left perfectly embodies that philosophy.
Kate played A Little to the Left on PC via Steam with a review code. A Little to the Left is also available on Nintendo Switch.