This year's Unpacking-like is called A Little to the Left

A Little to the Left
(Image credit: Max Inferno)

I am a decidedly untidy person. I'm not gross, I just like a little mess. Too much organisation and tidiness makes my mind go blank. I need the little visual distractions so I can feel at home, even if I can't find my keys for a good five minutes every time I need to leave the house. But when it comes to A Little to the Left, I love putting everything just right even if my cat might decide those pencils look better on the floor. 

If you're a fan of 2021's Unpacking, I've got the perfect chaser for you. A Little to the Left is a delightful little game about organisation. Unlike Unpacking, the puzzle isn't so much about placing things on the right shelf or in the right cupboard, it's more about ordering them on the shelf instead. It's just as satisfying to rotate a can or rearrange some books and the game is a great way to observe how exactly your brain perceives patterns. 

A Little to the Left has dozens of levels. Some are about observing symmetry between items while others are about colour coordination or patterns. You're given a little mess to clean up and there will be a correct way to reorganise the objects on screen into a position that is satisfying to you. Some of these levels have one solution while others have several.

(Image credit: Max Inferno / Secret Mode)

Here's an example. You're given five pencils and three possible ways to organise them. At first I decided to put them in order of lead length, longest first. The second organisation method was about the pencils' rubber length and the final was placing them in a rainbow order instead. Depending on who you are you may decide that the rainbow was the first and most obvious choice for how you'd place these pencils together. Sometimes one solution to the organisation is obvious as soon as you see the objects, other times it's really difficult if your brain just isn't seeing things as it should. 

With tinkling sound bites to confirm you're on the right track, muted pastel washes of colour and the occasional cat paw invading your screen, A Little to the Left's aesthetic calms as your brain is teased. Though roughly 80% of the answers felt obvious after a second or two of gazing at the screen, that 20% would occasionally stump me. Sometimes I was already on the right track but didn't know where to start, or sometimes I was completely unaware of what I should be trying to align. But no matter, as A Little to the Left's hint system is just as charming as the rest of the game. 

(Image credit: Max Inferno / Secret Mode)

Rather than clicking a hint and being told what to do next, you're given a sheet of white paper with the answer concealed behind some vicious scribbles. With your rubber you can mouse over the scribbles to be shown as much or as little of the solution as you like. Just one swipe is often adequate to give your brain enough context to know what to achieve with the mess and then off you go once again to solve a little conundrum. 

A Little to the Left isn't a long game at all, you can get through all the levels in two or three hours, as I did one evening, and come away deeply content with feeling like you've achieved something. It also contains a daily puzzle where you can come back to the game every 24 hrs to play a new level to set your organisation compulsion at ease. It may even inspire me to keep my desk a little tidier. Okay, maybe not, but a girl can dream can't she? 

Imogen has been playing games for as long as she can remember but finally decided games were her passion when she got her hands on Portal 2. Ever since then she’s bounced between hero shooters, RPGs, and indies looking for her next fixation, searching for great puzzles or a sniper build to master. When she’s not working for PC Gamer, she’s entertaining her community live on Twitch, hosting an event like GDC, or in a field shooting her Olympic recurve bow.