Review: Little Misfortune

Developer: Killmonday Games

Publisher: Killmonday Games

Release: 18 September 2019


With Fran Bow as a predecessor, Killmonday’s 2019 adventure game ‘Little Misfortune’ had big shoes to fill, especially when the titular character is such a little lady afterall. Unlike the traditional point and click feel of Fran Bow however, Little Misfortune is more like a visual novel or a narrative adventure. Whilst that might sound a little disappointing to those wanting more puzzle and gameplay elements, believe me when I say Little Misfortune will have you laughing and crying in equal measure.

Arguably, the best game characters are the ones you relate to, and I have to say on the face of it I had no problem relating to the pint sized, potty-mouthed, slightly barmy little malcontent that is Misfortune.. The whole game revolves around this small little lady with a seemingly limitless ability to manifest mishaps, and I couldn’t get enough. Appearances aside though, although she looks adorable and the artstyle looks quaint and cute, you are very much being led into a false sense of security my friend.

With sunlight beaming through the windows of a typical children’s bedroom, we meet Misfortune Ramirez Hernandez as she’s playing with some dolls. There are some cute toys around, and she’s even got a cute little pillow fort going on under her bed. As you take a closer look however you’ll begin to discover not everything is sunshine and glitter in her world, though admittedly a lot of it is probably glitter. She really likes glitter,because if she finds something upsetting or depressing she can always cover it in sparkles. Happiness to coping mechanisms!

Firstly let’s just get this out of the way, she’s called Misfortune. It’s not an endearing nickname. I’ve seen some pretty questionable names in my time (looking at you, Chardonnay) but her parents straight up called their bouncing baby Misfortune. 

At the start of the game you’ll be introduced not only to the little lady herself but also to the talking voice in her head that we know as the narrator and she calls ‘Mister Voice’. He’s a new development, a kindly voice that promises Misfortune eternal happiness if she can finish his game. Alarm bells are probably ringing and you’ll be looking around for a psychopath on a tricycle, but Misfortune doesn’t have those concerns, and Eternal Happiness sounds like something her mommy would like after all…

Guided by Mister Voice, Misfortune will show you around her house, where you’ll learn all about the things she’s been through. She’ll tell you with a shrug and a smile that her parents wanted an abortion but it was illegal, she’ll tell you about how Bubsy the bear keeps her safe when Mommy and Daddy start yelling, and she’ll explain how she got her beloved pet rock Stony, when her dad threw it at her head. She kept the rock, now stained with her blood, as a valued companion. Strap in folks, because you’re in for a ride.This game is designed, much like its predecessor before it, to take you out of your comfort zone ever so slightly, and keep you there.

The controls are simple and limited in this narrative adventure
Stony, the rock

What I appreciated about Little Misfortune right from the start was that it is unapologetically itself. It pulls no punches and it holds nothing back. It consistently skirts around the hypothetical line of what is acceptable and what will make you downright uncomfortable at times. They push this even further because they want you to keep in mind that your character, Misfortune, is a young child. At 8 years old she doesn’t understand some of the situations we’ll come across in the game that put us on edge. To really drive this point home, when it seems like she does understand the gravity of what she’s faced with, her responses are often just out of sync enough to keep you feeling uncomfortable. When faced with a dead body, instead of recoiling in horror or breaking down in tears, she compliments his boots.Yes the boots were lovely, but it isn’t the kind of response you’d really expect from an 8 year old is it? The most heartbreaking thing of all though is that despite the awful things she’s seen, she still maintains her childish optimism. She just wants to spread happiness, and when she comes across an upsetting situation in the game she will shower it in glitter shouting “Happiness!” because to her, a bit of glitter can fix anything.

 As I mentioned before, this game is more of a narrative adventure than a point and click. The story is forefront in this game, and your gameplay is mostly limited to moving left or right or clicking on specific items identified with an icon to get a closer look. Although it doesn’t have traditional puzzles there are some mini-games that break up what could otherwise be a tedious play-session. You might be sticking pot-shards back together, having a dance off against a raunchy hamster, or digging up a pet graveyard with a small shovel.The mini-games are fun, simple, and compared to some other games, they actually relate and add context to the story. 

 Whilst the story and circumstances of the story can be very dark, you’re also served a whopping great helping of comedic relief along the way. It might be the little catchphrases Misfortune comes up with (Yikes forever!) or it might be little observations or scenarios. Speaking about voices, whilst a lot of narrative story games don’t feature voice acted characters, Little Misfortune does, and they are fantastic. Misfortune herself has a sweet voice with a heavy accent and a whole array of catchphrases. Mister Voice on the other hand has a slightly British accent and is very good at portraying both a caring and nurturing attitude, but also the frustration and aggravation he feels when Misfortune ignores his instructions.

 Something you’ll also be given are choices. These, like the mini-puzzles, aren’t all that frequent, but they are impactful. What you decide does generally make a difference and I played the game again just to see what would happen if I picked other options. These aren’t choices that will make or break the game for you, you usually have one of two options, but your answer can determine if you can interact with a certain character or not, and if you experience one area of another. A choice I made right at the beginning of the game played into my story close to the end, and I really appreciated that, albeit in a small way, my choice did dictate my experience through the game.

 The ending of the game I felt was wrapped up really well. My questions were answered and there were revelations that I didn’t expect but, looking back, I can see hints for. For a game so funny the ending was surprisingly emotional. I’d love to see a sequel of what happens following the events of this, I’d love her story to continue, but I’m also happy for it to end where this game does. The game left me wanting more, but not needing it.

  Although I personally really enjoyed the dark humour of the game, I can imagine that it isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. Some of the situations can feel like they’re gratuitously macabre for no real reason and whilst that might be too much for some, I really enjoyed it. At only 3 hours long it is a short game, but I do find replayability in it to see what other choices lead to, but also just to enjoy the voices and the atmosphere of the game again. 

 If you’re looking for games with more mechanics and puzzles this probably isn’t the game for you, similarly if you’re not really a fan of dark humour this probably cuts it too close to the mark for you and you might some scenes in the game gratuitously dark for the sake of it. 

For fans of narrative adventures though, those who appreciate some dark humour, and stories that push you outside of your comfort zone, this is a solid choice with some replayability to see how different choices play out.

4 thoughts on “Review: Little Misfortune

  1. boomkinburger
    boomkinburger says:

    Love this review! This game probably isn’t for me but I’m going to share it with my wife because it’s definitely up her alley. Thank you, Bex! 🙂

  2. Avatar
    Traion says:

    “I had no problem relating to the pint sized, potty-mouthed, slightly barmy little malcontent that is Misfortune.” This sentence made me giggle.
    Well written and funny throughout, just like it sounds the game is

  3. Thefatkid145
    Thefatkid145 says:

    Hope we get more little reviews like this 🙂 Great way to spread the word on some great little indies that might not be on the channel otherwise.

  4. Avatar
    Cara1977 says:

    Beautifully written, Bex. You revealed enough to intrigue but kept more than enough aside to peak my interest. The price point may decide whether I pick this up on Steam. Keep it up, Girl.

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