A Little to the Left, pure organization ASMR, is a perfect fit for Game Pass

A Little to the Left, pure organization ASMR, is a perfect fit for Game Pass

Cozy organizational influencers are exhausting. Their posts depict a fantasy world where people can spend hours per day placing objects in drawers or labeling mason jars. Yet I can’t stop watching their videos when they show up on my feeds. There’s something satisfying about putting things in their correct place. Plus, the acoustics are excellent. I’m particularly fond of the little taps objects make when you place them on a hard surface, and the sound of drawers closing. I don’t know what it is; it’s just pleasing to my brain.

That doesn’t mean I’m going to do what the influencers want me to do. Do I need multiple plastic containers for utensils? What about a dozen mason jars to clog up my pantry? I’m not spending hundreds of dollars on Amazon or Temu. Thankfully, A Little to the Left, now on Xbox Game Pass, takes the sensation of watching people stack pencils or sort tape on Instagram and puts it in your hands — albeit without forcing you to dedicate your life to it.

I first checked out A Little to the Left back at Summer Game Fest in 2022, where a very short demo was available for media. Thankfully, it was extremely easy to hop into the demo, since the concept and controls are so simple. Each level gives you a small organization puzzle to solve, and once you’re done, it’ll move you on to the next. Each puzzle usually only takes a few minutes to complete, although some can take longer if there are multiple organization solutions you want to discover.

The game doesn’t give you a ton of direction as you go; rather, it trusts you to look at the objects in front of you and figure out how to best sort them. (We’ve all done some degree of organizing, right? We know what works.) The most basic puzzles involve sorting books by color or jars by size, although others can get more complicated. Some of the more frustrating puzzles involve arranging pieces of paper so that the lines on them connect, or trying to deduce a pattern that connects the objects on screen. In one particularly difficult puzzle, you have to organize your calendar by figuring out what the marked days have in common and fill out the rest.

A cat paw coming from off-screen looking to mess up your neat place setting, with a plate, fork, and knife on a placemat. Image: Max Inferno/Secret Mode via Polygon

Sometimes you even have to deal with your cat swatting at your workspace, pushing these objects onto the floor and ruining everything. Doing this much organizing might not be realistic, but a cat knocking your stuff around definitely is.

There are various organizational strategies to keep in mind and discover as you play A Little to the Left, which prevents the game from becoming stagnant. The solutions to each level might seem obvious, but what works for you might not work for the game. There were a few times when I would try to stack something by size, only to find that the game wanted me to sort by a pattern I hadn’t discovered. Those moments can be frustrating, but for the most part, the game seems to go with what most people would do in similar situations. And if you get stuck, you can use a hint to reveal parts of the solution (or the entire one if you’re really stuck). The game doesn’t score you beyond acknowledging that you completed levels, so you can skip puzzles or use the hints freely and not be penalized.

There’s not much more to A Little to the Left’s gameplay than that, and yet, it doesn’t get too repetitive. It probably helps that each level is short, and you can play for however long you want, whether it’s just a few minutes or a couple hours. This makes it an excellent Xbox Game Pass title, since you can now play on your phone during some downtime. There’s also a different quick level each day, which is a great addition that suits the game’s more casual nature, and will probably entice even more players to log in through the cloud on their phones.

A stamps puzzle in A Little to the Left. There are two envelopes — one yellow and one beige — and there are a bunch of stamps scattered around it. Image: Max Inferno/Secret Mode via Polygon

However, the main draw of A Little to the Left is its aesthetic, like an art gallery exhibit come to life. Each level brings you super close to the objects you have to organize, so there’s not much in the way of environmental design besides different colored backgrounds. But each object is painted out with colorful care, in a way that I can only describe as delightfully fuzzy. Combined with some upbeat, soothing music and great sound design that captures the tapping of small objects, A Little to the Left really feels like Instagram aesthetic ASMR.

I have found I’ve been going on Instagram a lot less these days, and I’m not sure if it’s because of the constant ads for Threads or the commodification of comfort that has me feeling cynical (probably both). A Little to the Left doesn’t completely replicate that feeling, but it gets pretty close. It’s a simple game that works to capture how satisfying organizing can feel, whether you like putting things in the correct order or just like the tiny sounds. And it does all of that without tempting you to spend too much money on Amazon, which is always a win.