What first drew me to The Little Acre wasn’t its genre or its storyline. No, it was the game’s somewhat unique graphics, which represent a modern, high-definition take on the classic, hand-drawn adventure games of yesteryear. As we all know, visuals of that ilk are a rarity these days, in a world that values realism over everything.
For those who’ve never heard of it before — and there are sure to be many — The Little Acre is the debut effort from Dublin’s Pewter Games Studios, and it’s certainly a standout. Entirely hand-drawn, it tells the colourful tale of a young man named Aidan and his mischievous daughter, Lily. Together, the two are intertwined in a narrative that is focused on finding the whereabouts of the family’s missing elder statesman.
As we’re told, it’s been a couple of days since young Aidan’s father disappeared, and though he’s usually very busy working on inventions and other such projects, it’s unlike him to vanish for any real length of time. Clues are a rarity, too, as it seems as if he’s just disappeared into thin air. That is, until our first of two protagonists finds a strange package in the family’s mailbox, and opens it to reveal an even stranger blue crystal.
What follows is a short, puzzle-based affair, which tasks players with using old school adventure game mechanics to drive its narrative forward. This means lots of pointing and clicking, while controlling the two characters through the most basic of means. A light inventory system also aids your cause, allowing you to combine items with environmental objects, people or animals, in order to gain the desired effect.
Over the course of its two hour-long run time, The Little Acre presents a good amount of puzzles, though none of them are very difficult. A few can be somewhat abstract and will take a couple of tries to complete, but nothing is ever challenging to the point of real frustration. In fact, most would say that this is a rather easy campaign, and one that is a bit too simplistic at times.
There are some dark themes involved, as well, but the game never enters into scary or depressing territory, eschewing those things for the more lighthearted tropes of a Disney-inspired cartoon. Most of this darkness comes into play whenever the characters travel to the mysterious dimension of Clonfira; a strange and dangerous world that is only accessible through the use of crystal power. It’s there where the search for their father and grandfather takes them, but it develops into a lot more than that.
It goes without saying, but for the thirteen dollars that it costs to purchase this game, one could easily buy something with more to offer. It’s a given, after all. However, it’s not often that we see, or get to play this type of campaign, outside of Telltale’s series and the few stragglers that have attempted to capitalize on their popularity. For this reason, as well as the sheer amount of charm that the characters, visuals and rural Ireland setting give it, it’s easier to overlook The Little Acre‘s length than it otherwise would be.
If you happen to be someone who goes for achievements and trophies, then you’re likely to find extra replay value that others won’t. I say that because The Little Acre rewards those who can complete it within an hour’s time, and also features some hidden secrets that one may miss the first time around.
Now, let’s get back to the presentation.
Unlike some of its predecessors, every aspect of this point-and-click adventure is fully voiced. The cast has done a pretty impressive job, too, walking the fine line between acting in a colourful fashion and overacting to the point of cheesiness. Being a unique and sometimes comical cartoon, The Little Acre offers many opportunities for laughter, and a lot of it comes from the family dog who does his damnedest to keep the adventurous young Lily in check. Of course, she also brings a lot to the table, and when combined with the trusty canine, helps make for a very memorable and likeable duo.
With all that being said, this isn’t a game that I can tell you to buy outright, or one that I want to discourage anyone from playing. If money is tight and you’re looking for something with length and replayability, then The Little Acre may not be right for you at this time. However, anyone who’s willing to spend a bit of cash on a charming, memorable and somewhat unique experience should definitely look into doing so with this one. After all, while it may not be long, Pewter Games’ debut makes up for its lack of length with a bucket load of personality.
This review is based on the Xbox One version of the game, which we were provided with.
- Charming and memorable characters
- A genre we don't get to visit often
- Lots of nostalgia for older gamers
- Rather short
- Lacking replay value
- Simple gameplay may turn some off