The Little Acre, available now on Xbox One and Steam, is a beautifully animated point and click adventure game. Created by a small indie studio over in Dublin, Ireland by the name of Pewter Games Studios along with Charles Cecil of Broken Sword fame, the tale centers around a small family living in The Little Acre, a house situated in the midst of some scenic countryside in 1950’s Ireland. Aidan is a jobless engineer living with his crazy inventor father Arthur, rambunctious young daughter Lily, and Dougal, the trusty family dog. After his father had been missing for a few days, Aiden finds a clue to his whereabouts in the form of a package received from one of Arthur’s co-workers. Using a mysterious crystal found in the package to power up one of his father’s sketchy experimental machines, Aidan finds himself transported to the enchantingly magical yet perilous world of Clonfira. Things are further complicated when his headstrong young’un Lily goes after him and ends up on her own little adventure.
Gameplay-wise, The Little Acre is very simple. Usually with point and click adventures you have a mouse pointer to move your character around to a chosen spot on the screen, but instead, all your movement is controlled with the analog stick, adding a modern console feel to a genre that is more commonly found on PC. Typical to the genre, there is no combat so to speak. You will find yourself searching the environment for key items and clues to help you progress the story further. In my opinion, The Little Acre isn’t that difficult of a game, most puzzles are easily solved and there is even a hint system, though I never had a need to use it. And as far as gameplay length goes, it shouldn’t take more than three hours to complete, there is even a speedrun achievement for completing it in under an hour. These two factors combined make The Little Acre a perfectly accessible title for all types of players, especially those of you who would love to experience the excellent narrative of a point and click adventure, but without the mind-boggling puzzles.
Since games of this genre are usually driven by narrative, I’d be remiss if I didn’t briefly mention the story. Without getting into spoilers, The Little Acre’s tale is driven by charming, memorable characters. For the most part, the adventure is a fairly lighthearted one, with only small traces of tragedy. All the dialogue in the game is fully voiced, and the voice actors doing an admirable job of bringing the characters to life. The soundtrack is quite nice, especially the orchestral-sounding theme that plays on the main title menu. It’s a shame that I never noticed how good it was until I left the game running while doing something else, as it takes a moment for it to fully kick-in. I recommend hanging around long enough to listen to it because it’s well worth it. Now let’s talk about the graphics!
Final Score: 8/10
The graphics are hand-drawn. Hand. Drawn. Those two magical words set me off every time. There is nothing I like better than to see excellent, lovingly hand-crafted graphics, whether it be in an animated feature or videogame. It adds a nice, personal touch to the creation. Much more so than computer-generated graphics ever could. I can understand why developers would prefer to use computers, though, since animating everything by hand is time-consuming work. Drawing inspiration from Don Bluth animated classics such as All Dogs Go To Heaven and An American Tail, the art of The Little Acre is a pleasure to watch in motion. I was certainly reminded of those titles as I was playing through the adventures of Aidan and Lily the first time, so I would say Pewter Games Studios has hit the mark.
So to wrap this review up nicely and put a little bow on it, The Little Acre is a gorgeously hand-drawn point and click adventure game with a wonderful soundtrack. The only drawback is the short length of the game, but to some gamers who are worried about piling more hours onto their already enormous backlogs (Edwin!), that could work out as a plus. The story and characters are both charming and light-hearted (for the most part), and the gameplay is perfectly suited for casual players. Along with a low price-point, picking up a copy of The Little Acre is a no-brainer.
*Note: A copy of the game was provided for the purposes of the review
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