Surprisingly, this new point and click adventure title from Irish indie, Pewter Games, is up against some stiff competition. The genre, long lost and relatively rare on consoles, has made a small comeback over the last few years, with titles such as Broken Age, King's Quest, and Armikrog all attempting to capture the interest of fans old and new. Can The Little Acre stand out among its peers and bring something fresh to the table?
Well, it certainly stands out visually. The art style is clearly inspired by the early days of animation, when everything was hand-drawn and perfectly imperfect – think 60s or 70s Disney movies such as Robin Hood or The Sword in the Stone. Every aspect of the art and animation appears to have been lovingly hand crafted, and it lends the game a refreshing, unique look. The animations themselves are great fun to watch as your two protagonists interact with the environments and usable objects.
Our heroes are a man named Aidan and his rambunctious daughter, Lily. The story kicks off when Aidan's father, Arthur, goes missing, and we follow the paths of both characters as they try to find him. Things quickly escalate as their search takes them to a fantastical world, where a host of strange characters help and hinder the duo. To say much more about the story would venture into spoiler territory, but it's a harmless family friendly tale, albeit one fraught with issues. Not only is it very short – there's a Trophy for completing the game in under an hour, after all – it also fails to resolve certain plot points and leaves far too much unexplained. Again, we won't spoil anything here, but we can recall several points that left us scratching our heads way more than the puzzles.
Speaking of which, The Little Acre is bafflingly easy. The lack of tricky puzzles isn't a problem in itself, but when the game is only a couple of hours long, it can make for a dissatisfying play through. We didn't feel sufficiently challenged; genre granddaddies such as Grim Fandango have taught us to expect far more obtuse scenarios. Perhaps the developer wanted to avoid falling into the trap of having difficulty for difficulty's sake. If that's the case, we feel that they went too far the other way.
At the very least, this means that The Little Acre is a great game for parents to play with their children. The short length means that it will be able to hold their attention for the duration, and they shouldn't be too stumped by the simple puzzles when they come to play it for themselves. This game sort of feels like a 'My First Point and Click Adventure Game'.
Having said that, we don't intend to belittle the hard work of Pewter Games by any means. Despite a few problems, we were still charmed by its debut effort; the art and animation is very well done, and the likeable characters are well acted. We hope to see a much meatier sequel that builds upon the world that The Little Acre begins to establish, as there is plenty of potential.
The Little Acre is an adorable point and click adventure that sadly trips up in some fundamental areas. The story leaves a lot to be desired and the easy puzzles won't pose much of a challenge to most. Genre aficionados might want to give it a try, and it's a decent family friendly title, but we can't recommend it to anyone else. The lovely art and animations aren't enough to gloss over the issues, and we're left with a game that has acres of room for improvement.