One of my favourite memories from my childhood was watching Saturday morning cartoons. Scooby-Doo, Powerpuff Girls, Spongebob Squarepants; you know, the greats.
Even as I got older I was still a fan of most cartoons because of how creative and unique they could be. For someone to be able to create a world of friendly, relatable characters for everyone, not just children, to identify with is a brilliant feat in my book. The Little Acre, from Pewter Games Studios, is a brilliantly charming game that reminded me what it was like to be a kid again, discovering a new world with lovely settings and wonderful characters as well as bad guys and possible danger around every corner.
The Little Acre is a moderately short point-and-click adventure game that follows Aidan, a down on his luck widow, and Lily, his adorable and overly adventurous daughter, in 1950’s Ireland. Aidan’s father Arthur is an inventor and scientist who suddenly goes missing, and it’s up to you to keep your family together while also trying to find out what happened to Arthur. In doing so, Aidan and Lily are transported to a strange new world and must piece together the mystery of what happened to Arthur and how to get back home.
The gameplay for The Little Acre is really simple. As you walk around each room in the game, certain items will have button prompts available for you to click. Some items your character can pick up, interact with, or simply talk about. If you pick up an item, then it’ll get added to your inventory to be used later. Like with most point-and-click games you simply move your character around each scene, picking up items in order to figure out how to solve puzzles or how to progress further. For example, you need to sneak past someone, so you scare a rat into climbing inside their clothes to distract them (how else?!). In a lot of point-and-click games like Broken Age for example, you might have items in your inventory for hours before you finally figure out their purpose, but with The Little Acre most items get used up pretty quickly, making it a lot less frustrating. Most of the time, items uses are pretty obvious as well; if you pick up a mask in The Little Acre you can expect your character to put it on their face rather than use it in some ridiculous manner as with other games in this genre. George Stobbart, I’m looking at you.
Along with its simple gameplay, what will mostly likely draw people in to play The Little Acre is its graphics. The Little Acre is a beautiful game with cartoon-like graphics and a gorgeous, bright colour scheme. Aidan, Lily, and Arthur live in a quaint little cabin with simple belongings, nothing too flashy. The other world that they find themselves in is full of colourful plants, interesting creatures, as well as beautiful landscapes for the players to explore. Its graphics make The Little Acre truly unique, and definitely reminded me of my Saturday mornings as a kid, starting my day off with a good laugh.
The narrative is the other huge element of The Little Acre that is likely to draw people in. The writers did a brilliant job of making the characters believable and real. Aidan is searching for a job and trying to raise his daughter on his own while also trying to find his grandfather who’s suddenly gone missing. Lily, who is very close with her grandfather, is also distraught to find that he has gone missing but tries to remain brave. What ensues is a story that will have families laughing, crying, and trying very hard to not look like dummies when they get stuck on a difficult puzzle. It’s a great game to sit down and play with people of all ages.
With all of that being said The Little Acre did have one issue that I found problematic at certain moments in the game. The soundtrack is beautiful and perfect for the atmosphere, but often it was a lot louder than the voices and would at times muffle some of the brilliant voice acting. I eventually had to put on the subtitles to make sure I didn’t miss anything important. The only other thing that disappointed me was its length. I was able to finish the game in about two and a half hours. I was enjoying the game so much and was so sad when it was over so quickly; I could have easily played another six hours of it.
Even with its short length and minor sound issues, I still enjoyed every moment of The Little Acre. Its subtle humour, art style, and heartwarming story wrap up into one of my favourite games of the year. I recommend picking it up if you enjoy something that your entire family could play together in one or two short sessions. If you like puzzle games with a brilliant story The Little Acre could be right up your street!