The Little Acre is an adventure story from Pewter Games Studios, and while it might look like a run-of-the-mill point and click adventure, it’s got a fantastic charm that sets it apart from much of the competition.
You awake controlling Aiden. Waking from his slumber, he realises his daughter Lily is fast asleep. As any father will know, there’s a charm to keeping your children asleep just a little while longer, so naturally you’ll want to get changed and downstairs as quietly as possible. Straight away the point and click properties come into play as you have to select an item to interact with it, or pick up. Then hitting the Y button to open your inventory you can combine items to perform further tasks.
It’s very much paint by numbers (or point by numbers considering the genre) and while it’s all been done before, there’s a definite charm with the Little Acre.
Firstly the relationship with Aiden and Lily is fantastic, funny and very typical, as a father you can tell Aiden tries his best, then from Lily’s perspective you see the opinion of Aiden’s actions from a child’s view, There were many times when the relationship between Father and Daughter reminded me very much of my own parenting, although not quite as clumsy, and I can’t recall either of my children setting the kitchen on fire… Wait, let me just check the toaster…
Aiden’s father has gone missing, and only a strange generator seems to hold any clue. Wandering around these early stages, you’ll venture in and around the house which is a limited area, but also a fantastic introduction to the variety, and at times simplicity of the puzzles ahead. Sometimes it’s just a case of search and locate; others require taking a step back to think about things, but it’s all very well done and presented beautifully.
As you progress, the story evolves into a pretty deep adventure, spanning an alternate dimension and unfolding the mystery of Aiden’s lost father. Who is actually biting the rope on the cupboard, and how on earth does Lily get changed and try to set the kitchen on fire in one swoop?
The whole story is very well written, and while it feels like Pewter games are only touching the surface, it does make us stand up and take notice of the developers in anticipation of what else is to come.
Graphically that sweet hand-drawn animation ticks all the boxes, it’s nothing short of beautiful, and while the character size adjustments walking from the foreground to the background don’t always seem very accurate, there’s otherwise very little to complain about. Locations, characters and puzzles are all highlighted perfectly without making anything too obvious, however by using small visual clues and markers it stops you dragging the cursor around the screen in the hope you can tap and interact with a hidden object.
Sometimes this does seem to detract from the difficulty, but there’s definitely enough of a game to please both adults and younger gamers; all of which is helped along by some fantastic voice acting. The presentation is on par with the very best while keeping the cutesy look and accessible controls.
The second dimension also offers a distinct isometric view which keeps things interesting and changes the approach slightly. It’s done well enough that it’s hard to choose between which view is preferred over the other, even though both are done well enough that they feel different and equally as intriguing.
With a story that’s as involving as it is engrossing, you’re not going to want to put this one down. Point and click adventures aren’t as common these days, and while I preferred the humour of Her Majesty’s Spiffing (released last week); the Irish have come out on top with HM Spiffing (Northern Ireland) and The Little Acre (Republic of Ireland) making two of the first Xbox One games developed in Ireland to be two of the best. It’s just a shame they came out so close to each other because both deserve a place in your collection.
While The Little Acre certainly aims more towards traditional point and click, its portrayal of the genre is second to none, and from the graphical fluidity to the well voiced characters and atmospheric excellence, The Little Acre just pips it by having a longer story.
Outside of these two titles, there’s very little competition of late, so The Little Acre is the top dog for now, providing a great game for all of the family to enjoy and sitting around the £10 mark, there’s no excuse for not getting The Little Acre.