The Little Acre
Gameplay 6
Graphics 8
Sound 7

The Little Acre is a charming hand-drawn point-and-click adventure with two playable characters and two very different settings. Players play as a young man named Aiden and his daughter Lily and must guide them around their home in 1950s Ireland and a strange alien world called Clonfira. However, the short duration and straightforward puzzles mean The Little Acre will be more appealing to newcomers to the genre and not so much to point-and-click adventure veterans.

Gameplay: The puzzles are logical, and the game is fun to play, but it is also very short, and the final part feels rushed.

Graphics: The hand-drawn animations are a highlight, but The Little Acre only has a few locations for players to explore.

Sound: The voice acting is decent for a small indie title, and the music is fitting but unmemorable

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The Little Acre

Developer: Pewter Games Studios | Publisher: Pewter Games Studios | Release Date: 2016 | Genre: Point & Click / Adventure / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

The Little Acre opens with a short animated introduction that shows the unfortunate fate of an inventor named Arthur in a seemingly alien world. Arthur stays behind to allow his assistant to safely return to Earth through a portal that closes behind her. However, when players are handed control, they play as Arthur’s son, Aiden, who has no idea what happened to his dad. While Aiden is worried about Arthur, he has more pressing concerns, such as not waking his daughter Lily and finding a job, which appears hard to come by in 1950s Ireland. Aiden soon realizes that something must have happened to Arthur, and while searching for him, he goes through a portal to the alien world, which is called Clonfira. With no way to return the way he came, Aiden goes off exploring, hoping to find Arthur along the way.

This happens in the first act of The Little Acre, a charming point-and-click adventure with a beautiful hand-drawn visual style. Although the genre is less popular than in its Lucasarts and Sierra heyday, there have been a few new entries, primarily by indie developers. Most of these games feel like they were made for players already familiar with the genre and don’t mind the occasional obscure puzzle. In contrast, The Little Acre feels like it was made for complete newcomers or very young players. 

Players start the game as Aiden makes his way around the small countryside cottage where he lives with his daughter Lily, father Arthur, and dog Dougal. Aiden and Lily sleep in the loft with Dougal, while Arthur has a room downstairs and a mysterious shed where he does all his tinkering. Most of the best puzzles are set in and around the cottage before Aiden ends up in Clonfira. Whereas these sections look like a typical point-and-click adventure, things change in Clonfira, where Aiden transforms into a chibified version of himself, and the perspective changes to an isometric view. Once Aiden begins his adventure in Clonfira, the game introduces the second playable character, Lily. Her adventure begins with the simple act of making breakfast, but her reckless nature and the beautiful animations make this act much more exciting than it sounds. Lily might be a small child, but she’s not lacking in bravery or ingenuity. Unlike Aiden, she can also use Dougal, and later a different animal, to help her solve some of the puzzles. 

Visually, The Little Acre is very charming, and the hand-drawn animations are definitely the game’s highlight. Everything has the feel of a classic Saturday morning cartoon, and some of the best animations belong to Dougal as he attempts to keep Lily out of harm’s way. Unfortunately, the game only has a handful of locations, but each is colorful and filled with ambient animations to make them seem more lively than they really are. Clonfira has a more muted purple and green color scheme, and while it looks alien, it lacks the charm of the Irish scenes. The animations in Clonfira are still good, though, especially the creatures that Aiden and Lily encounter. 

The Little Acre is an indie game made by a small team, but they still managed to include voice acting for all the characters. These are decent enough for what they are, but one of the characters Aiden encounters in Clonfira has one of the most grating voices we’ve heard in a while. Aiden himself sounds okay, and Lily’s voice actress puts a lot of effort into her lines, but she does sound much older than her character. Most of the soundtrack is upbeat and cheerful but not exactly memorable. Players can adjust the volume levels of the music, speech, and sound effects independently, which is always appreciated. The entire game is playable with just a mouse, and left-clicking is used for everything from moving the characters to interacting with objects. The inventory for the game is relatively small and is accessible by using the scroll wheel of the mouse. Most items can be used close to where they are found, and the puzzles are mostly very logical. The game only features a handful of hot spots on each screen, which are all clearly indicated. There is no way to turn off this feature, which might irk some veterans as it makes the game less challenging. The Little Acre even has a built-in hint system that can provide players with the solutions to puzzles if they are stuck. However, we found the game easy enough to complete without even knowing it existed until we received the Achievements for beating the game without using it. 

Overall, The Little Acre definitely feels like a short and sweet introduction to the genre for younger players. There’s no way to die or misuse items, and most puzzles can be solved on the first try. The game does have some missable achievements due to the auto-save system and single save slot. This means that completionists will have a reason to play through the game again. However, even novices should be able to finish this adventure in two or three hours, and the second playthrough can be done in less than an hour. This wouldn’t have been so bad if the last part of the game didn’t feel so rushed. The Little Acre also feels like the first act of what was supposed to be something bigger, as there’s barely time to get attached to the characters before the credits roll. There’s no denying that it was fun while it lasted, but plenty of similar titles, such as Anna’s Quest, are much longer. 

The Little Acre is worth experiencing for the beautiful animations and charming characters, but players should know that they are looking at an evening’s worth of entertainment at best. This is great for newcomers or parents who want something lighthearted to play with their children. Unfortunately, fans of point-and-click adventures looking for something substantial to give their brains a workout will have to look elsewhere.   

System Requirements

  • OS *: Windows XP SP3/Vista with SP2/7/8/8.1/10 x86 or x64
  • Processor: Intel Core2 Duo E4300 (2 * 1800) or equivalent | AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ (2 * 2600) or equivalent
  • Memory: 2048 MB RAM
  • Graphics: GeForce GT 610 (1024 MB) or equivalent | Radeon HD 6450 (512 MB) or equivalent
  • DirectX: Version 10
  • Storage: 3500 MB available space
  • OS *: Windows XP SP3/Vista with SP2/7/8/8.1/10 x86 or x64
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E7300 (2 * 2660) or equivalent | AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ (2 * 3000) or equivalent
  • Graphics: GeForce GTX 560 Ti (1024 MB) or equivalent | Radeon HD 2900 XT (1024 MB) or equivalent
  • DirectX: Version 10
  • Storage: 3500 MB available space
  • OS: OSX 10.10 Yosemite or above
  • Processor: 2.3 GHz Intel Core i7 or equivalent
  • Memory: 2048 MB RAM
  • Graphics: GeForce 9400M or equivalent
  • Storage: 3500 MB available space
  • OS: Ubuntu Linux 16.04
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-4570 @3.20 GHz
  • Memory: 2048 MB RAM
  • Storage: 3500 MB available space

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