The Little Acre Review

Richard Walker

Point-and-click adventures are enjoying something of a resurgence of late, with The Little Acre the latest in a line of adventure games (mostly) made in the time-honoured, traditional style. And The Little Acre is a game that acts as a welcome reminder of why point-and-click adventures deserve a place among all of the loud and proud shooters, racers and sprawling open-world sagas that are regularly piped into our eyeballs. Every now and then, you just want to slow down a little and engage your brain for an hour or two. The Little Acre is just the ticket.

Not the most complicated of point-and-click adventures, The Little Acre is nonetheless a game that requires some smart lateral thinking to solve its puzzles, which range from simple conundrums to slightly more challenging fare. You're never likely to find yourself getting genuinely stuck in The Little Acre, but if you do, a helpful hint is never far away. And with Broken Sword maestro Charles Cecil on board as Executive Producer, this animated tale isn't a million miles away from the classic adventures of the 90s, albeit one that has its own style and flavour.

An endearing hand-animated yarn, The Little Acre casts you as Aidan; single father to the rough and tumble Lily. In a bid to find Aidan's father (Lily's granddad, obviously), the pair end up in the fantasy world of Clonfira, where they're transformed into squat, adorably cutesy versions of themselves. Clonfira is a place filled with bizarre creatures and strange, otherworldly architecture; you can see why Irish developer Pewter Games cites 80s movie classics like Labyrinth and The Neverending Story as influences.

From real world puzzles, like sneaking out of your bedroom, taking care to avoid waking Lily, to dealing with various fantastical threats in Clonfira, The Little Acre keeps things fairly varied throughout its rather lean runtime. Puzzles possess a clear logic too, so even when it might not seem like there's a clear solution, you'll eventually discover that there is. On consoles, The Little Acre is also incredibly slick, its interface elegantly tailored to ensure the controls are completely headache-free, with all of its various points of interests highlighted as face buttons.

The Little Acre is wonderfully charming, packed chock-full of character and personality, while its puzzles are neat and well-thought out. But the game is not without its flaws. For starters, the animation, while clearly lovingly hand-drawn in a style that riffs upon vintage Disney or the animation of Don Bluth, can occasionally appear a tad scrappy at times. The game is also a little too short, with a single playthrough lasting barely two hours. Heck, there's an achievement for speed-running through it in one hour or less, so by its own admission, The Little Acre is rather brief.

Also, the story resolves itself far too quickly, wrapping things up in a few short minutes just as you feel like it's starting to hits its stride. When the rest of the game is quite well-paced, the concluding moments seem rushed and far too eager to roll the credits. To go into details would spoil the ending, but suffice it to say, it feels like short shrift after such a fun and involving adventure. Some characters are just briefly introduced and then dispensed with after a few short scenes. Revisiting them for a longer, more substantial sequel would be a nice idea.

That I'd want a sequel to The Little Acre at all tells you all you need to know about Pewter's sophomore adventure. I greatly enjoyed everything that the game had to throw at me, but was left wanting more. A wonderfully cheerful, well crafted and fun adventure, The Little Acre is great while it lasts, which is unfortunately, not very long. Still, if it's an inviting, short yet sweet adventure you seek, The Little Acre is it.

The Little Acre

A clear labour of love, The Little Acre is an endearing and enjoyable adventure game whose main crime is being an all too brief experience that fails to provide a satisfying ending. Overlook these quibbles, however, and you'll find it hard not to relish your stay in The Little Acre's magical world.

Form widget
70%
Audio
70%

There's some nice jaunty music to enjoy and the voice acting is fittingly enthusiastic. Some of the voice work can be a bit flat in some instances, however.

Visuals
75%

Static screenshots don't really do The Little Acre's colourful animation justice. It's nigh-on impossible not to be charmed by the cast of characters and the vibrant world they inhabit.

Playability
70%

Uncomplicated and perfectly straightforward, The Little Acre is never going to really set your brain cogs whirring vigorously. But there are still some fine puzzles in here and it's a cinch to play.

Delivery
70%

Clocking in at one or two hours, The Little Acre isn't the longest game in the world, but it is entertaining while it lasts. Complete it once at a leisurely pace then go for the speedrun. Some bonus material might have been nice, but alas, there's none.

Achievements
80%

A good, solid achievement list that rewards multiple playthroughs. There are some clever ones in here with a smattering of neat references too.

Game navigation