The Little Acre is a little game with a big heart. Set in the Irish countryside, this hand drawn point and click escapade is a short but sweet venture into the unknown. Aidan, widowed and father of Lily, lives with his father who has gone mysteriously missing. Suspecting he may just be tinkering in his shed, Aidan sets out into the back garden to find him. He soon discovers, to his peril, that something is very wrong. It’s down to little Lily with her fairy wings and wooden sword to come to the rescue.
While only running at just a couple of hours, The Little Acre oozes charm. The graphics are bright and clear and the animations smooth and awfully cute. Dougal the dog in particular is beautifully drawn and animated. The game has an old school feel to it. You’re searching for objects to combine and scouring the environments for clues on how to progress. Think Monkey Island style and that’s about right. The big difference, however, is in the way it has been adapted for console. There’s usually no cursor to waggle over the screen. Instead, as Aidan or Lily approach areas or objects of interest a controller button will appear on the screen. In areas with more than one item to examine or take, different buttons will appear and you will need to press whichever one is appropriate. It takes away the aggravation of a floaty cursor. The only downside is that the characters tend to walk quite slowly so if you suddenly spot something on the far side of the screen it’s a bit of a trudge to get to it.
The characters are very likeable. From poor put-upon Dougal to Aidan and his daughter, they all have something likeable about them. I do wonder, however, how Aidan managed to have such a firecracker of a daughter. She must get that from her mother as Aidan, as nice as he is, isn’t the most exciting DVD on the shelf, bless his cotton socks.
There’s some really entertaining comedy in The Little Acre and most of it comes across visually. It’s the animals that made me chuckle the most. Look out for the black cat and the trouble he gets himself into – or rather the trouble YOU get him into.
Generally the puzzles are quite logical but there is a handy hint function if you’re really stuck. There are no limits to the hints so in theory they can walk you straight through the game. If you’re hardcore, there’s actually a trophy for not using any hints. There are 28 trophies to collect and many of them come automatically with story progression. With a guide and quick fingers for the speedrun trophy, it seems like an easy platinum.
As I said earlier, it’s an extremely short game, but it’s a nice little story that while not exactly gripping, is littered with both cute and bittersweet touches. Although a child may find one or two moments a little melancholy, it is quite a childlike game. The puzzles seem more suited to younger gamers than us old fogies.
A really sweet little game that’s both colourful and amusing. It’s a real pity it’s not longer, because it would be an easy game to lose several days to.
S J Hollis Rating – 7/10
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