Quote: “Welcome to the quaint and beautiful point and click adventure game, The Little Acre”
It’s currently the season to be jolly, and if you’re a gamer who doesn’t go out and impulsively buy every little thing that they see but instead spends most of their money on rent, electricity bills (damn you PlayStation 4) and magic beans for that sweet ass beanstalk your gonna grow, then you’ve probably been holding off on buying that new game you desperately want so that one of your lovely friends or family members can buy it and see your reaction when you open it up on Christmas day and find out that it’s in the wrong format…
Christmas is a time when billions of us around the globe fork over a truck load of cash to companies like Activision and EA Sports so that they their executives can keep swimming in lobster and we get another Call of Duty next year which is almost identical to the last one but this time there’s a new game mode where rather than winning the game by killing people, the objective is to just go on microphone and troll people.
In all seriousness though, it is easy for an indie title to get missed on the run up to Christmas and to some degree is the case with The Little Acre, the new point and click adventure game from developers Pewter Games which was released on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on November 22nd 2016. I’ve not really seen a massive amount of hype for this particular game, which is slightly disheartening as when I did manage to find it in the wasteland of COD and FIFA games, I was actually pretty excited to play it.
The Little Acre is set in 1950’s rural Ireland in a little acre of land owned by a close knit Irish family. The game starts off quite quaintly, with a very slow and steady pace, by introducing us to Aidan, an out-of-work engineer who is trying to make breakfast and not wake up his young daughter Lily, a very young and adventurous young woman who wants to become a sword fighting adventuring fairy-knight.
During your mission to make breakfast, you’ll come across a series of puzzles and events that will transport Aidan and Lily to a mysterious world, connected to their own and begin to unravel the mysteries of this new land along with several other key plots such as, where Aiden’s father has disappeared to, how to escape this new and strange world, and why do they have a machine that can teleport them to a different dimension in their garden shed.
Whilst the story is enjoyable, it’s a bit short lived and comes and goes very quickly. The game does a generally great job of opening up and setting the tone of the gameplay, but then tries to rush through as much as it possibly can to come to a conclusion. I’d like to see a bit more character development, a bit more information on what’s actually happening and some background on who’s who and why I should care about them.
It’s a bit disappointing when you find out that the game doesn’t really offer up any form of challenge in the way of puzzles. Most of these will be fairly straightforward and require a pretty basic amount of common sense to solve and whilst the game does have a lot of emphasis on interactivity of items and not just wandering around trying to use a spanner on a dog, it’s significantly easier than I was expecting it to be which is a bit of a shame from a point and click adventure game.
That being said though, it’s quite noticeable that the games puzzle system are more targeted towards a younger audience, and whilst visually it’ll appear to an older generation for nostalgic graphical purposes, the game is actively trying to get a younger generation of gamers into a genre which will more or less feel new to them, because other than in past couple of years, we’ve not really seen a lot of point and click adventure games for some time now.
If you do, somehow, manage to get confused and lost then you can use a hint function within the game to give yourself a little bit of a spoiler. A nice feature is that this doesn’t just tell you the answer right away, so it will give you a little bit of information first, usually in the form of a riddle or a question of some sorts, and if you’re still stuck you can reveal more and more of what you need to do to accomplish your goal until the game says to you “Go and jam that god damn pipe wrench into the door you idiot!”
Whilst most point and click adventure games are typically short, The Little Acre can be a bit shorter than what you’d expect, with some fans claiming that they’ve sped through it in less than an hour. Typically though, without rushing through the game to try and get your hands on the trophies, you’d expect to see at least a couple of hours worth of content, and whilst the game can be short lived, it’s a generally enjoyable experience.
Visually, the game is… well beautiful. Right from the very beginning, you can see that the level of detail and attention in The Little Acre is just huge and the game is just down right amazing. The art style is reminiscent of a simpler time and really bodes well with the atmosphere and setting of the game and after doing some digging I found out that each animation slide has been hand drawn, frame by frame, which doesn’t surprise me as visually it’s a very sketchy, very artsy and very detailed level of graphics which does very well to compliment the general tone of the game. Further more, all the backgrounds, characters, items, animations, everything about this game is designed with a huge level of detail and the developers have spared no amount of time making this game look as good as it can.
Now you’re probably wondering with the above comment if the animation of the game also works well or if it’s a little jerky, and whilst I can say that from time to time you may experience a little jerkiness, the majority of the game runs smooth with some lovely animation and movement. Typically, most scenes and scenarios will run seamlessly and you’ll never really notice anything bad.
Sound wise, I have no complaints. The music can be a little repetitive but that’s pretty much what you’d expect to find in a point and click adventure game, so I really can’t pass judgement on that at all, however the games background music typically demonstrates the atmosphere within the game at that moment in time and compliments the general tone of the era. The character voices are all crystal clear, even with the Irish accents, and you can easily tell what all the different characters are saying. Different items will, of course, make different sounds which all blend together well to really do the sound in the game some justice.
Overall, the game is pretty enjoyable and a great, albeit short lived, experience that can be enjoyed by younger and older generations. Whilst the puzzles are a tad on the easy side and the pace of the story and development is a bit off, it’s generally a good game and is both aesthetically pleasing and entertaining. As a general thought, for an initial game it has some holes that need to be filled, it’s definitely a good initial release from a development company that have a promising future ahead of them if they are able to take on board and work towards fixing the weaknesses the game holds.