It’s hard to say anything negative about The Little Acre. As mentioned in our preview, the game is absolutely oozing with charm. The experience is one that you just know you’ll enjoy from the start. As you progress in the game, you find that those initial impressions were correct, and you have a great time with it. However, once it’s over, there’s a chance you’ll be second-guessing those first feelings.
To call The Little Acre a bad game is just ludicrous. It does plenty of things right, and absolutely nails the point and click adventure. Puzzles aren’t too easy, but don’t make you think too hard for the solution. Each one makes sense within the plot, never feeling out of place. Your inventory is consistently small, so you don’t have to dig through loads of items to try and use. These qualities, on top of the in-game hint system, make it open and accessible to players of all ages. Have confidence in Pewter Games—they know what they're doing. But above all, The Little Acre still feels like an adventure. Traveling to another world, encountering strange creatures, using new technology, defying death, all hallmarks of a proper odyssey.
On top of that, The Little Acre’s hand-drawn visuals are top-notch. Taking clear inspiration from Don Bluth and Hayao Miyazaki, the art direction is the strongest part of the game. Each character has a unique look, including the ways in which they emote. Even the hazmat suit guy has a distinct animation. For the most part, it feels like the kind of quality you’d get in a feature-length film. However, towards the end, the cutscenes can get a bit jumpy, likely from missing frames. This can be a bit off-putting, given the smoothness earlier in the game, but it’s really a minor issue. Compared to the 3D rendered visuals of other adventure games, The Little Acre stands out strong.
The voice acting is also well done. Kate Clavin gives a spectacular performance as Lily, perfectly capturing her childlike wonder and headstrong personality. Seán Carey as Merr is also a treat to listen to, being the right amount of silly and menacing. Steve Gregan's soundtrack is also a great listen, being both atmospheric and appropriate to the current mood. While it sometimes blends into the background, it always feels natural, being just the right sounds for the plot.
The Little Acre’s story draws you in from the start. You play as both Aidan and his daughter Lily, who are transported to the alien world of Clonfira, hunting for clues to the whereabouts of Aidan’s father, Arthur. The cast of characters is small, which makes each of them memorable—including cats and long-tongued swamp monsters. However, the main villain feels particularly underdeveloped. His motivations aren’t really explored, and what is explained about him doesn’t make a lot of sense. This is a stark contrast to Aidan and Lily, who are both fairly well established in the opening act of The Little Acre. As a result, their adversary seems evil just for the sake of being evil.
After a second playthrough, it felt like some narrative elements were cut from being properly developed. The fate of Arthur, the reason the plot even exists, is resolved unceremoniously then dropped for a new plot point. What happened to the inhabitants of Clonfira is relegated to a passing comment, despite it holding motivation for the villain. Explanations for how the technology worked was waved off as “it’s complicated.” A major character, Nina, feels introduced just to transition the plot from Arthur's disappearance to getting back from Clonfira, being rather underutilized. She just appears, helps for a moment, and is only heard from once more after that.
The Little Acre’s biggest flaw is that it’s tragically short. I finished it in a little under three hours total, but there’s a trophy available for beating the game in under an hour. For a narrative-driven game, let alone a point and click adventure, this isn’t good. On top of that, the finale is largely unsatisfying, just coming to an end with little closure. There’s a small post-credits scene that leaves things open for a sequel, but nothing more. There was a lingering curiosity as to what exactly happened, and what it all meant for Aidan and Lily's respective futures.
This is where things get complicated. The Little Acre does so much right, for the time it’s given to do it. But once it’s finished, you find yourself wondering if you really liked the game in the first place. Is this short experience worth it? Honestly, it is. For everything that it could have done better, it still manages to do lots of things right. This is a point and click adventure that has studied the classics and mastered the art. While the second half of the story is disappointing, the gameplay and the gorgeous visuals more than make up for it. Perhaps some players will take comfort in knowing that it isn't so long, making it easier to replay. All that said, your time won't be wasted in taking a trip to The Little Acre and beyond.
The Little Acre was reviewed on PlayStation 4 with a code provided by the developer. It is also available on Xbox One and PC (Affiliate) via Steam.
The Little Acre is criminally short for a point and click adventure. However, the charm of the story and the gorgeous animation work make it worth the time to visit.(Review Policy)
- Top-Quality Animation
- Great Voice Acting and Music
- Puzzles Are Fair and Accessible
- Way Too Short, Can Be Finished In An Hour
- The ending Feels Abrupt