Pewter Games – Curve Digital – Available now on Xbox One, PC and PS4 (version tested)
The point and click is a genre that seems to be having a resurgence of late, albeit subtly disguised in some cases, and these tend to get released episodically ala Life is Strange or The Walking Dead, as well as some classic Tim Schaffer/Lucas Arts titles getting the remaster treatment. An altogether brand new entry in to the genre however, is the charming The Little Acre. The title refers to the house where the game starts, following the adventures of Aiden and his daughter Lily, as they get caught up in the mystery of what happened to Aiden’s father. Set in rural Ireland in the 1950’s (the developers themselves hailing from Dublin), Aiden’s father is an inventor, and one of his contraptions has the ability to transport a person to a strange and colourful world, with bizarre creatures (clearly influenced by the likes of Studio Ghibli) and unusual landscapes.
Although predominantly a point and click, you actually control the characters movements with the control stick rather than clicking whichever part of the screen you wish the character to move to. Although it’s fairly simple to move the character, in some environments, when moving towards or away from the screen it can seem a bit stuttery, which is a minor gripe but an irritating one when it happens. Like most games of this kind, you need to collect certain items which will come in handy at some stage during the game. Unlike a lot of point and clicks, it’s not too difficult (the majority I’ve played have had at least one impossible puzzle, which didn’t even make sense after using a guide), as a lot of the puzzles and items are fairly straight forward and not really that tough to fathom out. If you do struggle however, there is an in-game guide that can give you hints and clues, or if you get really stuck, will just tell you what to do next.
The art style in The Little Acre is to die for. Presented in a style that harks back to 90’s cinematic animation, and if you’re not impressed, or at least feel a bit nostalgic for the era while playing this, then something’s wrong! The voice acting talent is very good, and doesn’t fall back on stereotyping, which makes a change for Irish characters, and the game has a wonderful score too which all adds to the lovely atmosphere. Broken Sword creator Charles Cecil, has had a hand in the game with an executive producer credit, so it already has generations of experience behind it. The only real issue with The Little Acre is its longevity. It didn’t seem to take very long to finish the game, and although there’s a great story, with some moving moments, it did feel like its ending came somewhat abruptly. There is a little more to it for trophy/achievement hunters, as to unlock all of those it will require at least a couple of play-throughs. It’s an entertaining and engaging game throughout and its aesthetic only adds to that. Were the game a little longer it would definitely have scored higher, but it’s still worth giving it a go if you’re a fan of the genre.