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The Little Acre is a point and click adventure/puzzle game akin to Monkey Island or Full Throttle. It was developed by Irish developer Pewter Games Studios, published by Curve Digital, and originally released on Xbox One, PS4, and Steam in December 2016. This game just got added to Xbox Game Pass on January 7th, 2021 and when I saw it in the newly added section, it caught my eye. I love experiencing a game that I have never heard of as it provides a unique opportunity that allows you to experience the game in its purest form. Some of my favorite gaming experiences from my childhood involve the games mentioned earlier, Monkey Island and Full Throttle, as they oozed humor, engaging storylines, emotions, and quirky puzzles that are everything but straightforward.
My first impression of the Little Acre really brought me back to those amazing games, and I was looking forward to experiencing the adventure ahead of me. This type of game is inherently tough to discuss because the joy of the game is solving the puzzles, and if the puzzles are spoiled, it becomes just clicking. So this review will be as spoiler-free as possible while still discussing what I liked about the game, but there may be some slight story spoilers mentioned.
The game’s main storyline starts off with the main character Aiden needing to find his missing father, and the puzzles begin immediately. Aiden wakes up in his bed and needs to recover his clothing without waking up his daughter Lily. A seemingly simple task, but anyone familiar with this type of game will know that you will have to examine your surroundings, find objects you can use, and use them in unconventional ways. Aiden receives some clues about his father’s whereabouts in a mysterious mail package, and that starts his investigation into where his father went.
In The Little Acre you get to control both Aiden and Lily in their own adventure. Aiden searches for his father, and then when Lily wakes up she needs to search for Aiden. Both characters travel through mostly the same areas, but seeing how they interact with them, makes for a unique way to play through the game. Aiden later learns that his father has teleported to a mysterious land called Clonfira. It’s an alien looking world with large plants, swamps, cliffs, and ruins. On Clonfira, Aiden meets its sole resident: a bluish-green alien named Merr who requests Aiden’s help in fixing the machines in Clonfira’s ruins.
The characters in the game have their own quirks but are generally fairly flat when it comes to their personalities. Aiden and Lily are seemingly fine with their circumstances and the fact that they’ve travel to a completely different world. Dougal is the most expressive of all the characters and acts as a friend to Aiden, and guardian to Lily. When Lily is exploring the house, Dougal has some very comedic reactions to her almost breaking things and causing havoc. Dougal was named after a real dog and shown in the credits as well, this is a nice honor from the developers.
Visually The Little Acre is beautiful. The backgrounds and scenes are all hand-drawn, and the characters are also very unique and have a lot of personality in their looks. The game features four main environments: the family’s house, the dam, Clonfira swamps, and the ruins of Clonfira. Each area has its own theme and feel. The swamp areas of Clonfira are natural and organic with critters running around. Aiden’s house is lived in and cluttered just as one would expect when there’s an inventor and little girl living there.
The soundtrack is well-crafted and matches the moods of the areas themselves. The swamps for example have a dark and ominous vibe. The music ebbs and flows as tension builds, and carries the player and characters through the highs and lows of the storyline.
Technically the game ran well. I played the game on the Xbox Series X so load times between areas were minimal and helped to keep the flow the game going. One thing that can really ruin a game in this genre is long loading times, especially when some backtracking is required to collect items and solve puzzles.
Little Acre is a very short game. My playthrough was right around two hours and I feel like that’s where most people will land with it. The only reason that a second playthrough would be necessary would be to complete all of the game’s achievements. Most of the achievements are the standard “complete this chapter” type, but there are some that are easily missed if you aren’t playing with a completion guide. At a $12.99 MSRP I feel the game is a little pricey for the experience, but on the other I do appreciate a game that’s a nice little package, and can be played through in one sitting. If the price is unattractive, Little Acre is available on Xbox Game Pass which is how I played it, and I’m quite happy that I did. For about the same price and time commitment as a movie, the game is enjoyable if you’re a fan of the point-and-click adventure genre.