The Little Acre Review
A bond between father and daughter is something rather special. A bond between child and dog is also quite unique. Pewter Games’ The Little Acre shows us the true meaning of the relationship between parent, child and dog, as it sends us on a humorous, heart-warming journey to find a father missing between two worlds.
The first thing you notice upon loading up the game is the beautiful and lovingly-crafted hand drawn animation, inspired by classic animated films like The Land Before Time, An American Tail, and All Dogs Go To Heaven, to name a few. These are unmistakeably films by Don Bluth – who was also responsible for the 1983 animated LaserDisc game Dragon’s Lair. It’s a visual style that never loses its appeal throughout. From the rural fields of 1950’s Ireland to the mysterious, unsettling world of Clonfira, it’s always pleasant to stare at.
At its core, The Little Acre is a point and click adventure, although there isn’t much pointing and clicking. It’s more of an interactive animated film; what puzzles there are aren’t difficult, with solutions to most of them dangling like a carrot on a stick in front of your face.
The only real challenge is offered by puzzles that force you to click an object in a short space of time – which would be much easier with a mouse, as using the stick to move the cursor just feels too slow. It might be a limitation of the console, but point and click has been done much better elsewhere on consoles and this just feels like a hangover from a lazy PC port, which is a shame.
The story is where The Little Acre really hits home. Playing as two characters, Aidan and Lily, you alternate between father (Aidan) and Lily (child). Aidan is a man trying to look for his inventive father, a man who has left behind strange contraptions as the only lead to his whereabouts. Aidan himself disappears while on his search. Lily tale involved the search for her missing father – the now-disappeared Aidan – and is accompanied by her mutt, Dougal.
Alternating scenes between father and child is how this story plays out. It’s a clever mechanic that shows the contrast between worlds, characters and their respective ways of thinking.
The dialogue is humorous, albeit not subtle. It’s the contrast between Aidan’s interaction with objects and his thoughts, and Lily’s when she interacts with those same objects, that makes the dialogue memorable. For example, we see that Aidan has ‘child-proofed’ the house; he explains that he tied the door handles of a cabinet together to stop his daughter from rummaging through and possibly harming herself. But Lily, when she interacts with the handles, thinks her father has tied them together to stop the dog getting in. Talk about blaming it on the dog.
The Little Acre’s story moves along at a fair pace, engaging you at every turn. With two viewpoints and well-written characters, and some science-y stuff involving portals to another universe that’s better explained here than the job Walter Bishop does in Fringe, you’ll have fun through its roughly two-hour run-time. The Little Acre’s brevity might leave you wanting more, but you’ll have enjoyed almost every moment with this lovingly crafted story. Aside from its simplistic and unrewarding puzzles, this is still a title worth investing in, for the animation and story alone.
The Little Acre is available in the Store priced £10.39.