“It looked like there was something missing, but I hadn’t figured out what.”
The Little Acre is an adorable point-and-click adventure puzzle game set between our world, and a fantasy world discovered accidentally by an old scientist. Simple and enjoyable, the game’s charm makes up for whatever it lacks in grandiose and complexity, but only reaches the point where it could be better.
The simple animation style is actually quite appealing, with gorgeous painted backdrops accompanying a line-drawn character. Little movements bring the environment to life, with softly drifting clouds and a smoking chimney adding life to the backdrops. In the same way, subtle movements like as fingers through hair and tired yawns add to the very human movements of the characters. Narration is automatically subtitled at the bottom of the screen, making for a very aesthetically pleasing picture. Though simplistic, the art and areas in The Little Acre are obviously made with love, which makes it a pleasure to play in.
The story itself is also simple, adding an obvious task to a list of smaller, less imposing tasks. Each action moves the story forward, and the addition of puzzles make for an entertaining solution. The puzzles themselves are actually quite fun to figure out, though it’s frustrating when things that should work, don’t. There is only one possible solution to each puzzle presented, making the game very linear, which isn’t a bad thing – but, it can be frustrating at times.
Controls are incredibly easy, as should be expected from a point-and-click adventure. Most items only open a new line of dialogue, while others can be collected and used with the click of a button. The annoying part of this comes with the inability to skip dialogue entirely, even after it’s already been heard. That, combined with small hitboxes and an over-sensitive menu can make for a frustrating few seconds in some puzzles. Nothing is game-breakingly annoying, but it causes quite a lot of irritation when the menu resets in the middle of solving a clue.
The soundtrack is one of my favorite parts of the game; beautifully orchestrated and well imposed. Mainly driven by piano and light violin, the soundtrack only adds additional appeal to the layers within the game. Submersion is key to a point-and-click, and the music in each realm draws you in very effectively. The only audible issue, in fact, are small sound-mixing errors. Occasionally dialogue is too loud, or doesn’t match the volume of previous dialogue. The same goes for sound effects, with some seeming to be appropriate, and some missing the mark. However, it diminishes the gameplay only slightly, and is easy to ignore.
My biggest issue came actually with one of the main characters, Lily. Built up to be a delightful and precocious young girl, she disappoints slightly in her introduction. The light female voice doesn’t seem to match the small and determined body, and feels more like a grown-up trying to act like a child, rather than a child trying to act like a grown-up. However, her dialogue can be amusing, and the small issues don’t make the character obnoxious. It’s more of an annoying blip on a much larger radar. But, because of this, my favorite character is actually the dog, who reminds me of Buttons from Buttons and Mindy. If Lilly resemble Mindy a bit more, she’d be a more likable kid.
Overall, The Little Acre is a lovely game, and shows immense promise. The worlds explored up to this point have been beautiful and interesting, but the puzzles have not gotten harder. It is my hope that The Little Acre finishes strong, with an ending that effectively explains and concludes the adventure. A wrench in the wheel might be fun, as would a few new playable characters. I truly enjoyed the first half of the game, and really look forward to finishing the story, despite the little issues I’ve encountered.
A PS4 Preview Code for The Little Acre was provided by Curve Digital for the purpose of this preview