Wow, that was short. The Little Acre seems to be the only noticable game by irish Pewter Games Studios and so I don't want to be too harsh with them, as they took a rather original shot at one of my favourite genres, point'n'click adventures, which we can't have enough of.
Produced with the help of legendary game designer Charles Cecil, who created titles such as Broken Sword - one of my personal favourites since its release - it might have been my high expectations that got in the way. In my imagination though with The Little Acre I was also going to play a game with a slight medieval and/or steam punk flair, which wasn't exactly the case.
The setting nonetheless has potential in combination with the charming cartoon style. I can't remember having played any game set in 1950s Ireland. Sadly that is not very obvious. Actually waking up in that countryside house at first reminded me of the exposition in The Whispered World. Later a microwave oven comes to use, an apparatus available at the time, but with no precise reference The Little Acre could happen in any rural western environment roughly second half of the twentieth century.
As many point'n'click adventures on the Nintendo Switch, The Little Acre reveals being a port due to controls that would have been more comfortable using a mouse or at least a touchscreen option omitted in this game.
As often movement seems to originally have been designed for using mouseclicks, as the allowed areas were placed rather crudely.
Though they did a good job implementing a mix of hot spots targeted with a cursor once you combine with items from the inventory and triggered via button control whilst you move your character around with the same analogue stick also used for said cursor, it can get in the way the moment timing is required.
In general The Little Acre plays very well on the Switch though, except for that one time I managed to crash the game when I removed the glove from the machine followed by clicking on the screen on the wall. Somehow it didn't like that, so Lily kept shaking like an epileptic. I could reboot an auto save to solve this.
I liked how the story unfolds from two perspectives. At first, you play the unemployed Aidan, searching for his father who left plenty of strange inventions to deal with. The Little Acre shines once his daughter Lily wakes up having to look for her father as well. It's this cute infantile troublemaker angle of a brat with a british (irish?) accent that defines the game for me.
Neither are the typical escape room puzzles very challenging nor is The Little Acre blessed with a very innovative plot. Possibly this was a matter of time and money, as especially the ending appeared very rushed. There's a lack in character development once you left the house, primarily on supporting roles such as grandfather's colleague or the wannabe nemesis, both appearing very randomly.
However, never packed with a large inventory and accompanied by animal helpers, The Little Acre could be a good introduction to the genre for children. I don't think those still are used to the cartoon style from TV, but as long they understand the English dub (there are only subs for others like Germans), that is alright except sometimes varying in volume, it might be a bit more challenging for them whilst the humor is mildly enough to show them, yet not precisely educational.
Having said that, The Little Acre wasn't really bad, there was just huge room for improvement left, a collection of chances missed in an otherwise nice construct. With those absent challenges and ideas it somehow was better keeping it at a possible length of one and a half hours straight, or if you're an obsessive explorer like me, even with achievements omitted on the Nintendo Switch, rather two and a half hours.
I would really like to see if Pewter Games can build upon this and create a more refined follow up.
Reviewed on Feb 15, 2022