Take Your Daughter to an Alternate Dimension Day
HIGH The gorgeous art and lovable characters.
LOW I wish it were longer.
WTF Don’t throw the cat out the window, dude!
The Little Acre, from Irish indie developer Pewter Games, is a point-and-click adventure that starts off simply enough.
Taking place in 1950s Ireland, the story follows Aidan, who lives with his inventor father and young daughter, Lily. At first, the player helps Aidan perform average fatherly tasks — getting dressed without waking Lily, or fetching things to make her breakfast. At this point Aidan hasn’t seen his own dad in a couple of days, but he’s not terribly worried about it.
At least, not at first.
I won’t spoil the story here, not least of all because The Little Acre takes only a couple of hours to finish. But, even in that short time I grew very attached to Aiden and his spunky, adventurous daughter.
A lot of these feelings are engendered by the gorgeous, hand-drawn art. The way Lily sleeps sprawled with her mouth wide open, or the way the family dog puts out a small fire in the background convey more about the characters than a visual novel’s worth of text descriptions would have.
I especially loved Aidan’s patience with Lily’s shenanigans. In an appeal to her imagination and adventurousness, he places a gnome on the edge of their property as a “guard” so that she doesn’t wander too far away. Following Aidan’s lead, the player approaches The Little Acre‘s puzzles with a sense of wonder rather than panicked urgency, even when things get really strange and the little girl is actually in danger.
How will I save Lily now? Oh, look! A cat!
The game itself is as accommodating as Aidan is. With the click of a couple of buttons, The Little Acre offers both hints and solutions for all the puzzles. It’s great to see this level of accessibility in such a short, independently-developed title. However, this brevity is the game’s one true weakness. There are no alternate endings or story paths to incentivize replay, but even this criticism is a testament to the developer’s care and craft — I loved these characters and their world, and wanted to spend more time with them.
The Little Acre is a small game, but an extremely well-made and well-loved one. I enjoyed getting to know Aidan and Lily, and look forward to getting to know Pewter Games better as well.
Disclosures: This game is developed by Pewter Games and published by Curve Digital. It is currently available on PC, XBox One and Playstation 4. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PS4. Approximately 4 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was completed twice. There are no multiplayer modes.
Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated E10+ and contains fantasy violence. The story involves grief over dead loved ones, characters say “Oh, my God!” and there are monsters, but the strongest weapon is Lily’s wooden sword. There’s no gore or nudity.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing: None of the puzzles require sound, and all dialogue is subtitled. It’s fully accessible.
Remappable Controls: No, this game’s controls are not remappable.
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available in the options.
But then a friend introduced her to the seedy underworld of the Mario brothers and she spent her saved-up birthday and Christmas money to buy a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Her mom didn't like the Nintendo at first, but The Legend of Zelda changed her mind. (When Tera got Zelda II: The Adventure of Link one Christmas, she suspected it was as much for her mother as for her).
Though she graduated from Agnes Scott College in 2002 and recently learned how to find the movie theater restroom by herself, Tera still loves video games. Far from being a brain-rotting waste of time, they've helped her practice spatial skills and discover new passions. Her love of games like Kid Icarus and The Battle of Olympus led to a degree in Classical Languages and Literatures. She thinks games have a place in discussions on disability and other cultural issues, and is excited to work with the like-minded staff at GameCritics.com.