App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
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The Little Acre is a traditional point-and-click adventure game about a small family in 1950s Ireland. It's a relatively short and surreal experience that–while good–moves a little too quickly to feel as impactful as it could be.
The family that The Little Acre centers around is a multigenerational household that lives in the countryside. The eldest of the family, Arthur, is an inventor of sorts, who is the father to Aiden, a job hunting engineer. Aiden's daughter, Lily, and her dog, Dougal, comprise the rest of the family. Aiden's wife is buried in the family's yard, and there is no mention of other family members.
Before the start of the game, Arthur invents a mysterious technology that allows for interdimensional travel, and the game opens with Aiden and Lily waking up for a normal day after Arthur's disappearance. It's an interesting way to open a game that sends both Aiden and Lily on a quest to find their tinkering patriarch.
Given The Little Acre's setup, it should hardly be a surprise to hear that much of the game revolves around interdimensional travel. Both Aiden and Lily find themselves experimenting with Arthur's inventions in an effort to discover what happened to him.
Interestingly though, these characters do not travel together, which makes for a game that divides sections of gameplay between Aiden and Lily's separate adventures. In either case, you can expect a lot of standard point-and-click adventure action, where picking up items and using them on other things is the name of the game. This kind of divided storytelling ends up giving The Little Acre the feel of something like Broken Age, although I have to say that The Little Acre bounces between characters a little too often and not in a way players can control.
Short but sweet
As far as adventure games go, The Little Acre is not particularly difficult. There is no need to combine items, which greatly reduces the number of ways you can experiment. If you find yourself getting stuck on a puzzle though, The Little Acre also has a hint system that is very generous with providing solutions. There isn't anything wrong with The Little Acre's lack of challenge by itself, but it does make the game quite easy to breeze through in just a couple hours.
My main issue with the game is just how short it is. The Little Acre bounces between plot points fairly quickly, which helps keep things from dragging, but it also results in a game that doesn't do much development with its characters. The story itself is rather good and does some creative and bold things, but a lot of its impact is lost when the whole experience rushes by so quickly.
The bottom line
When credits started rolling on The Little Acre, I felt quite ambivalent. The game is packed full of great ideas and characters, but a lot of them feel like they weren't given the proper room to breathe. In general, I'd prefer a game to be this way than overly long and artificially lengthened, but in the case of The Little Acre, its brevity keeps it from living up to its potential.