Ok, so The Little Acre is an Irish adventure game set in the 1950s Irish countryside. That is, until a between-jobs father discovers a portal in his shed that his father built, shortly before he went missing, which leads to a cartoon dimension! Now, the entire game is a cartoon, but this other dimension is just more… cartoony. Even the characters know it looks different.
The game looks really nice, the developers are really passionate about the game, which is really nice to see. They explain that they’ve put a lot of work into this game, in fact the entire game is hand drawn and when playing the game it looks and feels like a lot of work has gone into it. I mean, every single frame of animation is hand sketched! Now, of course the computers are used for things like colouring and effects, but just for it to be hand drawn, frame by frame is truly an extensive piece of work that both requires and demonstrates immense skill. This is a similar cartoon production method to that used by animators such as Don Bluth, one of the animators behind the 1986 and 1988 movies I grew up with on VHS, An American Tail and The Land Before Time, respectively (this is significant, but we’ll get to that later).
The gameplay mechanic is a normal point and click adventure which you’ve probably played something similar to in the past. The story is good, there are some parts of the character backgrounds which are interesting and some that remain unanswered. The story isn’t that long to play through, but it’s family friendly, and there are hints if you get stuck on your travels. You can use these to give you a hand or complete the game help-free and earn a prestigious trophy!
The original music in this game is quite fitting to most adventure games; it’s calm, non distracting and slightly repetitive if you play long enough. But a cartoon adventure game wouldn’t really be that without having this kind of music, it just feels right with these kind of games. That’s the feeling that I get from most parts of this game is that it does fit well into the adventure game genre.
Now I mentioned earlier that the animation in this game is similar to that used in An American Tail and The Land Before Time, but that’s not the only similarity. Both of these films were big hits, made by a relatively small animation studio (at the time) that are children’s movies, yet still touch upon some more serious themes at times. Now, The Little Acre isn’t depressing when it brings up topics such as the loss of a family member, but there is definitely a point at which it feels a little less cheery, luckily only for a few seconds. I like to think that those tones of seriousness are an homage to Don Bluth’s animation work.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice, happy story, it just has one or two serious moments, which I like about it. A game that thinks it’s a joke becomes exactly that, ending up being “something to play when there are no other options”, and this is certainly not one of those games.
Now, we do need to discuss the pricing at some point, and what better timing that right here, when I start to run out of ideas for things to write about (yeah, honesty, I know right?). So the game itself is available on Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC for £9.99 as a pre-order, due to release on 13/12/2016. For a tenner, this is a good game, the hard work put into it by the developers and animators is deserving of ten pounds. But the game is a bit on the short side, with a play time of 1 – 2 hours.
This is a game that can be replayed by kids quite well, so it may be a great buy if this seems like something that someone in your house might enjoy, whether it’s a kid or a grown up. Now, the game hasn’t yet released, so it’s entirely possible that the game may release other chapters in the future. Some of the narration is in the past tense, which makes it feel like a story is being read, so this theory could be right, but at the end of the day we just don’t know yet. If other chapters are released, or if this game appears on a sale in the future, it’s definitely worth it. It’s a really good story, in a well made game that has brought a lot of hard work to fruition.
I’m glad I have this game, as i’ve now completed it, I can now go and see how my little brother gets on with it. I hope The Little Acre becomes as big a hit as some of the animated greats it reminds me of.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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