Game: Lil Gator Game
Genre: Adventure, Open World, RPG
System: Nintendo Switch (Also on Steam (Windows))
Developer | Publisher: MegaWobble | Playtonic Friends
Age Rating: US E | EU 3+
Price: US $19.99 | UK £16.75 | EU € 19,50
Release Date: December 14th, 2022
Review code used, with many thanks to Press Engine.
Lil Gator Game is a little open-world game with a big heart. This tiny game is about a day at the park, trying to reconnect with friends and family. It’s one of the cutest games I have ever played.
The Story of Lil Gator Game
You start the game as a little gator who likes making up games. This little gator friend has been waiting and waiting for their sister to come back from college so the two of them can play pretend like they used to. But when Sister gets home, she has a big college project to work on.
To get her to forget her schoolwork in exchange for picking up her play sword again, you and some friends decide to rebuild the island for a little hero to complete many quests. It will look so fun that she’ll have to join in. Right?
As players explore the little island park, they find friends in need, fetch quests, collectables, and tons of weird little cardboard monsters to battle against. This game is filled with weird humour and hilarious little hidden moments that made me laugh out loud.
The story is innocent, adorable, and great for the whole family. It has a fun look that isn’t too graphically intensive for the Switch too.
The gameplay of Lil Gator Game
Players begin on the playground with nothing. But over the course of the game, our little gator learns to slide, climb, float, and throw ninja stars. This allows you to traverse the little islands better, get to the highest points, swim across the seas, and attack pirate ships and tree-dwelling monsters alike. Everything is presented as an RPG-style quest, and players must fetch, fight, and craft to get through Lil Gator Game 100%.
Players can exchange outfits by menuing and deciding which items to use through this menu. The game includes a camera mode, a glider, a sticky hand, bubble gum that allows you to float, a bug net, and anything else an adventurer might need to complete missions out in the big scary world.
While our little gator begins with a pretty limited stamina meter, you can purchase bracelets that eventually unlock unlimited stamina. Everything is purchased with crafting bits which are acquired by completing quests, breaking down cardboard enemies, and sometimes just mowing the grass with your sword, Legend of Zelda-style.
Funny And Weird And Beautiful
Lil Gator Game is hilarious. It has an innocent but super weird sort of sense of humour that I really love. Our main character, our gator hero, has a child’s imagination, and some of their ideas are magical, strange, and very much like all the kids I’ve ever met. As a good example, there is one scene where a character falls off a mountain, and I laughed out loud the first time I saw it. It was in the demo, and I won’t spoil it for anyone, but just know it’s one of the most surprising and funny things I’ve ever seen in a video game ever. And I played Sierra games on the reg.
But along with the silly weirdness is a real lesson, one kids all have to learn one day. It’s sweet, and players get to travel through the main character’s memories with their sister as they remember all the good times they’ve had together on the island.
Each memory is a ghostly sort of model of the gator and their sister, acting as children do, climbing, chasing, falling, swimming, running, and laughing together. Each is a bittersweet little memory that the main character gator is desperate to recreate with Big Sis.
Downsides of Lil Gator Game
There aren’t many things that I didn’t like about Lil Gator Game, but it wasn’t quite perfect. There didn’t seem to be a map anywhere that I could locate. I liked that I could just run around and explore at first, but I was really hoping to unlock a map in the post-game. Thankfully, you unlock two items that allow our little gator to find all missing craft bits and NPC friends with quests. I think without those, I would have spent a lot of wasted time running around looking for what I was missing.
I also had a lot of trouble remembering what all my quests were. There didn’t seem to be a journal of any kind to help keep track of what I was supposed to be doing. As a substitute, I did find that quests popped up in the corner of the screen when you walk close enough to the person that started the quest in the first place, but this was a little limiting. Sometimes I couldn’t remember who had asked for what.
These might seem like nit-picky things, and that’s because they are. There was almost nothing I didn’t love about Lil Gator Game, and even these little issues couldn’t ruin my overall enjoyment of this weird little title.
Lil Gator Game, along with the host of other cozy indie games I’ve played and loved, are unique and special experiences that I’m glad I got to have. It’s so wonderful that finally gamers who don’t like a lot of the elements of AAA games can have a little piece of relaxing wonderful like Lil Gator Game and similar. I am so happy that indie games are much more able to reach audiences because my inner child was absolutely enthralled.
While it’s a shame something so wonderful as this couldn’t have existed 20 years ago, indie developers are certainly making up for it now by releasing amazing, beautiful, wholesome, adorable, and nearly perfect games like this as passion projects. There is a lot of love in Lil Gator Game, and I can’t wait to see what this dev has in store for us next.
Final Verdict: Two Thumbs Up:
Excellent review Mina! I’ve only just spent a short time with the game but its charm and sassy take on the present state of video games and “play” have won me over completely. Cheers!