Lil Gator Game Review (Switch)
Lil Gator is just too cute with his baby waddle and his smushable face!
Publisher: Playtonic Friends
Have you ever just seen games that are really cute and you just think to yourself that you just have to play it? This might be a surprise, but I had a cuteness overload when I saw Lil Gator Game for the first time and I knew I had to check it out when it came out. And here I am!
Lil Gator Game has you play as, well, a little gator. You do get to give the little guy a nickname when you first start, but here I’ll just call him Lil Gator. The game starts with the Lil Gator being a baby gator that’s just about to play with his big sis, who is just called Big Sis here. Big Sis is looking at an upcoming game about a hero clad in green (we all know what game this is referencing) and instead of simply waiting for the game to come out, they decide to make their own game! Big Sis as the cool, creative sister making everything up on the fly and Lil Gator as the hero! They obviously had fun, but it didn’t last.
Fast forward a couple years and you quickly learn that Big Sis went away to college and she is currently visiting. Lil Gator was excited to play with Big Sis again, but she is preoccupied with schoolwork, specifically a group project where she’s pulling all the weight (and I hope she doesn’t let her other partners share in the credit). She doesn’t want to take a break to play as she thinks she won’t be able to finish it if she does. Lil Gator is understandably sad, but not disheartened as he decides to play the game for her as maybe Big Sis will see how much fun he’s having and would want to join in.
This is where we see that Lil Gator and his friends created and set up cardboard enemies and pots filled with confetti to be defeated and broken by the hero. Your opening hours have you playing and receiving quests from your friends to get your hero garb and gear. Plus, you get to learn what you’ll be doing for the rest of the game. Sadly, even after getting your hero gear Big Sis is still busy. Good news though, one of Lil Gator’s friends thought you guys were playing on the big island, not the small island you guys are on, and set up the game over there with the help of the other kids that are also joining in.
Once you get on the big island, it really opens up. The main hub, as you can call it, is the island’s playground and it’s where everyone is going to gather as well as help decorate so it looks like a proper game town hub. This is your main quest, as Lil Gator doesn’t want to bother Big Sis until everything is absolutely ready. There are three big quests involving your friends where you basically get their friends to participate in the game (or get along and unified so everyone can play in the same area). There are also more characters hanging around that you can talk to, get their quest, and befriend once you help them out.
Considering that you’ll be talking to other characters a lot, you can imagine how important the writing would be. I can say that the writing in Lil Gator Game is superb. Each character you encounter has their own unique quest and also their own personality and interests that you can pick up on even in the short interactions you have with them. The kids are written like kids, even I remember acting like some of the characters here, but it’s not too much that it goes from cute to annoying. I had a smile all throughout my time with Lil Gator Game, which was especially when I was talking to the various characters.
The playground is bare now, but as you befriend more people, and especially get your three friends to join back in, you’ll unlock the ability to decorate each area of the playground. This does require people to work together to build and draw everything so you can only craft it if you have enough friends. Once you do, it comes to life and the designs are honestly pretty cool. Like the bazaar where some play as vendors or the church where they are painting a trash can gold so they can have a bell (funnily enough I was wondering where they got a huge bell until I got up close to see what it actually was haha).
Other than helping and befriending the various characters that range from kids, teens, and adults, you’ll be exploring and doing hero things. Scattered around both the small and big islands are cardboard enemies, pots, and races. With your trusty sword you’ll be able to defeat the cardboard enemies that dared to terrorize your future friends as well as pots that are a source of confetti. Being good kids, you and the others repurpose the cardboard and confetti and it’s used as crafting material and money. Your shield isn’t for blocking, but for you to ride on down hills or hop across bodies of water. Lil Gator is surprisingly fast in water, and I don’t know why I thought he couldn’t swim when I first started playing the game, but the shield does let you go faster which helps in races that require you to race across water. The downside is that you can only do wide turns which is a fair trade.
You’re hat though? That’s just to be fashionable.
You also get a glider, aka a big shirt, so you can glide between mountain tops, platforms, or just slow your descent. There is also this weird bracelet guy. He’s weird in a funny, endearing way and he has a big collection of bracelets. Honestly, I couldn’t help but think about those silly Fun Bandz bracelets (that were shaped like animals and objects when you’re not wearing them) and the fact that I still have my collection. Wait…am I…the weird bracelet kid? Anyway, the bracelet kid hides in tall places and if you find him, he’ll sell you a bracelet which gives you stamina. The more bracelets you have, the more stamina you have to climb. I do recommend climbing as he can show up in unlikely places (though I did successfully guess where he was once) and having more stamina really helps.
There are a fair number of items that you’ll be able to wear or use, with each character giving you an item or giving you the crafting recipe. And by recipe, I mean you’ll be able to make it out of paper bits. You’ll be able to equip your favorite hat, shield, weapon, and special item in which you can equip two. For the most part, the cosmetics and weapons are just cosmetic, but you do get a way to travel faster with the help of the ninja headband. The ninja headband might be my favorite hat mainly because it’s a Naruto reference and it’s so funny that Lil Gator does a Naruto run. The special equips let you do things just for fun, like ragdolling or a camera mode, or something helpful like throwing shurikens or instantly blow a huge bubble gum bubble.
This game really does well in that feeling of wonder that you had as a kid playing outside or inside. Aside from your goal of getting Big Sis to play, you’re set free to do whatever. You can beeline to the three big quests first or go about exploring. There was also more to do in the game than I first thought. Every time I thought that I must have explored everywhere, I found a new corner of the island with cardboard enemies and a character waiting for me to talk to them. Sometimes I’d be on a mission only to be distracted by some cardboard enemies I just had to defeat.
While I do recommend doing everything in Lil Gator Game, it’s that cute and entertaining, you don’t have to do everything to complete the main quest of getting Big Sis to start playing. You just have to do most and you can still explore and do anything else you didn’t do or looked over. In fact, in the post-game you are given an item that point you to anyone you haven’t befriended yet; as well as an item that points you to any cardboard enemies, confetti pots, and races you haven’t defeated, gathered, and finished. And if you wanted to play as the baby version of Lil Gator you do also get the option post-game.
Though, I do recommend at least keeping 500 paper bits just in case you find the bracelet guy in a tall place. That way you don’t have to climb down, find more cardboard or confetti, hope you don’t get off track, and make your way back up to him.
Personally, I ended up befriending everyone before finishing up the main quest as I just couldn’t get enough of the characters. I was actually pretty sad that I wasn’t going to meet anyone else as I really liked everyone that I came across. I did miss a couple cardboard enemies, pots, and a race though and that was a mix of overlooking it as some are pretty well hidden or I told myself I’d go back to do the area once I completed what I was doing and then got distracted with something else. Anyway, the point is that I really enjoyed the game so much that I wanted to do everything. Lil Gator Game is that cute and wholesome.
I’d say the only thing I wish Lil Gator Game included was a way to see the quests you have, but like I said you do get a way to see who you haven’t befriended yet post-game and you can realistically play and finish the game in a day or two. Some may also not like how the characters still hang around the area you originally found them in, despite that they should (and are) at the playground, but I did find it as a good way to tell where I was. Oh, I’m by the princess tea party? I went too far and should have gone left.
There are not enough words for me to describe how much I loved playing Lil Gator Game. I knew this was going to be a cute game going in, but it turned out to be even cuter than I thought. I just wanted to smush the Lil Gator’s lil face and hang out more with the quirky and unique characters. I also especially like how you get the feeling of underlying sadness that comes to the forefront, making for a heartfelt ending. Especially since you can find little memories here and there with Lil Gator and Big Sis playing.
I definitely recommend picking up Lil Gator Game. This game is so cute and fun. I suspect that this would be great for kids and adults alike as it perfectly hits that balancing act of appealing to both audiences.