Later Alligator Review
Don’t worry Pat, I’ll be your investigator
Publisher: SmallBü, Pillow Fight
Have you ever imagined a world where you were instead of humans, everyone was anthropomorphic animals and you imagined what animal you would be? Well, I sure have (though I can’t put a finger on what animal I would want to definitely be). Well, in Later Alligator’s world everyone are alligators. Or, well, most of the people you meet here considering the game takes place in Alligator New York City.
Being an alligator with a snappy pinstripe suit yourself, you walk into John Johnny’s Pub where a lonely alligator sits. After you try talking to him a few times, and he tries to get out of talking to you, he finally breaks. You seemed like a stranger he could safely confide in and he tells you his name is Pat and he has a problem. Well, he suspects he has a problem. It’s Pat’s birthday today, but he believes his family is trying to kill him for squealing. While he probably, most likely, has squealed based on your interactions with him, he has no idea what he could have said to have caused his family to do this. All he knows that at 8pm he’s going to have to go upstairs for the event. Luckily, Pat has you. He enlists you to go talk to his various family members and find information about this “event”.
And from here, you’ll be visiting a couple of areas that Alligator New York City has to offer and, like Pat says, most of the alligators you’ll be talking to are his family that came to visit. You can talk to every alligator you see, and make sure to talk to them multiple times to get every single piece of their wonderful dialogue, but only Pat’s family will switch to a different camera angle for them. Here, you get to talk to them, and their dialogue is a highlight of the game. You get so much personality from your short conversations with the characters, and even the characters that aren’t Pat’s family members. I was smiling all the way through my playthroughs of Later Alligator as I adore the dialogue here and it made me love the characters even more (though I still have my favorites).
Anyway, the vast majority of the family members have a favor to ask of you before they tell you any details. Well, those details don’t really end up mostly being vague as they were sworn to secrecy, but you’ll figure it out as you talk to more family members and piece together all the vague information they gave you. This favor they ask is in the form of a minigame, and there are 30 of them. The minigames have a wide range and they fit with the character associated with them (and you might actually get more dialgue from them during the minigames). The cute Sweet Geraldine has a claw machine minigame where she asks you to get two things, but she will actually comment on every single prize in there if you score it. You help Lizzie post pics online by unscrambling her pictures, play the ‘ole pinny b (pinball) with Joanie, deal with some ghosts in a few minigames, help Two Ton Tony (Pat’s Dad) handle his propane grill (Hank Hill approves), help Lil’ Giovanni find the pefect soda concoction, and more.
Really, the only minigames I was annoyed with was the sliding puzzle (which who wouldn’t be annoyed), with the pinball and fending off ghost minigame only being annoying when trying to go for the achievement associated with them.
Once you successfully win at the minigame, they will give you their family badge (and you’ll get more than one if there’s more than one family member in the minigame). This has their headshot on it and you can take this to Pat’s Mom, Lovely Maria, who has a family tree where all she needs is a recent photo of everyone. Getting all family badges will also have everyone at the party as only those you completed minigames for will appear (and the ending gets added on more as you gather more members). In addition, there are also puzzle pieces that you can be given by totally not bugging alligators or finding them when investigating the background of each location (which can be hard as they don’t stand out without your cursor changing). Collecting all puzzle pieces can then let you put Clancy’s motivational posters back together (and get him to go to the party).
While there is a time mechanic here, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Playing a minigame will advance the time, and failing and trying again will advance more time, but you can’t actually do every one of them in one playthrough. Once you get to the ending at least once, you’ll start right after the beginning conversation with Pat and the game will remember which minigames you already played so you don’t have to replay them unless you want to. It also gives you a chance at skipping the story-related minigames with Pat (and give you a way to skip right to the end sequence after you do every minigame once). So if you don’t do every minigame, or sweating when you fail one, don’t worry. Later Alligator is made around having more than one playthrough. There are achievements where you have to do a certain set of minigames that goes with a theme in the same playthrough, but that is better suited for a second playthrough anyway.
There was only one bug that I encountered and that was when the ball in the pinball machine would fall out if you bump it when it’s at the bottom of the machine. This requires you to restart the game to fix and can be quite annoying if you’re going for the achievement where you need to get 15,000 points. Other than that, the only thing that would have made Later Alligator even better was voice acting. The characters have so much personality and it really pops out more when you watch someone that voices them well (and to be honest, the main reason I got interested in Later Alligator was when Brian David Gilbert played in one day).
I can’t recommend Later Alligator enough. While it is a collection of minigames for you to play, and it’s obvious that there will be a few that you won’t enjoy, the strength in Later Alligator that will keep you playing are the characters. The minigames are fun, don’t get me wrong, but the characters have so much personality put into them that it’s worth playing just to talk to all of them until you exhaust all of their dialogue. Not to mention how cute these alligators are.