When I was growing up, back when I was a wee lad, my older brother and I used to imagine we were warriors in a make-believe fantasy world. We established a base within this outback reserve, collected resources and we even had warring feuds with other kids who established their own bases. It was a time of my life that seemed like it would never end, that was until my brother got a bit older and no longer wanted to play with me. It's an oddly unique feeling looking back on it today with a mix of nostalgia and self pity, but this is the exact plot to Lil Gator Game, a 3D platformer/action-adventure where the Link-inspired child alligator goes on a make-believe adventure in hopes that his older sister will put down her laptop and play with him once more.
Ahhhh this game is so charming!! Lil Gator Game has the childlike naïve innocence that will bring a tear to your eye. Every piece of dialogue is filled with such a wide-eyed sense of wonder, all inspired by the grandiose imagination of a bunch of hyperactive children. As you explore the island, you'll see figments of memories from the nostalgic adventures that the little gator and his sister had together, amounting to heartfelt (and somewhat upsetting) moments.
The gameplay is akin to a simplified The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in that the titular character (who I named Lonk) can run, jump, climb, glide and even slide down hills atop his shield, all to his little heart's content. But here, there is no health bar; there are no enemies aside from cardboard cut-outs of imaginary monsters; the adventure is as grand as the imagination of a child's mind (limitless). Your primary objective (in order to impress your sister) is to be the legendary hero and help every anthropomorphic character with their (re)quests in the hope that they'll join your town base. For example, one kid atop a waterfall wants you to take arms as cardboard slime enemies storm the "base"; or another wants you to talk to a bull who's been standing on a dock for a long time contemplating whether or not to jump into a lake because "there is no such thing as a floofy bull". It's exactly the nonsensical hilarity you'd expect to come from a child's mouth who has perhaps drunk a little too much red cordial.
- Oh, so charming!
- Child-like adventure gameplay
Throughout my time with Lil Gator Game, there were many moments where I was at a loss of what I needed to do next. When I upgraded the Playground town for the first time, I set out to recruit more kids, but when I did that and came back, I didn't know how to upgrade the town again. At that point, I felt as though I was wandering around aimlessly for a while. It turns out that there are three primary quests to do but without a quest log menu, it's difficult to know this right away. This issue is exacerbated with the game's lack of a map, or rather, there is a map, but only on the occasional signs littered around the island which don't tell you where your position is on it.
- Lack of direction
Final Score: 9/10
Lil Gator Game was everything I ever wanted it to be and more. It's a beautifully heart-warming story all wrapped up in nonsensical humour that'll have you smiling from ear-to-ear. As a younger sibling, it could be that I can relate to the game's plot personally; I know that my brother didn't stop playing with me because he didn't like me anymore, he just grew up to face life's challenges and after a few years, so did I. That's just the way it goes, but every now and then, we all deserve a break from that boring adult stuff, even it's just to play a little game about an adorable gator.
Thank you for checking out our Lil Gator Game Switch review, thank you to Playtonic Friends for providing the review code and thank you to our Patreon Backers for their ongoing support: