Lil Gator Game review for Nintendo Switch, PC

Platform: Switch
Also on: PC
Publisher: Playtonic Friends
Developer: MegaWobble
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

I feel like every year this happens every year: after I submit my ballot for our Game of the Year list, I always find a game that I wish I?d included on my ballot after the fact. Last year it was Suzerain and Loop Hero; this year it?s Lil Gator Game.

On the one hand, my defence would be that it didn?t come out until the very end of this year, and I had no idea a game that came out in mid-December would wow me as much as this did. That said, it?s pretty similar to games like Haven Park and A Short Hike, and seeing as I was a massive fan of both of those games, I should?ve had some clue that I couldn?t finalize my list until I played Lil Gator Game.

Still, even knowing how much I enjoy similar games couldn?t have prepared me for how much I like Lil Gator Game. It?s one of those games that I can?t think of enough superlatives for. It?s cute, it?s funny, it?s engaging, it?s inventive: basically, it?s just a really fun, really enjoyable game that deserves to be played and experienced by as many people as possible.

It?s not hard to explain why it?s so good, either. You?re playing as a little alligator trying to convince its older sister to put her textbooks away and come play. You achieve that by exploring the island she?s taken you to, where you?d already gathered a bunch of friends in the hopes of creating a massive quest for the two of you to play together. The whole game is spent meeting new people and carrying out quests like ?race down this hill as fast as you can?, or ?pop those balloons?, or ?climb this tree.?

Obviously, it?s not the most challenging game in the world, nor is it the most linear game ? but it?s not meant to be either of those things. It?s intended to recreate an idealized version of childhood, where your only real concern is squeezing in as much playtime with your friends as possible, and where you can turn pretty much anything into a fun game. Obviously, it?s a little more difficult being a kid than that, but Lil Gator Game makes it all seem so much fun.

And, consequently, it?s also so much fun to play. Unlike some games that try hard to be good-natured and relaxing but actually aren?t, Lil Gator Game is exactly what it looks like on the surface: a sweet, adorable game that never feels like it?s trying too hard to be either of those things, but that?s guaranteed to win you over all the same.

Playtonic Friends provided us with a Lil Gator Game Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: A+