Lil Gator Game – Cloud Gaming Review

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Lil Gator, Big World.

Xbox Gamepass got a new addition to the library this month. While many have played Animal Crossing, Legend of Zelda, and Donkey Kong titles, it’s easy to say most gamers haven’t played them all together in one package. Great news: now you can, with Lil Gator Game developed by MegaWobble and published by Playtonic Games. Lil Gator Game is an open world cozy hack and slash collector and friendship simulator. That’s the best way to describe it. The game borrows, reinvents, and links many elements from different games of the past and delivers them in a cozy presentation for gamers of all ages to enjoy. But is it too cozy, or does this Lil Gator bite back in a big way? Let’s dive in!

Brotherly Love Story 

Narratively, Lil Gator Game is actually quite thick. The game centres around you, the hero of the story dressing up and going to the park with your big sister with the hopes of playing the game of pretend you always used to play together. Big Sister is busy though and has a college essay to complete. Lil Gator decides that they need to convince their big sister that the game they used to play is better than working all day. Using the power of imagination and friendship, Lil Gator assembles an arsenal of cardboard and forest animals to make the biggest adventure yet. 

The story plays out over a series of bite sized conversations with animal friends. These friends also provide many different kinds of quests ranging from breaking cardboard villains to fetch quests that literally see a character tossing something for you to go and get a few metres away. The game is very self aware and poked fun at the adventure genre. The story was very fun to follow and even made me feel emotional time to time. It’s easy to develop a connection with this cute Lil Gator and his cast of friends and family. This all being said, this is a video game and not a movie. Is the gameplay loop worth swimming with the cozy story?

Gator Gameplay

The gameplay is anything but Lil here. The open world of the forest and playground island is vertical and freeing. Traversal is unlocked gradually through stamina rings for climbing, and a parachute shirt for gliding. There’s also shield surfing (as well as skateboarding) and balloons for floating. Some of these items are more half baked than others. The balloon items were a more fun gimmick to watch for instance than functional for exploration. There are a ton of cardboard baddies to slice and dice through. Customizing your Lil Gator hero is charming, from sack hats to space helmets, there really seems to be a cosmetic for everyone. The way each item is introduced to players feels well paced and always worth the extra side quest to unlock. 

The game is bite sized though, after completing the story in about 6 hours, there’s still much to do and a new game plus mode as well after completing it. While it felt quick to finish the narrative, the game does an excellent job enticing players to come back to the island. The characters are well fleshed out for a small title. Part of the fun of games like Animal Crossing is getting to know the neighbours and friends. There are a real diverse cast of animals and the quests were related well to the character development presented to the player during the gameplay. I found myself wanting to help create relationships between the animals whether that be a quest involving a father and daughter reconnecting over a tea party, to helping a bull find love. It really is unique.

Fighting through the cardboard enemies was fun and actually very tough to seek out every single one on the island. The “collectathon” nature is masked though by the Lil Gator wanting to be a hero. I found myself immersed in the game of pretend and the simplicity of striking through cardboard gremlin like enemies. It was also relaxing to use the dart gun or rock throwing for target practice. It almost reminded me of Toy Story Mania at times, which was just great fun.

Gator Game, Greater Presentation

This was one of the smoothest gameplay experiences I’ve had in a while. Playing the game in the cloud or natively on my Xbox Series X felt virtually like the same experience. The game looks incredible, all of the environments are intentionally cartoony and imaginatively diverse. The game does an excellent job of inviting players to play the game as their inner child. If you already are a child, than perfect. While Lil Gator Game presents a lot of nostalgia, I found opportunities to hand the controller over to my 5 year old to explore the forest. It’s a great game to play with new and experienced gamers anlike.

Every character is unique, and the constant movement and adorable Gator hop walk is always a joy to watch while exploring. If you want a grittier experience, you can lower the resolution to pixel art. Some may want that retro feel. There’s also many accessibility settings to make this game cozy to everyone. My only wish was that there was voice acting or a better sound for dialogue when characters talked, but that’s a small wish for this big world.

Thing Get?

Lil Gator Game does an incredible job at mimicking the classics, while also keeping the story and gameplay fresh. The thing players get from playing Lil Gator Game is actually in multiples. Memories, nostalgia, and appreciation for the creativity MegaWobble leans into to make the gaming memories Lil Gator Game’s own. I found myself constantly surprised at what happened next in this cozy alligator bite sized title. After the main campaign, I was still hungry for more, and I cannot wait to see what MegaWobble and Playtonic do next. From the relaxed adventuring and slaying cardboard structures, to leaping off the tallest mountain and gliding around, it’s easy to kick back and complete Lil Gator Game in a lil amount of time, or spend bite sized times per day just exploring. This is a title that should be on everyone’s must play lists, especially with it being so readily available on Xbox Cloud Gaming and Gamepass.

Lil Gator Game Review

Joe Rino @ImproJoeGaming

Lil Gator
Gameplay
Presentation
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Fun Factor
Overall

Summary

Lil Gator Game is pretty much the perfect cozy game for casual and core gamers alike to check out. It blends the tropes and gameplay elements from titles like Legend of Zelda and Animal Crossing to make a unique experience. While occasionally some of the items and weaponry feel a bit half baked, the story is surprisingly gripping and tugs at heartstrings throughout. There truly isn’t another cozy game at the calibre of Lil Gator Game, and I hope there will be more and more to swim into our gator sized gamer hearts.

4.7

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Joe Rino

My Name is Joe Rino and I’m a Drama Teacher Gamer. I love a good video game that also helps me learn and grow with the characters. Storytelling, Gameplay, Action, and good times with friends are super important to me from a video game and life perspective! Let’s play!

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