Review: "Lil Gator Game" completely destroyed my heart
Or: Why you need to buy this for gamers of any age in your life
Last year, my husband and I gifted our niblings with an old PS4 and some controllers, as well as some brand new games. They loved Minecraft but didn’t get so much into Star Wars (in hindsight, it was definitely too old for them).
All three of them, however, love Bluey (who doesn’t?!), and when I saw there was a new video game, I was really excited.
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Then I saw the reviews from parents. The best one? GenericArtDad on TikTok said, “Bluey: The Videogame is simultaneously too young and too old.” This is due to the tasks being incredibly easy (just walk to a toy and hit square then have a 3 minute cutscene) and violently glitchy (the horrors of Bingo being whipped across the screen multiple times is burned into my brain).
Ok, so Bluey: The Videogame is out. Prowling through the games release calendar, Lil Gator Game caught my eye. While it came out on Nintendo last year, it’s been recently released to consoles. And while it’s no Bluey, I think it’ll hit the spot for my nieces and nephew.
Every now and then, a game comes along that reminds us why we should never stop being a kid and Lil Gator Game is such a one.
The titular gator is an enthusiastic child who loved to play make believe with their big sister. But now that she is all grown up in college, the sister doesn't have the time to play anymore–the greatest tragedy in Lil Gator's life (and one I think many of us can empathize with at one point or other). Determined to prove just how much she is missing out on, the outgoing young alligator devises a plan to get everyone on their island playing together.
Lil Gator proceeds to recruit one animal at a time on the island, usually by fulfilling their own requests first. These quests are fairly simple and straightforward, making it easy for children to complete and rather relaxing for grownups. There’s fewer things better than a cozy, easy-going game in winter.
Once recruited, these animal friends, which range from frogs to dogs, gather at the local playground that slowly transforms into an incredible fantasy town.
Monsters are simply cardboard cutouts, fiercely painted, and easily smashed apart. For weapons, Lil Gator creatively uses a toy light-saber or a plastic princess wand, with imagination providing an unlimited array of options for the kids' various quests across the island.
Most importantly, this is a game that feels like it came straight from the imagination of a child. Lil Gator, with all the heart and invincibility of youth, is an endearing and adorable protagonist.
Lil Gator Game also features obvious and intended references to beloved childhood franchises, including Nintendo's iconic Legend of Zelda series and the Japanese anime television show, Naruto.
It's a sweet game celebrating the importance of play and the bonds between siblings, but also one that makes adults reflect on the pressures of school and work, and how easy it can be to get caught up in the mundane. With wholesome humor and cozy environments, Lil Gator Game recalls the innocence and simple joys of childhood.
It’s definitely going on the Christmas gift list this year.