Lil Gator Game Review – A Homage to Zelda

Lil Gator Game Review

Lil Gator Game is a fun new adventure inspired to various degrees by brilliant games like A Short Hike and The Legend of Zelda. It features a story of sibling love and the realities of getting older. The message of helping others is strong here. If you’ve got an up-and-coming gamer in the house or you’re looking for a chill Legend of Zelda adventure to enjoy, Lil Gator Game might just be what you’re looking for.

Sibling Love

Lil Gator Game is a story about the relationship between two siblings. The protagonist would enjoy elaborate adventures with his big sister, inspired by their favourite video game. As time went on, his big sister went off to school and our hero was left alone. When big sis comes back home for a brief break from school, our hero devises a plan to get her involved in one more epic adventure. Unfortunately, with a big project due, big sis can’t be bothered and her focus stays on her schooling. Undeterred, our hero and his friends go forward with the plan with the hope to draw his big sis in. And so begins our heroes biggest adventure yet.

The primary goal of the game is to set up an epic adventure with the hopes of getting your big sister to participate while she’s on her school break. You’ll come across a variety of anthropomorphic characters, think Animal Crossing, that you’ll need to recruit as friends to help with the big adventure. There aren’t really any obstacles in your way, aside from the terrain itself. Cardboard cutouts of enemies are littered throughout the island, but often take a whack or two from your sword to destroy. Upon destroying them, you’ll get some scraps – the in-game currency – which you’ll eventually use to craft or buy new items.

At no point can you die, or get injured, or even really fail. You might lose the occasional minigame, but a simple retry is all that’s needed to proceed. For most gamers, Lil Gator Game will be a walk in the park. The most challenging aspect will simply be trying to find everything you need in the game, as there are no waypoints.

Inspired by the Greats

Lil Gator Game clearly draws inspiration from two sources: A Short Hike and The Legend of Zelda – more specifically, Breath of the Wild. From the beginning, the gator siblings are pretty clearly referring to the Legend of Zelda games when they set out on their own adventures. There are a few fun callbacks to Zelda games from items to iconic imagery. It’s not a Legend of Zelda rip-off by any means. But there are some elements directly lifted from Breath of the Wild. In order to climb mountains, you’ll need a special bracelet – and as you’re climbing, a stamina gauge appears on screen. You’ll eventually get access to a special shirt that allows you to glide off high peaks. Even Lil Gator’s first hat is a clear homage to Link’s hat. Some of the cardboard cutouts have some very Legend of Zelda-esque visuals, such as the skeletons.

Lil Gator Game

As for A Short Hike, in all honesty, when I first saw the Lil Gator Game trailer, I was convinced this was developed by the same team. It isn’t. The game takes so many visual cues from A Short Hike, from character design, island design, cel-shading techniques, and more. It’s not necessarily a bad thing – A Short Hike is brilliant in its own right, so if it inspired the team at MegaWobble in some way, great. Even the gameplay is very A Short Hike. The simplified, no fail approach geared towards younger audiences. Even the messaging in-game about helping those in need is very similar. Ultimately, this isn’t a bad thing, and the gaming world could use more of these lighter adventures for more casual gamers.

Soundtrack Woes

There were few sore spots for me in Lil Gator Game. The first was the music – I had hoped the music would either be a chill hop style to embrace the relaxing nature of the island or more epic Legend of Zelda-inspired music. The result was neither, but rather an odd mix of almost jazz-like music. It just seemed out of place. Mind you, the music isn’t bad! It just doesn’t seem to fit the style of the game. Another sore spot, and this is quite minor, but there were some big frame rate drops at times. Nothing that would negatively impact game play – considering how relaxing the game is. But still noticeable.

And finally, the last issue was the lack of voice acting. While I can appreciate voice acting would add a significant added cost to the games budget, it would have allowed a younger group of gamers to enjoy the game without the need for parents reading every text bubble. This is a shame, because a game like Lil Gator Game could really bridge a gap for young gamers who want to play Breath of the Wild but aren’t quite at that skill level yet.

Lil Gator Game

A Lovely Adventure

Lil Gator Game is a lovely little adventure. The storyline is something many can relate to and really did tug on my heart strings. While the gameplay is simple, I still enjoyed exploring the island and helping out the residents during my time with it. There isn’t much challenge and it’s not a game I can see myself coming back to, but it might be a game I’ll sit down with my younger sons and help them enjoy – particularly with reading the text bubbles.

Lil Gator Game suffers from some minor frame rate drops and the music was a bit out of place. But, the overall package was pretty good. I’d recommend Lil Gator Game to young gamers – assuming they have willing parents who can help them read the objectives. I’d also recommend this to gamers looking for a chill, relaxing Legend of Zelda style game to tide them over until Tears of the Kingdom launches next year.

***Lil Gator Game Switch code was provided by the publisher***

The Good

  • Fun visuals
  • Cute story
  • Simple gameplay

The Bad

  • Minor framerate issues
  • Soundtrack doesn’t quite hit the mark
  • No voice acting