You’d be forgiven if you thought Lil Gator Game was aimed at a young audience based on its simple and childlike graphics. I was one of those, but since its release on the Nintendo Switch and Steam back in December of 2022, I have kept catching whispers that this game is more than it seems, and those whispers turned out to be correct. 

Recently, Publisher Playtonic Friends announced the game’s launch on the Xbox One, PS4, Xbox Series S/X and PS5 on September 26, 2023, and with the recent DLC for the game, this seems to be the perfect time to jump into this surprisingly involved and sometimes emotional journey.

The basic premise of the game is that you are a young crocodile (who you name, and as i called him Stinky in my playthrough, so this is how I will refer to him in the rest of my review) who, throughout his childhood, has spent many hours role playing adventure games all over his home island with his older sister. But, as most young siblings have to deal with at some point, the time came for his sister to concentrate on more important matters, namely studying for her exams, and therefore has no more time in her day to play with him. So Stinky hatches a plan to distract his sister from her work and have her come and play with him once more.

To do that, Stinky wants to create the ultimate adventure game for him and his sister, recruiting his friends to cover the land with cardboard standees of monsters and transform the local playground into a fort. Stinky’s mission is to recruit as many of the other children on the island as he can so they can help in the transformation of the playground. To achieve this, you must help them with their problems, and when successful, they will join the party. These range from retrieving a pencil that someone keeps throwing to finding a long lost toy, but the ones that will give you the most help come from the gangs that your friends are hanging out with. They have a multi layered challenge for you, and upon completion, you will gain four to five recruits to the cause. An extra pair of hands is not the only ingredient you will need, though, as you will also need the confetti that falls out of destroyed cardboard standees to create this new fort.

If you have been gazing at the accompanying pictures or the cover art, you might be thinking that Stinky shares a slight resemblance to Link from The Legend of Zelda, and you’d be right, as this game takes strong influences from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and A Short Hike. Stinky himself is green, like the tunic worn by Link, he will gain a sword and shield and a hat, which are very similar to Links too. Not only does Stinky destroy monsters and seek treasure, he also finds ceramic pots to destroy to find more confetti. As a massive Zelda nut, i was blown away by all of this, which made this game so much more fun. To see this depiction of one of my favourite gaming franchises in such a cool way, created this broad smile on my face that never left me throughout my five hour playtime. 

The other reason I was blown away by this was the fact that we now have a game that we can give to our children as an introduction to not only adventure games, but also to the Legend of Zelda series, and that, on its own, deserves some serious applause. 

But as I said at the top, this game is not just for kids (Or Zelda fans), as it can also transport the adult player back to a more innocent and carefree world. This has been achieved by three things, one being the way Stinky moves—with that toddler like waddle, I never got tired of it; two, through the script, which has managed to portray the minds of children and what is important to them perfectly; and three, the main reason for the game is trying to get your big sister to get her head out of the real world and come and play with Stinky once more. It’s such an important message, and this can be transferred to anything in our adult lives, mainly through our phones. Many times I see people’s heads in their phones as their young child is just sitting there, waiting for interaction, but their adult is too preoccupied with their Instagram feed. It’s a sad state of life these days, but one that this little game brings to the forefront. An honourable mention needs to go to the discoverable monologue memories from the past that you will find of Stinky playing with his sister as you explore the island, which only fuels these emotions and firmly places Stinky in your heart.

But there are more simple things to keep an adult’s attention high. Smashing every cardboard standee became a mission for me. I had to get every one, and thankfully, there are a few different weapons to find along the way to help out with this. You start with just a twig but quickly upgrade to a wooden sword, and from there it can get rather interesting. I had quite the arsenal at the end, from nunchucks, water, and nerf guns to an oversized pencil. It’s not just the weapons, as your shield upgrades can go in ways you’d never expect. Starting out with a pot lid, you’ll quickly find more extravagant ones, including a big leaf, a chessboard, or, if you’re very lucky, a trampoline (which you can bounce around the land with). Also worth mentioning is that shield surfing is possible, which brought another big smile to my aging face! 

It’s not just your equipment that can be customised, as you will find a variety of different hats that can also be obtained, mainly through quest prizes. Yet again, they go places with some crazy designs, including dracula fangs, a ninja headband, a slime cap, or a skater helmet—you get the idea.

Other features with the Zelda influence are a stamina wheel, which can be upgraded by finding a particular animal that likes to hide in the most tricky of places. I managed to get to three rings, which covered me for the majority of climbing, but I feel there are more to be found. And the other feature here is a glider, which is especially helpful from high places, giving you the chance to glide over a vast area. 

Not everything here is perfect, though, as I did feel lost in places as there is no task list to refer to nor is there a map. A few times, I had forgotten a task as I was distracted by other things, only to be reminded when I found them again. A little map would of also been helpful, with markers on unresolved tasks, but this could possibly take away from the game’s childlike world. The game runs well on the Nintendo Switch, but does suffer from fogging in the background and pop up. It’s not enough to be distracting, but it was surprising to see. I do wonder if other console versions will include this or whether it’s just a Nintendo Switch thing.

I mentioned at the top of the free DLC recently added to the game that, If you’ve beaten the game, it will give you access to a new game plus mode. This lets you carry your upgrades from your completed save file directly into the new game, giving you more exploration and customisation options right from the start. It also adds baby mode, which allows you to play the entire game as a baby version of Stinky. And finally, the game is now playable in French, German, Brazilian Portuguese, and Latin American Spanish. 



Lil Gator Game will jump straight to your heart not only through its lovely cel shaded graphics but also through the story and, most importantly, the message it’s trying to give us. It will give you some childlike wonder, reinvigorate your imagination, and make you feel like a kid again. This also stands as a perfect entry for young children, with simple controls and a world built to attract them through bright colours and easy tasks to complete. You will find yourself lost in this charming adventure, and most importantly, you will just have fun, and at the end of the day, that’s all that matters, right?

Lil Gator Game

Release Date: 14th December 2022 (Nintendo Switch & Steam)

26th September 2023 (PS4,PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series S/X

Platforms: Steam, Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One & Xbox Series S/X

Price: £16.75