Later Alligator, is an amazingly charming game that is filled with an interesting and diverse cast of characters. It has straightforward gameplay that follows the regular formula of a point and click with some added twists. The writing is clever and funny but what really makes it stand out is the large cast of characters. There are 30+ of them that all have their own minigames. It was something that I didn’t expect but it made Later Alligator really stand out and broke up what would otherwise just be a clever point and click.
You are a dapper Alligator dressed in a pinstripe suit and upon entering a fancy restaurant you run into Pat. It’s Pat's birthday you see but he looks scared and nervous. After convincing him to tell you what is wrong, you find out the horrible truth. His family is trying to “rub him out,” on his BIRTHDAY of all times! Pat believes it is because he “squealed the beans” on accident. After that admission you become entangled and are out to save poor Pat from his family.
The investigation starts with no clues and not a lot of direction. You’ll find plenty of his large family around and they all have something for you to complete before they will tell you anything about the “event” they have planned for Pat. Each of these tasks will differ in difficulty and in gameplay. Some are simple where you just click on something. While others are difficult and you have to use a claw machine to grab a specific prize for one of the family’s youngest con-artists. There are some really strange ones that end up being hilarious like dividing up family inheritance or becoming a “pinball lizard.” It really breaks up the game perfectly and I was enjoying myself thoroughly.
To find all of the clues, you will have to track down the family members all across, the aptly named, Alligator New York City. You will have to go from the classy upscale hotel you start at all the way to the “Unsavory Part of Town.” It’s one of my favorite parts because each of the places is unique and the family members in each area are different and quirky in their own way. As you work your way through Alligator New York City, you will ask each family member the same three questions: who they are, how are they related to Pat, and what, if anything, do they know about the “event”?
Where you will find the clever writing is with each interaction with Pat’s family members. Each Alligator, like I have said, is an individual and has a deep and rich backstory. The whole game is filled with great dad jokes, puns, and just plain sharp writing. Everything is tight and compact. There doesn’t seem to be any fluff. All of it ties into the story and doesn’t wear out it’s welcome. As each member of the family talks with you they won’t give up any info on the “event” until you complete their task, the mini-games that I spoke of before.
There is a mini-game for each of the thirty family members and they are just as varied and weird as the alligators themselves. One of my favorite interactions was with Joanie, they are dressed like the typical 50’s greaser or “The Fonz” from Happy Days. Just like the people from the 50’s, Joanie, really loves pinball. To get that juicy bit of information about the “event”, you have to beat their high score on pinball. The task is straightforward and not very difficult but is a blast to play. I felt, by the game setting the bar low enough, it was just fun to play without any serious anxiety of failure. That is kind of what makes all of the mini-games fun. They are not exceptionally difficult but they are all fun or weird, like having to keep bugs away from a meditating hippie Alligator while he tries to achieve enlightenment. It’s just a weird and endlessly fun experience.
The mini-games while simple and not overly difficult, break up the point and click adventure. What makes each one special is that it fits in with each character and the conversations you have with them slowly build to the game. Each time you run into another family member you get excited because the mini-game is always a pun or something riffing on pop culture. A haunted phone with a knock off version of Flappy-Bird or doing three card shuffle with Slick Mickey. Slick Mickey’s nickname doesn’t come from being a streetwise con-artist but because he has a skin condition. This is the humor that is crammed into every corner of Later Alligator and every time I interacted with a family member, I would have a smile on my face and in some cases have a good laugh out loud moment.
I wish I would have played Later Alligator earlier and would now suggest it to anyone looking for a goofy adventure that you can sit back and chill with. Every interaction is fun and funny. The point and click adventure is perfectly broken up with the mini-games. I enjoyed it through and through. It was definitely worth the investment and time I put into it. I don’t want to keep going because, in the words of Pat, I don’t want to “squeal the beans.”
On a side note: Later Alligator is not only great for adults but it’s great for kids. It is not overly complicated and the dialogue is childish enough that many kids could read and understand it. I believe it would also be great for a child who is struggling with reading. The cute art and wacky characters will draw any kid in and with the mini-games, not being overly difficult, they will want to stick around. All the reading they will be doing will be good for them. Just my thoughts but it didn’t really fit into the main section of the review.