This past week, I had the absolute pleasure of playing a game about a paranoid alligator who was convinced that his family was plotting to kill him. If that sentence hasn’t scared you off, then allow me to introduce you to Later Alligator, one of the most charming games I’ve played this year.
In Later Alligator you play as an unnamed alligator in a suit who has been tasked with helping a paranoid alligator named Pat, figure out what his family is planning to do to him at an event they have planned for the night. Through talking with him and his family members, along with playing a bespoke mini-game for each of them, you start to piece together the not-so-mysterious, mystery.
You’re never deducing anything in Later Alligator, instead you’re playing these little mini-games that if you’re successful in, will get the family member in question to spill a detail about the event planned for the night. The mini-games range from playing a claw game, to protecting a sleeping baby from getting possessed by ghosts, to the bane of my existence: slide puzzles. The mini-games themselves are scattershot in terms of quality, but they’re usually charming and easy enough for it to never really be a problem.
Where this point-and-click adventure really shines however, is through its characters. Every gator you meet with is some relative of Pat’s, all with a piece of the puzzle as to what his fate for the evening will be. One of my personal favorites is Pat’s father, Two Tone Tony, who is mid-existential crisis and desperately trying to cover it up with bad jokes and a badass new grill that he doesn’t quite know how to work.
Aside from one or two mini-games, there weren’t any real times I felt challenged or like I had to solve anything. Later Alligator kind of holds your hand the whole way through, allowing you to focus more on the wonderful characters, as opposed to offering up a mechanically challenging experience. The only thing you really need to manage is time. You start at 10 in the morning and have until 8pm to do as much investigating as possible before the event itself is underway. The time crunch really kicks in when you fail a mini-game because each retry will cost you 15 in-game minutes that can really add up.
Later Alligator is the kind of game that I really enjoy, but know that it’s a hard sell to make for most people. It only took me about two hours to beat, but if you want to grab all the collectibles and play all the mini-games, it could probably be double that. But I had a very good time exploring the world, meeting its inhabitants and admiring the gorgeous art and animation. So if you’re in the mood for a lighthearted and chill adventure game that wont take up too much of your time and has a great aesthetic, look no further than Later Alligator.