Lil Gator Game Developer Interview: Make Your Own Fun With Adorable Sandbox Exploration

By | March 1, 2023

Lil Gator Game is a charming sandbox adventure from MegaWobble. It’s available for $19.99 on Steam, but it’s this month’s IGN Plus game and Plus members can get a Steam key as an IGN Reward and jump in right now.

Plus members – get your key for Lil Gator Game here on its IGN Rewards page. Not a Plus member? Learn more here. You can also follow the devs on Twitter.

Lil Gator Game Developer Interview

I sat down with Lil Gator Game devs Scott Slucher (Lead Developer) and Connor Quothe (Lead Writer) to talk about their inspiration, as well as what players can expect when they jump into this fun, lighthearted game.

The titular Lil Gator has a recognizable hat, tunic, and left-handed sword swing that will immediately look familiar to any Zelda fans, and Lil Gator Game wastes no time before making its love for that series explicit. When I asked why the main character was an alligator, Scott laughed and said, “because alligator is green and Link is green,” and although that isn’t the whole story, Scott was inspired by The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons, a fantastic duo from the Game Boy Color generation.

With such classic inspiration, it would be easy to mistake Lil Gator Game for a one-trick pony, but that’s far from the truth. Filling out the world and giving it life are myriad characters, each with fun personalities that make meeting and talking to them breezy and delightful.

The writing was inspired by Frog Detective’s conversational tone, as well as cartoons like Spongebob Squarepants, Fairly Odd Parents, and Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends. Connor’s own theater and Dungeon Master background meant he had experience giving substance and personality to multiple characters, which Lil Gator Game’s broad cast of characters greatly benefits from.

Fueling the lighthearted and comedic side of the game (and leaning into the strength of the side characters) the side quests are inspired by the Yakuza series. “[They are] just weird little things you stumble into,” Scott said, “with a joke or moral message at the end, and then you move on.” Side quests are also incredibly short. There are tons of them, and they can generally be completed in under a minute, creating refreshing gameplay loops of exploration and levity.

The warm, welcoming tone of the game reminds me of A Short Hike, and Scott confirmed some other inspiration for Lil Gator Game was drawn from Kirby’s Air Ride and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, which is reflected in Lil Gator’s focus on discovery and undirected play.

When asked about the team’s favorite elements, Connor said his were some Easter Egg items the player will find, and Robin (who was primarily responsible for creating the music) loves the game’s humor. Scott, who was inspired by long hikes near his Kentucky home, is most attached to the trees (which he reworked four times during development).

Scott had one final note to players. “I encourage people to look for ways to find their own fun… I have the concept of a “toy box” with this game. I tried to put in as many toys as I could, in the hopes that they’d be inspired by one of them and would play with it.”

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Brian Barnett writes reviews, guides, features, & more for IGN & GameSpot. You can get your fix of his antics on Twitter (@Ribnax) and Twitch (Ribnax) or check out his fantastic video game talk show, The Platformers, on Twitch & Apple Podcasts.