I know a lot of you would have been to New York City, but have you been to Alligator New York City? Later Alligator lets you experience NYC if its inhabitants were all…. you guessed it… alligators! I played the PAX Online demo and it was nearly as cool as that time I saw James Woods stroking and holding a chihuahua whilst walking down 5th Avenue… but that’s a story for another time.
The game is a point and click, 2D narrative “whodunnit?” with hand drawn animations. The demo takes place in a dive arcade in ANYC where you, an unnamed detective protagonist, are looking for clues as to what has happened to Pat. You interact mainly with two characters in the demo, the first being Joanie. Joanie is the coolest. Greaser hair, leather jacket and a “don’t mess with this gator'” tude.’ You ask her three questions which are written down on your lined notepad. “Whom?” (As in who are you?) Pat? (Where is he and what do you know about him?) and “The event” (The demo doesn’t disclose what this event is just yet!) To win her respect you’ve got to show her you’re the coolest alligator in town by of course, beating her score on pinball. Lizard Wizard Joanie as she’s dubbed herself (obviously a take on “Pinball Wizard”) has quit her job to become the ultimate pinball champion, so if you throttle her high score of 5,000 you’ll earn enough cred with her to get some info.
My impressions of the dialogue, which takes up the majority of the demo’s narrative, is that the game’s devs, Pillow Fight, love a good punny joke. It means that the writing is quick witted and leans slightly on the sarcastic side. For example, the second character you meet, Sweet Geraldine (who is anything but) needs you to win her specific toys from a claw machine in order to gain her respect. When you grab her a collection of candy, her face fills with disappointment and her dialogue bubble reads “No thanks, this thing looks old enough to rent a car.”
The music fits with the backdrop of a run down video arcade swarming with tricksters. 2 Mello, the highly regarded composer behind the music in Celeste, is responsible for the soundtrack and as you’d expect, he has done an amazing job. The song in the demo “Alligator blues” is a medium paced jive number that is simple, yet impactful in its lyrics and beat. The snappy, finger clicking song really does set the mood of this run down, slightly greasy, establishment.
Later Alligator is a demo that I highly recommend you give a whirl! It won me over with its humor, music, fun mini-games and seriously cute alligator animations.
Later Alligator is already available to play on PC and will be released on Nintendo Switch sometime this year. If you want to experience Alligator New York City for yourself, check out the demo here. Checkpoint Gaming will be covering a lot more indie games on show at PAX Online 2020 so make sure to keep popping by the site and our socials for all the latest PAX news!