Nelly Cootalot: Spoonbeaks Ahoy! HD
Gameplay 8
Graphics 8
Sound 8

Whether you already played The Fowl Fleet or fondly remember Nelly Cootalot from the freeware version, you definitely don’t want to miss out on this HD revival of Spoonbeaks Ahoy! It’s a charming point & click adventure with a wonderful protagonist and a cast of interesting characters. The humor is still great and while the game is very short, it is also very cheap and all revenue goes to a good cause, so there is no reason to miss out if you are a fan of the genre.

Gameplay: Short, but amusing and entertaining.

Graphics: The HD upgrade looks good, but the visuals are still very simple.

Sound: The soundtrack is decent and the voice acting much better than what we expected

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Nelly Cootalot: Spoonbeaks Ahoy! HD

Developer: Alasdair Beckett-King, Application Systems Heidelberg | Publisher: Application Systems Heidelberg | Release Date: 2019 | Genre: Indie / Point & Click Adventure | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

A few years ago we were introduced to Nelly Cootalot, the greatest point and click adventure pirate protagonist since Guybrush Threepwood. She starred in an adventure, called The Fowl Fleet, which charmed us with its laugh out loud humor and memorable characters. However, The Fowl Fleet was not actually the debut for the feisty pirate lass as that honor belongs to Spoonbeaks Ahoy, a free AGS title that was released way back in the dawn of time, i.e., 2007. The name should be a dead giveaway, but Nelly Cootalot: Spoonbeaks Ahoy! HD is a shiny new HD revival of the classic, which retains all of the humor, but makes things a little easier on the eyes.

The adventure begins with Nelly snoozing on her pirate ship only to be woken up by the ghost of Blackbeard the pirate. He instructs Nelly to set sail for the Barony of Meeth where the population of birds, called Spoonbeaks, appear to have vanished. Since Nelly is not just a fearsome pirate, but also a lover of tiny and adorable creatures, she immediately heads to the island. Upon arrival, Nelly quickly discovers that all the Spoonbeaks are indeed nowhere to be found and that the island is being run by Baron Widebeard, a dodgy character with an ego that is almost as big as his beard. The island is also home to a host of other colorful characters, but Nelly has her work cut out for her to get them to take her seriously and help with her quest.

What follows is a traditional point & click adventure where you try and get your grubby hands on everything that looks vaguely useful, whether it takes begging, bartering or burglary. Over the course of her adventure, Nelly will have to convince a fellow pirate that she is indeed a swashbuckler herself, procure the underwear of the plus sized baroness, wear a dashing disguise to fool some old ladies and much, much more. Apart from the occasional obscure puzzle, all of the obstacles in the game are rather easy to overcome if you pay attention and think logically. Unfortunately, the game is also rather short and linear, but this is understandable considering its roots.

Seeing as the game was originally free and can be completed in a single sitting, there might be some players wondering why it now has a price tag on Steam. Firstly, the price tag is low enough that you could probably scrounge together enough coins from behind the sofa to afford it, and secondly, all of the revenue actually goes to a British charity that specializes in taking care of birds. If these are not reason enough, there are some actual improvements to the game as well. The visuals are now obviously in HD, which in conjunction with the widescreen support, means it looks much better than the tiny, square, original. The fact that the game is now in HD doesn’t mean it now has more detail or colors, but the improvements over the original is obvious. Another improvement is the interface, which has now been streamlined.

One of the newest additions that is pretty much worth the price of admission alone is the inclusion of voice overs for the characters. However, while Nelly is voiced by the same charming actress who read her lines in The Fowl Fleet, all of the remaining characters are voiced by the creator of the game, Alastair Beckett-King. The game actually opens with a video from Alastair apologizing about this and reminding players that they can disable the voice acting, but we would advise against that. Spoonbeaks Ahoy doesn’t have a lot of different characters, but we think that Alastair did a phenomenal job voicing them and some of the accents are downright hilarious. It definitely adds more charm to the game and since he is the one who wrote the dialog, he knows exactly how to deliver the lines. Nelly sounds as great as she did in The Fowl Fleet and her impersonation of an Italian daredevil had us laughing out loud. The soundtrack for Spoonbeaks Ahoy! HD is also really good and overall we were really impressed with the audio.

As we mentioned earlier, the interface for Spoonbeaks Ahoy has been streamlined, so you can now simply left-click on objects to interact with them, or right-click to examine them. There isn’t a ton of locations or items, but if you do get stuck, then clicking the “Hint” button will reveal all the available hotspots on the screen. The game features a map that allows you to instantly travel between the various locations, but most of your time in the game will be spent in sarcastic conversation with the locals. Fortunately, most of the dialog is really funny, especially if you can appreciate a good pun or two. Considering the age of the game, some of the jokes are a little dated at this point, such as references to The Da Vinci Code and Vin Diesel, but this just adds to the charm of the game.

From a technical standpoint the only issue that we had with Spoonbeaks Ahoy! HD is that it really did not like us tabbing out to Windows while playing in fullscreen. Doing so resulted in the last music note in the game constantly looping until we tabbed back. This didn’t prove to be too much of an issue, though, as the game is short enough to complete in a single sitting. Playing the game in windowed mode also eliminates the problem and allows you to check your email in between puzzles without getting your ears assaulted.

Overall, we really enjoyed Spoonbeaks Ahoy! HD and it had us laughing out loud on numerous occasions. It was also pretty neat to see that the game features a lot of the characters who we encountered in The Fowl Fleet. There is no need to play this game before The Fowl Fleet if you haven’t already experienced the latter, but we still recommend doing so as it will help you to understand some of the characters better. Even if you have already played and completed The Fowl Fleet, this game is still worth checking out due to the low price tag and the fact that it features the same type of brilliant humor. It was definitely great to experience where it all began for Nelly Cootalot, but now we can’t wait for her next adventure.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10
  • Processor: 700 MHz
  • Memory: 64 MB RAM
  • DirectX: Version 5.2
  • Storage: 1500 MB available space
  • Sound Card: All DirectX-compatible sound cards
  • OS: macOS X 10.8+
  • Processor: 700 MHz
  • Memory: 64 MB RAM
  • Storage: 1500 MB available space
  • OS: Ubuntu 16.04+, SteamOS+
  • Processor: 700 MHz
  • Memory: 64 MB RAM
  • Storage: 1500 MB available space

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