Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet
Gameplay 8
Graphics 8
Sound 9

With its quirky sense of humor, interesting cast of characters and plucky protagonist, it is hard not to be charmed by Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet. While the puzzles are somewhat easy, the game had us smiling all the time and even has a few laugh out loud moments. It has obviously been influenced by the Monkey Island series, but without being a carbon copy. If you are a fan of the genre, then The Fowl Fleet should definitely be on your wishlist.

Gameplay: Easy enough for newcomers, but even experienced players will enjoy the quirky setting and characters.

Graphics: The blend of 3D characters and 2D backgrounds work well and the overall art style is very good.

Sound: The soundtrack is nice, but the voice acting steals the show thanks to some great performances

Summary 8.3 Outstanding
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Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet

Developer: Alasdair Beckett-King / Application Systems Heidelberg | Publisher: Application Systems Heidelberg | Release Date: 2016 | Genre: Indie / Point & Click Adventure | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Despite being twenty six years old at the time of writing, The Secret of Monkey Island is still one of the best titles in the point & click adventure genre. It has obviously been since surpassed in terms of visuals and audio, but the brilliant humor and clever puzzles still cements its position as a true classic. It also means that you have to be pretty brave as a developer to release a pirate themed point & click adventure. Undeterred, comedian Alasdair Beckett-King has forged ahead and created Nelly Cootalot, a swashbuckling pirate themed adventure with undeniable Monkey Island influences. However, despite sharing some similarities with the Lucasarts classic, The Fowl Fleet is not just a pale imitation, but a great adventure in its own right.

The Fowl Fleet opens with Nelly discovering that the villainous Baron Widebeard has hypnotized an army of bird for his own nefarious purposes. Standing between Widebeard and a legendary treasure is a flock of vicious Ptarmigans, which he is hoping to defeat with his own feathered fleet. As Nelly cannot stand back and allow this to happen, she sets out on an adventure to thwart the baron and save the birds under his command. To be honest, we didn’t really find the overarching story to be that captivating, but there was enough interesting things happening minute to minute that it isn’t such a big issue. A few “in the meantime” cut-scenes popped up every now and then to remind us of Widebeard and his evil monkey henchman with its supernatural powers, but we were mostly focused on whatever immediate puzzle Nelly was facing.

The Fowl Fleet is actually a follow-up to the original Nelly Cootalot: Spoonbeaks Ahoy! which was released as freeware a few years back. However, no knowledge of the original game is required to enjoy Fowl Fleet, although you will run into a few familiar faces. These include Sebastian, a talking bird who serves as your companion for most of the game. When you get stuck you can ask Sebastian for advice and he can also be employed to aid you with some of the puzzles. Speaking of puzzles, The Fowl Fleet features a very logical selection that can be completed without having to resort to trial-and-error. No pixel hunting is required as there is a button to highlight all hotspots and you can often tackle multiple puzzles at once. Veteran players might find the puzzles to be a little too easy, but the mild difficulty level ensures that the game is very accessible.

The game features hand drawn visuals, which looks very basic at first glance, but actually captures the quirky nature of the characters and locations quite well. There are more than 45 characters to interact with and 35 different locations for Nelly to explore. Nelly herself is a fiery haired lass with a striking green eyes. Well eye to be precise as befitting her pirate nature she is wearing an eye patch. The characters in the game are all 3D modelled, but they don’t look out of place against the 2D backdrops. The different islands, pubs, tea shops, harbors and towns that Nelly visit all look great thanks to the vibrant art style. Our only gripe would be that the backgrounds tend to look a little static and often only feature minor animated elements.

We were quite surprised by the stellar cast of voice actors for the game, which includes the likes of Andrew Secombe, Tom Baker and Thomas Reiner. Even Nelly herself sounds great and it is hard not to be charmed by her determined, but slightly dimwitted nature. It’s also hard not to chuckle at characters with names like Gusty Nethers and Commodore LXIV to name just two. The dry, quirky sense of humor in the game is very British and will leave you laughing out loud and groaning in equal measures. Not all the jokes and puns will leave you in stitches, but the game is definitely humorous enough considering its family friendly nature. In addition to the English voice acting the game also features full German voice acting, which is a nice surprise. There’s not much to say about the soundtrack as it is nice and mellow, but never becomes repetitive or obtrusive. Catchy songs are nice, but not when you are stuck on a puzzle and forced to listen to them over and over, so we appreciate the soothing tunes in The Fowl Fleet.

The interface of The Fowl Fleet is very streamlined, so you simply left click to interact with something or right click to examine. Your inventory is stored at the bottom of the screen, but only appears when you move your mouse over it, so the rest of the time it is invisible. This reduces screen clutter while still providing easy access to the inventory. For added convenience Nelly can fast travel via a map and double-clicking transition points skips straight to the exits.

While Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet is a little short and easy for experienced players it was entertaining enough and addictive enough that we completed it in one marathon session. While the overall story is not as memorable as we would have liked the character certainly are and hopefully we’ll be seeing more of Nelly in the future. Even with all the other great point & click adventures released recently The Fowl Fleet still impressed us and comes highly recommended.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP SP2+
  • Processor: 1.2 GHz
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 256MB VRAM
  • DirectX: Version 9.0
  • Storage: 6 GB available space
  • OS: Mac OS X 10.8+
  • Processor: 1.2 GHz
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 256MB VRAM
  • Storage: 6 GB available space
  • OS: Ubuntu 12.04+, SteamOS+
  • Processor: 1.2 GHz
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 256MB VRAM
  • Storage: 6 GB available space

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