Point and click adventure games had a heyday back in the 1990s with Monkey Island, Sam & Max, Grim Fandango, Broken Sword and more. Then about a decade ago we saw a resurgence as TellTale games brought us a renewed look at Sam & Max, and many other excellent adventures followed.
But recently we’ve seen the closing of TellTale and it has been a few years since anything really great arrived in the genre – until now, with Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet making the leap from a successful and highly regarded Kickstarter PC game to the best adventure game you can get for the Switch!
Join Nelly Cootalot in this indie adventure game, and rescue birds hypnotised by the villainous Baron Widebeard. Explore a charming, hand-drawn world created by award-winning comedian and filmmaker Alasdair Beckett-King.
What is Baron Widebeard planning? Can he be stopped? In what way is a frozen volcano involved?
To answer these questions comes Nelly Cootalot: pirate heroine and defender of endangered and adorable creatures. Nelly’s journey will take her from Port Rubicund in the South Seas to the lonely isle of Gloomholm in the icy north. She’ll meet outlandish characters and face perplexing challenges in her quest for the Treasure of the Seventh Sea.
For the most part, the game is your standard point & click adventure: you play as Nelly Cootalot, a pirate, adventurer, and bird-lover who is tasked by Captain Bloodbeard to find his lost treasure before the evil Baron Widebeard gets his hands on it. You are joined by Sebastian, your bird companion voiced by the legendary Tom Baker. Sebastian can provide hints and help you out with puzzles as needed.
The 2.5D art style is charming and gives a storybook feel that goes perfectly with the story and narrative style. You travel through small areas and interact with a number of people and items to learn important details and find critical items along the way. You will also be challenged to solve a number of puzzles – all of these were very accessible and none were very difficult. For some genre fans that might be a disappointment, but I have always preferred puzzles that didn’t have me running to search for a solution because they were so obtuse or difficult!
My only complaint is that the controls make it easy to click on the wrong spot and then have to wait for Kelly’s slow walking animations to get you to the wrong place before trying again.
My biggest joy came from the cast of characters – you have Kelly as a strong lead, but all of the secondary characters are also funny and interesting. The humor has a very British feel, but also hearkens back to the classic LucasArts adventure games such as Sam & Max. There is a great script that keeps things lively throughout.
I had an absolute blast playing Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet from start to finish. It is not the most challenging game I have played, but it is a charming, comfortable experience that is at once a nostalgic trip down point & click adventure game lane, and also a fresh new take on the genre. If you are a fan of the classics in the genre, I highly recommend checking it out!
Source: Publisher supplied review code
What I Like: Charming graphics; challenging enough to be fun; relaxing puzzles and overall experience; fun pirate music; works great in all Switch modes
What Needs Improvement: Controls remain a bit clunky