Point and click adventures have been around for a long time, but over the years their popularity faded. There was a period where very few made it to the market, but thanks to the rise in indie development more and more have begun to pop up. The Switch is a natural home for these types of games because of the hybrid nature and the ability to use the touchscreen if the designers choose to do so. Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet is the latest adventure game to come to the Switch, but followers of the franchise know that this is her second pirate outing in a crazy child-like world.
Point and click adventure games aren’t for everyone, and many of them take steps to lean into the nostalgia that older gamers will feel when playing them. This can be seen in the jokes and puzzles presented. If you’re not familiar with this genre, most of the time the games revolve around trying to progress a story via solving puzzles. Many times there will be dialog trees and you’ll have to exhaustively try all of your inventory items with every other interactive spot in the game to figure out how to proceed. There’s one early logic puzzle in this game that requires you to drag ship names to dock slips and match the destinations to the ships via notes written in Commodore LXIV (64 in Roman Numerals) – an obvious nod to the Commodore 64 PC of the ‘80s where many of these types of games originated. Quirky jokes like this, some of the content of the conversations, as well as the difficulty of some of the puzzles, skew the game to an older audience.
The Fowl Fleet is played very differently whether your switch is docked or in handheld mode. When playing on the TV, the mouse movement and functions are bound to the right analog stick and moving the character is controlled via the left control stick. Walking around can be somewhat frustrating depending on the area Nelly is in. You see, once you begin moving her she continues to move in that direction, even if the path changes direction. This can become very disorientating and I had to often let go of the stick and then push the direction I wanted to walk again. Alternatively players can use the right analog stick to point and click where to go and she’ll walk there. It’s just an odd control issue that doesn’t usually pop up in games these days.
The story is really simple. Nelly and Captain Bloodbeard are trying to protect flocks of birds from Baron Widebeard. Along the way you’ll come across a wide array of characters and locales. Graphics and design look like it would be a kids game but don’t let that fool you. There is plenty of humor that is aimed at adults, but safe enough for kids to enjoy. Graphically, everything is hand drawn and cartoony. If you haven’t figured it out already Baron Widebeard’s beard is well… wide. The animation is well done, but not perfect.
Voice acting is really well done. They even managed to get Tom Baker of Doctor Who fame to do some work. The background music fits very well too.
Overall Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet is a fun and perfectly adequate puzzle adventure game. It doesn’t really push the envelope in any manner for the genre, but fans should enjoy the ride. Great voice acting and a silly story make it a game to consider.
Nelly Cootaloot: The Fowl Fleet Review
- Graphics - 7/107/10
- Sound - 8/108/10
- Gameplay - 6/106/10
- Lasting Appeal - 7/107/10
Final Thoughts: GOOD
Nelly Cootalot is worth a look if you are a fan of games like Maniac Mansion or Monkey Island. The story is just adult enough for older audiences to enjoy and for kids to still get a kick out of the humor. Hit and miss controls slightly hamper the experience, but overall it’s still a fun time.