NELLY COOTALOT: The FOWL FLEET is a swashbuckling point and click adventure that pushes all the right buttons. It has a good lead character, it is frustrating, addictive, frustratingly addictive, annoying, illogical, logical, illogically illogical, sparse on aniumation, sparse on depth, 2D in the main, colourful where needs be, and most of all it keeps the mind buzzing with the puzzles it presents.
Take a look at the launch trailer on youtube. The Fowl Fleet is a Kickstarted game and follows on from the 2007 adventure "Spoonbeaks Ahoy!"
Like most point and click you have to get on the right page early, sometimes under-thinking rather than over-thinking the challenges set in front of you. Unlike most point and click games it has a simple, friendly charm that comes across because of the elegant voice talent and the fact that there are lots of amusing witticisms liberally sprinkled throughout the conversations and thought bubbles.
As an old-timer I cannot help but draw similarities between Nelly and Guybrush Threepwood. They both have a naiveness about them but also a somewhat street-wise quality that allows them to give as good as they get. For readers who are wondering who Guybrush Threepwood is, he has the starring role in the famous Monkey Island games; Nelly Cootalot adventures could well be considered the new breed of those games.
As this is a pirate adventure you will meet, encounter and converse with just about every stereotype buccaneer, barkeep, swashbuckler and villainous villain that you could expect to meet, encounter or converse with. The grumpy Harbourmaster, the drunken sailor (oh what shall we do with him?) and the little bird (a lesser parrot you could never meet) voiced by Tom (Dr Who) Baker who will constantly remind you of tasks and things that you are supposed to be doing.
Many of the puzzles have somewhat obvious solutions, however, for the fun of it (and often the frustration) many of the solutions aren't always as easy to find as they are to assume.
You have to keep your wits about you as there will be many times when you are juggling so many balls at the same time - unlike Guybrush who at one point actually had to juggle balls, these balls are metaphorical. Items collected in the inventory can sometimes be connected or mixed together to solve or help solve some puzzles. Sometimes, in fact a lot of the time, collecting these inventory items appears to be illogical, and often downright impossible - at one point I had Nelly carrying 5 different cocktail drinks in their glasses (complete with straws and mini umbrellas) in her "invisible" backpack - just where Nelly carries everything that she does is not evident at any time, so let's just say she is a clever, strong young girl.
If I have any misgivings about Nelly Cootalot The Fowl Fleet it is that the main story is so underplayed and that there are so many side-treks, twists and turns that you tend to forget what you are supposed to be doing - there you go, I've nearly forgotten it again already (saving an army of birds if you must know). However, seeing as the game as a whole is so entertaining and enjoyable throughout, so subtly amusing, and so well voice acted and drawn, but in all honesty I cannot rate the animation as being memorably good, but it is acceptable and sits nicely on the superbly drawn backdrops.
My advice is to take your time playing and look for every tidbit the author has written in. Immerse yourself in the humour and don't over-think the puzzles. Most of all just enjoy it, Nelly Cootalot The Fowl Fleet is a pleasing and satisfying adventure.