Title: Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet
Developer: Alasdair Beckett-King
Publisher: Application Systems Heidelberg Software GmbH
Genre: Adventure, Puzzle, Point and Click
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Audience: PEGI 12
Release Date: 11/07/19
Price: £16.19 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
What made me want to play Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet was both the art style and its genre. Point and click style adventure games are not something I often play, so I wanted to try something outside of my usual catalogue. I also immediately loved the design of Nelly; as someone interested in illustration, it was something that stood out for me. Initially, because of the art style, I thought this was a children’s game. However, I soon learned that it was far from that and enjoyed the game a lot more than I was expecting to!
The hand-drawn illustrations in this game are what made the visuals so charming and unique. In each area, I loved to take in all the scenery and notice all the little details in the background. It was clear that a lot of hard work and love had been put into designing the game, and it paid off. The characters had an individual style, which I’ve always loved to see in games. They were not realistic but stylised, with crazy hairdos and exaggerated features, but this only enhanced the characterisation.
The characters were slightly different from the backgrounds and moved a little strangely, but of course, this is because they had to be animated and had thicker outlines to stand out. Though it did look odd at times, it didn’t take away from the experience. The game isn’t aiming for ground-breaking graphics, so it didn’t matter, as the hand-drawn aspect is what makes it charismatic. I’d love to play more games in a similar style!
The audio set the scene further with its pirate jig soundtrack, so it had that nautical feel. There was a different track for each area so the music didn’t get repetitive and you had that variety. It was also suited to each area to reflect the environment and the mood. Combined with the visuals, it nailed the pirate vibe to perfection.
The gameplay wasn’t unlike other point and click style games; you could either examine or interact with items in the area, and could also bring up an inventory, choosing things from it and clicking on an item to see if they work together. To progress in the game, you would need to use the right items together, or trade things with other characters. Some parts of the game could be quite challenging, but that moment when an idea clicks in your brain and you work out what to do is so satisfying. I think it was just the right level of difficulty, and if you got too stuck, you could talk to your bird pal Sebastian who would hint at what you need to do next.
The story itself was hilariously funny, and it’s what made me realise that it wasn’t a game for children. It wasn’t rude humour, but it was witty, and the references would largely only be understood by an adult audience. I mean, who doesn’t love a good Lord of the Rings reference? I found myself chuckling numerous times throughout, the wacky story and dialogue keeping me more than amused, as well as its utter Britishness.
You could also use both your Joy-Cons and the touchscreen to control the game. However, I seemed to have a bit of trouble switching between the two. Sometimes I would tap the screen, and it wouldn’t let me interact with anything, or I’d move the right joystick to look at objects, but the cursor wouldn’t appear. I’m not sure if this is to do with my Switch or because my left Joy-Con has started to drift and therefore interrupted the other movement, but I thought I’d mention it in case it’s an issue with the game. There was also a specific part of the game where a bird was meant to be blocking my path, but it wasn’t there, so I spent a while trying to work out what to do before I realised the bird hadn’t appeared on my screen. I reset the game, and it was there so I could proceed, though this was the only time it occurred.
Edit: Since writing this review, an update has been released for the game which solves this issue, so everything is good to go for the game’s release!
In terms of replayability, there isn’t a reason to play it again unless you were trying to speedrun it. There isn’t anything else to collect, and you wouldn’t have missed anything as the game requires you to search almost everything anyway, so you would know the story and how to do all the puzzles.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this game; hilarious dialogue, a beautiful art style and challenging puzzles. I was impressed after going in and expecting an easy, simple game. I can only hope more people get into this game once it comes out so they can have what indeed is a unique experience. I would love to see more of Nelly!
Rapid Reviews UK Rating
You can purchase Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet from the Nintendo eShop at the following link, https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/Nelly-Cootalot-The-Fowl-Fleet-1585813.html#Overview