Nelly, our one-eyed main character of the story, wishes to become a pirate legend. Baron Widebeard has managed to get all the birds as a fowl army to acquire the treasure of Pirate William Bloodbeard, Nelly’s former mentor, and Ms. Cootalot must adventure to stop this from happening by solving puzzles with the help of her friendly bird, Sebastian J. Coot. The heroine, Nelly, will travel the seventh sea to adventure her way to becoming a mighty pirate. Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet was originally released in 2016 on the Steam platform.
By interacting with different people and objects, Nelly will find clues and solve puzzles to reach her goals. The controls worked well, with the exception of movement. Using the left joystick, Nelly moved as commanded, although her movement was on linear paths. The issue with this came from transitioning to the different areas. It was sometimes difficult to accomplish this with the controller. The rest of the controls for the game worked well. The A button is used to select items and to tell Nelly to go to locations, interact with characters, and features. The Y button will bring up the menu bar. The B button will provide information on selected items, characters, and features. This will also cancel the use of items. The X button brings up the controls used on the game. The + button brings up the menu after pressing the X button and brings up the pause menu otherwise. The – button brings up the map. The right joystick is used to highlight interactive items on the map. Left and right on the directional pad cycles through the inventory. With the issues of movement, I felt more comfortable with the touch controls and continued to use them thereafter.
The game has simple but nicely styled cartoon-like graphics. The animations of the characters and other items are smooth. The art is done by hand, similar to Cuphead, and this is large task that not many developers take on. One flaw I noticed with the graphics is between the exchange of items between Nelly and other characters. Nelly and others will move like they are exchanging, but you never see any items. The only other issue with the graphics is sometimes the movement of characters’ mouths do not seem to be in sync with the dialogue.
The music fits the game well, and the game also has great voice acting. The score sounds upbeat and has a Caribbean feel to it. The voices fit the characters and the time period as well. Nelly is voiced by herself, and the rest of the cast are veteran actors from various games and movies, such as Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse and Doctor Who.
Like other games that I have played like this, it suffers from the environments being very small, resulting in transitions that cause loading. Although this game is not affected as much by this, it is still an issue that needs to be resolved. Other differences that I have noticed in this game involve using different items together. With the better controls, the issues that I have seen in other games do not exist. Between using the touch controls and the right stick, it is easy to select items and/or areas to interact with the selected item.
One creative aspect of this game I like is that sometimes Nelly will turn and face the screen and talk to the player after accomplishing tasks or getting some important information. It reminds me of the Deadpool movies with breaking the fourth wall, and it adds to the humor of the game. The only issue I have with some of the humor is having a pirate-themed game that has more modern references. One character mentioned working at Lehman Brothers as a failure, and another stated they lost out on an opportunity because they did not check their Kickstarter emails. These references and others take away from the story and the mood of the game. Another helpful item that is in the game is using Sebastian as a way to help you when you are stuck. You can simply talk to him, and he will give you hints on what needs to be done. This is a nice feature that is also helpful if you have not played the game in a while and forgot what to do next.
Developer: Alasdair Beckett-King
Publisher: Application Systems Heidelberg
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Release Date:11th July 2019 (Nintendo Switch), 22nd March 2016 (Steam)