Pirates, English humor, Tom Baker (of Doctor Who fame), and a surplus of alcohol should
guarantee even the most video game adverse person a glance at Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet.
However, these are all just the highlights that shine immediately. What truly stands out in The Fowl
Fleet is beyond the surface and takes some patience to get into since, it is a point and click game. To
truly understand this title, we need to dive a little further.
Nelly Cootalot’s Return?
Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet essentially starts off with Nelly Cootalot working in the mail cabin of a
ship with almost a defeated attitude. She begins this adventure somewhat on a low, trying to not stir up much trouble. Quickly, things take a turn as Nelly’s former mentor, Captain Bloodbeard, makes a ghastly appearance and informs her that his brother, Baron Widebeard, is up to no good and the Treasure of the Seven Seas is at stake. This kicks the story into motion as you take control of Nelly and must examine your surroundings and become crafty to save the day.
As most point and click adventure games, the plot becomes very elaborate and suddenly what’s
seemingly simple becomes awfully complex quickly. Nelly’s adventure makes no mistake in throwing you into the action relatively early and throws many names and terms at you. If you’re not knowledgeable on your (British) English or pirate terms, things can get heavy fast. One thing the game does well is immerse you within its world by mitigating the comedy and terminology so, these terms and phrases keep you engaged even if you have no clue what’s being said. Once you start delving into the plot and tasks, it’s hard to put down. The surplus of witty, dry, and sarcastic humor truly never ends.
One of the downsides to the plot can be some of the cutaways to other happenings in the game’s world since, they’re not as convincing or entertaining as the trouble Nelly gets into. Much of Nelly’s shenanigans take place in a central hub town in The Guttering Howls. There you meet some of the wacky cast and make some new enemies along the way. This is where the game sells its entire premise and ropes you in.
Tap at your own risk
This is a point and click adventure meaning you will have to deal with countless dialogue boxes and
prompts to progress the plot which may turn off new players to the genre. Additionally, some fun
minigames are sprinkled in which help breakup some of the more repetitive activities. Despite these
minigames coming in as a break, one minigame during the mid-section of the game can become
frustrating when the touch controls begin to betray you. This isn’t the only time the touch controls
become a nuisance more than a godsend from the control you had from The Fowl Fleet’s release on
As you tap your way through comedic dialogue, wacky side objectives, and through menus using and
forging new items, you’ll have some moments of “Why is this happening when I distinctly tapped this
other thing?”. That became the theme while playing which took away some of joy of the fun plot and
dialogue. A lot of time was spent moving back and forth between one area and the next when the intended
action was to tap on Sebastian for advice. Other times, tapping an item led to the same result of Nelly
saying “I can’t do this” when the wrong action was being activated and she can indeed, do this.
Lastly, what seemed to be lost from the Steam release is some of the quick loading between different
screens. It’s very noticeable how long it takes to go from inside a cave to outside a cave and other
locations on Nintendo Switch. You’ll wonder why a game with no real-time action takes so long to
On the positive side, there was another control option using the joycons which is unique to the
Nintendo Switch release. Utilizing the right joystick, you can easily navigate the tasks on screen. Also,
you could use the left joycon to simply walk around if you wanted as Nelly. Another welcomed addition
for the Switch release is the developer’s commentary which is located on the upper left-hand side of the
screen. The commentary sometimes is in monologue format or it’s in an open dialogue where you get a
true glimpse into how much love the team has for their game. Also, the commentary can naturally be
hilarious at times so, it’s easy to see how the game itself got some of its naturally flowing humor.
It sounds just right
Sonically, The Fowl Fleet doesn’t have a singular standout track, but each track holds its own. The
game’s soundtrack has delightful sounds that are so in place, they don’t distract or take away from the
game. Each track is tuned to the location or cutscene very well. This allows the dialogue to shine while
keeping the correct mood for each moment. If the soundtrack tried to be more than what it was, it
would be too overbearing on the game which has a lot of subtle humor or details you should focus on. In
this case, less is a lot more. Also, it’s worth mentioning the voice acting is A+ for an indie title, even
better than some big budget titles. The fact that Tom Baker was involved perhaps raised the bar for the
whole cast and they really brought it.
Nelly Cootalot’s adventure seems like a sequel of sorts since, there’s references to other events prior to
the game but what’s left is a lot of material to fuel another adventure. The game takes you on a
completely obscure journey that is entertaining for hours on end.
If you’re new to point and click adventures, then this may not be your game but if you can be patient, the plot and dialogue will keep you engaged to the very (hilarious) twist ending. If you’re into point and click, this game will wrap you in and give you all that you love from the genre.
Note: A review copy of the title was provided for this review by the publisher.