It’s not selling some fine leather jackets, but this high-seas adventure game is still quite fun.
Nintendo Eshop: Upcoming
Genre: Point & Click Adventure
Developer: ASH Games
Publisher: ASH Games
Release date: July 11th, 2019
Point-And-Clicking can be for the birds
Nintendo has games for almost every genre, but one they’ve never really taken a shake at is the point-and-click. It makes sense, as not only are those games almost exclusively a western genre, but they are, well, a genre where you point and click. But some games have begun to make their way over to consoles, and one of them is the second title starring Nelly Coot, due out in mid-July.
I confess I didn’t play the first one, but it doesn’t seem like a series you need to be super up to date on. Nelly is a would-be, Monkey Island-style pirate who likes birds, cracking wise, and foiling the plots of actual evil pirates – that’s about all you need to know. The game’s very much in the class of adventure games that don’t take themselves too seriously, which is fine by me.
When looking at a point and click adventure, I’d say the two things to examine are whether the game is written well (that being a bit more important in a game where you spend a lot of time reading dialogue) and whether the puzzles work. For the first part, The Fowl Fleet is clearly trying to be funny, so is it? I’d say so – not laugh-out-loud funny, but there are a lot of good puns and some clever wordplay, as well as jokes both younger and older gamers might appreciate. Though, some of them I feel like you wouldn’t necessarily want a kid hearing, even if there’s nothing exactly obscene. The voice acting for all this stuff is pretty good, and there are some big names present in the cast, most impressively Tom Baker from Doctor Who.
As for the puzzles, The Fowl Fleet does well there too by following other modern adventure games and only giving you a few areas to explore at a time. Most items you can interact with are clear and obvious, and there’s even a button to highlight hotspots if you feel the need for a hint. The puzzles you’re presented with are also pretty logical: one early obstacle is to help a disgraced admiral win the ‘Toff Races’, a contest of who can run on a treadmill quickest. Naturally, you do this by cheating (which Nelly is happy to suggest), and each of the other competitors has some obvious advantage and a way to sabotage them. These are all fairly easy to find and don’t operate on any kind of moon logic, so while the scenario is wacky how you get through it makes sense.
Controlling Nelly can be a bit of a hassle sometimes though. Essentially you move her around with the left stick and shift between interactables with the right one, and then use the face buttons to decide how you’ll want to interact with it or to check your items. That works mostly fine, but sometimes I found myself having trouble getting her to move the direction I wanted, and when you interact with something you have to highlight it again if you want to try something else. I also ran into a glitch in a minigame where I couldn’t move objects I was meant to with the stick and had to resort to the touchpad, though thankfully the devs are working on a fix there after I mentioned it.
Graphically I’d say the game is a mixed bag for me. The backgrounds are quite nice, and it’s always good to see a hand-drawn game in this day and age, but something about the models seems off, and the animations can feel lacking sometimes. It may just not be my cup of tea, or rum in this case.
Overall though, I’m finding Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet a pretty good game, and since I’ve played most acclaimed titles in the genre on Steam I think I’d be able to tell if it weren’t. With how easy it is to pick up and play, it feels like point-and-click games have a happy home on the Switch. If you’re looking for one, I think it’s worth getting on release. I give it a Save.