Nelly Cootalot: Spoonbeaks Ahoy! HD by Application Systems Heidelberg
To sail the seas as a pirate is a romanticized concept – the search for booty and glory among the cutthroat world filled with tons of adventure. Nelly Cootalot: Spoonbeaks Ahoy! HD by Application Systems Heidelberg, is a pirate-themed point-and-click game that is all about that pirate life – well, a not-so-normal pirate life that’s filled with humorous absurdity.
A Comedic Pirate’s Life for Me
You play as Nelly Cootalot, a pirate who at the start of this adventure is visited by the ghost of the legendary Captain Bloodbeard. He tells her of her bestowed mission to rectify the mysterious disappearance of the Spoonbeak birds from the nearby island. So Nelly has all the motivation she needs and is off to save the birds!
Along my adventure, I interacted with a bunch of pirates, like a blues-singing blind pirate, solved mostly straightforward puzzles, and met a flying hypnotized monkey on a flying carpet, so nothing really out of the ordinary.
It’s clear from the outset that this game wears its inspirations on its sleeve. A lot of us know of the Monkey Island series, and Nelly is modeled after that style of point-and-click: fairly linear with a lot of absurd situations and humor thrown in around every corner.
Thankfully, like Monkey Island, often times the humor in this game landed for me, whether it was a pirate shop selling the latest in technological advances – the iHook – or the fact that I had acquired a literal cat burglar to help me unlock a safe. The game is chock-full of humor, which makes it a lot of fun to play.
Another enjoyable aspect of this game is the fact that it has a lot of charm. Intentionally goofy-looking characters, simple hand-drawn environments, and a number of tiny details make for a game that ends up being really stylized. Since this game was originally released for free in 2007, you can tell it was made with a lot of heart.
The game is fairly linear, with little exploration as a result. There are only a handful of areas to visit and a good handful of puzzles to solve. There is a noticeable gameplay loop of interacting with people, reaching an obstacle, then going back to those people to ask them about the obstacle.
The NPCs will either help you or point you to an object or towards the right direction on how to deal with said obstacle.
This linearity didn’t bother me much because the game is fairly short, around two hours long, so its pace and gameplay didn’t feel like a slough by overstaying its welcome. But keep that in mind if you’re looking for a more open-ended or more exploration-heavy point-and-click experience.
Nelly’s Got a Brand New Sound
The original version of the game has no voice acting, but this HD does, and I must say it adds a lot to the experience. There is a disclaimer from the developer when you start the game that he does the voice acting for all the characters except for Nelly. He states that this newly added feature can be turned off in the options, but I strongly recommend against that.
A lot of the characters’ lines are humorously delivered, and the accents the developer pairs them with makes them even funnier. He also does a great job of making characters feel different from one another. It’s well-acted across the board. Who else would be better suited to properly deliver dialogue besides the person who wrote the game?
The music also fits well with the game’s pirate theme. Its jaunty tunes are filled with fitting wind instruments and tropical melodies. These add to the game’s lighthearted vibe. They offer a nice ambiance and also help set the atmosphere of certain locales. For example, the shore-side bar has a lively yet subdued tune, while the mine has an ominous, more mysterious feel.
A Welcome Update
This HD version of the game does exactly what it sets out to do while still keeping the original look and style. If you’re a fan of the original, this version will feel like a nice upgrade. Its charming and simplistic art style is effective at complimenting the whimsical tone of the writing. I think this HD upgrade does more than enough to justify its low price.
Nelly Cootalot: Spoonbeaks Ahoy! HD is a fun, small point-and-click adventure game that is a nicely polished, improvement over the original. It may feel too linear at some points and too short by the end. But even if you have those reservations I’d still recommend it to those who are a fan of humorous point and click games, especially those who are fans of the Monkey Island series.
Nelly Cootalot: Spoonbeaks Ahoy! HD is available via Steam.
Check out the official trailer for Nelly Cootalot: Spoonbeaks Ahoy! HD below: