Nelly Cootalot: Spoonbeaks Ahoy!

By: Xander

On: September 13th, 2007


I’ve always been one for most things in moderation (More ‘Lawful Neutral’ probably, depends what rule set we’re playing by), so I guess I’ll try to balance out my clear Ninja bias with a post about Nelly Cootalot.

Another AGS Adventure game, this one doesn’t actually feel a whole lot like one. Affectionately made for the developer’s girlfriend (Marry her. Marry her now.), Nelly Cootalot is, in the creator’s own words, a “fearsome pirate and lover of tiny and adorable creatures, [who] is charged by the spirit of a dead buccaneer to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a fleet of birds known as spoonbeaks”. It’s far more polished than a lot of AGS creations, the environments are colourful and very charming, with the characters looking the greatest in particular. They’re also fairly fun, especially with the twin shop-owners and the incredibly self-involved Widebeard (As if a name like that required explanation).

(More in the extended!)

Obviously it owes its influence to the old Monkey Island games, but it also definitely has its own distinct and adorable style, and you’re always aware your playing as Nelly rather than Guybrush. She’s a great protagonist, and conversation trees are well worth exploring full just for entertainment rather than to finish the game. The interface is pretty similar to Full Throttle (Could someone please make an homage to ‘The Dig’ at some point? I feel sort of bad for it), where holding the mouse button brings up a verb coin rather than the Scumm system or the AGS favoured… right-mouse button.

It’s a little hard to talk about without spoiling things, especially since it isn’t a long game either (though it’s quite nicely paced) but it’s well worth checking out if you’re into this kind of thing. Or you could save it for a little piece of sweet sweet sanity once the B-Game Competition deadline hits.

(Thanks Pacian ! ’Tis certainly a fine game)

  • Chris

    Very nice writeup. It’s great to see posts like this that actually spend some relating games like this to their genres. And it’s not another bloody sidescroller to boot! Well done.

  • nullerator

    Downloaded now, seems like a neat game. Thanks!

  • Lim-Dul

    The Dig was awesome – I don’t know why it didn’t get more attention from the gaming community… Perhaps people were used to the funny/ironic/cynical stuff of previous LA titles. You know, once you get stuck into a box and labeled you can never go back and make something with a completely different atmosphere… Bollocks…

  • Xander

    The funny thing is that I posted this mainly out of frustration of not having a side-scroller to play, though I’ve dedicated some time(Read: My part-time job is now no-time)to play through Iwanaga.

    Lim-Dul: I was thinking about that this morning, it seems weird that almost every adventure game tends to fit into that funny/cynical formula. The closest I think we’ve had to a serious game
    lately would be ‘A Tale of Two Kingdoms’, which is a very nice fantasy style game that still sneaks in some light-humour, but only when approapriate or to soften the revelation that a troll has just crushed your face in his vice-like grip. I’d post that one if I could ever finish the damn thing, it’s pretty epic… just try to grind through the wall-of-text intro if you can so the plot makes sense (Yeah! It’s an AGS game with a plot that can’t be summed up in 3 sentences. That’s development!)

    It’s not the Dig, but then nothing is really, sort of what makes it special I guess. Thanks for the comments! Remember, my posts are fuelled by the warm and fuzzy feeling I get from these respones, so as always keep them coming! Also manhugs…

  • Zetetic Elench

    This game is pretty much the definition of ‘lovely’.

    I’m a bit stuck though. I think I have to mess with the pipe beneath the ladies (that’s about as spoilerless as I can make the problem) but I have no idea how.

  • Xander

    Chances are you missed something you have to use on the pipe. Which is just what I did. Pain. Check if you missed any items in the gate area.

  • Anthony Flack

    I think that most adventures are funny because jokes just fit the “click and reveal” format really well, and provide some nice “minute to minute” fun to keep your motivation up as you work through the meta-game.

    Aside from that – hey, that’s some pretty sweet-looking character design. It’s not often I think that, either. Hope the animation looks as nice as the static images do…

  • Chris

    sweet – welcome Flack. Enjoyed Commodork ;)

  • Chris

    Wow, freakishly enough, apparently you’re not the same Flack that I’m referring to!

    (there’s another Flack that wrote a book on the Commodore 64 – woops!)

  • Anthony Flack

    Aw, I would have happily taken the credit.

  • *Liero not Lire
  • SuperDre

    I played this game a few months ago, and I absolutely loved it (especially since it’s free).. If you are into adventuregames than this is certainly a game you should not miss. Check out the AGS site, it also has a lot of other adventures which are just as much fun..

  • Xander

    Okay, I lied…

    This is why I keep posting here, haha!

  • Sciere

    It’s a great game, but I wonder why TIGSource and Kotaku only mention it now, it’s been out since March.

  • Xander

    Well, I only noticed it as it was mentioned by Pacian in the forums and there was a link up on Big Blue Cup. And then Kotaku only posted it because we posted it (well, and because they’re both awesome of course). The thing is that even though a game comes out, it’s not like emails are sent across the internet letting everyone know what’s happened. Unless the developer is fairly well known, a lot of games will be released without anyone really knowing it happened.

    In other words it took from March for enough people to appreciate Nelly Cootalot so that it was recommended to us in the forums and listed as pick-of-the-month for Big Blue Cup. And as I’m sure you can understand, adventure games aren’t the kind of things that can kick up a lot of publicity under their own steam usually.

  • Sciere

    Certainly, but I figured it would have been picked up because of the mention on Tim’s site, but upon checking it seems no one’s has replied there in March. I may have been blinded solely by the raving comments on the AGS forums.

    At any rate: it’s lovely and deserves all the attention.

  • gnome

    Amazing. Just added to my to-review AG list…

  • makeshifter

    has anyone gotten past the decoding of the graphite on the side of the wall. i can’t figure mast nor sail of it. (trying to be as witty as Nelly) (failing horribly)

  • Tim

    Maybe I will write the walkthrough for this. Maybe I won’t. It all depends..

    But I’m sure Xander already finished the game, so he would be able to provide helpful hints anyway.

  • Xander

    That I can! It was probably the most fun puzzle in the game for some reason… maybe my mind just enjoys working that way?

    Anyway, for the decoding you need to switch around the letters so that the entire message makes sense. To be extremely hinty, the first 5 letter word is going to be ‘swear’, so by clicking the assortment of letters in the bottom you can switch around the letters up the top, and hopefully knowing what one word should be ought to help you finish it, as it’ll start to give you an idea of what other words are supposed to be. I agree though, when you first see the thing it looks like someone vomitted up the alphabet.

    If anyone else has any trouble, I’ll try to check here when comments arrive, or just PM me.

  • makeshifter


    you know its a good game when it makes you feel like an idiot

  • bean

    i would love a walkthrough.