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Update 2016-03-23: The game is also available DRM free directly from Application Systems Heidelberg.

Spoonbeaks Ahoy! (Windows only) won as many as five AGS Awards in 2007 and was nominated for seven more. The Fowl Fleet is comedian Alasdair Beckett-King's follow-up to the popular 2007 adventure, and it has been developed in cooperation with developer and publisher Application Systems Heidelberg. The game is now available on Steam for Linux.

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Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet was funded on Kickstarter in 2013. The campaign was featured in The Funding Crowd #4, and though it wasn't certain at the time, the final product is a fully native and polished Linux build.

We're introduced to our heroine Nelly Cootalot in a tutorial set aboard the mailship Undeliverable. Here you'll learn how to interact with other characters, to examine, pick up and use items, and how to combine them in your inventory. This is also where you learn of the villanous Baron Widebeard's evil plans, which involves a fleet of hypnotised birds.

As a bird-lover and defender of adorable creatures, Nelly wants none of that, and sets off in pursuit of Widebeard to his last known location. In order to progress from there, you must figure out the Baron's next destination by correctly applying information from a log book to a wall chart of ship departures—a puzzle that is one of my favorites in the game. You also have to gain permission to leave the docks by helping the miserable Admiral Woebegone by solving a classic "three trials" style branching puzzle.

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Your next leg of the journey takes you to the main area of the game, which is a large area of three connected islands. Among other things, it has two main streets, several stores, food and drink establishments and a few public service buildings. In short, most of what you'd expect of an actual town, and it reminds me of memorable areas of the classics, such as Rubacava and the towns of the Tri-Island Area. Luckily, you can double-click on exits to teleport, and there's also a map you can use for fast-travel.

This is also the most diverse area in the puzzle department, and it is where you'll spend most of your time with the game. A puzzle revolving around a pirate-ified version of the classic board game Operation offered the biggest challenge to me, but since there are several other puzzles to tackle, I never felt completely stuck. If you do though, you can always get your bird companion Sebastian to give you a recap of your current objectives, without running the risk of spoiling anything.

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A location placed inside the subconsious of a shaman monkey is also worth mentioning, but unfortunately it was all over rather quickly. There's also one large Viking inspired area left after that, but I don't want to spoil more than I already have.

The game features high-quality voice acting from a large cast of talented British actors, including Tom Baker of Doctor Who and Little Britain. It is also of the funnier games I have played, which should come as no surprise if you played the previous game or saw last month's press release or the newly released pre-launch trailer.

My first playthrough of the beta took me 5–6 hours, according to my notes, but I've seen estimates of much longer play times, and it's of course highly dependent on your previous experience with the genre. A few of the puzzles felt a bit underwhelming, including a certain barrel puzzle and the finale. Other than that though, the game feels solid throughout, and I think it's a good all-rounder that will appeal to most players.

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I can't write about Nelly Cootalot without mentioning the staff at Application Systems Heidelberg, who have been on top of every issue and very responsive to my feedback since I started beta testing the game in January. They have been in the unfortunate situation of having to work with a Unity 5 engine that has been riddled with Linux gotchas, but have nevertheless remained professional and friendly throughout what must have been a long and stressful crunch.

If this sounds interesting, you can buy Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet on Steam. Alternatively, you can buy the game from Application Systems Heidelberg and choose between a DRM free copy and a Steam key.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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A big fan of platformers, puzzle games, point-and-click adventures and niche indie games.

I run the Hidden Linux Gems group on Steam, where we highlight good indie games for Linux that we feel deserve more attention.
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8 comments

tuubi 22 Mar, 2016
I love me some Nelly. And so does the wife. I absolutely must buy this as soon as I can.
Shmerl 23 Mar, 2016
Sounds like a good game, buy why is it Steam only? I'll contact developers about it.


Last edited by Shmerl on 23 March 2016 at 1:20 am UTC
MintedGamer 23 Mar, 2016
I'm really enjoying playing this game so far. Its got some great humour and voice acting and the puzzles are all logical so far.
Sslaxx 23 Mar, 2016
Enjoyed the original game rather a lot. Wanted to back this, but I had no money at the time. Still no money now, but if I find the funds I'll be buying this one!
flesk 23 Mar, 2016
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Quoting: ShmerlSounds like a good game, buy why is it Steam only? I'll contact developers about it.

They tried to get the game on GOG, but it wasn't accepted. I hope they explore other options though, like itch.io or Humble. Backers just got DRM free versions of the final build though, and will get access to future updates.
Sslaxx 23 Mar, 2016
Quoting: flesk
Quoting: ShmerlSounds like a good game, buy why is it Steam only? I'll contact developers about it.

They tried to get the game on GOG, but it wasn't accepted. I hope they explore other options though, like itch.io or Humble. Backers just got DRM free versions of the final build though, and will get access to future updates.
Well, just tweeted them about it, let's see if we get a response! I'd be surprised if they're not though.
flesk 23 Mar, 2016
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It's actually possibly to buy the game DRM free directly from Application Systems Heidelberg at the same 15% release discount they offer on Steam. I had missed that, but I'll update the article to include that.
damarrin 23 Mar, 2016
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Bought this morning, after Steam recommended it to me. Looks great and has very modest system requirements. I'd never heard of Spoonbeaks before, maybe now that Linux is popular they will port it sometime.
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