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RPS Advent Game-o-Calendar: December 7th

The time is nigh. We can put it off no longer. We must reach deep inside ourselves and find the strength to open another page of our RPS-approved fairtrade advent calendar. Frightened? We can do this.

Jimminy - it's a heart-shaped piece of chocolate. Thanks, Fairtrade. Om nom nom nom.

And for you?

Nelly Cootalot: Spoonbeaks Ahoy!


You might not have been expecting this, in a list that's already included Call of Duty 4, and Command & Conquer 3. But for me, this one made my day, and when there's only 365 of them in a year, that's quite a significant impact.

The game's site begins:

"'Nelly Cootalot: Spoonbeaks Ahoy!' is an adventure game by Alasdair Beckett. I made it for my girlfriend whose alias is Nelly Cootalot. I hope you enjoy playing it, even if you aren't my girlfriend."

And if that doesn't already make you like it, then you're maybe not a big sap like me.

Creating a point and click adventure about piracy is hardly the most strikingly original idea, you might think. But done with enough glee, references to the holy father of pirate adventures, and a daft amount of cute, and suddenly it seems ok again.

There's not a vast amount to say, beyond just that it delighted me. The puzzles are, while not perfect, a hell of a lot better than the majority of recent professional adventure releases, and it doesn't tell a story so very original that you need to alert Christopher Booker. What it does do is be gentle, while also surprisingly talented. And that's reason enough for it to appear in our adventy memories of the year.

cut out and keep

What I love most is the design. The sketched backgrounds appear as if hurriedly cut from construction paper, and then glued into a collage. It's such a sweet idea that I've not seen elsewhere (I'm sure canny readers have, and will say so), and matches the daft and sweet story, hunting to find the missing Spoonbeak birds.

No, it's not Crysis. But unlike Crysis, it's free.

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