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Spoonbeaks Ahoy!

What should you be playing today? Well, it's Knytt Stories, obviously. But let's say you've finished that, what next? Easy:

(Shurely TF2? - Ed)

Nelly Cootalot: Spoonbeaks Ahoy!, downloadalised from here.

Made by Alasdair Beckett, it's a completely free point and click adventure, created for his girlfriend. Awww. She's a lucky person, as there's clearly a vast amount of love gone into the couple of hours here, and certainly a significant amount more than goes into the majority of commercial adventure games.

To avoid scurvy and other cliches, click below.

Nelly is a wannabe pirate, who lands on an island and... wait, this sounds familiar? Yes, there's no question that a thousand thank yous are owed to Monkey Island, but in this case they're respectful thank yous from a guy who understands how to make a decent game. Nelly discovers that the islands population of Spoonbeaks - a favourite bird - have vanished, and sets about rescuing them in the most piratey ways possible. Beckett explains that the game contains opportunities to:

Rescue endangered and unusually named wildfowl

Acquire morally dubious items on behalf of minor aristocrats

Intercept the private correspondances of a daredevil pilot

Come to the aid of downtrodden supernatural beings

Be confused by Nelly's County Durham colloquialisms

Borrow facial hair from long-dead pirates

Wantonly misuse the word 'borrow'.

Set those leprechauns on that Juju Monkey!

Made using Adventure Game Studio, it visually stands out from the crowd thanks to a splendid design, with gorgeous hand-drawn background graphics appearing as if roughly cut out from construction paper, and glued to the set. But it's true crowd-out-standing ways come from the quality of the writing and puzzle design. There's a couple of "Oh, come on, really?" moments, but mostly it's sensible challenges with very many consistently funny remarks. This man should be developing adventures professionally. For God's sake, someone at Telltale give him a job, shortly after firing everyone else. Get it here.

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