Although hidden object games (HOG) are really centered around finding items and solving puzzles, I am constantly seeking great stories and interesting characters to keep me engaged. The best games in the genre – Letters from Nowhere, Special Enquiry Detail, and so on – do this well. I find that without a cohesive and compelling story throughout I struggle through a HOG. Nightmares from the Deep: the Cursed Heart has an intriguing opening sequence and setup, but does it deliver throughout the game? Read on and see!
Set sail on a mind-boggling pirate adventure! Dive into an epic journey as a museum owner in pursuit of an undead pirate who has kidnapped your daughter, taking her away in his ghost galleon. You quickly realize that the undead pirate is entangled in a tragic, centuries-old love story, and wants to resurrect his mistress with the youth’s life force. With danger lurking in every corner, you must act quickly to save the young girl’s life before it is too late. Travel through haunting seas, ruined fortresses, and bone-covered catacombs as you uncover secrets from the past!
45 Seaworthy and landlubber locations to explore
39 Hidden Object Scenes
16 Intriguing mini-games
In-depth Strategy Guide
Hauntingly majestic scenery
New iPad Retina Display Support
Game Center Support
The premise of Nightmares from the Deep: the Cursed Heart is intriguing from the start. Looking back through the centuries to the story of a ruthless pirate captain who is finally captured and killed as his young love watches, and we are then taken to the present where his body is recovered and brought to a museum. You play as the museum curator and your daughter is assisting you getting the pirate ready when strange things start happening until suddenly the power goes out and when you manage to restore it the pirate is gone – and has taken your daughter!
The first thing you will notice in Nightmares from the Deep is that the graphics are GORGEOUS. The cutscenes and areas are simply stunning – just saying “New iPad Retina Display Support” doesn’t begin to cover it. The characters are detailed, the scenes look great from close-up or far away, and everything just pops when you are in a close-up view. The degree of realism and interactivity is extremely rare in this type of game – and at this price point! When you need to board the pirate ship … it feels like a cutscene from a AAA game!
But graphics only take a game so far, with story and gameplay being far more important to me. As I mentioned, the initial setup is compelling and intriguing – and the game simply never lets up! You have twists and turns as you discover why your daughter was taken, surprises that are both funny and spooky, and while nothing terribly surprising happens it is always more fun to play a game with a satisfying plot that doesn’t feel ‘dialed in’.
The gameplay is for the most part a solid representation of standard genre fare: hidden object areas, puzzles, mixed areas, multi-stage quests and Mahjong. Wait … WHAT?!?! That’s right, when you come to a hidden object scene, you can choose to engage in a Mahjong puzzle instead. The Mahjong board will reshuffle if you get stuck, but it is such a cool and different idea that I did about half of the game on Mahjong.
The seamless integration of hidden object areas, mixed scenes and puzzles flows better than in most genre games, and makes the game feel seamless as you move from area to area with cutscenes and plot exposition in between. It is an organic flow seldom found in hidden object genre games that really enhances the overall experience.
Nightmares from the Deep is fairly long for a hidden object game, as I was unable to finish it in a single sitting. But it is never tiresome – the pacing is perfect, the story works well, and the overall experience is entirely positive and something you will remember for quite a while.
Here is the trailer for Nightmares from the Deep the Cursed Heart, Collector’s Edition HD:
Review: Nightmares from the Deep the Cursed Heart, Collector’s Edition HD
Where to Buy: iTunes App Store for the iPhone and iPad
Price: Free with full-game unlock via in-app purchase: $4.99 iPhone or $6.99 iPad ($2.99/$4.99 on launch-day Sept. 6th only)
What I Like: Interesting story; great visuals; varied worlds to explore; challenging puzzles; evolving gameplay; Mahjong!
What Needs Improvement: Nothing.
Source: Publisher provided review code