When I reviewed the original Nightmares from the Deep back in 2012, I remarked that the “pacing is perfect, the story works well, and the overall experience is entirely positive and something you will remember for quite a while”. The sequel was even better, and the final entry saves the best of the series for last!
Type of app: Hidden Object Puzzle Adventure
Platform/where to buy: iPad (iPhone version here); available in the App Store.
Developer: Artifex Mundi / G5 Entertainment
Here are some of the features:
• 68 diverse and majestic locations to explore
• 29 addictive mini-games to master
• 32 achievements to unlock
• 12 mysterious statues to awaken
• Three collections to gather – 12 sea horses, 10 pirate cards and 24 puzzle pieces
• Cool extras such as the concept art and game music
• An additional adventure to reveal the shocking truth about Davy Jones’s island
Professor Sarah Black is back again trying to reveal the true identity of legendary pirate Davy Jones. This time her daughter Cory gets involved as Davy Jones kidnaps both Sarah and Cory – and Cory makes a pact with Jones to save Sarah! Cory finds herself alongside a multitude of others who have signed pacts with Jones, and it is up to Sarah to solve the mystery and free her daughter! Along the way she will be aided by captives and skeletons, and beset by challenges, and it is up to you to help her free all of Jones’ captives by discovering the secrets behind the power holding his pacts in force!
I heaped praise on the first and second entry in the series for a number of reasons: story, characters, puzzles, mini-games, graphics, voice acting and more. But with the final chapter Artifex Mundi and G5 Entertainment have outdone themselves and created not just the best entry of the series, but one of the most engaging and enjoyable HOPA (hidden object puzzle adventure) games I have EVER played.
Technically the game is masterfully executed: the game mechanics click just as you would expect – each area has some things to find and accomplish before moving on to the next place. Very often you will find you lack something to progress in one direction, but have an opening in another path – so you follow that path assured you will be back to unlock the other zones. Over the course of the game you will get two maps, and the ability for fast travel. That in itself is remarkable – most genre games have you backtracking all over the place but also use it to pad time, while here we have a game that is large enough that the developers added time-saving features!
The game is loaded with puzzles of all sorts, from simple combinations to more complex matching and continuous scene reconstructions! And of course your basic set of hidden object scenes are features – item lists, shapes, missing objects and so on. I particularly liked the scenes where you needed to find items to unlock other items, which are then used to access still other items and eventually yield the main item you were searching for! These give you a sense of discovery and purpose beyond just busy work.
Beyond the excellent graphics and core genre gameplay, there is at all times a sense of excitement and tension from the events going on just out of your reach – you are always propelled to make it to the next area, then the next and so on. The biggest of these are the 12 guardians scattered around the island. They hold the secrey to Davy Jones past, but cannot remember it until they are all restored and activated. This works to keep the story flowly constantly and keep you engaged – and it is incredibly effective. Most games have a feeling of story elements thrown at you that cover a very basic framework. But here we have a full, rich storyline that is worth following through the whole game.
And for the third time I was faced with a game that was too engaging to put down yet too long to finish in a single sitting – which is a great problem to have in a genre over-stuffed with two-hour long games. But the length isn’t padded with filler or needless backtracking, instead every moment and element fits together to form an engaging larger story arc that brings in elements of HP Lovecraft and Pirates of the Caribbean! I thoroughly enjoyed the entire trilogy … but the finale is clearly the best of the set, and one of the best games I have experienced in the genre.
Oh – and after you finish the main game? You get a full bonus chapter from the Collector’s Edition, meaning another hour of exploration and story to work through that wraps up the rest of the story to a satisfying conclusion.
Ease of use/Overall performance: You will immediately feel familiar with the game if you have played any other genre entry, yet this game feels like it is bursting at the seams because you will engage in adventure and action game elements throughout.
The graphics are even better than the original and sequel – and those were stunning games that still stand out more than a year after release. Everything from the music to voice acting to the animations and cutscenes are very well integrated and produced.
Would use again/recommend?: Absolutely! I have nothing but praise for this game and the series, from innovative puzzles to an engaging story to classic characters you will be drawn in for several hours until you finish! Then you can replay the entire series!
Suggested changes/wish list for updates: Nothing.
Price: Free download with in-app purchase of full version for $6.99 for iPad, $4.99 for iPhone
Here is the trailer:
Source: Publisher provided review code