Nightmares from the Deep: The Cursed Heart is one of the very first games developed and published by one of the top names in Hidden Object games; Artifex Mundi. Released in 2012, this deep adventure was released 2 years later on steam, and gained immediate attention.
You play as Sarah Black, a museum owner whom just like in any other night before a big event, is incredibly busy with paperwork and artifacts. But tonight is different, it’s a special show, a night dedicated to Captain Remington, one of the most infamous pirates in the Caribbean.
Luckily for Sarah, her daughter is motivated enough to spend her teenage years learning the mysteries that lurk in the past of the Caribbean, and of course, helping her mother! Unfortunately for them, when recovering the lost body of the fearsome Remington, a curse lifts upon the corpse, making it alive once again
After centuries, trapped among the dead, the legendary pirate wakes up once again, and takes Mrs. Black daughter to fulfill his darkest desires, leaving a trail of destruction, with just you, as Sarah, to save the day.
This first chapter of Nightmares of the Deep will grant you the opportunity to embark on the famous ship that 300 years ago, haunted the Caribbean seas. Now, only a few pirate zombies remain as part of the crew. They will however help Sarah on her quest, that is, in exchange for booze, like one should expect from such mean pirates!
When Sarah finally accomplishes her destination, she steps on Skull Island, a place forgotten by time, where only memories remain. Pirates still remain here, trapped and cursed to live forever, wishing for that final breath.
So it begins, a journey to save her daughter from the hook of Captain Remington, who wishes to bring his past life back into the present day. Sarah will have to lift a curse, find out the truth about the dreadful captain, and bring peace among the lost souls!
Like in every Artifex Mundi published games, we expect quality and performance. It’s been 6 years and it shows, particularly with the cutscenes. The game supports HD resolutions and widescreen mode is applied automatically, but cutscenes are just awfully upscaled from what it seems to be a low resolution such as 480p or lower. It’s a shame considering they are 3D and aesthetically beautiful, fitting the world with panoramic events. Location designs even if upscaled to 1920x1080 still look amazing, with the perfect atmosphere surrounding a ghost ship devoured by age, and an island long abandoned with a deep fog just waiting to be traversed.
Remnants of crustacean life stuck on the ship, shells covered with seaweeds and even some wild crabs are some of the details that highlight the vibrant and mysterious colors used in the environment.
Just like in many other Artifex Mundi games, the visuals are presented in 2D, while giving a 3D impression, all hand-draw and very reminiscent of other games by the same publisher. Although the image is clearly upscaled, doesn’t affect Hidden Object Scenes at all, where every object is quite visible and distinct, in original positions and their arrangement is top-quality, like expected.
As gameplay goes, Nightmares from the Deep: The Cursed Heart follows the same ways as many before him, with two Hidden Object Scenarios. The first that serves more like a mini-game, where the player has to find and collect small pieces of a specific object in order to fully build it. The second is obviously the traditional Hidden Object Scenes, and its relatively fun and easy to spot items.
Some objects appear as yellow, and required further interaction to find them, like open a box or remove a curtain. These are basic and work more like an extra other than a challenge.
The player will eventually go to the same place multiple times in Hidden Object Scenes, and each new time, the objects previously gathered will be removed. That’s a pretty neat feature, not always included unfortunately in games.
If hunting down hidden objects is not your thing, maybe, perhaps a nice game of Mahjong will convince you. That’s a nice alternative for those looking for variety or just a nice break from all those hidden treasures.
The puzzles are always an important step on Hidden Object Games, and the ones on this title range from easy to medium, which are perfect for new beginners, casual or everyone looking for fun without much effort. A couple of puzzles will make you think, but not in a frustrating way.The puzzles are your average challenges, for the exception of a couple who manage to bring something new to the table, anyone playing a few of these games can recognize the others. Although all are very appropriate and suit extremely well with the setting of a cursed pirate island!
Characters have a nice animation for voice-dialogue moments, and that’s not the only audio worth of mentioning. Music can create a fantastic playing experience, and to back that up we’ve got something spooky to go with. Based on piano tracks and synthesized tunes, it creates the perfect background for this adventure
Steam edition is actually the Collector’s Edition containing extra content, including one hour and half of extra story, that portraits post-content plot, where Sarah and her daughter leave Skull Island and come across a shipwrecked. Although short, it’s connected with the main-story, and if you enjoyed the story at to that point, you’ll surely enjoy the extra ending!
Extras also include 9 concept art images, 9 cutscene videos, 8 wallpapers up to 1920x1080, and the amazing ability to repeat the 16 Hidden Object Scenes!
Nightmares from the Deep: The Cursed Heart is a medium-length Hidden Object Game worth of every positive review it has. It’s a good adventure story, with an gameplay time of 5 to 6 hours, and more if you want to complete the achievements, that as in most Artifex Mundi games are relatively easy to accomplish. A pirate themed adventure where the player must face unknown paths to unveil buried treasures and lift a curse that lasts for centuries.
Nightmares from the Deep: The Cursed Heart is available for Windows, MAC, Xbox One, Playstation 4 and Portable devices!