One year has passed since the events on Nightmares from the Deep: The Cursed Heart, and Sarah Black has expanded her museum with new attractions, such as Captain Remington's ship, a handful of new artifacts, and she even published a book. All seems well for her and the museum, plus, the public reacted tremendously well to the Caribbean tales of devilish pacts and secrets under the sea.
One night, however, Sarah receives a strange box shaped package, delivered by a mysterious individual. Sarah thought nothing of it, but once she opens it, the strange case inside starts an immediate reaction to an artifact exposed in the museum, and connected to Davy Jones from her previous adventure.
While all of this is happening, a group of individuals breaks into the museum, and steals the box and the artifact, but not without a fight, leaving Sarah unconscious.
The mysterious man helps Sarah, and admits to be searching for her help all along. Sarah is still gaining her senses, but it’s too late to even refuse, as she finds herself on a boat, to what lead us on a fantastic journey of curses and redemption.
Developed and published by Artifex Mundi, Nightmares from the Deep 2: The Siren’s Curse is the direct sequel to the previous game, released during summer 2013, and this time the Steam release was on time alongside other platforms.
The story, although connected to the first game, is far more well developed. Through Sarah Black, we travel to Kingsmouth, a small town on an island, cursed and ruled by the ruthless Mayor Murray who caught a Siren and forced her to call upon the fish so the village could grow economically. However, like all greedy men in history, fish wasn’t enough. The Mayor made a deal with Davy Jones, and so it begins, another curse falls upon man, women and children of the village, turning them into man-fish creatures, who spare no opportunities to spread chaos to the nearby incoming ships, making them crash and loot its contents.
But not all agree with the ways of quick, profitable gold through pirate ways, and a brave man rescues the siren, and sets himself on the path to find the only person who broke the curse of the evil once, and that person is the brave Sarah Black.
Artifex Mundi had only one way to make the second chapter more relevant than the first, with an already outstanding plot, they had to step up their game in terms of visual quality, and they did. Nightmares from the Deep 2: The Siren’s Curse improved vastly over the previous title, starting with the resolution for cutscenes, now supporting native HD and upscaling much nicer to 1920x1080.
Cutscenes are now less blurry due to the increased resolutions, but they remain as good, if not better, than the first game, serving as testimony of the powerful curse laid down by the sea devil. 3D renders are also available, for special characters running in the background for peculiar scenes or events. This is a new extra included and works perfectly well, even with 2D backgrounds.
Art design is still exactly as good as the first game, but with twice the locations available and much better looking, with light-works in all the right places. Objects, scenarios and all 2D characters are all drawn by hand, maintaining the same artistic atmosphere and direction. Scenes brighten up the story, with amazing rustic Caribbean-island themes, an impressive ship graveyard and even creepy catacombs to explore.
Mechanically this second chapter maintains the same Hidden Object Puzzle scenes or a game of Mahjong for those not interested in searching items. The previous variant of finding objects in a shorter but similar Hiding Object Scene is still present as well, but this time it’s a bit more complex, where the player has to find and use those objects to unlock new ones in a progressive way until finding them all.
Just like in the first adventure of Sarah Black, Hidden Object Scenes can and will be revisited by the player multiple times, finding different items each time, where objects cleared previously will remain absent. It’s nice to see the good taste is back on this Caribbean adventure.
(Puzzles are always available as a way to progress, and find rare items to help you break the curse of the sea devil.)
This time around, the picturesque town of Kingsmouth offers a few more challenges, where the player has to collect Hidden Octopuses, Sea Horses and Parrots. These animal-shaped figures are shown in the background, and sometimes hidden, requiring a special action from the player such as ringing a bell, or shaking a box to reveal them.
This sequel offers three difficulty settings, from Casual, to Advanced and Expert mode, where Expert mode is exactly perfect for those who enjoy this type of games. Since we're mentioning difficulty modes, we’re mostly obliged to mention the puzzles, that are far superior to the first game, so there’s another improvement.
Challenging puzzles range from easy to medium, and almost hitting the hard level, luckily, the couple ones that are slightly tough are also intuitive and can be completed with straightforward dedication.
The Steam version of this adventure is the Collector’s Edition, just like with the first game. This time, however, we have more content available. This special edition contains 8 concept images, all 22 cutscenes, 10 wallpapers with resolutions up to 1920x180, 9 Hidden Object Scenes to replay anytime you want, and 6 Music Tracks. Soundtrack included in the game is definitely a surprise we rarely see, and it’s extremely welcome.
The soundtrack alone is slightly different than the previous adventure, avoiding the horror elements, and adding a more thrilling sound into it. Still very atmospheric and suiting perfectly with the events, the music selection is clearly directed towards investigation, suspense and overall action adventure game.
A bonus adventure is also available, and it’s definitely the main attraction of this edition. “The Book of Davy Jones” is the extra chapter that adds about an extra hour of content. This little segment tells the story of Sarah after breaking the curse, and helping the remaining folks of Kingsmouth change their old habits, at the same time as finding transport to bring herself back home.
Nightmares from the Deep 2: The Siren’s Curse is a sequel that considerably improves from the first game, both visually and mechanically, making this a much longer and interesting adventure, but at the same time maintaining the spirit of the main character, and unveiling a little bit more of the fearsome sea devil Davy Jones.
A fantastic 10 hour adventure with beautiful handmade sceneries, a terrible curse to break, and a handful of mysteries to solve.