By: Quinn Potter
Did you ever want to join the pirates on Captain Jack Sparrow’s ship of the undead? Do you like adventure, puzzles and searching for hidden treasures? Are you willing to take on some not-so-spooky corpses that come back to life? If so, then you, my fine friend, are ready for the mild challenges that lay ahead in Nightmares from the Deep: The Cursed Heart.
No fancy tricks and they can’t be re-mapped, but the controls are basic, useful well-placed and highly responsive.
The graphics are downright gorgeous. A nice palette of colors draws you in and the visual clarity seals the deal. This is, after all, mainly a hidden object game, so it’s important to have a backdrop that’s appealing and intriguing but also navigable. Graphics are sharp, which makes items easy to see and find.
Experienced gamers who are looking for elaborate, authentically detailed treasures won’t find them here, however. The items lack the details and historically accurate rendering found in Assassin’s Creed, but they serve the purpose for this game.
Voiceovers are smooth and professional. Talking skeletons and undead crew abound to give you hints on where to go, what to collect, the pirate’s story, and more. The voices of both the main character and her daughter are well matched to the characters they play.
The music is another nice detail that makes this game a complete package. The music is both haunting and charming. There’s nothing too dark, ominous, or overly violent here, but the music does a nice job of setting the mood.
Eerie creaks and groans emanate from the planks of the ghost ship. Waves wash up on the shore of Skull Island, bats screech out of caves, bubbles float up to the top of your pot of grog, and your footsteps echo throughout the wrecked pirate ship.
You are museum curator Sarah Black. The night before your big Caribbean museum opening, the mummified corpse of pirate Captain Henry Remington reanimates and steals away your teenage daughter. His plan? To use her life force to revive his mistress and the love of his life – Countess Mary Bannister. Of course, you’re going to want to chase after him and stop him, no matter how many mysterious scenarios, hidden objects, talking skeletons or puzzles stand in your way.
Walk around the boat’s cabins, the museum, Skull Island, shipwrecks, dank caves, or other appropriately creepy pirate-related settings to gather items. Click on objects to investigate them more carefully. Once you’ve found the listed objects, you’ll receive a useful item.
These items go into your inventory to pull from at a later time, such as when you need to make fine grog or a powerful potion. You can give these things to skeletons as trade for information or use these pieces to form pictures, open masks, or complete other tasks. Completing tasks will open new areas of exploration, such as the lighthouse or the ballroom.
As you move through different puzzles, you’ll collect doubloons. Any time you choose, you can navigate over to the chest that’s guarded by Remington’s dead crew member. Cross his palm with gold and he’ll release cut scenes that tell the story of Captain Remington, who terrorized the locals with his crew of sea monsters and attacked ships that dared to sail with valuable cargo (such as daughter of a very important man).
So, yeah, it’s Romeo and Juliet of the undead pirates (This is where the Countess, the daughter of Baron Bannister comes in). A love story, a doomed wedding, tales of treachery and deceit, maps and puzzles – heck, you can even bypass some of the puzzles and sit down to a game of Mahjong if you want. This game has it all. The hidden objects and puzzles are never frustrating or overly difficult and the story continues to pull you in as you discover more about this poor pirate’s cursed heart.
If you want some slightly ominous music and a not-too-gory puzzle adventure to play (or have some tweenagers play) while you wait for Trick or Treaters this Halloween, Nightmares from the Deep: The Cursed Heart might be just the ticket. Young and old gamers alike will enjoy a few hours of mildly spooky fun.