Nightmares from the Deep: The Cursed Heart is a hidden object game, where you play as museum curator Sarah Black. You are preparing the museum’s latest exhibit after the remains of the infamous pirate king: Captain Henry Remington. However, Sarah has inadvertently revived the pirate king who kidnaps your daughter and fled to the pirate hideout of Skull Island.
Now as Sarah Black, you must find a way to save your daughter before it is too late, while finding out the truth behind Remington’s story.Before I continue, I need to say something. I normally suck at these hidden object games, especially on the mobile devices since I never seem to find them quickly enough or unable to find the missing object without a hint. That and it normally feels like forever before you can progress further with the story.
In Nightmares from the Deep: The Cursed Heart, I luckily did not have that problem and it did not rely solely on the hidden object aspect as its sole game mechanic either, which was a nice surprise actually. As I was under the impression this would only rely on that one game mechanic of finding hidden objects in a scene.
The game begins with an opening cinematic that tells the legend of the legendary pirate: Captain Henry Remington, and how his body was found and eventually wounding up at the museum. The narrator is revealed to be the Sarah Black (the player), who sees a delivery-man with the main attraction for the new pirate show about the life of Captain Remington. Afterwards, you meet up with your daughter who convinces you to open the cargo box up so she can catch a glimpse of the infamous pirate. While doing so, you decide to prepare the body to be ready for showing the next day, noting some strange happenings as she does so. If you consider ‘strange happenings’ as the same thing as arcs of green lightning which is completely not a cause of concern or forewarning at all. Needless to say, he immediately comes back to life and promptly kidnaps your daughter. Summoning his ghostly ship [that literally destroys half the museum in the process] to his hideout on Skull Island. Very considerate of the pirate to wait for you to find a way to sneak aboard his ship before he left for the island.
The story suffers a fair deal from its indecisiveness as it swaps between a tale of adventure and a tale of star-crossed lovers. Oh and adventure since you got to rescue your daughter. The scenes have very lovely visuals with the hand-painted look. It does make it slightly hard to pick out some of the objects from a scene though.Despite being labelled as a hidden object game, the game play offers more than simply finding hidden objects. There is a mix of puzzles and mini-games. Along with general exploring around locations to break the monotony. The game is rather lengthy so do not expect to finish this within a single sitting in an afternoon. If you get stuck, there is the ever-present and helpful hint button to help move things along.
The puzzles are relatively simple and few come with a step-by-step instructions. You can find maps which offer hints of whether you still have things to do in a location via a yellow exclamation mark. Sadly the maps do not let you quickly travel between locations.I noticed there was an option to play Mahjong if you do not want to play the hidden object scenes. Apparently if you can beat the Mahjong game, you beat the hidden object scene. I found it just a tad odd. There are also some puzzles that you cannot avoid. If you take too long to solve a puzzle, the game will offer you the option to skip it or you can look at the game’s guide to see the solution to solve the puzzle.
On a whole, I felt the game was pretty average. Your typical hidden object game that tried to add different game mechanics so it did not rely solely on hidden object scenes. Sadly, the game was still your run-of-the-mill hidden object game. The story was unmemorable and swapped between genres with the main story and the sub-story of the pirate version of Romeo and Juliet. For a mother who is trying to save her daughter from a horrible ending, she certainly did not sound overly concerned. I still find the concept of playing Mahjong to beat a hidden scene very odd.
Otherwise, the game had wonderful visuals with the hand painted style. Shame the maps couldn’t be used as a way to quickly travel between locations, but served as a handy way to find out if you were missing something in any of the locations.
It is part of the Nightmares From the Deep collector’s edition, however I would recommend only getting this when the game or the collector’s edition (if you want to finish the entire trilogy) when it is on sale.