Rum, rum, rum give me rum, rum, rum.
Yar me mates I have a tale to tell. A tale of lost items that you have to find. Puzzles you have to solve, and some of the most camp voice acting you might encounter this side of the Gameloft islands. I will also tell you that I have had a bloody good time despite listening to some of the most cliché scripts ever.
Nightmares from the Deep HD borrows heavily from a lot of sources. The first is of course the Pirates of the Caribbean world of lore that in turn is a mash up of every pirate chronicle and myth ever. There are also some hints towards King Kong in the general setup of the story, and a nod to the impossible love found in Dracula. No matter where I look I can see inspiration from different sources, but thankfully there are no attempts at marketing this as something highly original.
You step into the shoes of a museum owner, and given the number of time management games G5 has published it could just has well been the setup to one of those. This is instead the other type of game that G5, and Big Fish Games churn out a few each month: hidden object game, or HOG. The museum has got a new exhibit, the long dead Captain Remington. Or is he? Well it wouldn’t be much of a game if he stayed dead, would it? Nope, of course not. He manages to grab the museum owner’s daughter, and a ritual is being prepared to bring back the love of the deceased Captains life.
The story might not be original, or particularly well written but it manages to invoke a sense of urgency. I feel motivated to solve the puzzles, find the hidden objects and actually find out what has gone wrong in Remington’s past.
What makes Nightmares from the Deep compelling are the puzzles, and locations you have to explore. I am not a huge fan of the actual hidden object aspects, but even those are quite good. This is due to the fact that there are some objects that you can only grab if you perform certain actions. Combining a slicer with an apple to get a peeled apple is more fun than just poking at an object. Sure there is a lot of poking going on depending on the level of difficulty you play on. I am personally way to impatient to find everything the proper way, and tend to poke about a bit early on in each scene. Playing on the harder level of difficulty you get penalised for tapping randomly.
There are a lot of cool puzzles in the game ranging from simple follow the instructions to quite complex sliding object puzzles. As all puzzles are neatly intertwined into the story, and there is usually a hunt to find an object before attempting the actual puzzle there is a great sense of coherence to the game. Of course I at times think that the museum owner is a bit girly not able to take a fish without a net, or inflexible having to use the proper tools for the job. Personally I could solve most puzzles in the game with just a hammer, and a knife. But hey, it is a game after all.
Playing on normal difficulty there is a nifty hint system showing the direction, or where the next point of interest is if you are already in the right location. This recharges slowly, and can’t be used as the main means of solving the game. Finding hidden objects using the hints takes a lot of time, and should only be used when not finding that last elusive item. At times the items, and names don’t correlate the way I associate them making them hard to find. There is also skip puzzle function that charges slowly allowing you to skip entire puzzles. I had to use this once when I didn’t get the puzzle at all.
The presentation is quite good in the game, and especially the cut scenes have a great polish to them. There are serious lip-syncing issues, and I rather have stiff mouths than all messed up ones. Furthermore the humans look slightly off, and the best looking characters are the dead sailors. A shame that the best animated scene is repeated no less than twelve times, but you can skip of course. As I have mentioned earlier the voice acting is a bit over the top. With the camp script it gets quite fun though, and seen as a caricature of pirates it makes it easier to stomach.
I had a fun couple of hours beating Nightmares from the Deep HD, and there were still a lot of achievements left and a harder level of difficulty giving more hours of the same puzzles. If you want an adventure game set in a pirate world not too far from Pirates of the Caribbean this is definitely a nice option even for those not usually keen on hidden object games.
Nightmares from the Deep HD