Nightmares of the Deep returns for its third instalment of its extremely popular series of pirate themed hidden object puzzle games. This time our heroine, museum curator Sarah Black, must rescue her daughter Cory from the pact she signed with Davy Jones in exchange for sparing her mother’s life.
I haven’t played one of these Nightmares from the Deep games before, but I do enjoy hidden object puzzles very much. They seem to fit into that bracket of entertainment that is best consumed while on holiday or taking a break from other more serious pursuits. That isn’t to say that Nightmares of the Deep isn’t worth your time, because it is, it just feels like a very carefree piece of media that shouldn’t and won’t be taken too seriously.
Playing Nightmares of the Deep I was struck with a sense of nostalgia for the types of adventure books I read as a child. The story of Sarah Black and her daughter trying to overturn the supernatural Davy Jones had a very strong Nancy Drew or Famous Five feel to it that I enjoyed very much. The story sees Sarah travelling across a mysterious island owned by Davy Jones, solving a vast array of puzzles and interacting with a colourful cast of characters who they themselves are held captive by pacts written with Davy Jones centuries prior.
Nightmares of the Deep plays out over a sizeable number of beautifully designed and colourful scenes. The puzzles themselves are mainly hidden object puzzles where items are hiding in plain sight in gorgeous settings. Other puzzles might see you creating a picture out of a number of jigsaw pieces or slider puzzles to connect a sequence of pipes. The hidden object task is by far the most prevalent, but there are plenty of other types to keep you entertained. You’ll spend much of your time to-ing and fro-ing between locations, collecting items to unlock another item. Nothing is particularly taxing, however, there is a handy hint button that will just skip the puzzle should anything stump you for too long. Also, if the hidden object stuff gets too tiresome you can engage in an easy game of Mahjong instead that will negate the need to find every object, providing you are successful.
For the most part the story rattles on well enough, but special mention needs to be given to the voice acting. It is hilariously bad. The cadence of Sarah’s speech is all wrong and sounds more like a computer generated approximation of speech than a real life person. Other characters have astonishingly bad accents and the speed with which the dialogue has been set often sees the characters not finishing the sounds of the word before they are onto the next one. It is painfully obvious that Nightmares of the Deep is a very formulaic game; nevertheless, it’s pretty well crafted with incredible detail in every one of the little scenes you visit.
Nightmares from the Deep has it’s roots in the mobile game genre, and while I’d say that I had a fun time playing it, the play style doesn’t quite seem to fit on console. Perhaps that is because it really does feel like the equivalent of the trashy novel that you pick up in the airport newsagents on the way to a week in sun. Technically there is nothing wrong with the game, and it is very nice to look at, I am just not that convinced it will win over console players particularly as it is currently free to play on mobile platforms.
I enjoyed my time with Nightmares from the Deep 3: Davy Jones. It is a beautifully detailed, colourful game that is clearly the result of a well-honed formula. The puzzles are all pretty mild so there isn’t much by the way of challenge, however, the gorgeous art style makes looking at the puzzles very pleasing. Ultimately though, Nightmares from the Deep feels like a formulaic mobile game that has been ported to console at three times the price of the base platform, which makes it difficult to overly recommend.
Gorgeous detailed images
Puzzles are all fairly mild
Terrible voice acting
Feels very formulaic
Hint button feels a little cheap