Review: Nightmares from the Deep: The Cursed Heart (PS4).
The Polish producer of adventure games published on mobile devices decided to try their hand at the console market. Artifex Mundi chose a pirate-themed game from their portfolio to start their romance with DualShock, and I was delighted to start testing.
We observe the events through the eyes of Sarah Black, a woman who works as a curator in a large museum. Sarah is preparing an exhibition dedicated to the terror of the eighteenth century seas – Captain Remington. The pirate’s body found and delivered to the museum comes to life in mysterious circumstances. It was unfortunate that Sarah was accompanied by her daughter during the nightly preparations. A teenager is abducted on a ghost ship summoned by the zombie-Remington, and Sarah must do whatever it takes to find and save her daughter.
The plot is only an excuse to throw us into the whirlwind of puzzles, so fans of adventure books and movies will feel at home here. We will solve the mystery of the pirate’s disappearance, we will learn his motivations, and in the background a story of forbidden love will run. We will reveal the secrets of Remington’s life by collecting 12 doubloons hidden in the game world, thanks to which we will recreate the most important moments of his pirate career in the captain’s cabin. The whole is complemented by notebooks and journals scattered around the locations, which are very easy and pleasant to read, and what is important – in Polish.
Looking at the screenshots you are surely wondering if the game really looks so good. Yes! We will visit incredibly detailed locations, bathed in wonderfully contrasting colors. Fragments of searching for items delight with attention to detail and beautiful lighting. Worse when we see a little movement on the screen. The cutscenes are short animations of poor quality, reminiscent of the smartphone origin of the production. Fortunately, they only take a few seconds to push the plot forward.
While having fun, we will visit many interesting locations. The hall, cellars and nooks of the museum are just the beginning of the adventure. We’ll walk around the whole musty pirate ship and walk the length and breadth of the spooky Skull Island. We can return to the visited locations at any time, because solving puzzles sometimes requires completing several places to collect the necessary items.
The game mechanics for strictly console players can turn out to be quite innovative, not to say abstract. We are dealing with a hidden object adventure game. While playing, we repeatedly come across a screen covered with junk, where you should locate the items listed. Believe me, it’s not as easy as it may seem. A feather embedded in the background or glasses covered with hats can block the player for a few nice minutes in front of the TV screen. The impatient can turn the search for a needle in a haystack into a Mahjong game, which consists in matching blocks with the same patterns.
Completing the sequence of searching for items is rewarded with an item to be used in one of the logic puzzles. The creators tried to diversify our fun and it must be admitted that we managed to achieve the goal. During the adventure, we have to arrange blocks, find a way in a mini maze, prepare potions according to the found recipes and many other more or less original puzzles. Unfortunately, the puzzles are quite easy to set. During the 7 hours spent with the game, I never got stuck, which is a slight disappointment for me.
The control transferred from the touch screens was properly adjusted to the pad, but it was not without a slip-up. The analog mushroom is used as a cursor, the cross confirms the action, and the circle cancels the selection and returns to the previous location. There are shortcuts under the directional buttons and if the map (left) and the notebook (right) are in a very good place, then throwing the hint system under the “up arrow” turns out to be a bad idea. It is very easy to accidentally call up a hint and deprive yourself of one of the golden trophies for not using the help. It’s a bit inconsiderate.
Artifex Mundi’s debut on PS4 can be considered very successful. 42 zlotys that you have to spend for about 7 hours of relaxing fun is a fair and very attractive price. In addition, I can honestly call Nightmares from the Deep: The Cursed Heart (PS4) a game for everyone. Regardless of whether you sit your younger brother, sister, mother or even grandmother in front of the TV, each of them will have a great time. I recommend and keep my fingers crossed for the next studio games!