Nightmares from the Deep: The Cursed Heart
Gameplay 9
Graphics 8
Sound 8

Rescue your daughter from the clutches of an undead pirate in this enjoyable hidden object game. Or, if hidden object hunting is not your thing, do so instead by playing a couple of solo Mahjong rounds. The Cursed Heart features an interesting storyline, great locations and plenty of puzzles to solve. The only thing holding it back is the low resolution cut-scenes and less than stellar voice acting.

Gameplay: Rather easy, but very enjoyable.

Graphics: The locations look great, but the cut-scenes plays at a very low resolution.

Sound: Nice music and sound effects, but the voice acting could have been better

Summary 8.3 Outstanding
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Nightmares from the Deep: The Cursed Heart

Developer: Artifex Mundi sp. z o.o. | Publisher: Artifex Mundi sp. z o.o. | Release Date: 2012 | Genre: Casual / Adventure / Hidden Object | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

When the surprisingly intact body of the fearsome pirate, Captain Remington, is recovered after years under the ocean it is shipped off to become a museum exhibit. However, the owner of the museum, Sarah, got a bit more excitement than she bargained for when her prize exhibition finally arrives. Not only does the pirate come back to life when reunited with his artifacts, but he also promptly kidnaps Sarah’s daughter. This leaves her with no choice, but to board the ghost ship heading for some unknown Caribbean destination while she battles to save her daughter.

As far as hidden object games go The Cursed Heart has a pretty interesting premise, which translates into lots of imaginative scenes. The adventure starts out in the museum, which serves as a bit of a tutorial for players unfamiliar with the genre. Once aboard the ghost ship the real challenges begins, but overall The Cursed Heart is still falls in the very casual end of the spectrum thanks to its easy puzzles and abundance of hints. The “Expert” mode ramps up the challenge a bit, but few players should have any trouble completing this game.

Sarah’s adventure takes her from the museum and ghost ship to Skull Island in the Caribbean where she has to navigate a ruined fortress, catacombs and other eerie locations. The visuals look great even when playing the game at 1920×1080 and the art direction has a very nice style. Great use is made of different colors to bring the scenes to life and some minor animations also ensure that none of the locations look too static. The only major complaint that we have in regards to the visuals is the very low resolution used for the cut-scenes. These appear quite frequently to further the plot, but on a higher resolutions they just look like a blurry mess. Playing at lower resolutions improves the cut-scenes, but this is obviously not an ideal compromise.

The hidden object scenes play out in locations like shipwrecks, crypts, treasure rooms, lighthouses and other unique spots. Once again the art style is very detailed for these scenes and each is filled with items that make sense. Finding most of the items are very easy, but there are a few marked ones that require an extra step or two in order to locate them.

Some of the hidden object scenes are revisited up to three times, but become easier each time because of the items that were previously removed remains that way. Interestingly enough it is possible to play the game without completing any of the hidden object scenes if you so wish. This is thanks to the ability to switch to a pirate themed solo Mahjong mini-game instead. Seeing as the Mahjong tiles automatically reshuffle in this mode when no more moves are available it is also a very easy way to complete the game.

In addition to the hidden object/mahjong scenes there are also a variety of puzzles to solve in order to complete your quest. The puzzles are all very polished and while none of them are too tricky they are very satisfying to complete. There is also plenty of variety on offer, so you won’t find yourself getting bored despite The Cursed Heart being quite a lengthy adventure. There is a fair amount of backtracking, but you have maps that indicate the locations with actions available, which comes in very handy.

The story of The Cursed Heart is a pretty interesting one and is revealed by collecting doubloons. Along the course of the adventure you will discover that there is more to your nemesis than you thought. Players expecting something horror themed might be disappointed by the tragic love story angle, but overall we enjoyed the tale.

The voice acting in The Cursed Heart is decent for the most part, but the actress who lends her vocals to Sarah could definitely have benefited from a few more cups of coffee. She has a good voice, but delivers her lines with very little emotion. It detracts a bit from the atmosphere of a game when the daughter of the protagonist appears to be in mortal danger, but the mother almost sounds bored by the whole situation. The music on the other hand is suitably moody and provides plenty of atmosphere without becoming obtrusive. The game also features an abundance of sound effects, which adds to the overall polished feel of the adventure. We didn’t encounter any issues with the controls either and moving between locations while solving puzzles is a breeze.

In addition to the fairly lengthy main adventure there is a bonus chapter included in this Steam version of the game as well. While not as long as the main adventure it features a continuation of the story and opens up some brand new locations as well as puzzles. Also included are some HD wallpapers, concept art and the ability to replay any of the previously completed hidden object scenes.

While Nightmares from The Deep: The Cursed Heart isn’t going to pose a serious challenge to players familiar with the genre it is still a very entertaining and polished adventure. The visuals are great, but it is a pity about the low resolution cut-scenes. It is also a lengthy adventure, so should keep most players busy for a couple of evenings at least.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8
  • Processor: 1.5 GHz
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • Graphics: 128 MB VRAM
  • DirectX: Version 9.0
  • Storage: 1 GB available space
  • OS: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8
  • Processor: 2 GHz
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 256MB VRAM
  • DirectX: Version 9.0
  • Storage: 1 GB available space
  • OS: 10.6.8
  • Processor: 1.5 GHz
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 128 MB VRAM
  • Storage: 1 GB available space
  • OS: 10.6.8
  • Processor: 2 GHz
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 256 MB VRAM
  • Storage: 1 GB available space
  • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 (32/64bit)
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • Graphics: 128 MB VRAM
  • Storage: 1 GB available space
  • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 (32/64bit)
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 256 MB VRAM
  • Storage: 1 GB available space

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