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FTG Review: Nightmares from the Deep: The Cursed Heart (iOS)

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Have you ever wondered what Secret of Monkey Island would play like on an iOS device? G5 Games has got you covered with Nightmares from the Deep: The Cursed Heart. Of course, you could also play the Monkey Island iOS ports… but take our word for it – Nightmares from the Deep is well worth your time!

Nightmares from the Deep is a point-and-click (or point-and-tap, since it’s on iOS) adventure game that takes you from a run-of-the-mill museum to a haunted pirate ship to a cursed island. Navigating the world is as simple as tapping on passageways to move between areas and on important objects to interact. Solid graphics and decent voice acting make the game worth seeing and hearing, but the tapping can be a little spotty at times. While zooming allows for a closer view of objects, selecting exactly what you want can sometimes be problematic.

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RIP, Johnny Depp.

But what is it you’ll be tapping on? Expect to pick up plenty of objects from the environment, all of which get used in practical ways; there are no “hamster in the microwave” moments here (that’s a Maniac Mansion joke, kids). Of course, these objects would feel useless without puzzles that incorporate them. Nightmares from the Deep has a plethora of puzzles, from tile-sliding picture creation to assembling a voodoo doll. Most are enjoyable and avoid becoming too obtuse. Unfortunately, a few puzzles are simply confusing or hard to understand due to the iOS’ limitations. To balance this, the game does offer a Skip button. It works on a cooldown system, but skipping puzzles is sometimes the easiest solution. Should things get even heavier, the game includes a complete walkthrough that can be accessed at any time.

Beyond puzzles, the game sports several hidden object and assembly scenes. Hidden objects scenes play like an old I Spy book (ah, the 90s…), tasking players with locating objects within a jumble of random items. Occasionally, these also involve interacting with items: one scene involved collecting a glass of wine, and this was accomplished by combining a goblet with a full wine bottle. Much like the Skip button, hidden object scenes have a Hint button (which also works on a cooldown system) that directs you toward the next important object. If you don’t want to find items, you can also tap an icon to play a game of mahjong instead (seriously); complete the mahjong board, and the hidden object scene is also completed. Assembly scenes play out much like hidden object scenes in that you must locate certain things, but these are then assembled into a key item. Both of these scene types are very fun to play, but the spotty tapping does dampen the experience.

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That chameleon’s gonna come in handy, assuming you want your important items to be invisible.

Overall, Nightmares from the Deep: The Cursed Hearts is an excellent iOS title. The puzzles are fun and the adventure is enticing; on the other hand, a few puzzles tip the scales in a negative way, and some spotty tapping makes the game’s core mechanic a little finicky. However, the scales practically do a cartwheel towards the good, because the game allows you to replay any puzzle, and it even includes a concept art gallery. Oh, and finish the game, and you get a whole new adventure to play through. Want more? Nightmares from the Deep: The Cursed Heart is free. You won’t pay a cent for this must-have iOS title. Support G5 games with a download and a rating, and remember: we avoided any terrible pirate puns in this review.

Developer G5 Games supplied a copy of the game for review.