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Nightmares from the Deep: Davy Jones, Collector's Edition HD Review
      #47147 - 10/14/14 08:44 PM

Casual adventuring done right. Nightmares from the Deep 3 (NFTD3) is the latest installment in the spooky hidden object adventure game series from G5, and it's a good one. In this installment, you play the part of Sarah Black, a museum curator studying the legend of Davy Jones. While lecturing on the subject, Davy himself appears and kidnaps Sarah and her daughter Cory, who makes a devil's pact with Davy to save her mother's life. You, as Sarah, must find a way to nullify the contract and save Corey.



Gameplay

If you've every played one of these games before, you can likely skip the tutorial because the interface and gameplay will be quite familiar. As with all games in this genre, the adventure is quite linear, and feels like a good beach book as you advance the plot. As you play, you will interact with your environment (sometimes by using collected items), find hidden objects, and wrestle with various mini-games. While there were few surprises in NFTD3, this is mostly due to the generally accepted yet unwritten rules of a genre whose fans demand consistency over novelty. This isn't to say that G5 doesn't work at making their games feel fresh while operating within these constraints. I have yet to see any recycled content in any of their titles, and I always get the feeling that a lot of effort goes into the one area where originality seems to be allowed: the mini-games. In fact, I found NFTD3's 29 mini-games to be far more original than most in the genre. I very unscientifically base this on the fact that every time I came across one, I found myself staring at it for a while to determine what was to be done instead of quickly identifying and categorizing it. This isn't to say that they are any more difficult, however, so don't launch this game expecting it to be more challenging than its brethren. It will, however, feel a bit newer. In addition to the game components listed above, you will also be looking for puzzle pieces, seahorses, and pirate cards scattered throughout the game. Searching for them will bring obsessive completionists back to previously locations in an effort to find them all. As with G5's other titles, there are various difficulty settings available. These don't change the content of the game, however, they just impose additional restrictions like less hints, misstep penalties, and timers for those looking for a less relaxing experience. Lastly, purchasing the full game also unlocks an additional mini-adventure that explores the legend surrounding Davy Jones' island.



Graphics

Nightmares from the Deep 3 is a beautiful game, especially on newer iPads thanks to their high-resolution displays. Unlike most hidden object adventures, NFTD3 features animated cutscenes, which bring a lot of atmosphere to the game.

Sound

The sound effects and voice-acting are both top-notch, but the real audio standout is the music which skates dangerously close to the music in Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean ride. It's jaunty, moody, and spooky; and I found myself reaching for my headphones as I played.

In-App Purchases (IAPs)

Nightmares from the Deep 3 is free to download. However, if you want to play more than a few minutes, you're going to need to unlock the full adventure from within the game for $6.99. Fans of this genre should count themselves lucky that the freemium trend has mostly skipped hidden object adventure games. Pay the $7 and be thankful that you don't have to contend with currencies, timers, and microtransactions as you play.



Conclusion

Like other hidden object adventure games, Nightmares from the Deep 3 is not a particularly difficult game; but it's not intended to be. Instead, it's a relaxing and enjoyable diversion that will distract and entertain you without frustration or irritation.

Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics: - 5 - As good as any in the genre thanks to the retina-ready graphics on newer devices
Sound: - 5 - Good sound effects and voice acting, but the music is excellent.
Controls: - 4 - Everything works exactly as you'd expect a hidden object adventure game to work. Not innovative, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Gameplay: - 4 - A solid addition to the genre, but doesn't break any new ground, although the mini-games are more original than most.

Playing Hints and Tips:

First and foremost, if you're stuck, use the hint button. If you're not on a screen where something can be done, it will simply direct you in the correct location and not consume a hint. There is no penalty for using the wrong object on an environmental puzzle so go crazy.



App Facts:

Developer: G5 Entertainment
Release Date: October 2, 2014
Price: Free with $6.99 IAPs for full game unlock
Buy App: Nightmares from the Deep: Davy Jones, Collector's Edition HD

Reviewed by Tom Slayton








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