Nightmares from the Deep 2: The Siren's Call

The adventure follows Caribbean naval museum curator Sarah Black. She has almost finished setting up an exhibition chronicling her adventures in Nightmares from the Deep: The Cursed Heart, she's drawn into another engrossing tale. A mysterious messenger appears at the museum and soon Sarah finds herself in Kingsmouth, a centuries old town built for retired pirates.

The power-hungry mayor of the town hasn't settled with idleness though. He has struck a deal with sea-devil Davy Jones and doing so has cursed the people of Kingsmouth to a school of fish-men. To top it all, Mayor Murray is using a beautiful siren for his evil deeds and with her unwilling help has summoned a terrifying Kraken to pillage ships passing by Kingsmouth. It's up to Sarah to find a way to outsmart both Murray and the curse of Davy Jones.

Like other popular casual games by Artifex Mundi, Nightmares from the Deep 2: The Siren's Call is a mix of puzzle solving, point and click adventure and hidden object scenes. Puzzles (or minigames as the developers like to call them) require finding missing key items before they can be completed which leads to a dynamic range of item-based problem solving.

There are several hidden object scenes, some of which are traditional finding the listed items from a picture kind while more complicated ones are like puzzles in itself with their multilayered item hunting. Hidden object scenes can alternatively be played as a game of mahjong, which is is advisable for achievement hunters on another playthrough. Unfortunately the interface for mahjong is a bit cumbersome with the Xbox controller. The achievement for completing a game of mahjong in less than a minute can be surprisingly hard to tackle for the controls alone.

The Siren's Call is neatly structured and doesn't restrict the player to certain areas. The game might seem to give a pretty straightforward environment where you unlock new screens progressively but all the previous ones are still accessible. If you feel a bit stuck time to time, backtracking is bound to help as new interactions within previous areas are made available as the story progresses.

Your primary goals are always exploratory but in practice there's a lots of thinking to do and keeping numerous objectives in mind. The minigames aren't hard but the excitement comes from a multifaceted way of unearthing the important items you know you're going to need. At best, unraveling one hurdle can stretch over many other puzzles scattered around the streets of Kingsmouth.

The story of The Siren's Call may not be entirely original, but it's entertaining and painted with rich and vivid pictures. There are a surprising number of cut scenes for a hidden object puzzle adventure, all enriching the tale with their clumsy but charming flair. The narrative summons a nice sense of urgency to your doings even if nothing is really timed.

Nightmares from the Deep 2: The Siren's Call is a top tier title in its casual gaming genre. From game mechanics to visuals, everything is polished to max out the entertainment this kind of game can offer. It's also a great stress relief. The game makes you forget your mundane worries for the time spent on weather-beaten alleys and hidden rooms of Kingsmouth.

Video game nerd & artist. I've been playing computer and video games since the early 80's so I dare say I have some perspective to them. When I'm not playing, I'm usually at my art board.