Artifex Mundi has a history of releasing beautifully scenic point and click adventure games that are filled with engaging puzzles and intriguing story lines. Nightmares from the Deep 3: Davy Jones continues with their winning formula. While some other Artifex Mundi titles take an anthology approach – like the Grim Legends series, for example – the Nightmares from the Deep trilogy actually wraps up a story line that has spanned across the entire collection. Players once again take on the role as Sarah Black, a museum curator who has now acquired enough evidence about Davy Jones that she is ready to convince the world of his existence. During her presentation at the museum, Davy Jones barges in, unamused that he has not been invited to the party. Davy Jones abducts Sarah, along with her daughter Cory, and returns them to his ghost ship as prisoners.
Threatened with her mother’s demise, Cory signs a pact with Davy Jones that will result in the safety of her mother in exchange for her servitude to the ghostly pirate. With Cory firmly in Davy Jones’ grasp, it is up to Sarah to uncover the mysteries of the island they have been whisked away to in hopes of saving her daughter. In doing so, she will also learn the history of the famous pirate and the curse that was bestowed upon him.
The gameplay for Nightmares from the Deep 3: Davy Jones is not anything groundbreaking for the genre. Each of the beautiful, hand drawn scenes contain key items for players to find and use in an effort to solve puzzles. Each puzzle advances the player’s progress to a new area with new puzzles and hidden object mini games. If a hidden object mini game proves too difficult, players can opt to switch over to a round of mahjong instead.
There are two difficulties available for players to choose when approaching the story – Casual or Expert. The casual difficulty allows players to approach the world with a little assistance. The in game maps mark places of interest where activities are available with exclamation points, hidden object puzzles and key areas are highlighted in the world with sparkles, there’s no penalty for misclicks during hidden object scenes, and the hint and skip functionality recharge a little quicker. Expert difficulty removes these luxuries for players who want to challenge themselves and really dig through each scene. Eagle eyed players who are really putting in the effort to comb through scenes will also find that Nightmares from the Deep 3 contains three different collectibles in the world.
Artifex Mundi has come to be known for the beautifully designed environments that serve as the backdrop from their fantastical stories, and Nightmares from the Deep 3 is another fine example that they’re masters of the craft. Against these static scenes, however, some of Nightmares from the Deep 3’s struggles with animation become noticeable. While most of the animated cutscenes are acceptable and fine, there is one instance where the player will come across a giant lizard that is guarding a hidden object puzzle that they must access. The animation of the lizard against the static scene is startlingly disjointed. Players that have a line of Artifex Mundi titles under their belt will not be alarmed to hear that there’s a bit of a juxtaposition between the animated and static scenes, but even as someone who expects that momentary dip in art quality I found this one particular scene with the lizard to be shockingly bad. Thankfully, it’s a short scene (unless you struggle to find the necessary items to rid yourself of that dreaded lizard) and the remainder of the game was back up to par with the quality we expect from Artifex Mundi.