Developer: Her Interactive
Publisher: Her Interactive
Platform: PC, Mac
Tested on: PC
Nancy Drew: Sea of Darkness – Review
Gamers that like first-person point and click puzzle games, will definitely know the Nancy Drew franchise. These games are packed with mind games, plot twists and some deaths here and there, if you don’t watch out (don’t worry though, you can retry). Her Interactive presents you the 32nd mystery adventure with Nancy Drew: Sea of Darkness and it will take you on a quite chilly trip. Better take out those warm coats fellow sleuths!
Water, waves and a ship, this is how the game commences. You can see the harbour of a small and snowy town, while there are lots of people cheering and clapping. In the distance, a ship is appearing, conquering the feisty waves. This might seem ok at the start, but something seems to be off. The ship’s speed is far too high and the vessel is showing no signs of slowing down. It hits the quay quite badly, splintering the wood and damaging the pier.
This is where our good friend Nancy Drew joins the party, after you receive a letter from Dagny Silva. This young lady insists that you help her find her lost companion Magnus. He was the one sailing the vessel and it seems he has just vaporised. Dagny thinks he had found the treasure that was linked to this ship, since this is the ‘Heerlijkheid’. This old merchant ship used to carry a ton of wealth. Before you know it, you’re on a plane to a town called ‘Skipbrot’ in Iceland.
Next to Darcy, you will meet some other people as well, although there aren’t that many inhabitants residing in town. It would have been nice if there were a bit more characters you could communicate with. At any rate, be ready to face a lot of ice, cold and darkness.
The quality of the graphics are, again, top-notch. The characters in Sea of Darkness feel so real and lifelike, just like you’re watching an anime. The facial expressions are the biggest asset of the graphical quality. The facial expressions are clear as day and are really a pleasure to watch. Next to that, there are loads of non-verbal gestures that emphasize the underlying feeling a certain sentence has. Her Interactive did their best to give each character a distinctive look and they’ve succeeded. The clothing seems really natural and the style fit each person.
Although the characters are superb, the surroundings feel a bit static but are more detailed than the previous games. The environment is mostly in the same style and you will play at night only, but this isn’t a bad thing. It gives you a certain vibe like something bad will happen any minute.
You still collect items during your search and these are gathered in your inventory. These items still look like lifelike objects, which is a big advantage for the quality of the graphics.
Her Interactive did their best to choose music that accentuates the town and the feeling the area and surrounding scenery arouses. You’ll hear some Viking-like tunes but there are some silences here and there as well, giving you chills, making you a bit paranoid at times.
In addition, the voices are really top-notch and each character match their specific tone. Nancy still has the same voice and is a real reassurance at some points. Next to that, the intonation and pitch is quite right and is something that accentuates the vibe of a conversation.
As usual, there are some sound effects as well. As you’re in a harbour town, you can hear the water splashing against the pier or the sharp wind razing across the land. There are also some familiar sounds, like the ‘Mhmm?’ when you try to combine items or puzzles that don’t fit, or the buzzing of the phone.
Since this is the same game style and there hasn’t been a genre switch, Nancy Drew: Sea of Darkness will make you point and click in several areas allowing you to advance in the game and find our missing guy Magnus. This means that you will need to interact with your environment to find hidden clues or to solve certain puzzles and mysteries. Some cases will need you to have certain items, so keep your eyes peeled.
Navigating is quite simple, but can get a bit annoying at times. You need to press the arrows that appear at the sides of your screen. This means, if you want to investigate something that is on the edge of the screen, you might get to trigger the ‘move’ arrow instead. Luckily, you’ll get the hang of it soon enough though.
If you start a game, you can choose between the amateur or master setting. This means that, at master level, your hint meter will refill slower and you will get more difficult puzzles to solve. If you’re new to the genre, it might be better to stick to the amateur level, unless you’re up for a challenge.
There are some tools you can use to help you on your quest. First of all, you have your phone, which has a nice camera function or mobile games, allowing you a change of pace. Next to that, Nancy can call her boyfriend to brainstorm about the evidence you’ve been finding.
One last fun thing this installment of Nancy Drew has to offer is the chance to earn some money,to buy gifts for your boyfriend or to get yourself something nice (We all know sleuthing is very, very tiresome). This might be something to consider when you’re stuck, if you want to have a bit of fun or if you just love to buy things.
Nancy Drew: Sea of Darkness takes you on a journey to the snowy Skipbrot, on a mission to find Magnus. The great graphics and nice background music makes it a joy to play, while the voice overs and the sound effects are the cherry on the pie. The gameplay is the same like the previous games, but you got the possibility to earn money and get souvenirs but don’t forget your main goal though.