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Nightfall Mysteries: Black Heart
Game Review

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Nightfall Mysteries: Black HeartRating: 4.0/5.0  

The saga of the Vansig family continues in Nightfall Mysteries: Black Heart, the next chapter in a grand story of death and betrayal. Christine and Viggo have seemingly escaped the wrath of the Vansig Family, but their joy is short-lived as Viggo is kidnapped by a mysterious figure. Help Christine rescue Viggo as you venture into the heart of the Vansig family’s estate and uncover their latest scheme.

Nightfall Mysteries: Black Heart is the third game in the Nightfall Mysteries hidden object adventure game series by Vast Studios. This latest chapter brings the stories of the previous two games (Curse of the Opera and Asylum Conspiracy) together and ties up various loose ends. You will meet a few of the characters from the previous games; some of them are willing to help you, while others will try to drive you away from the Vansig estate.

Black Heart begins as you watch Christine and Viggo (the main characters in Asylum Conspiracy) happily getting on with their lives after the traumatic events in the previous game. However, a mysterious figure manages to kidnap Viggo, and Christine has asked you to help her rescue him. You manage to find out that Viggo is held in the Vansig estate, and both you and Christine need to go there and disrupt the mysterious family’s plans.

Nightfall Mysteries: Black Heart

" You also don’t feel like
you’re alone in this journey;
there are other people who
are also working with you. "

The game is a standard hidden object adventure game; you travel around the area moving from scene to scene, picking up items of interest as you go. You will encounter plenty of mini-puzzles which usually just require you to obtain the appropriate item and use it to interact with the puzzle. There are also more complicated puzzles that take you to a separate puzzle minigame screen. These puzzles are visually distinct and interesting, and offer a fair level of challenge.

There are also lots of hidden object scenes, triggered when you click on areas of interest (that usually contain a whole mess of unrelated items). These are the standard laundry list of items that you need to find, though there are several items that require a bit of interaction first. Some of these items are hidden inside containers that must be opened, while others involve manipulation of one or more items on the screen to create the correct item (such as sticking a dart onto a board to create a bullseye).

One way in which the game really stands out is the presence of engaging characters that you meet on your journey. Rather than being static characters that appear for the sole purpose of “telling” you the story, the characters here actually interact with you. You also don’t feel like you’re alone in this adventure; there are other people who are also working with you (in their own way) to rescue Viggo. And there are also some less friendly characters who will go out of their way to cause you bodily harm!

Nightfall Mysteries: Black HeartThis brings me to another aspect of the game that works well: its story and pacing. Like other games in the hidden object adventure genre, this game has its fair share of action scenes, what with you visiting the home of a crazy family. However, this game presents its action in a much more engaging way. In other games, you are transported from static adventure screen to animated cutscene, making the story feel disjointed. In Black Heart, a lot of the action actually takes place in the adventure screen. Things like the arrival of a helicopter are a sight to behold.

While the game does have a lot going for it, there are a couple of minor issues that need to be mentioned. The art is rich and beautiful, and appropriate for the creepy and mysterious environment that the game is set in. However (and this is probably because we have been spoilt by the outstanding art in some of the other games in this genre), the art feels a bit dated in this game. In terms of gameplay, the game mechanics are pretty solid, but don’t feature anything really innovative.

Having said that, the game is still a really great game with a strong story and very good pacing. The engaging characters and solid gameplay will entertain you and keep you glued to your seat. You will love the game if you liked the previous Nightfall Mysteries games, if only to see how the saga of the Vansig family unfolds. It will also appeal to you if you like games that have hints of the supernatural and macabre, such as the Mystery Trackers and Shadow Wolf Mysteries series.

You can get the basic version of the game, or you can get the Collector's Edition that features exclusive extras including bonus gameplay and strategy guides. Or you can get the basic version or Collector’s Edition of the Mac game.

 

Watch a demo video and
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