Dredge is a slow dive into the horror-fishing game you love to be paranoid about. Although it looks very much like a casual fishing game, you should head the warning given to you by your first encounter, the mayor of Greater Marrow. Beware of the waters at night when the fog rolls in.
To admire your first full day in the waters surrounding The Marrows, you would easily expect a casual fishing game, where-in you’d need to upgrade your boat to reach further and deeper fishing spots. The waters are calm, the fish are plentiful and there is more than enough to look at on the islands surrounding you. But things take a dark turn as the sun sets and the fog surrounds you. You’ll soon notice a shifty eye at the top of your screen and pulsating particles surrounding it. It’s best to return to your local dock before the nightmares from below surface arise to sink you!
Movement & Playable Areas
So unfortunately, you’re not able to walk around the individual towns in this game and are confined to your boat from the start, but you are able to interact with different shops in towns such as traders, dry docks, fishmongers and shipyards. So, despite the lack of literal walkability, are you still free to move about? Yes!
Captain your ship across the ocean to different islands from the Marrows to the Gale Cliffs and beyond. Each new area offers new characters, different quests and fish to find. Just when you feel like you’ve seen it all, there’s always new paths to find, loot to uncover and strangers to meet.
Movement also adds one more feature rarely seen in video games. Time doesn’t move until you (the player) move or is doing something such as upgrading your vessel. It’s not a common feature used but also has an interesting take from game to game. Here for example, time may not move but your paranoia meter will still fluctuate if you’re out on the ocean at night.
Upgrading your vessel in DREDGE may feel like walking the plank with this game, whether it’s searching for research parts and materials, or realizing you need to go back out on the water and make more money to afford the best gear. An advantage here is that you can fish however feels best for you, whether it’s with a fishing net, a fishing rod capable of being used in multiple water types or maybe you would rather swap out your equipment as you go along. I prefer swapping as I go, no need for a volcanic rod in coastal waters and all that.
I recommend getting hull upgrades as quick as you can, this will ensure that your boat can take an extra hit if you get caught in dangerous waters and will increase the amount of storage you have in your cargo hold. More storage equals more money; and more money equals a better chance at surviving.
Now not all upgrades come from research and spending your hard-earned money. You can hook a few upgrades from a mysterious man living just outside of the Marrows on a solitary island, a collector of what appear to be random artifacts, but don’t count out this strange man just yet, he holds the key (Or book) to giving your vessel some scarily overpowered abilities, but be warned, these abilities come at a cost.
You’ll meet a depth of characters as you continue your journey in your new home. From mysterious collectors, to grieving fathers and old men at conflict with their brothers. There’s always a new path to take and a new story to uncover. Many NPC’s you’ll encounter will give you a quest, which will be rewarded greatly with things you may struggle to find otherwise.
This game DREDGE is one to be strategic about though as there is multiple endings, which can and will be directly influenced by your interactions with characters around the world, so think about who your friends are and who is your enemy when completing quests for the seemingly innocent strangers above the ocean.
Immediately the story behind Dredge is cryptic and eerie, with an ever-confusing ocean surrounding you, and no explanation as to why you, as a lone standing fisherman, would be so open to and willing to help strangers that can't even explain what happens in their own home. You panic meter limits how much you’re able to achieve at night before the unexplainable begins to happen around you. The only one clear fact is that following the main story is the best and easiest way to upgrade your boat and maintain a steady income.
If you don’t risk staying out past dark (at least not frequently) this game could be one of the more relaxing ones in your collection, with relatively straight forward quests, the accomplishment of collecting all 128 fish, and the chance to get a good or bad ending based on your own choices.
If you’re finding the games puzzles a little difficult in DREDGE, there are settings available to reduce the stress and focus more on the story and relaxation of the game.