Dredge is a fishing game with eldritch nastiness lurking beneath the surface. It's a perfect combo, and although the spooky side never descends into true horror, there's an ever-present sense of unease as you explore the small open ocean and its island outposts.
Playing as a freshly hired fisherman, you begin the game catching fish in the relatively shallow waters near Greater Marrow, steadily earning some cash. You're warned to not stay out after dark, as strange things start to happen on the water. With some (usually more valuable) fish only catchable during the night, the game baits you onto the dark depths, where things do indeed start to go awry. The narrative has you hunting for special relics across the game's map, hauling them up from the H2O for a mysterious collector.
Sadly, the story didn't really grab us, but the game makes up for it in other ways. Between finding those artefacts, you spend most of your time fishing, exploring, and upgrading your boat. Fishing is no more than a simple minigame, but an encyclopedia tracks known species, and you have to scout specific spots on the water to find them. A lot of the map is open ocean, but there's always an island in the distance that's hiding some secret, or valuable treasure. Upgrading your ship is vital; inventory space, improved hulls, and better equipment are all necessary to catch bigger fish and survive all the spooky shenanigans.
While the execution is rather simple, Dredge's core loop is really compelling. It's always satisfying to upgrade the boat, as is gaining new abilities and finding new fish (and their creepy altered forms). On top of that, you're never short of things to do, be they simple side missions, dredging shipwrecks for resources, or avoiding those nightly threats.
We will say the gameplay can become repetitive when you need to grind for cash or certain items. Additionally, managing the game's grid-based menus can be pretty fiddly. The remedy for both things is those all-important upgrades, which smooth out frustrations with cramped inventories or limited fishing capabilities. Despite any rocky waters, though, Dredge's rewarding progression and enjoyable premise keep it afloat.
Looking forward to this next week, appears to be a decent trophy list too.
As a massive fan of Sunless Sea, I've been incredibly excited for this one. Glad it's getting such good reviews.
This seems like a game I would enjoy. Will definitely wishlist it.
How simple is the actual fishing mechanic? Super simple like a Sonic Frontier's or a little more involved like Sega Bass Fishing?
@hookedWORM17 You approach a patch of bubbling water, then start the fishing minigame. There are actually a few variants, but basically, all you need to do is press Square at the right moments — on the green segments around a circle. Actually, you technically don't need to do that; it just speeds up the fishing, which is important because time advances while you're fishing (or sailing).
@Quintumply Darn, seems like a missed opportunity IMO. The premise had me dreaming of a Sega Bass /House of the Dead in an open world. It still sounds interesting but I want to fish! Thanks for the great reviews!
This sounds great! Colour me interested!
Sounds interesting. I have been on the look out for a more simple yet fun fishing game. Toss in some Lovecraft makes it all the more interesting. Last fishing game I played was on PC late 90s. Had a blast with friends trying to catch the biggest fish. It was a much simpler game than today's fishing games. You find a spot on the lake. It switches views when you fish. And you aim for the biggest fish shadow and hope it bites and doesn't break the line as you reel it in. I could never remember the name. Maybe this one will "hook" me. Ill watch some videos on it.
Oooh I love the darker theme. Reminds me of Sunless Sea. I've got a deep fear of the sea and what lurks beneath so I'm super into this.
I'm feeling the Switch version considering it's more grindy nature. Good for a pre-bedtime session.
I tried this in a steam next fest last year and enjoyed it, this looks like a good pick up when I’m looking for a pallet cleanser between other games! I’m also looking forward to a game called Dave the Diver which is a scuba diving rpg, looks awesome!
Have seen this played on NoClip Crew YouTube channel and they rave about this. I will definitely pick it up as needing a break from massive open world games.
Though it doesn't sound like it has a deep narrative to it,the fact it has a spooky element mixed in with the more sedate fishing element has me intrigued!
Few bills & indies wanting my attention but will definitely be on the wishlists so I remember it!
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