I absolutely loved playing this game. For those who don’t know, Dredge is a stylish fishing game set in a stunning open world that hides some pretty dark and creepy secrets.
There’s something dark going around the open waters and as the new fisherman, you quickly realise that when your boat is destroyed as soon you start the game. Luckily, some folks from the nearest village find and save you and your ship. After the Mayor of the village greets you, you immediately start your new job as an angler to pay them back for fixing up your boat.
Equipped with a simple fishing rod, you go out into the open seas and start fishing. The fishing mini-game is fairly simple, but very satisfying. It’s so simple in fact that you don’t even have to do anything at all if you want. However, if you want to reel in or dredge faster, you can hit a button once the indicator is in a safe area. It plays a lot like a rhythm game and with the haptic feedback on the DualSense is very satisfying.
Time is really important in Dredge. There’s a fully night and day cycle, but if you sit still and do nothing, time doesn’t move. The moment you start to sail, fish or dredge, time moves. And time in Dredge moves really fast and quickly it becomes nighttime.
Your sanity, or in this case, insanity meter goes up really fast at night and scary things start to happen. Ghost ships start to haunt you down, scary monsters chase you, rocks that you can’t really see due to the limited night visibility appear in front of you. Initially your ship can’t take much damage, three hits and that’s it, back to the last checkpoint.
The open sea is littered with islands, from tiny ones to archipelagos comprised of many islands together, each with their own unique biomes, NPCs to meet, stories and secrets to uncover.
Once you find a pier, you can dock and you can do a couple of things depending on the village itself. You can talk to the different villagers and see what they have to say, get tasks from them, buy or sell the stuff you collect and so on. The starting and main village has the fishmonger where you sell all of your catch to earn cash. The bigger and weirder the fish, the more money you’ll get.
There’s also a shipwright where you can buy new equipment that you’ve researched and upgrade your ship by using the materials you dredge in the open sea. Each upgrade feels important as it makes your ship tougher, faster and expands the amount of stuff and fish you can carry before you have to dock and offload them.
At the beginning, it feels a little grind-y since you the space to hold stuff on your ship is small and you have to fish and sell for a while, but once you are over that, it gets good. This whole gameplay loop, I absolutely adored and kept me engaged to explore, dredge, and fish until the end.
Going back to the story a little but, I must say that I found it really interesting and I was invested into learning what happened to this world. The main plot sees you interacting with The Collector, a dude that lives alone in in Blackstone Isle (not a shady name at all, right?) which tasks you to find five relics that are spread out through the four corners of the world. Finding each relic isn’t as straightforward as it sounds though as you have to perform a series of in between tasks in order to finally be able to dredge that relic from the depth.
One such relic, for example, resides at the bottom of the sea, but there’s a massive kraken that will slap and obliterate your ship. So you have to find a researcher in a nearby island, complete a few tasks for her like catch some specific fish for research and collect some tech to be able to turn on a generator that in turn will prevent the kraken to do you any harm while you successfully dredge the relic. The same goes for the other relics.
Once you return a relic to the Collector, he will unlock a new mystical power for you to use while you sail. These powers include things like a boost for your ship or the ability to clear any malevolent presence around your ship. There are some other handy powers that change how you play the game. Once you deliver all five relics and depending on what other quirky characters you’ve met, you have to choose what to do in the end.
The game looks and sounds absolutely fantastic. It has a simple yet gorgeous low-poly art-style with vibrant colors during the day and very dark and atmospheric vibe during the night. Sailing feels great as the physics of the boat feel on point and you’re always in control. The sound scape is great too and the music is perfect, very melancholic during the day which turns creepy during the night.
Dredge is a delightful game that I easily recommend to anyone. In the start you might have to grind a little so that you can upgrade your ship, but once you’re over that wave, it’s smooth sailing. Yeah, I love this game. Thanks for reading.
The game was reviewed on a PS5 using a promo code provided by PR. Dredge is now available on Playstation, PC, Switch and Xbox.