Dredge Review


Jaxson Day

Dredge is one of those games that hooks you from the minute you set sail into the ocean, to when the credits roll. This horror fishing game one of the more unique gameplay systems I have seen in a while. Despite the fact that these genres are quite literally exact opposites, Dredge masterfully mixes the two to create a game that balances relaxing fishing gameplay, unsettling characters and terrifying scares. 

Descaling the horror by fishing

Dredge opens very mysteriously, as you are told you crash landed onto a random town. The mystery continues throughout the entire game, as you start talking with the civilians such as the fishmonger, or the lighthouse lady. Eventually, you set out into the open sea, where you have to fish and “dredge” for treasure by nearby shipwrecks. You then bring these back to a nearby settlement in order to sell them and continue upgrading your ship. These upgrades can range from making your ship faster, to being able to catch bigger fish. As you venture farther away from your main city, you discover a mysterious mansion. This mysterious mansion houses a creepy old man who tasks you with venturing to the corners of the map to find artifacts and collectables.

This whole entire world is beautifully designed, from the low poly environments, or the sun reflecting against the sea. Not to mention the two-dimensional art for the characters and the fish, each of which beautifully designed to make you unsettled. Every corner of the map is different from the rest. Every area has its own unique mechanic, some of which work well in the game whereas some are simply frustrating and take away from the fishing elements of the game. From the mud infused swamp area, to the tropical islands that feature a giant kraken like creature. It’s creatures like these, as well as the fog that rolls around in the night, where the horror elements start to take shape.

Keeping you hooked the entire time

Despite constant warnings from the civilians you come across, if you are ever brave enough to continue shipping past sunset, you will discover a fog that starts to make your character panic. Reducing panic is as simple as being in lots of light or having strong lights on your boat. The longer you stay out at night the more panicked you will get. This can become especially interesting as there are essential sea creatures and treasures you can only find at night, making certain situations feel a lot more intense.

As your panic starts to increase, a number of things can happen, from getting attacked by sea monsters that destroy your ship, to having hordes of birds steal your fish, or even rocks popping up out of nowhere that might cause you to crash. While all of these serve as punishment, I am always amazed at how many mechanics are introduced when your panic level gets too high. From pirate ships appearing and disappearing, random boat horns that loudly blast out, every time panic is too high you never quite know what can happen. 

While the gameplay of fishing, upgrading, and discovering new areas is fun on its own, almost every character you come across has you completing different objectives and challenges that mixes up the gameplay surprisingly well. From the collector asking you to dredge for antique items, to the fishmonger asking for specific cursed fish for mysterious reasons, every character has some excellent writing that adds to the unsettling tone Dredge brings. Unfortunately, a lot of the mission structure is not so unique, often resulting in finding specific fish, which can result in some repetitive gameplay segments of searching the same area to find a specific fish. These missions happen a little too often, but they mix with more unique missions that have you tackling sea monsters, solving puzzles by sea, or helping safely move people from one place to another.

island to another. Coming across islands is always enjoyable and fun as you never quite know what to expect.

Solving this Fishy Mystery

By the end of my 10 or so hours with the game, Dredge had me captivated the entire time. Despite some frustrating areas, and some moments that rely on RNG to progress, Dredge has a lot to offer. The gameplay loop is consistently engaging, switching between the relaxing if not unsettling fishing, to the fear of midnight fog. Everything the game has to offer, from the mysterious dialogue and characters, wonderfully designed fish and world, begs you to uncover the mystery of Dredge and its cursed sea world.

Game Score: 8/10

Thank you to Team17 for providing Geekwave a review code for this game! Dredge is available on all platforms, from Nintendo Switch, Xbox, Playstation and Steam. For more game reviews and other Geek content check it out right here on The Geekwave.