To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

‘Dredge’ Preview: Ominous Eldritch Horror Meets Soothing Fishing Sim

‘Dredge’ Preview: Ominous Eldritch Horror Meets Soothing Fishing Sim

Give a man a fish- oh, God, what is that?!

There’s something about fishing sims that speaks to me. In spite of my veganism. I’d be utterly useless as an actual fisherman due to my unshakeable seasickness and poor eyesight - you’ve never seen a rusty person, but you have seen someone wipe the rain from their spectacles like Sisyphus rolling that rock up the hill. 

When I previewed Black Salt Games’ Dredge at gamescom, I found that it ticks not one, not two but three boxes for me. The calming loneliness of being on the water, the comforting routine of hoiking creatures from their home, and the sensation that something is about to go terribly, terribly wrong. 

Check out the trailer for Dredge here:

Our unnamed hero washes up on the shores of Greater Marrow, an isolated island commandeered by an equally isolating cast of characters. Fortunately, the Mayor is willing to lend a hand if the player agrees to step into the shoes of the island’s fisherman, who recently was let go. Or let himself go? Anyway. 

Dredge /
Team17

Loaning a ship from the curt shipwright and paying off the debt through sales to fishmonger reeled from the picturesque shallows, the boat’s equipment is upgradable. Adding in stronger rods or faster engines or brighter lights allows the player to haul in heavier and more special species of marine life, and ergo, make more moolah. Fishing is a straightforward rhythm mini game that you can’t fail, you can hit the green segments to draw fish up faster, as time is really the most important resource to you. 

Dredge /
Team17

It’s a gentle, if unexpected, way to spend the days. When the sun disappears below the horizon, something strange starts to simmer at sea. Black Salt Games told me that the relaxing melodies of the daytime soundtrack come to a complete stop at night in order to put the player on edge, and on edge I was. Different species of fish show up at night, as well as skittering ripples on the surface that beeline towards my teeny tiny ship. Shadows rise from nothing and shirk away just as quickly when the ship’s light is cast on them. Weird ravens divebomb the deck for the meat dredged from the ocean. 

Dredge /
Team17

The Lovecraftian influence is integrated into the survival mechanics of Dredge as well as the narrative, as the longer the player stays out in the dark, the worse their panic becomes. One expedition draws a multicoloured mutated mackerel from the depths, and when presented with this creepy creature, the fishmonger barely bats an eyelid. He extracts a silk handkerchief from the carcass - in immaculate condition, mind, not a hint of digestion. 

Dredge /
Team17

Later, an old lady warns me away from shipwrecks found on the other side of Greater Marrow if I know what’s good for me. Of course, I’d already seen them, as the graveyard is marked with an oscillating column of strange red light shooting off into the dark clouds at night. Dredge is a perfect game for those with survival instincts that have room for improvement - you just have to go and see what it’s all about, don’t you? Even if it is the last thing you ever do. Cleverly, the developer has made sure that the lighthouse of Greater Marrow always looms over the horizon, so the player will never be lost. Not geographically, that is. 

Dredge /
Team17

The contrast between day and night in Dredge is as natural as breathing. Exhale in the light, while chugging away on the water, raising up an enviable catch promising even more enviable profits. Inhale in the dark, tensing up for anything to lunge out of the water, suppressing the unsettling sensation that there’s something much, much bigger stalking you from just below the surface, sussing out this new snack. Fans of Dishonored, Moonglow Bay and Sunless Sea will want to keep a weather eye on Dredge

Dredge comes to PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Nintendo Switch in 2023.

Featured Image Credit: Team17

Topics: Xbox, PlayStation, PC