Video Games

Dredge Is a Relaxing Fisherman Simulator Hiding a Very Sinister Heart

Dredge starts with a shipwreck. Unable to return home, the player character, an invisible fisherman, is forced to descend to the shores of the island town of Greater his Marrow. They are forced to rent a boat from a shady mayor and work in the local shallows to pay off their debts. Still, this is the most disturbing section of Dredge.

Dredge Bone is the stuff of calm fishing sims – you steer a beautiful almost cel-shaded boat around calm waters and play almost rhythm-action mini-games to reel in your catch. Once you’ve traded in enough fish to your local fishmonger, you can use your payments to purchase upgrades from the shipwright – additional outboard engines, stronger rods for larger species (the game catalog has 128 entries), a crab basket to drop off and come back later.

There are also less-anticipated mechanics, such as selecting a book to read triggers a timer whenever you’re on the water, ultimately providing a permanent stat buff. The boat inventory is organized like an inventory Tetris in Resident Evil. There’s also a day and night cycle, with different species spawning at night, but if you go out after dark, you’ll hit invisible rocks, damage some of your inventory, stop your engine, and catch fish. It’s a satisfying pace of progress from the off, and even an hour of play made some meaningful changes to the ship.

But as soon as you hit day 5, things start to get crazy. The people of Greater Marrow, and other smaller settlements on the surrounding islands, are already looking a little crazy. But when you pull the first Aberration off the wave, everything becomes more ominous. There is something wrong with these sea fish. Mackerel grows bloated and aggressive, and cod may evolve her one giant eye. The fishmonger cuts a perfectly preserved antique her handkerchief from one of her specimens and treats it like a prize rather than a concern. Then you meet the Collector and begin to realize that there’s a dark story hidden beneath the waves of Dredge.

A former fisherman with “other pursuits,” the Collector begins the main quest by asking you to find a rare, possibly magical artifact from a notable shipwreck in the region. He equips you with the eponymous dredging device and suddenly plays another mini-game, pulling up everything from scrap metal to shape-shifting keys, and a strange, possibly Lovecraftian tale that precedes your arrival. Learn tips for

Longer voyages to other biomes must be initiated, but piloting the ship at night increases the character’s panic level. You start seeing places you can’t see during the day, and the vicious murder of crows starts chasing boats and stealing inventory if you’re out for too long. You’ll also start receiving side quests from islanders who want you to find signs of drowning children, or for building materials that seem a little too eager to leave their homes and live elsewhere.

A lot of what I’ve learned feels like it’s cohesive together as hints of a sunken narrative rather than the story itself. have Panicking my character to discover hidden places, saying there are monsters much worse than sharks there, and looking for answers to questions I have.

It’s a magical setting – the kind of compelling, bribery management game that can involuntarily hold your attention for hours, but it’s tied into a much more bizarre storyline in its own right that makes it truly I promise you will lead us into uncharted waters.

Joe Skrebels is IGN’s Executive Editor of News.follow him twitterAny tips? Want to talk about possible stories?please send an email to newstips@ign.com.

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