Explore the seas and uncover Greater Marrow’s dark history in a Lovecraftian themed RPG.

By R3GR3T, Posted 01 Apr 2023

Black Salt Games started off with 3 game developers and a studio manager with a big dream in January 2021, a little over 2 years later and that dream was realized with the release of DREDGE. Though this dream couldn’t be realized without a publisher, the publisher in question is Team17, the same development studio that released the game that most gamers will know, Worms. With the release of DREDGE, Black Salt Games is seeing a lot of popularity among gamers because of the survival aspect and interesting gameplay from their first game. Streamers and casual gamers alike have found a new challenge to endure or a relaxed game to explore, but DREDGE has a very dark story for you to discover.

DREDGE, PC, Review, Screenshots, Lovecraftian. Horror, Fishing, NoobFeed

In DREDGE, you start your adventure as a simple fisherman with no name, no history, and a wrecked ship. You’ll eventually discover that the dreary island of Greater Marrow has far more secrets than you bargained for as some of its inhabitants give off the feeling that they know you, and what you did. Lucky for you, the Mayor of Greater Marrow is kind enough to give you a run-down boat to replace the one you lost, at a price. You’ll owe him a simple debt that you can easily repay by stocking the town’s pantries with fish and crabs. Though in DREDGE, as long as the sun is up, you’ll get to explore the seas in peace on peaceful waters. But you have to be very brave or just a little insane to go fishing at night, you never know what might be lurking in the dark.

Your strange journey takes an even stranger turn when you meet The Collector on a small island close to Greater Marrow. While he seems harmless at first, you’ll get a taste of the dark power he commands as he sends you out into the world to retrieve ancient relics. While this may seem like a simple fetch quest, it couldn’t be further from the truth, as these relics are scattered to the corners of the world. This would naturally incur a fair amount of traveling, exploring, and unholy amounts of danger. Are you prepared for what’s out there?

DREDGE carries a certain realistic sense with its flow of time, when you’re docked, time will almost pause unless you decide to rest for the night. However, when you’re out on the waters, time will move at an accelerated rate. You’ll have to keep a close eye on the time of day to avoid being trapped in the waters with the things that go bump in the night, these same things can also cause you to become panicked. You’ll need speed, some very powerful lights for nighttime fishing, and some evasive maneuvering with your ship to avoid the things that want your life and mind. Sadly, sleep is your only hope to restore your sanity on the weird waters in DREDGE, but you’ll need to find a dock for that.

DREDGE, PC, Review, Screenshots, Lovecraftian. Horror, Fishing, Game

You’ll find docks scattered all over the seas in DREDGE, while some have towns, others will have much less. Though when you’re in the dark and looking for a safe haven, any dock will suffice. You’ll get to learn more about the world you’re in by talking to the people you get to meet, and some will also run shops of sorts. These shops play a big part in your adventure, as you’ll need a fishmonger or fish shop to sell the fish you catch. A floating dock will serve as your main source of ship upgrades, provided you have the resources. These upgrades can range from simple upgrades for more equipment slots to full-scale hull upgrades that massively improve your ship.

Resources are at least plentiful in DREDGE, and you can dredge up the majority of the resources you’ll need with a little exploration around the many islands. Though you’ll need to keep a careful eye on your cargo as it can fill up incredibly quickly. Your cargo hold isn’t like any other, every item or fish you want to store has its own shape on a grid layout, so you’ll need to rotate and rearrange your current cargo to fit more into it. This might sound easy, but the rarer and better selling fish start taking on the most bizarre shapes, leaving you with a sort of Tetris style of fitting everything into your cargo hold. Your cargo hold can be expanded through the floating dock upgrades, but again, resources play a big part in this matter.

You won’t be limited to your cargo hold though. You’ll also have some off-ship storage. While also limited, it does give you a lot more room to work with so you don’t have to carry everything with you. The storage works similarly to a universal stash box, so you can access it from any town or traveling merchant as long as the option is available. This comes in handy when you’re out hunting for relics or resources, both of which can consume huge chunks of space.

DREDGE, PC, Review, Screenshots, Lovecraftian. Horror, Fishing, Game

Like with any ship, you’ll need equipment and the shipyard is your number one stop to buy everything you’ll need to catch fish, explore the darkness and increase your ship’s speed. Your shipyard shops will be quite limited at first until you research better parts, and you’ll definitely need them. You’ll need lights, ship engines, fishing rods, trawlers for passive fishing, and crab cages. Sadly, if you want better equipment for sale in the shipyard, you’ll need to use Research Parts to unlock new equipment. Research Parts start off as a relatively common drop at first but that well dries up quite quickly as you progress through the story. You’ll have to start looking in every nook and cranny for research parts. However, you can also get them as rewards from story and side-quests, and the ever-dreaded stone slabs that require certain types of fish.

After outfitting your ship with the latest and greatest equipment, your next step is to keep an eye out for where you’ll be fishing. Fishing isn’t as simple as casting and being on your way with a cargo full of fish. Depending on the area and what you’re after, you have to account for the requirements that come with them. These areas have sub-types like Volcanic, Abyssal, Coastal, Oceanic, and much more. So you’ll need to do the research to prepare your ship for what you’re after. Due to your limited cargo space, it’s impossible to be prepared for everything which means you’ll have to exchange equipment or buy new equipment for the job at hand.

The most important thing to look out for is your panic level, which is oddly indicated on your compass in the form of an eye. As your panic level rises, the eye will open up. Though as a further indication, the eye will also start acting quite erratic and odd as your panic increases. Strange things will start happening around you at high levels of panic, like your lights turning off, strange noises in the background, crows circling your boat to steal your fishy haul, and more. However, panic can also work to your advantage if you want to learn more about the world you’re in. Scattered throughout the world, you’ll find odd glowing rock formations on beaches. These will in a semi-cryptic sense, tell you about possible futures for each island or give you bits of information as to what caused the darkness to house such strange evils.

DREDGE, PC, Review, Screenshots, Lovecraftian. Horror, Fishing, Game

Your most valuable but also most dangerous tools are the powers you unlock. Each relic you bring to the Collector will earn you a power that’ll help you on your quest for the next relic. These powers are vital to your survival and can make a massive difference in a tight spot. Though they can also save you some time if used correctly. Though as can be said for everything in DREDGE, there is a cost. Using the powers you receive comes at the cost of panic or even destroying parts of your ship. For instance, Haste will give you a much needed boost in speed but will drive your panic up as you use it. There is an extra cost, and it causes your ship to start overheating and going over a threshold will damage your ship. Another example is Banish, a power with a short duration that’ll send up a bright and ominous light to float above your ship. Banish is extremely useful because it drives away the darkness and the creatures that want nothing but to see your ship sink or worse…

DREDGE's visual design, though odd, has a certain appeal that goes incredibly well with its Lovecraftian theme. The mix of low poly designs and darker color palates build an extremely immersive atmosphere that really emphasizes the horror themes. While there isn’t much in terms of animations when talking to people, their facial expressions and the shifts between different forms are paired nicely with the conversations similar to a visual novel. Between the day and night cycles, the difference is literal - where daytime uses warmer and brighter colors, you can expect a mix of dark and gloomy colors at night.

DREDGE doesn’t have much on the sound front, which to some might make the game lacking. Though with the theme of the game, the minimal use of music and other audio play a big part in the immersion. The sounds and music you do end up hearing will also reflect each side of the game, between relaxed and horror. You can hear there is a clear divide between the two themes, for instance, when you catch a regular fish, you’ll hear a normal short melody. But catching a corrupted fish will feature the same melody but a flat and slightly odd key to emphasize the horror aspect. Though not a necessary evil in this matter, having the characters voiced could have made a big difference and really added to the atmosphere in DREDGE.

DREDGE, PC, Review, Screenshots, Lovecraftian. Horror, Fishing, Game

At a quick glance, DREDGE can come off as a bit underwhelming if you’ve never played it. The same can be said for most games with a Lovecraftian theme. It’s the type of game where you have to dive into the deep end and see for yourself just how much this game has to offer. The story might be a bit vague to follow unless you go out of your way to find everybody and see what they have to say, but this is well worth it. DREDGE is actually quite well-designed and can appeal to anybody. If you’re looking for a bit of relaxed gameplay or some horror while trying to flee for your life, you’ll definitely find what you’re looking for.

Jay Claassen
Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information



Platform(s): PC, PS5, XBSX, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Publisher(s): Team17 Digital Limited
Developer(s): Black Salt Games
Genres: Role-Playing
Themes: Fishing, Adventure, Survival Horror
Release Date: 2023-03-30

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