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Dredge review: a small and beautiful fishing adventure game

Dredge is an adventure game that combines fishing and Cthulhu themes. Although it is a game related to fishing, the core content that this game wants to present to players is not about how to fish. In my personal opinion, the design of fishing content in Dredge is like an introduction. Taking fishing as an opportunity, players start exploring the entire sea area. The adventure process full of danger and accidents, as well as the unknown horror elements that always linger around, are the essence of the game.

The design of fishing gameplay in Dredge is actually quite light. Players only need to create equipment to find fishing spots and catch fish.

Different fishing spots in different waters require corresponding equipment to catch fish. For example, only basic fishing rods are needed for fishing in offshore areas, while hydraulic fishing rods are needed to catch fish in offshore waters. The relevant process is to follow the map and purchase and install suitable fishing equipment according to needs.

Similar to the mini fishing games that come with many RPG works on the market, the specific gameplay of fishing in this game is different styles of QTE mini-games. There are not many professional settings or operation skills.

In addition to fishing with fishing rods, the game also provides many equipment and fishing mechanisms, such as fishing nets, cages, fish food, etc. Of course, the design is also very simple and straightforward. The main purpose is to further improve fishing and collection efficiency through these methods, allowing players to obtain funds, upgrade ships, and explore new areas faster.

128 kinds of fish can be found in the game. Players need to search and catch them according to the region, water area, and day and night time. It is worth mentioning that there are some distorted species in the fish school. Exploring and catching these strange and creepy-looking strange fish is a major driving force in my game collection process. Unfortunately, the game only focuses on the appearance of the fish. Apart from the need for sales and process commission, there is no additional interaction or content design for both ordinary fish and distorted fish species, such as eating them or attracting some unknown creatures.

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest fear comes from the unknown.”

The “indescribable” fear expressed in Ke’s works is indescribable and unsettling. One of the sources of this “indescribable” fear is the vague perception of danger and unknown elements. For example, the foggy world in Shi Difenjin’s movie “The Fog” and the mysterious monsters hiding in the fog are all carriers of fear.

The shaping of the entire sea area in “Dredge” is like the misty world in “Mist”.

In the game, the concept of day and night change is quite important. Normally, the sea area during the day is relatively safe, and players have a broad field of vision, allowing them to safely carry out fishing and exploration operations.

However, the rate of day and night turnover in the game is very fast. Often, after sailing a distance and catching a few fish spots, it will enter darkness. As night falls and heavy fog rises, the player’s field of vision will become very narrow, and the panic value will also continue to rise. The reduced visibility makes it impossible for players to effectively observe the surrounding environment and foresee various dangerous things. The increase in panic value will produce various illusions, such as suddenly appearing reefs in front of the player, pairs of peeping eyes under the night sky, and constantly whispering in the ear, all of which make the player feel oppressed.

In addition, there are even greater threats lurking in the sea. Large tentacles hidden in the trenches, predators disguised as ships, and huge figures swimming underwater, these unknown creatures are often elusive. Sometimes in the distance, sometimes suddenly jumping in front of the player, the night voyage will always be spent in fear.

But in order to catch the fish that only appear at night, players have to travel at night. At the same time, the various strange scenes presented at night will continue to attract people to explore, just like the protagonist in a horror movie who chooses to approach despite knowing that there is danger ahead and feeling scared to satisfy their own interests and curiosity.

On this aspect, the production team’s grasp and design of player mentality and motivation are quite clever, which can be said to be the biggest highlight of the game.

The process of the game is relatively standardized, which alternates between fishing and crossing, with various characters and stories interspersed, including various mysterious riddle characters. If you are not a fan of this type of work, it may be difficult to integrate into the plot.

Although the game can navigate to several other regions in the early stages, players still need to unlock exploration equipment and skills that match these regions step by step as the main storyline progresses.

The gameplay of transforming the hull of the game also follows the principle of rich variety but lightness. Players can upgrade the hull and research new equipment by collecting materials, and the funds can be used to purchase equipment. Fishing rods and nets are used to catch fish and increase catch rate, engines can increase sailing speed, and light bulbs can increase the lighting range at night. Players can continuously purchase advanced equipment based on the funds at hand.

The most distinctive feature is the gameplay design of the cargo hold. Similar to the backpack system in games like “Resident Evil”, all the fish and equipment in this game have shape distinctions, and players need to consider their size and shape to adjust their direction for placement.

Continuously upgrade your own ships and further expand the exploration range. Search for treasures based on various leads provided by the characters, or suddenly discover treasures in a sunken ship… Driven by the desire to explore, the treasure hunting process of the game is still quite interesting.

Dredge has done a good job in combining gameplay, controlling the rhythm of the process, and creating an “indescribable” horror atmosphere. The systems for fishing and ship modification are relatively light, which is easy to learn and can satisfy players’ cultivation and collection desires. However, the light system design and the lack of later process content also make the game experience more monotonous as time goes on. Of course, if you are interested in the Cthulhu theme, this work is still a very worthwhile try.

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