Is Dredge, Worth Playing?
Honest Video Game Reviews received a free copy of this title for review purposes, however our opinions are our own.
Dredge is one of the best Indie games ever released, and its developer Black Salt Games will be hard-pressed to live up to its legacy in future, making Drdge’s phenomenal success both a blessing and a curse for the developer.

The Lowdown.

Product Details
Genre: Simulation
Developer: Black Salt Games
Publisher: Team17
Price: $24.99
Release Date: 30 March 2023
Supported Modes:

Spoiler Warning

While Dredge is one of my favourite indie games of all time, due to the sensitive nature of its surprisingly deep narrative, I feel that I would be remiss not to touch upon it, especially as by following the narrative, players are led down a path which could be offensive to some.

All Endings Are Bad.

While it’s not uncommon for developers to punish a player’s mistakes by giving them a bad ending, I believe that Dredge is the only game that directs players towards a bad ending by default, and only by following disconnected clues and lore snippets can players access the “slight less bad ending” which still results in a bad outcome for the player character.

[Spoilers Ahead]

As the player progresses through the narrative, undertaking tasks on behalf of the mysterious Collector, they will uncover messages and conversations about grief, loss, and psychosis, a surprisingly dark narrative for what appears to be a cheerful fishing simulator.

Players who follow a guide or are very thorough in their collection of lore snippets will eventually realise that the Fisherman (protagonist) and the Collector are one and the same, with the protagonist having essentially been driven mad by the death of the woman he loves, resulting in his maddening quest to find a way to bring her back to life.

His obsession with this dark path culminates with the player being forced to “make a deal with the devil” and summon an evil entity who will revive the protagonist’s lover at the cost of destroying the cove and all of its inhabitants.

is-dredge-worth-playing-in-2023

Players who have not followed a guide or read every lore snippet will have no idea that they are heading towards “a deal with the devil”, and the plot’s dark turn may be offensive to some.

For players who wish to see the protagonist deal with their grief in a less Lovecraftian manner, a second ending is obtainable in which the Fisherman “defeats” the Collector and sets about to return his “Book of Dark Magic” to the depth of the ocean.

In this ending, the Coves’ curse is lifted at the expense of the Fisherman’s life, who is killed when a sea monster comes to claim him and the book he throws into the ocean.

While I commend the developer for such a deep narrative and the sensitive way they approached the topic of grief and mental health, I feel providing an ending that was “a little less dark” would make it more palatable to a wider demographic, many of whom may find both endings to be too dark for their tastes, especially if they have suffered grief or mental health issues IRL.

is-dredge-worth-playing-in-2023

Relaxing.

Despite its rather dark premise, Dredge is surprisingly chill; with no way for the player to engage in meaningful combat (beyond dispelling illusions once the skill is unlocked), players will spend most of their time fishing, discovering new species of fish, and upgrading their equipment, something which is not only easy to pick up but difficult to put down due to Dredge’s therapeutic and easy to master gameplay mechanics.

is-dredge-worth-playing-in-2023

Game Length.

Dredge can be completed in as little as 8.5 hours and platinumed in as little as 15 hours, making it perfect for those who do not want to commit the 60+ hours that are often expected to fully complete a modern AAA RPG experience such as Assassins Creed Vahalla, God of War Ragnarok, or Xenoblade Chronicles 3.

File Size.

Dredge comes in at just 1GB, making it one of the smallest games released in 2023, an achievement made possible due to its charming low poly aesthetic and heavy use of 2D artwork instead of 3D models, which are reserved for more important narrative events and worldbuilding.

is-dredge-worth-playing-in-2023

Puzzles.

While Dredge itself is easy to master, its wide selection of puzzles is not, with some requiring players to think outside of the box to complete; a perfect example of this is the hidden ending which requires players to complete a series of optional encounters throughout the entire game to unlock and even more to discover for players who are playing the game without the aid of a third party guide or walkthrough.

Review Scores.

Dredge is one of the highest-rated Steam releases of 2023, with 96% of reviews being positive, a strange occurrence for a 2023 release where Steam review scores are usually several points lower than the Metacritic average for any given title.

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Dredge FAQ

Dredge is a simulation video game developed by Black Salt Games and published by Team17, it was released on 30 March 2023 and retails for $24.99.

Platform Availability.

Dredge is available on the following platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, Playstation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.

Are The Developers Active?

How Long Does Dredge Take to Complete?

On average Dredge takes between 9 and 20 hours to complete.

  • Main Story: 9 Hours.
  • Main + Side Quests: 15 Hours.
  • Completionist: 20 Hours.

Estimated completion times are derived from various sources and may vary based on the skill level of each player.

What Peripherals Are Supported?

The following peripherals are officially supported:

  • Console - Controller.
  • PC - Controller.
  • PC - Mouse and Keyboard.

Is There Any Mature Content?

Dredge is rated PEGI 12+ and contains the following:

  • Violence

Final Verdict.

Dredge is one of the best indie games released in 2023, and I fully recommend it to anyone comfortable with its surprisingly intense subject matter.

Is Dredge Worth Playing In 2024?

10
Honest Video Game Reviews has given "Dredge" a rating of 10/10, indicating that it is genre-defining and essentially unmissable. While it may not be 100% perfect, it comes close, and the average gamer is likely to both enjoy and recommend it to others.

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