It’s pretty safe to say that cozy games have dominated the video game industry over the past few years. The blockbusters still do what they do, but in between those big releases there is always a smattering of smaller “cozy” indie games that typically have you renovating an AirBnB as a bear, or running a cafe full of cats.
Well, a new indie game just came out that will turn the cozy indie game industry on its head. It’s called Dredge, and if you haven’t heard, it’s a fishing game combined with a nightmarish, Lovecraftian psychological horror game. And yes, it is scary.
I’ve had the honor of playing Black Salt Games’ Dredge on PS5 before its launch on PC, and I’m here now to help you with some tips & tricks to make the opening hours of the game easier for you than they were for me. Dredge isn’t a difficult game by any means, but it is possible to find yourself in the middle of the ocean with nothing but a small lantern to guide you home, and nobody wants that.
So pick up your fishing gear, fuel up your boat, and gather as much courage as you can, because we’re about to get into the darkness that lurks below the surface in Dredge.
Fish, Fish, Fish
The beginning of the game should be pretty simple unless you try to push yourself beyond the limits. There’s not really any reason to stray from the small area in between Greater and Little Marrow, so don’t! Straying out into the open water is a super easy way to get stuck in the blackness and attacked by nightmares, so avoid it until you and your ship are better prepared.
There are always plenty of fishing spots in this small area, with enough fish to certainly fill up the tiny inventory space you begin with. So gather up all the fish you can, sell them at Greater Marrow, sleep, then rinse and repeat until you can move on to the next tip.
Upgrading Your Ship
Dredge has two ways to improve your abilities in the game: by researching new parts for purchase, and bringing crafting materials to the shipwright so she can add on and make improvements to your boat. The research units you need to unlock new parts for purchase are usually given out by completing sidequests, though you can also find them in shipwrecks occasionally. Crafting materials can be found in fishing spots throughout the waters or also in shipwrecks.
The important thing at the beginning is buying and installing what is available to you so you can venture out a little further. Buy a light source, a second engine, and whatever fishing equipment you need to be able to catch fish at varying depths so you can make even more money. Dredge is designed very well, so the snowball effect that happens when you start improving your boat is pretty swift and satisfying. Just keep on top of catching that fish and making that money so you can buy things when they become available. Before long, you’ll be ready to visit other islands and meet new characters.
Rolling in the Deep Darkness
Some valuable side quests given to you will require you to go fishing at night for nocturnal creatures like squid. This isn’t a big deal, and there’s nothing to be afraid of in the inky blackness surrounding The Marrows…
Ok I lied, there’s a lot to be afraid of.
From whispers that induce madness to nightmarish angler fish that fool you into thinking they’re another ship in the night, nighttime in Dredge is extremely dangerous. You need to keep an eye on your sanity meter, because the more shifty that eye gets, the more susceptible you are to all kinds of unexplainable phenomena.
There are some parts of the game that require you to be at least a little crazy, but you can manage your madness by buying the biggest, brightest lamps you can find and installing them. Turning these on when the sun goes down will light your way, protect you from harm to a degree, and also help with sanity loss.
Stuck in a Rut
Dredge is also a very big game, and you’ll be juggling multiple quests or “pursuits” at once for most of its runtime. If you get stuck on one thing just move on to the next one or do some fishing, or even explore as far as you dare. Most of the time you will come across something that makes the pursuit you were stuck on a little easier, and you’ll have the added benefit of knowing what to expect when you have to go back into that area later on. It’s a win-win!