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Sludge Life 2 Review in 3 Minutes – Whatever It Is, It’s Good


 Sludge Life 2 is an exploration adventure game developed by Terri Vellmann and Doseone and published by Devolver Digital that is basically one big fever dream.

You play as GHOST, a music manager and established graffiti tagger living in a polluted wonderland called Ciggy City. When rapping frog superstar Big Mud goes missing, it’s your job to sift through the muck to find him. I didn’t play the first Sludge Life, but based on my limited knowledge, I didn’t think I really needed to. Thankfully, I was right.

Sludge Life 2 plops players into an off-the-wall world with zero sense of direction, but seeing as you wake up in a bathtub after a gnarly hangover, it’s clear that’s kind of the point. From pigeon-worshipping tenants to cyclops cops to a drug called Zoom that will make you trip hard, Ciggy City is both the first and last place I’d like to get lost in. This pro-cigarette-smoking town could have coasted on adolescent try-hard vibes, but I have to admit that it sprinkles in social commentary and world-building in a way that totally fits. Is it also an assault on the senses? Absolutely, but it’s an assault with some appropriately grimy lo-fi visual seasoning and a trippy soundtrack that is brimming with enough flavor to stand on its own.

What you do in-between your search for Big Mud is what makes Sludge Life 2 worth playing. Aside from the 100 taggable spots, Ciggy City is a vertical playground jam-packed with Easter eggs and secrets. Finishing a photo-op side mission was great fun but not as memorable as the time I stumbled across a creepy teddy bear that followed my every move. There’s also Gatomago, an addictive game within a game that took up way too much of my time. With a trio of endings and a cesspool filled with distractions, Sludge Life 2’s deceptively dense world is the real star of the show.

Sludge Life 2’s vibrant and goofy take on reality, sadly, has a few ground-level blemishes that muddy its solid exploration gameplay. GHOST moves fast, and the wide range of solid traversal tools you pick up only add to the speed at which you fling yourself around Ciggy City. The controls are just too slippery to support this kind of movement, though, with platforming feeling occasionally frustrating, especially as I revisited locations to weed out more secrets.

While the sequel boasts three times as many NPCs and more items, I left feeling like it was all a bit too… much. To be clear, finding about 90-95% of Sludge Life 2’s collectibles felt natural, but ticking those last few boxes quickly became agonizing. Feeling directionless is fantastic until you’re stuck clicking every item in a building, hoping to reveal something you might have missed earlier. Of course, not everyone is going to spray-paint each billboard or snack on every last banana slug. I just wish specific sections of the map had a clear progress bar so I didn’t waste time in areas I may have already completed.

At the end of the day, these are mostly nitpicks of a unique game that will absorb your attention for a chilled-out weekend afternoon. I… still don’t really know what exactly Sludge Life 2 is, but I do know that I had enough fun in my five-hour playthrough to check off nearly every box it offered. That said, I’d probably only take a trip back to Ciggy City if I got really into psychedelics.

Sludge Life 2 is out now for $14.99 on PC.

Watch the Review in 3 Minutes for Sludge Life 2.

About the author

Michael Cripe
Michael joined The Escapist team in 2019 but has been covering games, movies, TV, and music since 2015. When he’s not writing, Michael is probably playing Super Mario Sunshine, Dead Space, The Binding of Isaac, or Doom Eternal. You can follow his news coverage and reviews at The Escapist, but his work has appeared on other sites like OnlySP, Gameranx, and Kansas City’s The Pitch, too. If you’d like to connect and talk about the latest pop-culture news, you can follow Michael on Twitter (@MikeCripe), Instagram (mike_cripe), or LinkedIn if that’s your thing.