Dredge, a single-player dark exploration and fishing game, released on March 30, 2023, and it has enjoyed a positive reception. You can read our thoughts and watch our review, but many nautical adventurers seeking to brave the briny deep have one question rattling around in the back of their minds: What does the word dredge actually mean, and what does it have to do with cursed waters?
Defining What the Word Dredge Means
According to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries, to dredge is to “remove mud, stones, etc. from the bottom of a river, canal, etc. using a boat or special machine, to make it deeper or to search for something.” This is a fitting title for Dredge, as the game is all about sticking your nose where it doesn’t belong. This isn’t a surprise, considering the clear inspirations Dredge has taken from Lovecraftian tales, in particular, The Shadow over Innsmouth.
In this story, a young narrator visits an abandoned town, Innsmouth, during his journeys through New England. The town is unwelcoming, hostile, and defensive about the strange occurrences that the narrator notices. Eventually, he discovers that the town has been in contact with the “Deep Ones,” a group of deep-sea humanoid creatures who have taken control over the town in its entirety.
Similarly, Dredge is filled with horrors from the deep, and its locals are just as cagey about the source of these aberrations. You may even encounter cultists, performing rituals that feel like they’ve come from between the pages of H.P. Lovecraft’s famous tale. “Dredge,” then, is a fitting verb for a Lovecraftian, oceanic story. Terrible knowledge awaits for any Lovecraftian protagonist, and by the end of Dredge, you might realize that the phrase “leave no stone unturned” was a cautionary tale rather than a suggestion.
Dredge is available now on Steam, PlayStation 4 and 5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S. If you’re looking for more upcoming indie gems on the briny horizon, check out our comprehensive list of the biggest indie games of 2023.