Now we're talking, my friend. I AM THE LAW! There's nothing quite like Judge Dre- what's that? Oh. I see, so this is NOT about Dredd. My mistake.

I'M JUST KIDDING YOU GUYS, WOW. RELAX. This game is a fishing simulator! Or uhh, sort of. It has fishing in it! And dredging! And some sort of otherwordly horror lurking. That's all you really need to know to get started. It's roughly what I knew going in.

Temper Your Expectations

This game has a lot of hype and a ton of great scores. You can be one of those people who thinks all reviewers are idiots and this game must blow and you would be wrong. You can be one of those people that takes reviews as gospel and expects an amazing, life-changing game and you would also be wrong. This game sits somewhere in the middle of those extremes. It's on the good side for sure, but maybe only just. 


This game is very light on story. You start out knowing that you're a fisherman and you've gotten a newspaper clipping of an opening for a fisherman. You then wreck your ship in the fog, only to be rescued by some nice citizens of a small coastal town. Their mayor gives you a new vessel that you have to pay off, but isn't that kind of him? Oh and there's something weird going on at night in the fog. Be careful out there!

That's the first few minutes of the game and there isn't much else to learn at the start. This game, like your starter boat, is very slow to get going. But as you plod along and do some Pursuits (read: quests), you'll slowly peel back a story that is more than meets the eye. And if you pay attention along the way, you'll figure out what's going to happen well before you get to the end. That's all I'll say in terms of what to expect.


The core gameplay of this game is dead simple: drive your boat around, grab some fish, dredge up some things here and there, upgrade your boat, repeat. The controls for the boat are extremely simple and easy to get the hang of. Same goes for fishing and dredging -- think of them as little quick-time events, but instead of mashing random buttons, it's always the same one. Oh and if you're feeling particularly anxious about failing a fishing task, you can set an option that lets you always get your fish only a little bit slower. 

What's interesting about that is that you can skip all of the quick time events when fishing and still reel them in. I guess the option you turn on hides the UI from you so you don't see the events. Either way, it's really not difficult to do and if you wait the whole time without pressing anything, a lot of time is going to go by. 

Speaking of time, it goes by REALLY quickly, but only when you're moving, fishing, or dredging. If you stop moving, time also stops. If you dock, time stops. Stopping movement to stop time is not particularly fruitful because, well, you're not moving. And time doesn't really matter aside from which fish are out. Oh, and also the otherwordly horror that was mentioned before. That comes out at night with the fog and makes it difficult to see, but also causes you to panic after a while. Panic too much and you're going to run your ship aground. You'll also get attacked by sea monsters, so I guess that's fun. 

Dying isn't that big of a deal in this game. You restart at the last dock point, and because your inventory is relatively small, you'll dock pretty often. Also the day goes by super quickly and if you're trying to avoid the night horrors, you're going to be stopping in to rest frequently as well. When I first started, I was trying to avoid the night as much as possible. My boat was so slow that being away from shore was a death sentence. But as you go along, you can upgrade your boat engines, nets, fishing reels, hull, and storage space. 


While fishing is a pretty simple thing to understand, dredging is this game's version of a crafting system. Some pursuits will require you to dredge for relics or collectibles, but the main aspect of dredging revolves around finding salvaged wood, cloth, metal, and boat parts to upgrade your little fishing boat. Some of these are mandatory to finish the story - you absolutely need to get new fishing reels to catch fish in different biomes and your stock reel can't do it. You don't craft these, but you need more space in your hull to handle the new reels. You'll also want to upgrade because your stock boat is so barebones. 

When it comes to the dredging minigame, it's always the same. You have two circles with little blocks in each. As those circles rotate, you have to move your cursor to the open path. Run into one of the blocks and your dredging line goes back down a bit. This is only important in cases where you're being threatened by a creature, otherwise your only worry is dreding into the night (or through it, even). Occasionally you will pull up a Research Part that will help you unlock new types of equipment. These include the aforementioned reels for different biomes, but also faster engines, larger nets, etc. 


Driving your boat is as simple as pushing the analog stick in a direction and watching your boat go that way. If you're not careful, you can run into things and damage it, which not only costs money to repair but can also disable engines, reels, lights, or make you lose items from your cargo. It's not hard to avoid obstacles as long as you take it easy during the night and upgrade your light as soon as you can. 

Aside from the basic movement, you unlock new abilities over time that you can switch between. One of them (that you start with) is powering your lights on or off. Your next ability is haste which makes your engines overpower for a time (if you go too long, they'll blow up and you'll restart at your last checkpoint). There are a few more that I'm not going to talk about because this isn't a spoiler review bud! Overall, the controls are so simple that anyone can pick them up, even if you drop them in halfway through the game.

Is the Hype Justified?

If you read my intro you would know the answer to this already. No, it is not a life-changing game. What I've told you is pretty much all there is to the game. Sure, there are some puzzles here and there but they're completely optional (and not difficult at all). Everything else is a little loop of fishing for some cash, upgrading your boat, moving to the next area and repeating until you complete the story. Speaking of completing it, there are two endings: a "bad" one and a "good" one. I did both. The bad ending is the easiest to get and what I would call the naive ending. The good one took me approximately 10 extra minutes to complete. It's worth checking out both, but like I said, the story is very light here. Both of the endings were pretty uninteresting. 

That means that this game rests on its actual mechanics. While they are easy to pick up, they're also repetitive and you're not going to find yourself coming back to this after you beat it. I read on that it would take around 9 hours to complete, but I knocked this out in around 6 and I did all of the pursuits but 2 optional ones. You could probably really go for ALL dredge areas and 100% this and push it to 10-12 hours if that's your thing. I doubt it is, though. You don't need to max out your boat. And this is the type of game that pushes you by need rather than fun mechanics pushing you to grind. But that's ok! I don't want to grind in a game. I want to see a cool story and have fun along the way. This game did that. 

All that said, this game is a solid game that I likely won't revisit any time soon, but because of the art style and simple mechanics, I will look back on it with fondness. The story is nothing to write home about, but it's not bad. It's fine. Everything's fine. Especially the night horrors.