's Dredge Fishlog

Written by Jonathan Wojcik

So I guess I've decided to try being a twitch streamer. I've streamed a few things by now on's official channel, and you can watch them on my youtube as I put them up. Among them is the fishing horror game Dredge, which I decided to start playing without spoiling myself too much on the game's content. As I continue to play Dredge, I thought I'd also start reviewing its sea creatures here, in an article I'll update as we go.


Grotesque Mackerel

"Corrupted scales and bulbous eyes - like nothing you've ever seen before."

The very first aberration I ever caught, it doesn't entirely match its in-game description - those are pretty small eyes if you ask me - and it actually doesn't look exactly like something derived from a mackerel at all, but you would be surprised what some of the things in the deep-sea abyss are actually related to. Your beloved pal the blobfish is a sculpin, for example, and that's the same group that includes lionfish. I really like this mackerel's fat, hunched shape, lack of back fins and the snaggly, jutting teeth, with an overbite that reminds me (as I mention in the stream) of a wolf-trap anglerfish, or Thaumaticthys. So it doesn't look, at first glance, like a merely mutated mackerel, but it does look like a mackerel that's suddenly had a few eons of deep-sea evolution all thrust on it at once.

Host Eel

"Numerous glowing shapes flicker and squirm behind a distended ribcage. The rest of the fish is withered and drained."

Beautiful! The whole front half of this eel is more translucent, showing off the skeleton, with small motes of light behind the ribs. Aesthetically one of the nicest fish we found, and only the first one of many implied to be inhabited by some kind of parasitic entity. The tiny head and swollen upper body also looks very much like many other fish do in their earlier embryonic or larval stages!

Barbed Eel

"A spine broken with sharp angles and crooked curves. A row of teeth bent on revenge."

A simple and straightforward mutation, the Barbed Eel is just blacker and spookier all around than the natural Grey Eel; it has fangs, tattered fins, and a body with a few bent kinks in it. Nothing spectacular, but certainly not bad! It's entirely believable as some mundane species that's just been through a lot of injury and sickness. You need some of those, in a game like this, so you have a smoother transition from the natural creatures to the sci-fi monstrosities.

Riddled Flounder

"Baggy skin perforated with countless cavities. A singular, shapeless mass spreads underneath."

Perhaps you know that flounders and other flatfish are among my top favorite groups of living things. I can't believe how lucky we are to share a planet with an animal whose face twists around like this. Like absolutely no other living things we can name. It's wonderful! You truly can't improve on that weirdness, but Dredge gives it a shot, and one result is the delightful "riddled" flounder; puffy and squarish like a throw pillow, covered in big rotten looking holes like the back of a pipa frog. Whatever's inside it looks pinkish, and has also projected two short little binocular-like tubes through where the host flounder's eyes used to be! I think that's the detail that still clinches this as one of my favorites. There's a lot of personality in those maybe-eyes.

Scouring Bass

"Shapes swirl inside bulging, clouded eyes. Blinded by the light of the surface, but perfectly suited to searching the depths."

A good old black sea bass! But the "scouring" kind is barely recognizable as such; a fatter, paler brown fish with reduced dorsal fins, its oversized head is dominated by two gigantic, ground, blank yellow eyeballs, like a couple of gelatinous grapefruit erupting from its skull. A deeply charming type of eyeball that more creatures ought to have in my opinion, but the closest I can think of are potoo birds and tarsiers. I mention the real world fish Winteria in the stream, which also looks quite a bit like this "bass," even if the eyes aren't nearly so massive:

Enthralled Stonefish

"A hollowed husk, hosting a hostile dweller. The eyes inside begin their search for a safer vessel."

Mighty interesting! This stonefish has been reduced to a skeleton, with lovely pinkish fins for a splash more color. There are eyeballs in its sockets, but with slitted pupils quite unlike a fish, and just a single, short octopus-like tentacle protrudes like a tongue from its mouth. The description indicates this is something puppeteering the corpse; I assume it has additional tentacles that keep it anchored in the skeleton and manipulate its fins, requiring just one to pull food into the mouth! There's technically already a real animal that does this, but instead of a Cephalopod, it's a Crustacean, and instead of a hollowed-out fish corpse, it's a hollowed-out salp corpse. I'm talking about Phronima, also called a "pram bug!"

Could a Cephalopod ever evolve to do something similar, but with the bones of a fish? Some octopuses already use the shells of coconuts or bivalves as portable armor. It's not impossible!

Snag Squid

"Tasting tongues writhe wildly around sets of yellowed, crooked teeth. The top row are flattened like human molars."

This was the last one we caught before the end of the first stream! The overall shape of this creature is still that of a squid, an arrow shaped body flaring into a ring of tentacles, but on close inspection, there's nothing really resembling a squid here at all; the body is a collection of reddish eel-like shapes ending in fanged, sucker-like mouths. Several of these come together to form an "upper jaw," with tentacle-like tongues emerging in every direction, and a second "jaw" beneath them. It's just teeth, tongues and gums crammed into a squidlike silhouette! Killer!


Brood Squid

"Tentacles sprout from a glowing core inside a gelatinous sac. Other cores lay dormant alongside."

Our first aberration of the second stream was also the other aberrant arrow squid in the game. Where this squid's head should be is only a transparent, yellowish cyst, the creature's tentacles either wrapped around or protruding through it. No eyes, no obvious mouth, but there are some little green nodules floating around in there, the "other dormant cores" the text refers to. Judging by the name, these are eggs or juveniles, either of more Brood Squid or whatever parasite creates a Brood Squid! Some deep sea squid carry their eggs around for months without eating, so this being might not actually even need a mouth.

Lumpy Mackerel

"A writhing mass of lumps, twisting and pulling their way under the scales of their vessel. How long can it have lived like this?"

The other aberrant mackerel has a charmingly silly design! It's just a bunch of slimy green bubbles of flesh, one of which has the fish's eyeballs above another bubble bearing a toothy mouth. I like how the malignant growths are pulling down on the sockets of the eyes. Like I said, charming and silly! A nutty little guy!

Cerebral Crab

"A turquoise mass swells from within this small crab. The growth pulses, quickening in the light of the sun."

I didn't notice in-game that this crab is possibly pointed downward, if those two shiny black nodules at the bottom are its eyes! It's missing its claws altogether and has only six legs, while its upper carapace looks completely removed to house the blue, lumpy cyst implied to be a brain. I can't help but interpret it more like one of the Rhizocephalan barnacles, a parasite that reduces itself down to nothing but invasive tissue throughout the crab's body.

Bearded Mackerel

"The wispy tendrils sprouting from its mouth and flanks continue to writhe long after the fish has stopped flailing."

Not an aberration of the Mackerel we've already caught, but a tiger mackerel from farther out in the open sea! The "bearded" variety just gives the same fish a green tinge and many seaweed-like skin growths, and I like that they're independently alive. This is a subtler, more believable aberration, which may not be as exciting, but it's important that a few of them be more "down to Earth," so there's more of a gradient between the natural, healthy fish and the impossible sci-fi monster fish, right? I could imagine this one really existing as something like a parasitic algae.

Three-Headed Cod

"Three heads writhe and struggle in unison. Three mouths hang agape, then close shut together. Three lives lived as one. One fate bound to many."

Another believable one, simply a cod with three heads side-by-side. It also gets slightly tattered, orange fins and a more teal body than the natural version. Not much I can say about this one, but a simple multi-headed fish is kind of a given.

Flayed Mackerel

"Rended flesh with muscle and bone exposed. This gory mess of a fish can't have lived like this for long"

Both of the aberrant tiger mackerels are on the more normal side for this game, the other simply having a decayed-looking body with a lot of exposed muscle and bone. The actual answer to the game's question happens to be "longer than you'd like," since so much of a bony fish's body mass IS just bone and muscle, with the vital organs concentrated in just a small area, they can in fact go on for a while with significant physical damage. By the time a fish got to this point, of course, the cause of the deterioration would have already had ample time to reach the brain, or it would have long succumbed to secondary infection, but the point is that a fish doesn't technically need a whole lot of its skin and meat to survive.

Shard Ray

"The stone skin of this ray is moulded around a black crystal shard. The rock fragments articulate and grind together."

What I mean when I say some of these are "more sci-fi" than others; this is actually our most far-fetched yet, with some kind of jagged black mineral growing into and through this ray's body, one chunky spike of rock even replacing its tail. I like that we only found one of these later; every other aberration our guy caught in his first couple of weeks could be explained away as some undiscovered species or rare disease, but definitely not an elemental rock-type stingray. Pulling this out of the ocean is decidely an "oh. Something's REALLY wrong" kind of moment.

Bloodskin Shark

"Tendons and sinews stretch over the fins of this bloodied predator. Powerful jaws are clad in exposed muscle."

One of our coolest and most threatening discoveries yet! This shark has a raw, ragged surface of pink meat, no eyes, and slightly more elongated, lipless jaws really showing off its teeth. The head shape is actually closer to a male salmon during spawning season, with that thin and almost hooked upper jaw. This is also, interestingly enough, the first time I ever heard of the base species here, a shark called a "bronze whaler," or copper shark!

Voltaic Grouper

"An unknown green energy arcs and crackles over this fish's scales. It thrashes ceaselessly, even hours after being pulled from the water."

This one, on the other hand, just barely skirts the line between believable and impossible. There are bioluminescent sea creatures, we all know that, and there are transparent sea creatures as well. A transparent fish SO brightly illuminated by this intense green is just slightly more exotic than anything we've really seen from deep-sea vertebrates however, especially bright enough to have a starkly visible skeleton, and then there's the "arcs of energy." Beautifully dramatic, definitely unnatural, quite fitting for the last fish of our second session.


Decaying Blackmouth

"A shimmering blackness permeates the flesh of this relentless fish. Muscles atrophied and decaying, but still it swims on."

Okay, this is by far the subtlest. Maybe subtler than necessary? I still respect it, though. It really just adds some slick black staining to the same fish, the blackmouth salmon. Appropriate for our first in a stream I guess. The normal, healthy blackmouth salmon also has one of the odder descriptions: "You've promises to keep, Blackmouth. And miles to swim before you sleep."

Gelatinous Stonefish

"Flesh and scales intent on shuffling away from a creature struggling to maintain its mortal form."

Another that's barely more than an alternate color scheme! You can kind of tell that it's a bit blubberier and gooier than the normal stonefish however, especially in its pectoral fins. I like the way they describe its flesh as trying to leave.

Sprouting Eel

"An eruption of crystalline growths burst from its skin. Sharp shapes clatter and resonate together."

Our aberrations this stream went straight from zero to a hundred. This eel is just completely covered in glassy, purple crystalline shards, fully obscuring its face and almost all organic flesh. Gorgeous, cool and eerie, I can easily imagine a sort of windchime sound as it undulates through the water.

Gnashing Perch

"Eyeless and mindless. Driven only by the desire to consume. A purpose satiated many times over."

Love the simplicity of this one; the perch's whole face looks torn off, and underneath is an oversized set of human-like teeth and gums. It's as small as a fish can get in this game, occupying only one square of inventory space, but it's also one of the game's most ghoulish little sweeties.

Tattered Mackerel

"A tangle of ribbons stream behind this fish, its form converging around a shadowy head. A strip slides away, retreating to the depths."

This is a "snake mackerel," and its aberrant form is pretty much unrecognizable, with more beaklike elongates jaws and a body formed entirely of flat strips. Interesting! I like the visual of basically a fish head dragging a bunch of dark tatters through the water.

Twinned Eel

"Endlessly pulling away, but torn apart they would surely perish. Two spiteful siblings splitting at the seams."

A fish with a double-ended body is a given, and an eel is the obvious choice, so there's nothing really surprising here, but it's an obligatory inclusion you can't go wrong with. The open mouths and more visible teeth of the two eel heads are nicely "creepier" without having to be biologically unlikely, and I like that there's mutated, cystic looking flesh at exactly the mid-way point, like they're imperfectly fused together or they split off from an abnormal core.

Blistered Tarpon

"Scales given way to bubbling flesh. A surface dweller singled out and cleansed by the sun."

A tarpon simply covered in translucent boils. What's more interesting is the strange and ominous description. Cleansed by the sun???

Gleaming Mullet

"Scales swollen into large, clustered pustules. A golden liquid shimmers from within."

This mullet is a bit bloated, its flesh kind of waxy looking in large, bulbous, shiny globules, and the whole thing is a vivid yellow. I say this in the stream, but it looks delicious. It looks like one big fruity jelly snack, or if it's still fishy and savory, it must be REALLY oily and buttery.


Entwined Mullet

"Twisting, twitching tendrils sprout from the gill plates of this little fish. They heave in unison, moving the fish against its will."

Another aberration whose species is barely recognizable, the Entwined mullet has a more conical face shape, larger eyes, and a body made up of flaring segments, corkscrew-like, though partially obscure by all the noodly tentacle growths sprouting out between them. I like that these apparently steer the fish around independently of its actual brain. That has to be annoying, to say the least, but maybe the tendrils know what's best for it?

Grinning Gar

"Muscular gums grow and force cracking teeth against each other. Softer flesh tears from the strain."

I love gars! Doesn't everyone!? Apparently not. Apparently the presence of gar in some freshwater enviroments is "controversial," because some fishermen consider them a nuisance and some people are convinced they might be dangerous to humans. Too bad. You're the ones living in the gar's world, filthy apes! We get to encounter our first gar in Dredge's BEAUTIFUL mangrove swamp region, and our first aberrant gar has a mouthful of big, blocky, human-like teeth, indeed visibly cracked. Funny and scary, but actually a little less awesome looking than a normal gar.

Many-Eyed Mackerel

"Gill plates dotted with eyeballs. Superfluous but scanning, frantically. All eyes see right through you."

Just a copper-colored mackerel with a lot of large, dark eyes; nothing to really write home about I suppose.

Cleft-Mouth Shark

"A large body bisected by an enormous, grinning maw. Teeth stretch down forever into the blackness of its large gullet."

This one's just plain RAD. An eyeless shark with a snaggly-toothed, crocodilian muzzle, the corners of which abruptly angle before they continue vertically almost to the tail! I like that it's shaped almost like an icthyosaur, too, the body sharply narrowing to give the impression of a bulging "forehead" before the thin, elongated jaws.

Beaked Moonfish

"A rocky body that bears the scars and scratches of things from below. A crushing beak, a tool of its own deep terror."

I really like this one! I mentioned in the stream how the entire fish looks like one big beak, what with the rocky body horizontally bisected and the eyes peering from inside it. Much more creative than just a fish with a beak added onto it!

Parhelion Jellyfish

"Two spires of light shine from within its hood. Stinging spiked tentacles trail below."

There's only one catchable jellyfish in the game, the aurora jellyfish, which you only collect via trawl net.Its mutation is interestingly stylistic, with the jagged 2-d looking tentacles. "Parhelion" is a visual effect when there appears to be additional points of light flanking the sun.

Radiant Squid

"A beacon from the depths below. A glimpse of a new sky."

Another hauntingly evocative description. Unlike a normal firefly squid, the "radiant" squid's entire body solidly glows a brilliant creamy golden color, and its massive eyes are solid white. What makes this a "glimpse of a new sky?" We're in the kind of setting where cosmic horrors have leaked into our reality from another world, and may reshape it to closer match their own. It's worth mentioning that the lights covering many luminescent squid are intended to counter-shade against the sky, in order to cloak them from predators. The implication here that our "new sky" would be this uniformly bright is much more unsettling than the usual "plunged into darkness and gloom" kind of apocalypse.

Concertina Barracuda

"Its body extends, then collapses together with each gasping breath. Nature dissected into mechanical motion."

The "personality" of this aberration is kind of less scary than a normal barracuda, with its almost comical toothless underbite and innocent, solid green eyes. But the accordion-like alternating slices in the body, and the weird way it apparently moves, are as gruesome as they are whimsical.

Consumed Grouper

"Once dazzling skin now bleached and eroded. It barely resists, relieved at a final end."

Such a sad one! The aberrant form of the colorful coral grouper has had its color washed out, large holes rotten in its flesh, and it even has a gloomy facial expression. It's the most explicitly "unhappy" aberration in the game, happy to be fished up and sent to the monger. Still, I swore to practice "catch and release" on the mutations by this point, so, good luck to you little guy!

Blood Snapper

"Blood leaks endlessly from under its scales, pooling beneath it no matter where it's placed."

This is another that looks rather realistically like many deep-sea fish when compared to their distant cousins. It's a red snapper gone much fatter and dumpier, with a big round head, and very very big black eyes. It's adorable, except for the constant bleeding of course. I laughed a little at the description when we were playing, imagining our fisherman strangely confused by why the blood keeps pooling "no matter where it's placed."

Gazing Shark

"Huge bulbous eyes move about on large fleshy stalks, siphoning energy from its body. Its search is not over."

Another of my favorites! It's a hammerhead whose hammery head has warped into two big, bulbous pink eyeballs on more flexible-looking stalks. Also, when compared to the hammerhead's default art, it feels as if this aberration's head is twisted a little sideways, doesn't it? More like the face of a flatfish, so the eyestalks protrude above and below the fish, rather than to the sides? It's a subtle detail, easy to miss, but it appears very deliberate.

Skeletal Moonfish

"Chittering bones still operate a ghostly body impossibly devoid of organs."

We ended our fourth stream catching the game's other aberrant moonfish, and another of the fish with a "visible skeleton" gimmick. I don't mind there being several of these; each approaches the motif in a visually distinct way, this one being pale and ghostly and very pretty! Real fish this transparent are usually larvae, but there do exist a few that stay this way, including the anglerfish Haplophryne mollis.


Bursting Anglerfish

"The deep faces its own consequences of creation. In the darkness, brutality becomes the ultimate filter."

At long last, five streams in, I completed the cute science lady's quest and we began to see some deep-ocean life! Dredge's "anglerfish" is a non-specific species, a typical looking devilfish, which is kind of surprising considering how particular it is with other species, but no matter! It looks great! And it has an interesting aberration with jaws that stretch even wider than they should and a "xenomorph"-style inner mouth, actually dropping the lure (illicium) altogether. I guess it's no longer an ambush predator, but more of an active hunter-killer.

Medusa Octopus

"Eight snapping mouths crawl over each other at the behest of a silent master."

There's only one octopus in Dredge, and they interestingly went with a glowing-sucker octopus, Stauroteuthis syrtensis. If you do a search on this species, it's constantly confused with another "stauroteuthis," a webbed dumbo octopus, and even Wikipedia seems to use the wrong image. S. syrtensis is interesting in that it looks like any other typical octopus, but some of its suckers evolved into light-producing organs thought to attract fish and shrimp!

The aberrant version in dredge drops the lights or even any suckers at all, with a toothy mouth at the end of each arm, while the head seems to be eyeless! Sick!!!

Savage Barracuda

"It thrashes about ruinously, jaws snapping and tearing its own flesh apart. A body sundered by ravenous hatred"

While looking for deeper critters, I also caught this barracuda whose body is bursting with streams of red gore. Nasty! I think the fish that actually "unsettle" me in this game are the ones that just look horribly injured, but evidently keep on living that way.

Ruptured Vessel

"Willing host, or sacrificial receptacle?"

This is fairly simple for a Dredge aberration; its body is cracking open to expose some unnatural tissue inside, in this case some beautiful caramel-colored gel. I was more excited by the fact that this is not the expected, trendy deep sea isopod, but a giant deep see amphipod! As we discuss in the stream, amphipods are a whole different branch of the crustacea, and they're "laterally" rather than "ventrally" flattened, or flattened like a flea, rather than flattened like a cockroach. As I also gush about, I believe this is the first time I have ever seen an amphipod represented by name in any media at all!

Seizing Snailfish

"Fingers of flesh hold teeth on their tips, a grasping grip that feels through the dark depths."

As soon as I saw its silhouette, I knew this was a snailfish! I'd recognize those chin barbels on that dumpy shape anywhere! Snailfishes have a lot in common with the incorrect cultural perception of blobfishes, many species looking pink and slimy and weird even in their natural habitat. This aberrant form is a lot leaner and bonier, and its head consists of what look like teeth and gums, but are more like teeth embedded in the "fingers" of two opposing "hands." GNARLY.


"Inside its eye, a perpetual pattern repeats. Red cyclones meld through shimmering green swirls. The abyss burns through you."

I remember how excited I was when the true face of the barreleye was first discovered, and I wasn't alone! Even mainstream television flipped for the bizarre space-helmet appearance of this fish, though it's kind of misleading to say it has eyes "inside" of a "transparent head." It's more like this fish simply has a big bubble of extra, transparent tissue covering over its eyes. They're still on the "outside" of its actual skull!

The aberrant "voideye" is cool as hell, completely replacing the barreleye's head region with a single giant orb, full of pitch blackness except for the colorful galaxy-like swirl. Another in the wholly impossible, supernatural end of Dredge's mutation pool.

Perished Loosejaw

"A few ragged scraps of skin hang like cobwebs from its fins. Its exposed muscles are riddled with small white worms."

Another of my favorite fish groups! I've written quite a bit about loosejaws on this website! Related to viperfish, their large heads feature lower jaws without a floor, almost like bare bone or like a man-made bear trap. This weird jaw structure can swing forward on a sort of "stem" to grab prey and pull it into the throat with minimal resistance from the surrounding water. And like other "dragonfish" and vipers, they have red-tinged lights behind their eyes. Most other sea life is unable to see red light, giving these predators their own "invisible" headlights to illuminate their food.

The aberrant version is another of Dredge's bony corpse-like fish, in another very different style, brown and rotten looking. I can't see the worms they describe, but I'm happy to know they're there.

Nightwing Catfish

"Hooked barbels seek out prey in the twisting mangroves. A once sluggish fish given haste upon crimson fins."

We took a break from the abyss for a while to hunt more aberrations from the mangrove swamp, finally catching the aberrant catfish. All it changes are longer whiskers, blacker skin, and fan-like red fins, but it's a beautiful effect and ultimately one of the game's coolest looking fish!

Mire Screecher

"A lashing yellow tongue whips around a mouth of flattened teeth. Two humanlike eyeballs burst between dripping claws."

This aberrant mud crab is an instant favorite for me! The body splits open, full of big chunky molars, and popping out from within the pincers are bulbous yellow eyeballs. I compare these in the stream to the eyeballs of my favorite character in the He-Man/She-Ra universe, Mantenna:

I like that we know from the name that this crab must also "screech" in some fashion.

Effigy Crab

"Wisps of yellow light flicker within this ghastly shell, a screaming skull with a spinal tail."

I knew the horseshoe crab had to have a cool looking aberration, which is why I returned to the mangroves at all. From above, the "effigy crab" really does look like a humanoid skull with a short spinal column for a tail, but instead of humanoid eye sockets, it still has arthropod-like eyes that stare forward from the arachnid's Cephalothorax. Yes, arachnid! You may have long heard horseshoe crabs were "close" to spiders and scorpions, but closer genetic sequencing revealed they're square WITHIN the Arachnida!

Clawfin Gar

"Crooked talons hang from its fins. Periodically they shudder and come together, grasping like a hand."

The other aberrant gar is my favorite of the two, since it retains the gar's adorable face but adds huge new fins formed from clawed, curled fingers! I also like the subtly larger, solid purple eyeballs.

Vortex Interloper

"A slow swirl twists its body, stretching it towards an unseen dimension."

This aberrant "sergeant fish," also known as a snook, is one of the most outrageous in the game, its midsection spiraling into some sort of tiny singularity! It even looks quite a bit distressed about this! The name, Vortex Interloper, is also unbelievably cool. It's the kind of name they would give to a secret doomsday weapon in an anime series.

Tusked Grouper

"Pig-like tusks protrude from the mouth of this ravenous brute. With no eyes to speak of, it attacks indiscriminately."

The last aberrant grouper looks more adapted to the abyssal regions, its fatter and more bulbous body dominated by a huge grin with protruding teeth! I may have mentioned that the eyelessness isn't typical of the abyss, however, but of caves, which are truly devoid of all light. Even the deepest depths of the ocean still receive a little sun, even if it's not enough for our human eyes to notice!

Hooked Sailfish

"Spindles of bone protrude from discolored muscle. A hooked bill curves inward - a lure for something greater."

Our first messed-up sailfish! I already love sailfish, swordfish or "marlins," and who wouldn't? Huge, majestic, lightning-fast bony fish with deadly rapiers for faces?! What a wonderful animal to share our current evolutionary epoch with! This aberrant version has an even more delightful face however, a crooked wooden-looking snoot that ends in a sudden hook. I also love its little beaky lower jaw and the beady black eyes, which are just a little further along the snout than in the natural fish. The body, meanwhile, is a bit fatter with a purple tinge, and the rays of the fins are irregular, thick yellow driftwood-like sticks. The entire thing looks almost like someone carved a fish out of a gigantic sweet potato. I adore it.

Defaced Skate

"Bones replace cartilage and erupt through soft skin. A frightened new form begins to emerge."

We ended our fifth stream by finally visiting The Devil's Spine, the last of Dredge's major regions that we hadn't yet explored. This area consists of ancient ruins over a boiling undersea volcano, and introduces creatures typically found near hydrothermal vents! Our first aberration from this area was of a "pale skate," and it's one of the most frightening aberrations in the game! A rotten looking skate with a spinal column tail and bony phalanges, but most jarringly, a ghoulish humanoid face visible through the tattered flesh of its head region. Wicked! This is the first one to really make me think "good lord, what the HELL is this turning into."

Umbral Puppet

"Long limbs hang idly from a body mounted with blackened spheres. It waits for the call of the void."

We wrapped up this stream investigating what our crab pots could catch. Our first crab pot oddity turned out to be an otherworldly spider crab, and it's another of the game's most beautiful looking creatures. A black, knobbly arachnoid with two large, gelatinous black spheres on its back, one behind the other, which come across to me as its eyes, but who knows! Between its dark limbs is a paler brown webbing that really completes the whole look. Another nice description, too. What will the Umbral Puppet do when the void finally calls?

Grasping Snail

"Bony fingers extend though a membrane of mucous, feeling for a target. The frantic eye locks with yours."

Dredge is wise to choose a "volcano" snail as its only sea snail, famous for living near black smokers and reinforcing its foot with scales of metal! Already its in-game sprite is just gorgeous, but its aberration is truly striking and significantly alters the base animal; the shell is a little more nautilus-like in appearance, with a huge, golden, catlike or snakelike eye where the spiral would be, and a five-fingered, meaty yellow hand emerging from the shell's aperture! It feels to me almost like a Metroid or Kid Icarus enemy.

I love the different degrees to which the aberrations switch things up. Sometimes it's only the eyes and the coloration that are very different. In others, like this one, every single part of the base animal has been replaced by something more alien, and yet, it still feels like a suitable variation.


Ossified Searobin

"Chittering mandibles scythe the air in front of this deep-dweller, its small body encased in a suit of thick bone."

Continuing to explore the volcanic area, one of its most common fish are armored searobins, which I've always loved for their close resemblance to the weird, shell-headed fish of prehistoric times. The "Ossified" version is covered in bony chunks that give it a more tiled, rocky pinecone sort of appearance, along with arthropod-like antennae and mandibles! It also has smaller, pure black eyes, lower down on its skull. I've said this before, but I appreciate how many of these are more than just a modification to the base fish, often an entirely redrawn creature.

Rapt Shark

"A grinning maw turned upwards to the sky. Wing-like fins, ready to take flight."

I love "ghost sharks," also known as chimaeras! The "rapt shark" has pectoral fins with rays, more like a bony fish (or a bat's wing), a more pinkish hue and a giant, goofy grin full of maniacal, needly teeth! This one falls under the simple modification category, but it looks good!

Sable Reacher

"Wings of muscle spin webs between inky black legs. A gloomy core grows in the deep."

This aberrant squat lobster looks like a bunch of golden, pink-webbed arthropod limbs wrapped around a black crystal, making it look like a big gaudy obsidian amulet, in a good way. It also actually looks taxonomically related to some of the other aberrant crustacea. In fact, there seem to be a number of recurring aberration "styles" in this game, which might imply not just taxonomic relationship, but perhaps the influence of different cosmic entities?

Twisted Shark

"Three tails that twist and turn. Three unite behind the head. Thrice the body that must be fed."

An aberration of a frilled shark, which attained viral fame after the internet was freaked out by footage of a dying specimen. Such viral fame, it even came to influence the design of "Shin" Godzilla! Dredge's mutation of it gets a spookier, cool grey-blue color scheme with red eyes, and like the description says, three bodies connected to the same head. They're twirled together just enough that it's a fairly subtle effect.

Cyclopean Flounder

"A sprawling, jellied mass spills from a single eye socket. What appears to be a dark pupil is in fact the center of an egg."

It took a long time for us to ever catch the game's other aberrant flounder. it merely replaces the entire head area with what appears to be an immense, glistening eyeball in a ragged socket, but it's apparently a huge fishy egg! Another aberration with some other organism developing inside!

Splintered Crab

"Amber glue holds shattered fragments. A deep dweller cracked from the pressure."

This is another motif that crops up more than once; an organism taking on a rock-like texture, with bright orange-yellow slime oozing out from its cracks! I wonder what precisely influences this transformation.

Cortex Decorator

"Folds of orange tissue tower from its head. Scything limbs administer the structure."

The largest of the game's brainy-headed crabs! And the best looking, too, a brilliant orange brain held in a hollow carapace with a bunch of sickle-like hooked limbs. Very cool! The brain also looks very delicious. It looks like a peeled and carved up mango. I wish I hadn't become allergic to mango one day in my early 30's.

Crown of Nadir

"A fractal gateway, reaching beyond the abyss. From its maw whispers a call from below."

It's Mareanie! The Crown of Thorns starfish, inedible and ecologically pestiferous, is appropriately one of the "worst" catches in Dredge, taking up far too much inventory space for how little money it's actually worth. But wow, what a unique aberration! Nothing at all like a sea star anymore, the Crown of Nadir is simply a roundish glob of red flesh with nubby little appendages, and nearly its entire upper surface is a gaping, circular mouth with many rows of teeth, like a mobile "Sarlacc Pit." The back of the throat seems to spiral as it descends deeper than the creature should physically contain. RAD!

Leeching Prawn

"This tiny parasite rasps away the flesh of whatever it attaches to. Its hooked legs ensure an enduring grip."

This deep sea red prawn aberratifies into a bloodsucking parasite! The exoskeleton takes on a nice blue-green to contrast the bright, white teeth and pink gums of the circular maw, truly resembling a cartoon "leech" with arthropod legs. 10/10.

All-Seeing Cod

"Staring outwards, unblinking. Eyes borrowed from a larger being but not the mind to process what it sees."

This cod has big huge eyes and a cute toothy overbite with no visible lower jaw. Simple and whimsical, made more fascinating by the description. The eyes did not merely mutate from this fish, apparently, but are the eyes of a different creature altogether. And this poor dumb fish with the wrong eyes sees all kinds of stuff that it doesn't understand! I guess it probably doesn't care. Any pet fish or aquarium fish surrounded by human civilization also sees things that don't make any sense all day, and their opinion on it is still usually "bloop, bloop."

Fanged Cod

"Deviantly sharp teeth, with chunks of smaller fish lodged between. A hunger in its eyes."

It's just a cod with red eyes and teeth, but I like how that was executed ayway. The head is a bit fatter and the eye a bit lower, which is enough to give it a distinct personality.

Latching Snapper

"Swollen flesh folds back over its eyes. Cracked lips bleed through mounted scar tissue."

LOVE this one. It's just a pale scabby looking red snapper with no facial features, but it has those nasty blood red puffy lips in a mouth that stretches all the way back to its pectoral fins. Why the "latching" designation? What does it latch onto?!

Collapsed Viperfish

"A rejection of the light - or a return to the ways of the deep?"

Interesting that this one is just a viperfish all scrunched up and mangled, with a big blob of blood gushing out. So if that's an aberration form, I'm guessing, it's still moving around and swimming in that state? Is the bloody mass like a new body, dragging the crumpled fish behind it??

Calcified Snailfish

"Waiting in dormancy for its moment to arrive."

Short, simple and intriguing description. This snailfish is covered in a pale grey exoskeleton that kind of resembles a giant isopod, but with four fins instead of legs, and no other eyes or appendages. It will, apparently, eventually do something or other, perhaps molt into some greater form.

Cursed Fangtooth

"A small and feeble mind, easily conquered. Now, brought screaming from the depths, it lies powerless."

This is actually one that I missed reviewing from the fifth stream, so we're making it up to the poor little guy by ending on him. Fangtooth are delightfully pugnacious little tiny fish from the abyss, mostly face and jaws and big BIG teeth, but rarely acknowledged even in media with other abyssal lifeforms. The "cursed" version is just bright blue, with intense white light pouring from its eyes and a mouth stretched wide open. A very cryptic description, too. Something took over its mind, but now that you've dragged it up onto your boat, it can't do anything. What WAS it doing? We don't know, but it sure isn't doing it now! Ha ha!

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