Sludge Life is a damn good name for anything, honestly. But it’s an even better moniker for Devolver Digital’s latest reveal. A slimey lo-fi open world riot, Sludge Life is a filthy collaboration between developer Terri Vellman and music man Doseone, the folks behind supernatural shootout High Hell. Tag your way to the top, tear down your corporate overlords, or kick back and grab a light with the cats at the docks – who the hell cares when you’re stuck on a planet made of goo?
Here’s the deal. You’re Ghost, a spraycan-wielding miscreant living on a grimy little island on a planet made of sludge. Maybe you wanna make a name for yourself in the tagging scene, laying down paint on every spare inch of wall ’till you’re the most notorious artists in slimetown. Perhaps it’s time to knock the corporate sludge-munchers at Glug headquarters down a peg, breaking into their offices and messing with all their shit. Maybe you just wanna take a cool pic of a cat smoking a cig.
Sludge Life doesn’t really seem fussed either way. The devs have built a compact open world stuffed full of greasy bastards, eschewing scripted beats “curiosity and free will”. It’s a web of scenarios to stumble into, characters to pester, rival taggers to take on. There are games-within-games, a giant baby and a communal basketball court. Sludge Life has a dedicated fart button.
Devolver say Sludge Life has a “vibe so thick you can taste it,” and that vibe is a bathroom stall at 3am in a slightly grim Berlin nightclub. An animated skit looping on a battered old CRT at an underground gig. That pop-up bagel shop in the derelict Leith garage where I had lunch, after dark.
Not all of this humour lands, mind. Sludge Life’s been a thing for all of five hours and I’m already over the whole two-butthole cat schtick. But it’s a bloody strong style nonetheless, one that bleeds over into the game’s own site – a merch shop disguised as a grimey, corrupted desktop, infected with the constant bleep of corporate pop-ups.
Devolver reckon Sludge Life will hit the Epic Games Store this Spring. ‘Til then, you can always hit those vibes early with in-game rapper BIG MUD’s Bandcamp page.