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Going by its trailer, Dredge's The Pale Reach DLC is a blend of new and familiar chills

New biome with extra icky fishies out in November

The player's ship approaching an ice-locked island in Dredge's Pale Reach DLC.
Image credit: Team 17

Following boldly in the wake of The Thing, The Terror and, errrr, the experimental artist Ellie Ga, who spent months drawing and sketching aboard a drifting icelocked research vessel, Black Salt and Team 17's Lovecraftian fishing sim Dredge is heading to the Arctic in its first DLC pack, The Pale Reach. Batten down the hatches and check out the trailer.

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The expansion launches on 16th November, and features a new biome with 11 new fish and crab species, plus pricier, abberant varieties of undersea life. It seems to preserve the main game's core loop of fishing by day and heading home by night to avoid nocturnal terrors and shore up your sanity.

"In The Pale Reach, you'll navigate the treacherous ice fields to discover a mystery frozen under the ice," goes the blurb. "Retrace the steps of the last crew that came before you and unearth a story of bitter betrayal. Find some familiar faces and develop new equipment to navigate the area and profit from its inhabitants."

In our Dredge review, Katharine summarised the game as "dripping with atmosphere and armed with several compelling story hooks" arguing that it "catches the best and most accessible bits of survival horror, management and exploration games".

A ship fishing in icy waters in Dredge
A conversation with a character in Dredge's Pale Reach DLC
A sunset over icebergs in Dredge's Pale Reach DLC
A monster leaping out of the water to attack your ship in Dredge's Pale Reach DLC
Image credit: Team 17

I can definitely see the appeal for people who only want to dip a toe in the waters of the eldritch, but as a seasoned Cthulhead I was mixed on Dredge personally. For me, the game's blend of cosy yet efficiency-minded daytime fishing sim and Amnesia-lite horror after dark threatened to becalm it between audiences. I just wanted a proper nautical horror game, with creatures and paranormal events that are scary rather than just inconvenient. The game's leviathans put me more in mind of Wind Waker than Innsmouth.

I also wanted the developers to do more with the deepsea mutation concept, in regards to the block puzzle business of inventory management. Why do mutant fish fill out the same block shapes as their normal brethren, however ghastly the art and descriptive text? Wouldn't it be more unsettling and engaging if the mutations were harder to fit into your hold? Dredge is far too tidy for my liking, and I'm not sure The Pale Reach will change much, but I do like the idea of an Arctic getaway.

Writing this piece has reminded me that I need to check out The Pale Beyond, aka 'Frostpunk on a ship', which Rachel (RPS in peace) more or less enjoyed. Do you have any really spooky games set in frozen climates to recommend?

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