Dredge is a cosmic horror fishing game released in 2023 by Black Salt Games and published by Team17. The game is relatively simple, but the integrated mechanics work well to add depth and a smooth progression. The research mechanic happens to be the perfect example of this.
As you progress in the game, the research mechanic allows you to increase your speed and fishing range. The upgrades available improve the quality of play, taking you from a slow boat to a speed demon.
In the beginning, you might barely be able to pull up a cod, let alone a shark, but in the end, researching allows you to pull up the kings of the sea. Welcome to a Dredge Research Guide.
A Quick Journey
Researching in Dredge is a pretty straightforward venture. All you need are Research Parts. These can be gained from Dredging material spots, completing pursuits, and occasionally through purchase. With Research Parts, you can research new engines, nets for your trawl, crab pots, and fishing rods.
These will allow you to progress through the different areas. With everything you research entirely, you gain an achievement. You should invest most of your points into Engines and Fishing Rods to provide a smooth progression experience.
In Dredge, Researching is the primary means of upgrading the tools at your disposal. To progress throughout the game, researching really isn’t optional. Researching allows you to upgrade your fishing rod, the trawl, engines, and crab pots.
Researching helps to enhance your overall game experience and helps you to zip through the waters at absurd speeds. If you want to go from one side of the map to the other in a single-day cycle while being able to fish up every type of fish wherever you are, you will need to utilize the research mechanic. You must be docked to use this mechanic, though it doesn’t matter where.
Everything you can research requires “Research Points.” The amount needed for each upgrade varies for each item, usually depending on its versatility.
Fishing Up Parts
There are a few different ways that you can gather Research Parts. If you want to unlock everything, however, you will probably end up spending a lot of time dredging up material patches.
Research Parts can be pulled up when you’re dredging for material. However, dredging for Research Parts can be hit or miss. You can go several days without picking up a single one, which makes trying to gather them this way an incredibly tedious task. In the later parts of the game, this will be the best, if not the only way, that you’ll get Research Parts.
Searching for “Golden” dredge spots will result in a guaranteed Research Part, though these spots are rare.
By the time you get to the point where you need to fish constantly for Research Parts, you can probably spend all night shifting from dredging area to dredging area with little consequence. Just make sure to dock regularly so you can avoid getting eaten by the Leviathan.
Occasionally, the Travelling Merchant will have a Research Part in stock that you can purchase for $350. It takes a minute before she will restock them, however, making this the least efficient method for gathering parts.
The Cheater’s Path
There’s nothing wrong with cheating. I have been known to mod my games before just so I could be particularly challenging fights without spilling my own blood. Just because I’m calling it cheating doesn’t mean it’s not a viable path to victory. It’s not just the way the developers probably intended for Dredge to be played.
For the time being, you can technically pull off a cheat in Dredge, allowing you to gather research parts in a timelier manner. This requires a bit of save-skimming your way to victory, however.
There’s a chance that after every reload, the Travelling Merchant will restock the Research Parts. If you want to gather them quickly to get that Platinum, save your game at her port after finding she has a Research Part. Proceed to quit out and load back in until you can buy another part. Ensure that you have enough money prior to doing this, however.
This will prevent you from having to play through the game multiple times and, generally, will prove much faster than dredging parts up.
They can also be picked up as rewards for completing the game’s various side pursuits. This last option is the best way to get Research Parts quickly and in a higher quantity. Once you’re out of side pursuits, however, you’ll have to go back to dredging material patches for them.
Although not an official pursuit, the Airman will also give you a Research Part for every Dog Tag you find and bring back to him.
Your Chosen Paths
As mentioned earlier, there are only a handful of things you can research: Fishing Rods, Engines, Pots, and your Trawl net. To research every item in the game, you will need a grand total of 62 Research Parts. The engine is the best path, though, because going fast trumps everything. No need for passive fishing when you can get from the Stellar Basin to Twisted Strand in a day.
In total, there are eight different poles and winches to Research. Getting all of them will take you 20 Research Parts. This is one of the research areas that you cannot skip over, especially if you want to experience Dredge in its full, cosmic glory.
This is my favorite area to research in because I cannot stand being slow in games. Give me speed, or I will be suffering the entire time. If you want to make it to the various outer areas in a timely manner and with low panic, then this is going to be one of your favorite things to research too.
There are a total of six different engines to Research. To get all of them, you will need another 20 Research Parts.
This is the least necessary thing to research and should be lower on your priority list for that reason. While you can passively gather crabs in the pots, they won’t generate nearly as much passive profit for you as the Trawl net.
However, if you’re insistent on researching crab pots, there are six for you to get. In total, you’ll need to spend 10 Research Parts to get all of them.
This is another optional thing you can put your Research Parts into. It’s slightly better than the Pots, but not nearly as important, in my opinion, as your Rod and Engines. However, if upgrades are getting more expensive, consider investing in getting a better Trawl. As you zip around the sea, you’ll passively gather fish and even Aberrations that will never rot.
There are five nets, in total, to Research. In total, you’ll end up spending 12 Research Parts for all of them.
- Early Game Focus: Fishing Rods + Winches, Engines
- Early Game Areas: The Marrows, Gale Cliffs
In the game’s early stages, you will want to put half of your Research Parts into your fishing rods and engines. While having an expanded fishing range is great, you really only need to be able to catch oceanic fish early on. Until you reach the Stellar Basin, you’ll mainly deal with Coastal, Shallow, and Oceanic fish.
Before that, however, you should focus on upgrading your engines. The faster you can go, the better. Getting between the various areas before nightfall, and being able to outrun the various horror of the depths, will save you more times than you can count. Also, who doesn’t like to go fast?
Weathering the Storm
- Mid-Game Focus: Fishing Rod, Trawl
- Mid-Game Areas: Gale Cliffs, Stellar Basin, Twisted Strand
As you are finishing up the Gale Cliffs and moving on to the Stellar Basin, you should put some research points into your trawl. You’re going to need to use it to fish up an Aurora Jellyfish for the Researcher in the Outpost. The Aurora Jellyfish is a Coastal type creature and is only catchable with your trawl. So, if you don’t have the ability to pull one of them up yet, get on it!
You may also want to consider investing your points into a fishing rod that can pull up Mangrove fish prior to moving on to Twisted Strand. While you don’t need a trawl for this area, you will need to be able to fish up Mangrove-type fish. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck on the main quest until you can. If so, now is a great time to get some side pursuits out of the way. I recommend avoiding the Hooded Figure pursuits for a little bit longer, though.
The End’s in Sight
- Late Game Focus: Fishing Rod, Engines, Crab Pot
- Late Game Areas: Twisted Strand, Devil’s Spine
Like mentioned in the mid-game section, now is a great time to upgrade your fishing rod. However, as you near the end of the game, it becomes more important that you have access to crab pots – specifically the Efficient Crab Pot or the Hardy Crab Pot. Once you’ve reached the Devil’s Spine, you have to catch a Spider Crab and a Squat Lobster. While these 3×3 monsters of crabs don’t need upgraded crab pots, you’re going to have a higher chance of catching them if you do upgrade your pots.
Lastly, being able to maneuver quickly is going to save your life in the Devil’s Spine. Going too fast might make it hard to navigate the ruins, true, but it will keep you safe from the monstrous fish. Being able to outrun those little fish that rat out your location and send them over an underwater volcano is important. Otherwise, you’re going to be stranded in the ruins, and you will destroy your boat in the panic.
Victory Is Nigh
You can get a handful of achievements on PC and Console (aside from the Nintendo Switch) for fully researching a category.
- Researcher: Rods
- Researcher: Pots
- Researcher: Nets
- Researcher: Engines
Of course, these achievements don’t actually give you anything in Dredge. The most you get out of them is the satisfaction of being one of the few people who has achieved them – let alone all of them. If you enjoy running completionist runs and trying 100% your games, though, it’s hand to know that for you, Research is not an optional move.
As a quick reminder, you don’t have to play through the game multiple times to get every achievement. Save-skimming with the Travelling Merchant is a totally viable option.
Question: What systems can I play Dredge on?
Answer: Dredge can be found on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S and X, and the PC.
Question: How long is the game Dredge?
Answer: Dredge can be anywhere from 12-20 hours, leaning towards 20+ if you try to 100% the game.
Question: Is Dredge a horror game?
Answer: Yes, Dredge is technically a horror game. However, the game is closer to psychological horror, relying more on the atmosphere than genuine jump scares.
Docking for the Night
Dredge is a really fun game. The research mechanic is great and allows you to upgrade and progress through the game at your own pace. It also encourages interacting with the side quests rather than just focusing on the main story. While technically, you could probably get away (for the most part) without researching anything, I don’t know why you would try (unless you’re challenging yourself).
The only issue I have with it is that I wish there were more ways to get research parts. There are only so many you can actually earn through side pursuits before you’re forced into a constant stream of dredging to find them.
If there was more of a reason to go through the process, aside from the achievements, however, I could see that being something I am more than willing to do for the upgrades. But at the end of the game, there just… isn’t much reason to continue looking for Research Parts.