Last year, I came across a game, one that both immensely intrigued me while also deeply disturbed me. ‘Sludge Life’ is that game. I have never taken any sort of hallucinogenic drug, but quite frankly, I think this game fits the bill as to what you would probably see if you were to partake in some pretty heavy stuff.
Sludge life, sludge life
After getting my bearings and a bit more understanding of the janky controls, I managed to get around to spraying my tag anywhere I could. Sure enough, it was… something. I saw some things that I’ll probably never unsee like a room-sized man-baby and that cat with two buttholes, but really that was the tip of the iceberg. There was far more than expected to explore and even now I feel I haven’t explored enough. I thought it wasn’t as deep as the game turned out to be.
I found myself invested in tagging all locations and nabbing all the endings I could. There was no real reason behind me doing that, I just felt like it would give me a better understanding as to what happened and why my character lived in such a dump. Sadly, it didn’t and really only raised more questions in the end.
I looked around the place and was still completely dumbfounded as to what I was tasked with doing for the longest time. I quickly picked up that I was supposed to tag buildings, billboards, and such with my graffiti, but wasn’t quite sure if that was it.
From the get-go, you get a wacky main menu that emulates a computer screen complete with random pop-ups, but unlike real life, you can simply turn off those for good if that’s not your thing. I found just the main menu and its pause screen to be jarring, so you can imagine my thoughts when I literally throw a laptop from my face and onto the ground and venture out of the menu, and taking my first step into the world outside my shipping container home.
‘Sludge Life’ greeted me with a deep soundtrack and unique personality that fits a lo-fi music video. The colors weren’t perfect or vivid, it’s more like an old VHS tape, which I found to be kind of charming.
The surroundings are dreary but in a good way. It fit the tone that the game was peddling. It wasn’t supposed to be a nice, colorful, pretty place – quite the opposite. The island you find yourself on is deeply polluted and full of seedy men and women including, but not limited to, other taggers, workers hanging off of sofas, a huge man-baby, a two-buttholed cat, deadly snakes, a flasher, and more.
The game also does away with voice over, opting for synthesized voices instead, which works really well in keeping the tone that the game wants.
It ain’t so hard
If I had to complain about something, it would be the difficulty. It isn’t actually that hard, it isn’t a game that will make you immediately go scouring the internet for a guide, it mostly is about where and how you jump and maneuver your way to your target. All in all, it probably took me about two days of casual play to beat ‘Sludge Life’ and all three of its endings.
Don’t get me wrong, you will give up for a while and move onto something else, but down the line you will find the way to that one tag that gave you so much trouble naturally.
If you’re seeking a game to stretch your gamer muscles – you’ll have to look elsewhere, it falls short of being a difficult game, but makes up for it in its fun and aesthetically pleasing gameplay and surroundings. If you’re looking for a downright janky and psychedelic adventure, ‘Sludge Life’ may just be for you.
As a side note, ‘Sludge Life’ is still free on the Epic Games Store until May of this year, so you really don’t have much of a reason to hesitate to get it.