Sludge Life 2 Hands-On Preview – Trippy Graffiti Vibes

Sludge Life 2 Preview

Sludge Life 2 proves that disgusting and enjoyable don’t have to be mutually exclusive. The sequel to one of the oddest games in recent years is aiming to double up on the bizarre and the controversial with another surreal journey. Players with an open mind will embrace a world filled with obnoxious characters, crass humor, and an almost pointless but oh-so-enjoyable trip down weird lane.

It’s a Hard Sludge Life

With little handholding and just enough exposition through locations and dialogues, Sludge Life 2 throws you into this new adventure with barely any guidance. As a tagger and manager of music sensation Big Mud, you will explore the various sectors of this sludge-filled island and find your way around driven by curiosity and inspired by the decidedly wacky cast.

You’re not entirely lost, to be fair; as you wake up in your bathtub after a wild party and explore the wrecked room, a dude with a major hangover tells you that Big Mud has gone missing and a video shoot is overdue, so you’d better go find him in this colossal mess of a city. That is, if you can get past the urge to tag the property, hand a few cigarettes around, do the number one in every bathroom, see number two on more than one occasion, and use the dedicated fart button just because you can.

Sludge Life 2 Hands-On Preview

The humor isn’t the sharpest ever, but if you like crude jokes and the typical nonsense found in Adult Swim shows, this should be right up your alley. It even ticks the cartoon nudity box when that could have been where the line was drawn… but it not only crosses the line, it draws rude genitalia on it.

Describing Sludge Life 2 as a walking simulator is somewhat undervaluing its aspirations. Almost like a trippy fantasy where nothing makes proper sense, but everything feels logical in its own peculiar ways, as conflicting as that may sound, this is a world prone to vandalism and free-form parkour. The open-ended structure means that you usually have more than a single way to reach a specific building or rooftop. You move at your own pace, with no guns or enemies chasing you around, as if in a chill exploration game where cigarettes are your friends and the gadgets you find along the way your travel companions, including a camera to photograph to your desire, a glider to help you move around, among others.

Despite the relaxed tone, there are goals to look for besides locating your hangover buddy Big Mud. Collecting and eating slugs is one of the tasks, but tagging is what you will be doing the most, with 100 spots to paint. Finding some objects downloads and installs apps, including cigarettes that you can smoke or give to some NPCs, the lifeloop app you get when you die, and a few others.

Navigation seems a bit on the forgiving side, with your character having a penchant to stick to walls and climb them by sheer persistence and button spam. It may be intentionally inaccurate to keep you moving through the various areas without a moment of frustration, but at times you control more like a drone than an actual person, even if a cartoon one.

A Playable Hallucination

Sludge Life 2 Hands-On Preview

A few minutes of Sludge Life 2 were enough to liken this game to a living, breathing psychedelic trip. It’s an out-of-the-ordinary experience, a videogame that feels like one of those raunchy cartoons from a time when this was deemed too risky, giving a vibe of a rowdy and rebellious creation from authors who aren’t open to compromises.

Everything about it contributes to the overall hallucinogenic drugs sensation, from the high contrast colored pixel graphics to the character art style, with their big lips and eyes, gigantic hands, and a hasty doodle-like design that is equally hideous and fascinating. The distorted music and the robotic sounds that pass as voices contribute to the group nightmare that it conveys at times, probably in consonance with the intoxicating effect that you experience when tasting a mushroom in this game.

Far from being a deep game for the thinking man, Sludge Life 2 brings an engrossing and surreal aesthetic to the table that could, however, be accused of being more of the same. But when that same is such a weird and genre-defying experience, it’s hard to resist a trip into this rare breed of dystopia, even if the humor may be hit or miss.

MP1st was given access to a preview build of Sludge Life 2 for our hands-on session. Sludge Life 2 is set to release in 2023 for PC and is being published by Devolver Digital.

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