Sludge Life is free on Steam because Sludge Life 2 is coming later this year

Sludge Life is a "vandalism and photography sim" that launched on the Epic Games Store in 2020 and then came to Steam a year later. It's a weird but oddly compelling first-person open world game about the drudgeries of existence, filled with lowbrow humor (a cat with two buttholes, "press F to fart," that sort of thing) and also a surprising amount to see and do given the relatively small size of its setting.

Developers Terri Vellman and Doseone, whose past collaborations include the also-weird-but-good shooters Heavy Bullets and High Hell, recently announced that a sequel is on the way, and while there's no obvious direct connection to that bit of news, it's probably not a coincidence that the first game is now free, for a limited time, on Steam.

Sludge Life 2 promises "a bigger, weirder, gnarlier open world loaded with secrets, weirdos, jokes and, of course, plenty of spots to tag." There's an important mission to undertake, too: The rapping frog Big Mud has gone missing, and it falls to you, his closest homie Ghost, to track him down. The game will have three times as many NPCs to deal with as the original Sludge Life, and new items including Double Js that enable double-jumps and high-speed sprints, and a Portable Launcher so you can fire yourself into the air, if that strikes you as a good idea for some reason.

There will also be a bunch of new music in Sludge Life 2, including five new tracks from Big Mud: "Explore the island, find the hidden master tapes and bless your headphones with fresh beats and rhymes from the most amphibious rapper in the game."

Sludge Life obviously isn't the easiest game in the world to pigeonhole, but Chris seemed to like it quite a bit when he gave it a go in 2022

"On nearly every ledge, building, and billboard you scale, you'll find some oddball character to talk to. Some are depressed, some are angry, some insult you (and some then apologize for it), almost all of them are funny, and most are just plain weird—but weird in a way that makes perfect sense for the world they inhabit," he wrote. "Even after I've sprayed all my tags and completed every activity, I won't consider myself done with Sludge Life until I'm sure I've talked to every character in the game."

The original Sludge Life is free on Steam until March 30 or "while supplies last." There's no shelf to see what the stock situation is like, so grab it while you can, I guess. Sludge Life 2 is expected to be out later this year on Steam, GOG, and the Epic Games Store—you can wishlist or find out more about what's going on at the appropriately strange

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.