Publisher: The Humble Bundle.
Platform Reviewed: Nintendo Switch.
Forager at its core is a crafting and exploration game that quickly turns into an idle game that you will not want to put down, seriously… it is addictive.
Developed alone by Hopfrog and published by The Humble Bundle, Forager is a game that puts the player to well… forage as many items as possible so that they can craft better tools, make better machinery and then buy more land to explore and gather more materials. Which in turn will allow you to make better things to well… complete the cycle again. Forager is a truly charming experience with gameplay that feels inspires from 2D Zelda games, along with a beautiful colour palette the game feels designed to allow you to just lose time and focus on expanding your island.
The combat within the game feels a lacking, but it is not at the core of the gameplay, you have two options until you unlock items that will attack for you. They are physical (Sword or Pickaxe), this will be your main method of killing enemies (Slimes, Skelingtons, Demons), Friendly Mobs (Chickens, cows) or bosses. The second method is ranged with a bow and arrow, which once you unlock artefacts that kill enemies for you… become irrelevant, the game clearly has a focus on you automating every aspect of the game… almost like it wants you to automate it so that you don’t have to play it… but in the end you want to play more… its an interesting situation that Hopfrog has managed to create.
Levelling up and unlocking new skills is key to automating your Forager experience, you can unlock new skills within four different areas; Foraging, Magic, Industry and Economy, which serve as the different areas you can focus on within Forager;
- Foraging – Boosts the EXP and materials you gain from chopping wood, mining ores or well… foraging for items.
- Magic – Grants the ability to make shrines, potions and scrolls. It also boosts the EXP and boosts the time that effects and buffs are applied for.
- Economy – Allows you to make boosting items such as lighthouses and banks, which boost materials gained and money respectively. It also raises the worth of money within the game… which is always helpful.
- Industry – For all your automation needs! Allows you to smelt ores and craft them into better equipment, which will allow you to create mining rods that will just do all that pesky mining and collecting for you.
The beauty of Forager is when all these skills work together, unlike traditional skill trees which help their respective gameplay area (Sneaking, combat, etc), Foragers skills allow you to get the most out of all aspects of the game when used together. Using the forager tree too boost the EXP gained from gathering ores and wood, will allow you to gain a constant stream of EXP whilst your mining rods (From the Industry tree) work away in the background. Once you’ve automated everything, that’s when this game turns into an idle game, its a game that you will love to have running next to you whilst you do other things… like more gaming.
There are dungeons to do within the game, which you unlock by buying more land. Each land will have different shrines, NPCs, dungeons and other things for you to explore and conquer. The game boasts a number of different feet for you to complete, which will accumulate over time. Each different feat will unlock different cosmetic items, mostly from other indie games! (Such as; Super meat boy, terraria, shovel knight, hollow knight and more).
My only complaints with the game come with the automation, it affects both sounds and visuals within the game, once everything is automated the sound and visuals can get clogged. Surprisingly I have not experienced any frame drops whilst in the overworld, I would have thought with the number of things running it would affect the gameplay, but I suppose I have not automated enough…
The game is a humble, charming and relaxing experience. Hopfrog has really put heart and soul into it. If you are interested, in the main menu Hopfrog, explains the personal process of making this game, the difficulties and successes along the way and it truly adds to the charm of the game.
There is even a roadmap for Forager, which means right now is the perfect time to jump in and explore the base game before more is added, I would highly recommend Forager simply for its ability to congratulate you for everything that you do.
Thanks for reading,