Forager Review

Forager Review

Reviewed on PC

Also available on Linux

I don’t like open world sandbox games where you explore, craft, and build. Being plopped down into an open space where all is possible overwhelms me. The thought of a pickaxe in my character’s hands makes me want to vomit. Standing idly by as build timers fill up isn’t my idea of good gaming time. Despite my trepidations for all these things, Forager has them all and I love it.



The premise is simple: you’re an adorable marshmallow-headed 8-bit inspired character on an 8-bit inspired island. Armed with nothing but a pickaxe, you can mine and gather resources, build structures and build up your gold so you can buy more islands, or Lands as they're known in the game. There’s a capitalist flair to some of the terminology. Lands exist in five different biomes, each with their own distinct set of resources and denizens. Grass islands will typically be the habitat of chickens, cows, and slimes while skeletons will call Graveyard biomes their home. Each biome will contain a collection of resources, such as trees and mining spots, which will have varied yields. Resources are, of course, used to craft gear and build structures which help you craft better gear and more structures. There’s a lot of idling but only if you wish to do so. Some islands contain dungeons to be explored and puzzles to be solved, while others lay host to quirky NPCs with quests to be completed.



Forager is an idle game at heart which means there’s a levelling system. Each level gained provides a skill point that can be spent on one of four skill categories. Industry skills open up structures and buffs related to all things rocks and gems, such as factories and increased smelting speeds. Economy skills unlock all things money, including banks that speed up the gold making process. Foraging skills enhance farming efforts and cooking while Magic skills give access to potions, shrines, and scrolls that bestow a variety of buffs. Levelling is a key component to improving the idle aspects of the game but in order to improve Marshmallowhead’s (not their real name) physical attributes - stamina and health - quests and dungeons need to be completed, both of which reward chests that may contain Spirit Orbs which can be cashed in for health, stamina, and attack boosts, or even for an instant level up. It’s this well-paced blending of idle and active play that makes Forager such an appealing experience to a player such as myself who shies away from games like Minecraft and Terraria.



Beyond the unlocks in the game itself, progress in Forager unlocks a slew of other collectibles, such as a music player and, more heartwarmingly, the story behind the game and its one-man-developer, Hopfrog. I found the latter to be quite special as it shows how much has been put into the game’s development by its creator. After 20 hours of gameplay, there’s not much left to do but Hopfrog has laid out a roadmap of updates which will include the introduction of a new biome, a hard mode, an update to the game’s combat and more.



Forager is a fun and relaxing experience. Its charming 8-bit inspired graphics, coupled with its cheerful dings and bleeps when stuff gets done, had me sitting there just admiring my ever expanding empire of islands and creations. Unlike games where I’m excited to engage with the world and fight baddies, Forager gave me a reason to feel good about idle gaming and let go of my perceptions of open sandboxes. It has its cute little marshmallow paws tugging at my heart, poking and prodding at me to jump in and build more.  

Forager is available from the Humble Store now.

Overall

8-bit inspired open world crafting and exploration idle game that will surely capture the hearts of both fans and non-fans of the genre.

8

out of 10

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