By Dalton McClain / July 11th, 2019
|Release Date||April 18th, 2019|
|Age Rating||E for Everyone|
Forager is a 2D game developed by HopFrog. In it, you play a nameless, and quite adorable looking, character as you build, craft, and explore your terrain. I wish I could say more in this intro paragraph, but that really summarizes the game pretty well. It’s a really basic premise, in every since of the word. But the question with any game like that, is how well did they pull it off?
Well to sum up the gameplay, quite well actually. In the game you start out with very few things. Some trees, some rocks, a pickaxe, and the ability to craft. The game soon begins to open up from there as you level up, upgrade your skills, and eventually expand the island. Your main objective is to go and defeat all 4 of the dungeons, which is honestly quite a fun and challenging task…until you have some of the later game items. It has the old Terraria thing of the bosses becoming trivial after you get so far. It’s not a bad thing by any means, there’s something sweetly cathartic about it actually. But it is something that may turn some people away.
Like I said before you have various skills you can put stats into once you level up. These are Magic, Economy, Industry, and Farming. All of these options give you different crafting recipes that you can use, and you can freely go down any tree you want at any time. This makes sure that you can replay the game as many times as you want and still be able to take a different route whenever you feel like it. Just be sure to choose what you want from the get go, as to my knowledge you can’t respec your points. So if you choose something, you better be extra sure that it’s what you want.
You have a stamina meter to go along with the usual health bar, but I found it to be more of a nuisance than an actual challenge. I understand why it has to be there, but the issue is with just how easy it is to maintain. You always have ample food resources, and even the basic berries are everywhere around the islands. Meaning that you’ll just run out, click the berries a few times, and that’s it. I didn’t even really find the need to get the options for better stamina regain until I absolutely had to, just because the various food bushes were so abundant. It’s a small gripe I had, but one nonetheless.
The most unique aspect I find in Forager is the Island system. You earn coins by various means, Farming, Mini-Games, the Market, etc, and you use them to purchase other small islands to explore. The thing is, the map is randomly generated. You’ll know the biome and the price of the land, but other than that it’s completely random what you’ll end up getting, and that gamble is always exciting for me. You could get a dungeon right on the first go, or even a puzzle island, or you could just get a plain old normal island. It’s exciting trying to guess what’s coming next and trying to use your money wisely. It’s so simple, yet it’s probably one of the best things about this game to me.
And that’s just it about this game, it’s simple. That’s why I left the art and music last, because I don’t have a whole lot to comment on. It’s just minimalistic, and done really well at that. I really love how simplistic everything looks and sounds, it’s like playing a more retro title. Everything is very minuscule and it works fantastically in the game’s favor. Plus, I love the shifts in scenery. How you can go from a normal, run of the mill forest island to a spooky island with graves and skeletons, yet it still keeps that cutesy art style?
Overall I love Forager for how simplistic it is in it’s design, and how grand it is in it’s execution. It’s a very cute game with lots to do and explore. Behind the minimal exoskeleton lies a really big game that I just keep coming back to, even after 10 hours of playing. If I had one complaint, it would be that, as a crafting game, it does get very grindy if you don’t choose the right skills. My second go around I had a much easier time, but an option to respec somehow would be a nice addition. I would definitely pick this up for the small price that it is. As of writing this, you can get the game for about $16.99 on Steam, which is well worth that price.
Review copy provided by the Publisher