Publisher: Humble Bundle
Genre: Adventure, Simulation, Strategy, Puzzle
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 3
Release Date: 30/06/2019
Price: £17.99 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title
Crafting and farming games have always been known to hook me in, often spending hours at a time grinding materials. Dangerous if you have things to do, but lots of fun! I’ll always remember my first experience of playing Harvest Moon, eager to improve my farm. So when the opportunity came to review Forager, I had to take it, especially after seeing all the praise for it on social media. It was hard not to compare it to similar games like Terraria and Stardew Valley when I first saw it, but I soon learned Forager had made the genre its own.
In this 2D adventure game, you start on a single grass island, and you must harvest the resources around you, such as trees and rocks, to craft the basics. Crafting a furnace allows you to melt ore, such as gold, into ingots, and making a forge lets you create equipment or weapons. As you mine away, your energy decreases, so you must eat berries to keep your stamina up or heal you when enemy slimes injure you. You can also plant seeds and grow crops to give you materials like wheat and fibre. At first, it didn’t seem much different from other similar games.
However, as you level up by mining and crafting, you unlock skills which then, in turn, unlock new things for you to build or to improve your stats. You go from having a forge and a furnace to a windmill that produces ingredients to cook in a cooking pot, and banks which churn out coins. The coins, which can also be earned by slaying enemies or by crafting them yourself, can be used to buy new sections of land. This was the part which I really enjoyed because each island will have a puzzle or an NPC for you to interact with, as well as the chance to explore new biomes and enemies.
This puzzle aspect adds another element to the game, as it makes you want to play even more to unlock more land to have new interactions. Alongside having a vast variety of weapons to unlock and new buildings to create, it’s the perfect recipe for addicting gameplay. I loved that there was always something new and exciting around the corner. Grinding to get materials for a specific item did not feel like a grind at all like some games, because it was always worth it; for example, crafting the fiery pickaxe allows you to harvest much quicker, or the sewing station enables you to craft more items like gloves.
As this game pulls you in and you end up wondering where the time went, it’s just as well that this game has beautiful visuals too. The world is bright and colourful, and with the multiple biomes, there’s always a change of scenery with new materials to collect. The character design is so cute, which makes me feel bad when I have to kill a chicken or sheep to get food! It’s such a charming world that is so easy to get lost in, the perfect level of lighting, causing shadows on the trees and bringing it to life. Because of the point of view, however, buildings or trees can block other things from being visible if they’re expressly tall. This is tackled by it turning invisible if you walk behind it, so you can still see the ground and items.
The soundtrack worked well with the game as it’s not distracting; because you will end up spending a lot of time with the game, you don’t want songs that are going to annoy you ten minutes in. They’re happy and blend nicely, adding to the atmosphere without being overwhelming. At times I was so engrossed that I almost forgot there was music playing because it becomes such a natural part of the game.
The replayability of this game is endless; I have played for eleven hours so far, and I’m not even halfway through buying all the lands available, which is 49. There are also 64 skills to unlock, which you need to get everything in the game. As well as this, there are 84 feats, comparable to achievements. These feats unlock costumes for your character, which have fun references to other games like Terraria. There is just so much content which I wasn’t expecting from a game on the cheaper end of the price range.
This game is a must-play for fans of games like Stardew Valley, and it brings whole other elements to the genre. I’d even recommend it as a good starting game for people who aren’t into gaming, as it’s relaxing and simple to pick up. I am eager to put many more hours into the game and find out what else Forager has to offer!
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Forager from the Nintendo eShop on the following link, https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/Forager-1501105.html
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.