You may look at Forager and groan at the prospect of another pixel-art indie game, but rest assured that Forager does enough to at least stand out on its own from its compatriots. Taking a few pages from more than one cookbook, Forager is part base-builder, part exploration, part adventure, but its parts come together to make a package that’s overall quite appealing, but those averse to grinding may want to look elsewhere.
Make no mistake, while Forager may seem like it’s purely about grinding and crafting, there is a little more to it than that. Progression plays out rather smoothly, with new islands being purchasable once you earn enough coin. In order to earn that cash, you’ll sell items, find treasure, and also unlock various talents that help expand your options even further to aid the process. Forager also has a super-charming art-style, and despite it going the pixel-route, it still stands out enough thanks to its cutesy, hyper-deformed style. The music also rarely bores, with upbeat and mellow tunes dotting the various times of day. Forager is incredibly relaxing, at least until things start popping up en masse for you to do.
Forager crams a ton of content in to its tiny little frame. As you progress, islands will continually pop up with new resources, giving you new ways to go about developing your island. The actual gameplay loop is addicting though , and each upgrade feels like a serious improvement to your adventures. There’s also a surprising amount of content, and while none of it gets particularly in-depth, there’s a ton to do in the base game either way. You’ll solve puzzles, fight bosses, craft a ton of gear, and grind a ton in the process to help complete all of those tasks.
Rise And Grind, And Grind, And Grind…
Admittedly, Forager’s premise may turn people off. When I first saw the game I got vibes of a mobile game thinking that it just overloads you with menial tasks, but this isn’t the case. Forager doesn’t give you much of a tutorial to go off of, but it doesn’t really require one thanks to how simple the premise is. Nearly everything can be interacted with in some capacity, and every one of those items serves some kind of purpose. Combat can be a little clunky at times, but the real gripe lies in being tossed back to the main menu upon death. Thankfully, the title auto-saves frequently enough that it’s not too frustrating to get back into things, though I’d prefer an option to continue the experience instead of having to jump through an additional hoop. Experimentation is encouraged though, and rarely does it feel like a heavy penalty, outside of maybe spawning the occasional giant horned demon or buster-sword wielding giant skeleton. But you can handle a little challenge, right?
The skill-tree in Forager is also absolutely massive, and as you progress you’ll unlock a wide range of things to build. There’s no set path, and like the rest of the game, how you customize your islands and play-style is really up to you. Some weapons do feel quite strong versus others, but this can all depend on when you unlock them. Bows shine early on, with swords becoming more exciting later on. The overall experience is smooth though, and despite how much grinding you’ll do, it never gets dull. Control is good enough, outside of some issues reliably targeting resources. The effect is amplified when an island suddenly sprouts up a bunch of items to gather, making it a little frustrating at times.
The Switch port overall is excellent. It scales well between docked and handheld mode, with speedy load times too. The pick up and play style is particularly well suited to the nature of the console as well. Forager has its roots on PC, but it feels like it was made for the Switch thanks to how easily accessible, yet deceptively deep the game is. You can easily sink fifteen minutes into it, with that spiralling into hours spent gradually expanding and improving. Before you know it, its two A.M and you look like a mess, but it was all worth it for that shiny new slime sword. Forager sets out to present a very specific style of game, and it does an excellent job of presenting something that will resonate very much with certain players who like to grind and don’t mind a little bit of repetition. It doesn’t outright excel in one area, but each of its pieces do a strong enough job to present a solid experience that’s worth your time.
With the promise of DLC, on top of the essentially endless gameplay, Forager is easily something you’ll get bang for your buck with. The eShop price may seem a little high, but considering just how polished the experience comes off, it makes a strong case for your time. In what is already a surprisingly substantial offering, the promise of additional content may seem intimidating considering just how much there is to do already, but with no end in sight, I don’t really care to be honest. I eagerly look forward to returning again and again to Forager’s expanding isles for the foreseeable future.
**A Switch code was provided by the publisher**
- Tons of content
- Charming artsyle
- Free to play how you want
- Bang for your buck
- Targeting a little wonky
- Resource growth a bit hectic