Review – Forager

I am always fascinated whenever I play a game developed by a single person. Here am I, someone who can’t program “Hello World” to save my life, while someone else has managed to come up with codes, assets, pixels, soundtracks, the whole bunch, all on their own. Forager is the latest addition to the “One Dev Group”, a cute sprite-based survival game made by one dude in Argentina.

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I’m too cool for school.

Forager is one of those randomly generated survival games with no actual main goal. You start off in a ridiculously small island and are tasked with building a forge and a crafting anvil, also known as “the bare minimum you need in order to craft coins”. At first, all you need to do is gather some food to replenish your constantly diminishing hunger meter, as well as mine for some gold and coal. Those are used in order to craft the aforementioned coins. Forager might be a survival game, but this game is all about the dolla dolla bills, y’all. Gather enough money and you’ll be able to buy more islands until the map maxes out. New islands will provide you with new materials, new NPCs, as well as occasional mini-dungeons that turn the game into a brief Zelda clone for a few minutes. It’s not very complex. In fact, nothing in Forager is complex at all, for better and for worse.

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I ended up killing them afterwards. I needed food, don’t judge me.

Besides increasing your overall play area, there’s not a lot else than can be described as an end goal in Forager. You can level up and unlock new abilities, you can earn some cosmetic accessories by completing in-game achievements, and you can partake in a bigger sidequest regarding completing the collection of a totally empty museum. The game knows how to keep you motivated, as everything you do in it rewards you with items and experience points.

Each new level-up perk grants you with a new item to research and most new islands feature something new for you to fool around with. With that being said, the game quickly becomes a bit overwhelming with the amount of tasks you need to take care of. Be it taking care of your ridiculously small health and hunger gauges or gathering rare materials, but at the same time, none of them are complex or overly entertaining. This turns the game into a grindy chore after a while, as well as horrendously repetitive.

This is not a game that emphasizes creativity or provides you with any semblance of a story or something for you to aim for. After I unlocked all islands, I didn’t feel like playing Forager anymore. It’s not that I was having a bad time, far from it in fact. But since there is no entertaining endgame content, like in Dragon Quest Builders 2, or an engaging goal, like in Subnautica, once I felt like I got everything the game could offer me, I stopped playing it.

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Aren’t you the cutest cultural stereotype?

With that being said, I have to give credit where credit is due. Forager features a cute (but tiresome) art style, great controls, and actual touchscreen support. It can easily provide you with a handful of hours of entertainment while you’re trying to become the biggest estate mogul in the land. All of this was made by a single person, may I remind you. It’s a small game that both shines and fails due to its sheer simplicity. The game will receive some free content upgrades over the next months, so that might convince me to check it out once again later on, but unless it provides me with a massive content overhaul and any resemblance of a narrative, I’d say this game is only recommended to those who really love survival titles. You could do a lot worse, granted, but you could also do better.

 

Graphics: 6.5

The 8-bit visuals are adorable, fitting in perfectly with the Switch’s portable screen, but they do get tiresome after a while.

Gameplay: 8.0

Even though the game features touchscreen support, it functions too well with the joycons for you to even think otherwise. The controls are responsive and the gameplay is pretty simple, if not a bit repetitive after a while.

Sound: 5.5

The soundtrack is very forgettable. I even forgot the game had a soundtrack while writing this review. The sound effects are pretty basic, but get the job done.

Fun Factor: 7.0

Forager‘s first hours are horrendously boring, but once you start buying more land and unlocking more skills, the game becomes a lot more entertaining, as you’ll have a lot of stuff to do at once. Maybe too much, in fact.

Final Verdict: 7.0

Forager is available now on PS4, PC and Switch.

Reviewed on Switch.

A copy of Forager was provided by the publisher.

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