Released on: April 18, 2019 (PC), July 30, 2019 (PS4 and Switch), July 16, 2020 (Xbox ONE), Dec 9, 2020 (Android, iOS)
Available Platforms: PC, Linux, Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox ONE, Android, iOS
Price: $22.79 CAD ($19.99 US) [PC, Linux, PS4, Switch, Xbox One], $9.99 CAD ($7.99 US) [Android, iOS]
Every once in a while, I’ll be curious about what my friends are playing or are excited to play. While browsing Twitter, one of my friends was excited about Forager coming to Switch. It was only available on Steam when I first noticed, but I always kept an eye out for it. It was only recently that I finally decided to try it out for myself. I was looking for a relaxing game where all I do is gather stuff and maybe build things. Was Forager precisely what I was looking for?
The game begins, and the player finds themselves alone on an island. The only thing they have is a pickaxe that can harvest anything. This is as much story as Forager offers, which is excellent for those who want to jump right in. As the player buys more islands, they will find more characters. They do little to add to the already short story. I am ok with little character development, as I don’t feel Forager needs it.
The biggest draw to Forager is its gameplay loop. As the name implies, it has the player gathering things with their pickaxe. Collecting items (and almost anything for that matter) will grant the player experience points. Leveling up will unlock the ability to build structures, gain new recipes, and even permanent bonuses. It gets to a point where the player can have structures craft one specific resource infinitely (as long as they have the necessary resources.) All of this makes for an insanely addicting experience.
Earlier, I mentioned the player could buy more islands. Some islands unlock dungeons that the player can explore, solve puzzles, fight bosses and find treasure. Where this surprised me was with how much I liked the level design of these dungeons. If I get tired of building my empire, I can go into a dungeon and fight enemies. It makes acquiring new land more exciting, along with expanding my prospects.
During the game, the player will unlock feats (Forager’s achievement system.) These feats unlock content from the “Extras” section of the main menu. These bonuses are excellent, especially since there is a little backstory on how Forager was made. I liked the behind the scenes comic of Forager’s creation, as it’s wholesome and inspiring. The player will also unlock new modes and additional costumes by acquiring more feats, giving extra incentive to play the game.
One flaw I noticed with Forager on Switch is that the frame rate tends to drop when there are many structures crafting objects. The whole point of Forager’s end game is to have many buildings make many things; having it lag like that is irksome. That said, it isn’t too bad, but it’s certainly noticeable.
Another minor issue I have is when I go to collect what I crafted. Sometimes, the object will fall just out of reach of my character, and I then have to build a bridge or remove the structure to collect the said object. I wish the player’s collection zone were just a little bit bigger to circumvent this issue.
There are a few technical hitches here and there, but I loved my time with Forager. It is a simple, charming and excellent game. I would recommend Forager to those looking to unwind after a long day.