Here’s a highly addictive surprise. Channeling Stardew Valley, it’s a deceptively simple open world title where you build a mini-empire!
From Argentine developer HopFrog (real name Mariano Cavellero) this launched in April 2019 on Steam. But as of July 2020 it’s hitting consoles.
When we first fired this one up we thought it was going to be basic stuff.
The opening screen is a simple patch of land that you start mining for resources. However, things ramp up rapidly.
And what emerges is an accessible, but complex, experience that’s very addictive. As you just want to keep building and exploring.
As the player, you take control of the pallid cartoon individual and start foraging land. You knock down trees, smash up rocks, and gather coal/gold.
You can then build things, but you have to pick whether you want to take the direction of a farmer, merchant, gatherer, adventurer, or builder.
The RPG elements help you choose your path—you gain experience for building and destroying things, which helps you level up.
After which you must pick from your skill tree where you want your journey to go. For example, if you’re a capitalistic bastard you can aim to get filthy rich.
Or you can just choose to run a little farm and look after the animals. Up to you!
The main enjoyment aspect for us is how quickly Forager moves. There’s no waiting around for hours to get anywhere, such as with Frostpunk.
It’s instantly rewarding and continues to offer new things to do. Never mind that cutesy look, it goes along at a pretty furious pace. And the console trailers reflect that well.
Well, what a surprise! It’s one we keep coming back to and playing. Initially, we thought it’d be a one off type experience for us to have a brief fling on.
But as you develop your little world, buy land, and add new features, it expands into an indie game you need to keep playing.
And it then keeps throwing new and engaging experiences at you. So you come on back time and time again.
For sure, Forager takes a lot of inspiration from Stardew Valley. But it shifts the focus to a fast-paced survival title over an outright farming sim.
Many little references are more of a homage than a blatant copy. Although, if you had to choose, Stardew Valley is the game you want to play.
Ultimately, we can highly recommend Forager a great deal. It’s a colourful, complex, and welcome distraction from the world around you.