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Forager is a odd active-idle game designed around the Stardew Valley / Zelda / Harvest Moon / Innocent Life / Rune Factory / My Time at Portia / etc. The premise is simple – there is a grid of of islands and five biomes. You do various tasks like fighting enemies, farming, mining things and solving the island puzzles to gain coins which let you buy more islands. Each biome has a puzzle room and a dungeon room, except for the starting grass biome.
You build mining rods to mine for you and build more and more factories and production videos to begin creating a vast number of items. Droids eventually join your arsenal to automate animal and crop collecting. You can build siege towers (Ballistas) to farm enemies for you. You still have to play each dungeon yourself and solve the puzzles, but much of the game can be automated and you can even idle and AFK.
So the good part of this is that the gameplay loop is satisfying, especially in the first half of the game where you’re resource starved and the pace is slow. You can take your time solving each islands puzzles as you farm up enough gold to unlock the next. When you reach a certain production period where you’re unlocking islands as fast as you want to, the charm begins to wear off and a major design flaw arrives – islands are unlocked randomly, therefore the vast majority of them should be solved at the early levels. That makes them too easy.
That means in the later half you could unlock five islands with very simple puzzles that’s more of a chore than anything at that point to drudge through. The same with dungeons. The first dungeon run will be exciting and a fun puzzle to sort through – the same tropes and difficulty exist in the other three.
The puzzles help elevate the difficulty, but again there isn’t any specific endgame content. Once you reach the point that your character is near immortal and that materials are being farmed to the point it’s a chore to queue up the production process vs. needing to wait or find the materials, then the puzzles is literally the only change that you’ll have.
Ultimately, the game isn’t perfect from start to finish but starts off exciting and ends on a muted note with an average of “fun throughout.” You can beat the game rather quickly if you over optimize and you could take a long time soaking in the first few islands from a few bad starting choices. There are a few paths to take, but ultimately it’s well worth the time playing it.
Note the cost. I’m note quite convince $19.99 for a game that you can beat in 10 hours or so is necessarily worth it. I’d recommend picking this one up on sale.
If you like Stardew Valley and want a version you can beat start to finish plus find all the extras in 20 hours, then this is a game you might want to pay $19.99 for. If you’re more casually excited for a game that blends many genres together, I’d again wait for a sale.