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Forager: A Charming Unfinished Hibernation Game

Not mushroom in my den

Forager

I’ve spent part of the afternoon going for a walk in the real Earth autumn and part of it going for a walk in digital Forager [itch.io link] autumn. I’ll show you the pictures from the digital walk so you can potter along with me, but first, a bit about the game.

Forager is a really charming little game about collecting resources to build a little nest and decorate with mushrooms and so on as you prepare for hibernation. Developers Cat Burton and Nate Gallardo are releasing it in an unfinished state after realising they couldn’t devote the necessary time and resources to fully complete what they’d wanted with the project.

As a result, they say: “you’ll notice some rough edges, some flickering geometry, some missing sounds and so forth. That said, it’s entirely playable and the the core game loop is functional, so please do check it out!” It’s also not being updated/supported and is pay-what-you-want, so you can potter free of charge then decide if you want to support the devs with some cash.

I’d say that it was a pleasing pottering experience with lovely autumnal colours, but definitely not smooth a lot of the time. The thing I noticed most during my time with it was that the camera is incredibly jumpy and doesn’t respond well to the fact that the player is essentially able to climb any surface.

For example, I was clambering along a tree trunk and started to crawl round the side of said trunk to get at some mushrooms growing on the other side. Every time the game recognised me as moving to a new plane/surface the camera angle would switch. When climbing rocky terrain sometimes the camera really freaked out and I’d be swapping between right-way-up, sideways and upside-down camera angles. At points I just needed to hold my finger down on the forward key and ignore the visual feedback I was getting in order to move forward.

So that’s the main warning, but I was also having fun crawling around and finding new bits of the level. There were lily pads after a little waterfall in the stream and over to one side stood an empty tent. I found a blue egg in a bird nest and weird fungus up a tree.

I’m not really sure what to do with my den now, though. I’ve put all the grass in it, but suddenly it won’t accept my mushrooms and I’m not really sure how to hibernate so… I ended up sauntering about and swapping objects that were new and exciting to me for mushrooms that I’d grown tired of having in my inventory. It’s essentially how my handbag works in real life. Today I removed a tangerine and a Sesame Street Grover toy so I could fit a banana in their place.

ANYWAY. Want to come with me on my walk? Use the cursor keys to move left and right through the gallery, or click on the arrows by the header image!

Forager

These are the butterflies that mark the entrance to dens you can occupy. I was dangling off a precipice at the time.

Forager

This is the den I found. It involved carefully navigating this tunnel so I didn’t get the camera flipped upside down, but I did like how hidden it was.

Forager

This is the unoccupied tent. It looked like maybe it could be another den site what with the grass inside it but no butterflies so I guess it was an unofficial den for something else.

Forager

This is just from when I was investigating the colours and snuffling along the ground.

Forager

The den seemed to have this concentric scaffolding ring which you could weave the grass into or plonk mushrooms onto.

Forager

This one is more of the ground view. On the right is a tree trunk. I climbed in and then the camera flipped me upside down and it took me a fair while to get back out.

Forager

A BEETLE WITH A GLOWING BUTT! It’s basically a glow worm, but I called her “Betty”.

Forager

This is the best that my nest looked.

Forager

Oh! This was the exciting moment I realised there was a blue egg in a bird’s nest. I was upside down sort of hanging off a tree at the time.

Forager

I got there eventually, though!

Forager

This is from when I discovered glding by holding down the space bar. Gliding was great.

Forager

Then I landed in the bit of stream just after the waterfall and had to stop gliding. That was the worst.

Forager

Here is some more autumn.

Forager

And to finish up, here are the lily pads I found at the very end before I realised I should probably have written this up by now.

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Philippa Warr

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