Forager is a tiny, fascinating game in the spirit of Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing — only with a lot more instant gratification. You mine, craft, and, well, forage at a lightning pace in search of new islands to buy and puzzles to solve. There’s even a bit of combat! But very little of this is explained in the game’s brisk tutorial. That’s why we went ahead and created this guide full of tips on what to focus on in Forager. Let’s get you up to speed on how to start your islands off right!
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1. ABC – Always Be Clicking
Forager says exactly what you’ll spend most of the game doing in its title. You need to mine and forage for food, minerals, materials, and a whole lot more. This goes easier as you go along (and upgrade your trusty pickax). But it can be a bit of slog at first. That doesn’t mean you should stop, though! Gathering is your main source of XP in Forager. And XP is invaluable for unlocking new recipes. Not to mention you’ll basically always need more of everything, since there’s so much to craft and sell.
2. Vaults Automatically Transfer Materials
You’ll unlock the ability to build Vaults pretty early on in Forager. This is one of the best ways to manage your inventory, as they’re relatively cheap to create and hold up to six items each. Better backpacks, by contrast, increase your inventory limit by just four. But there’s an especially great feature to Forager vaults: You access them automatically when crafting or picking up items that are already stored.
That means a couple of different things. First of all, you don’t have to run back and forth between the vault and your forge when making new items. The forge will pull directly from the materials you have stockpiled in any vault! Secondly, let’s say you have a bunch of wood stored in the vault — but not in your backpack. The wood won’t start piling up in your personal inventory if you pick more up. Instead, it will transfer directly to the vault and keep that slot free. It’s awfully convenient!
3. You Use Energy with Every Action
Energy is the major limiting factor in Forager. You don’t have much health, either, but don’t worry about that at first. The early enemies are few and far between, and don’t pose much threat. What you need to worry about it keeping yourself fed! Mining and gathering both drain energy, which you can replenish by eating just about anything in the game. So don’t go on long hunts without at least a bite to eat handy. If you continue foraging with zero energy, you’ll eventually do health damage to yourself — although your lost heart will replenish a bit of stamina in the process, giving you a bit of a grace period.
4. Get Magic First, Then Brilliance
Every time you level up in Forager, you get a skill point. Every skill point then unlocks a different ability on a massive grid of possible options. But you only get to chose between a handful at first — of which you should really pick Magic first. This will cause faeries to appear in your world, which you can interact with for a strong shot of even more XP towards your next skill point. Magic also unlocks the Brilliance node, which is even more helpful for speeding things along. This gives you a raw bonus to XP earned from any action. And the sooner you purchase both of these skills, the better, since they become useless when you unlock everything. Get these two skills first!
5. Clean Your Inventory at the Museum and Market
Inventory management is a bit of a hassle in Forager. Even with a vault or two, you’ll still find yourself wishing that you could sort and more easily arrange items. Not to mention you’ll doubtless pick up a load of garbage that you don’t really need. Food is plentiful, for instance, and the higher-end items don’t offer that much of an advantage. Luckily, there are two easy ways to rid yourself of surplus junk!
The first is to build a marketplace. That’s where you can sell (and buy) goods for raw cash. Besides clearing your inventory, this also accelerates how quickly you can buy new islands. That’s a huge part of Forager! The second cleanup tactic is unlocking the museum. This building appears on one of the larger islands you can purchase. And, once you do, you can donate a number of items for prizes. Consider taking your haul there if you just want to clear up inventory space.
6. Fishing Is Great for Energy
Remember how you need lots of food? Well, fishing traps are one of the absolute best sources. These devices automatically capture various items you can use (mostly fish and seaweed) that only rarely appear anywhere else. And one major upside of eating fish and seaweed is that neither foodstuff is used in many other recipes! So you won’t regret burning through them early on.
7. You Can Collect From Any Distance
Here’s a small, useful Forager tip: You can collect items on the ground from any distance. As long as you can actually see the object, just mousing your cursor over it will send it directly to your inventory. That’s especially useful if you forget something on a different island, with limited access points, and don’t feel like walking all the way back!
8. Keep Your Buildings Together
Speaking of walking around, you really ought to keep your production buildings near each other. Many of them — like the forge and sewing station — are used to craft materials that you need to use in other structures. Assuming you don’t keep literally everything in vaults, that means some of your most complex items will require walking back and forth between locations. The closer they are, the less you’ll have to backtrack!
9. Keep a Little Extra Gold Handy
Gold is an incredibly valuable resource. That seems like a no-brainer, but it’s doubly and triply true in Forager. You don’t just use gold to directly craft coins (although that’s plenty useful on its own). The ore is also used in steel bars — a high-level building material — and chest keys. That last one is particularly important. Buying certain islands will often yield chests with incredibly useful gear inside. Said crates, however, require golden keys. Here’s a tip: Always keep at least two gold bars handy, in your inventory or in a vault, to make sure you’re always prepared to craft a golden key. You never know when you might need it and won’t always have easy access to more gold ore!
10. Fill Vaults With Common Crafting Materials
A single inventory slot can hold a lot of stuff in Forager. Which is why the very best use of your vaults is for housing extremely common crafting materials — the kind you stockpile by the hundreds over time. Wood, stone, iron, coal: they’re all top candidates. That’s because you want to keep consumables with you, since you can’t use them directly from the vault anyway, and you won’t burn through them quickly. And since crafting structures can pull directly from the vault, you don’t even have to cart the materials all over the place!
11. You Can’t Pause, but Don’t Worry
It doesn’t seem like you can actually pause in Forager. Time keeps on flowing even as you bring up menus. Don’t worry too much about it, though. Your energy doesn’t deplete over time! Or if it does, it’s so slow that we haven’t been able to detect it. Enemies also largely steer clear of your main island — particularly near your forge and other crafting structures. Finally, the game saves after just about everything. Feel free to save and exit at any time!
12. Use Bridges to Make Shortcuts, Not Just New Paths
The bridge structure is, for whatever reason, listed under the “Farming” tab of your build menu. We mention this because you really want to familiarize yourself with this deceptively simple building. Several new islands in Forager don’t automatically connect to their nearby counterparts via land. So you’ll have to build bridges to reach them in the first place. That’s the easy tip, though! Just as useful is using bridges to create shortcuts. You really want to create multiple paths to every island — allowing you to sidestep maze-like walkways and pesky resources that crop up in your path. Try to build these shortcuts away from your original bridge for maximum usefulness.
13. The More You Craft, the More You Make
This tip isn’t obvious without time, effort, and a little bit of math. So it’s well worth knowing right off the bat. Basically, the more effort and resources it takes to craft an item, the more final profit you can make by sending the end result in the marketplace.
Here’s an example; let’s say you have some wheat. You can sell that material raw for a pittance, or run it through the windmill to make flour. Each bag of flour is worth a whopping five coins apiece! But that’s not all. You can further improve that item by combining with coal to bake bread. Coal is worth one coin apiece, but the resultant bread is worth nine coins. That’s almost double what you’d make for just selling the constituent pieces!
14. Bread is a Money-Maker
Consider this an addendum to the previous Forager tips. Bread is a very useful way to make money in-game! The margins are solid, with a four-coin profit, and you don’t have to worry about burning valuable materials. Wheat, flour, and bread are all basically just used as foodstuffs. And if you set up a good chunk of fishing traps — let’s say about 8-10 — you really shouldn’t want for energy. Convert that high-level food into cash instead!
15. Destroy Buildings to Get Your Materials Back
This is extremely useful. You can use your pickax to break down any building you create. Hell, you might even do it by accident eventually. It happens! But don’t fret; destroying a structure just refunds all the crafting materials you spent during the construction — including any items you might have in vault, should you choose to destroy one of those.
This means you can rearrange your based to your heart’s content. Don’t like the look of your layout? Change it! Need to put two banks next to each other to get bonus gold? Go ahead! The world is yours to bend to your whim in Forager.
And that’s all we have for Forager tips and tricks right now. Bear in mind that the game is still very much adding new features and tweaks all of the time. So things always can — and very likely will — change. We’ll make sure to update the guide as things progress, so you can start your first island with your best food forward. Take care!