the forest cover image

The Forest sits in an over-saturated genre of survival games, it’s so easy to get lost. For the most part, they live in this particular niche of development hell, packaged with constant frustration with bugs, (false) perceptions of developer incompetence, under-delivered promises, but also in vast potential.

While the genre is yet to hit the healthy, ripe stage, one cannot notice that age is ever closer – with The Forest, one can be sure it’s already here.

The Forest image showing a stone axe looking towards a river

Endnight Games, a small Canadian indie studio, took upon themselves to realize a vision – a survival game like no other, which plays just like any other.After four years in Steam’s Early Access program and with more than 300 hours poured into the game by yours truly, one can say Endnight did it.

Though the 1.0 mark is passed, the studio is committed to “heavily support the game” (their words!) which is evident after many post-launch updates.

Many have heard about The Forest over the years. “You know THAT survival game?!” So what’s all the buzz about it?It’s like this: you start by waking up in a wreckage of a small passenger jet that just crashed, with your son missing. Sounds familiar?

The forest image showing a man firing a bow

It may very well, but such cliches end as soon as you take your first steps out and into the world. You’re thrown in a lush, dense forest reminiscent of the Canadian wilderness, from sandy beaches to snowy mountains, and you can do whatever you want to do, you’re completely on your own wits – there’s no hand-holding at all.

Hunt? You can kill every animal you see, even take down a bird mid-flight! Want to be a nomad – sure! Settle down – why not?

The forest images showing two cannibals looking at a man with a fire weapon

Build a sprawling, complex base – it’s a viable option too. Everywhere in “The Forest”, you’ll stumble upon items that shine a bit of light on an overall story and setting, but they’ll always leave you wondering.

Though your long-term objective is finding your missing son, the immediate one is strictly defined by yourself. After scavenging the plane and taking care of the immediate physical needs, the whole game world is practically yours.

Well, not really. You see, not long after the introduction you’ll realize you’re not quite alone in this beautiful piece of nature, and what seems like a perfect vacation spot will soon turn into something else entirely. If you’re lucky, they may not get a wind of you early on, considering they’re very good at observing.

You may even see them before they see you first. We’re not talking about mindless husks or some other overdone adversary here. The world is inhabited by a primitive and hostile tribal society that bases its menu on human meat. Once they realize you’ve paid their god forgotten paradise a visit, prepare to defend yourself, or run.

The forest image showing the inside of the boat

They aren’t dumb either. In a situation where you’re up against a group of five, they’ll try and surround you. You gotta react fast since they are very agile and quick on their feet. Say you manage to kill four of them, and the last one starts running away.

Kill the most decorated one – the leader – and watch the rest run away. Bear in mind they’re relentless – you better take out the stragglers because they’ll usually return with many more friends. And maybe then you end up as food hanging off the ceiling in a mouldy cave – literally!

Contrary to most games in the genre where you’re the boss after finding/crafting a gun, your engagements in The Forest will usually be face-to-face. Several types of axes can be found in the world and some can be crafted. Aside from spears, machetes and katanas, some items are required to traverse specific areas, like diving gear and climbing axe.

the forest image showing a hot day with a rock face in a forest

Ranged weapon fans can take on bows and train their archery skills – a good archer is a valuable teammate. More intrepid players will have to dig – and swim – deeper.

When not in a combat situation, however, The Forest offers a sizable world to explore and a whole plethora of building options so your perfect paradise retreat in the woods quickly becomes a bigger priority than finding your lost offspring – and that’s where this game shines the most.

Houses, huts, furnishing, decor, storage, defensive walls and towers, gardens, bunny farms, skulls of your enemies, custom structures, zip lines and more will have you making the next base upgrade a #1 thing to think about while at school or work. The 1.10 content drop brought even more ways for the player to move around, and it’s enormously fun to do it!

The single-screen inventory is your go-to for item management. All items are there at a glance, and it’s up to you to place them on the crafting mat and see how you can combine them. Experiment!

The forest image showing two cannibals attacking a man and the man is fighting back

While you’re busy crafting, chopping trees and placing structures, it’s so easy to get relaxed in the lush world that you almost forget the uneasy feeling of having eyes pointed at the back of your head… and then you hear them. The calls. Distant, creepy and borderline disturbing.

They’ll plague your days and make you not stray away from the lights of your base during the night, and nights are very dark in this game. Some of the creepies you’ll wish not to meet not just in the light of day, but ever, since they can easily spell doom to all your building efforts… Just a friendly warning.

The author can only say that much of the game’s content depicts graphic and gory images, grotesquely ridiculed human body trophies and effigies, and things on the verge of what one considers good taste, while some scenes can prove to be borderline offensive for some. You’ll never consider babies cute after you’ve seen them here – trust me on that.

The forest image with a man carrying a log to make a palisade wall for defence

And all that’s not even the tip of the iceberg. Not knowing what awaits, and the horror when finally facing it – that’s for you to experience yourself. The surface is only the surface – there’s more to the world, and it’s all about how brave you are to venture deep into it. All of this can have you hooked for days, and far more when you play with friends across different modes: several difficulties and the creative mode with no enemies and unlimited building resources.

If you own a VR headset, you’re in luck, and you’ll never feel more claustrophobic than in this game. The Forest depicts human life as a petty and insignificant thing, objectifies human beings as meat, makes you use money to stoke fires, and revels in its vividness of brutality.

The forest night time image showing a man looking at two cannibals through the jungle at night he is holding a lighter and a Molotov cocktail

Combined, those are effectively pointing out the painful reality that once you leave this fabricated comfort of civilization – your life, dignity, and personality are nothing. You are just meat. And they, surely, in time, will become meat for you…You trespass into their lands. You defile what they deem sacred. And they WILL punish you for it. But for how long will you stay defiant?

This review was sent in from Markoman

Brilliantly Terrifying
  • 90%
    Gameplay - 90%
  • 85%
    Graphics - 85%
  • 100%
    Sound - 100%
  • 90%
    Longevity - 90%
  • 90%
    Value - 90%
91%

Summary

The Forest is definitely worth checking out if you are into survival games.

Reader Submitted Review

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