Enter the Forest

Ever take a long walk through the woods? It is a great time to think about things and admire nature. The sound of wind through the trees and the scurry of animals really can put your mind at ease.

Unless your plane has just crashed on an island that is inhabited by two rival tribes of cannibalistic mutants who want to turn you into a human happy meal. Also, your child Timmy has been taken by one of these tribes and you must save him. You must survive by any means necessary, even if you must forsake your basic humanity.

The Forest” developed and published by Endnight Games LTD is looking to escape from the Steam Store Early Access section this April after three years of development.

After looking at what I have played in the past couple weeks I thought it would be prudent of me to give you information about “The Forest” and then reasons as to why I think the game should maybe stay in Early Access and go from the alpha stage of development to a beta and not just go straight out of Early Access.

“The Forest” is a horror survival game with base building elements much like “Minecraft” but bloodier and a little more immersive than the classic game created by Notch. The game is intense and while I have been playing I am constantly looking over my shoulder and listening intently to the sounds of the forest, making sure I don’t miss any telltale signs of inclement weather or hungry hungry hipp-cannibals.
To survive this inhospitable yet eerily beautiful environment, you must kill a variety of creatures including, but not limited to, cute little bunnies, deer, squirrels, birds, and even the cannibals themselves Their parts can then be used to create weapons, useful tools and armor to make survival a more attainable goal. You will also have to gather many different plants, trees and mushrooms to make shelters, medicine and after enough mutants have been killed, the potential to build horrific effigies of their heads and limbs to scare off other attacking cannibals.

“The Forest” is a simulation game meaning you must do what a person in a situation would do. In this case, making sure to eat, drink and stay warm is the key to surviving the day and night.

So far while exploring the island I have not gone to far. I try to keep a relatively short distance to my home base, so if danger arises I can quickly head back. There have been times however where I have gotten a little cocky and thought I could take on a passing cannibal war party. This almost always ends horribly for me. There are two ways fighting a large group of mutants concludes for me.

The more optimistic outcome is I end up getting really hurt and must run back to home base to lick my wounds.

The worst outcome is I end up getting knocked out and then brought to a literal hell. Underneath the island is a sprawling, twisting cave system the tribes of mutants use as a home. It is not a fun place.

Alongside the cannibals are these super creepy mutants that are as bizarre as they are dangerous. I know there are more but the only one I have personally met is the mutant form named Virginia.

I can’t imagine anything worse but here is a description of her. She is three female human bodies connected through the spinal cord. She is strong with six legs and worst of all she is almost completely silent which makes her a near heart attack if I round a wrong corner.

“The Forest,” if you could not already imagine with my wordage, is a visually pretty game. Everything looks right and fits perfectly into all the creepy. Although the graphics are good, the sound design, to me, is much better than the graphics and I would go so far as to say that the sounds are what makes the game awesome.

As I have mentioned, the rustling of wind blowing through the trees is chilling but super realistic sounding. Hacking into a cannibal with an ax is made so much better because of the gross wet thump the ax produces as it meets flesh. The splash of swimming in water or rain coming down from the clouds above makes you feel, or hear, like you are there. In short, the games sounds are amazing.

After saying all the above, you must be wondering, “What could be wrong with a game as great as this?” Well it goes something like this: There are quite a few non-game breaking, but still annoying, glitches, bugs and mechanics that have caused me some frustration.

The one that frustrates me the most is if I chop down a tree next to a steep unclimbable cliff, sometimes the tree will fall towards the cliff and then suddenly half the tree has clipped inside the cliff and it keeps me from getting all the logs the tree offers. Which is a nightmare when trying to build a shelter in a hurry.

A slightly lesser but still annoying game mechanic is the cannibal’s movements. Let me be clear, the animations for how they run, jump and climb are well done but how they move around is sometimes odd. I have traps and obstacles all over my base that can easily kill any cannibal that gets in the way. Sometimes, however, when I am standing in front of a trap trying to lure a cannibal to its doom, the damn cannibal won’t even move. Even on occasions when I am standing no more that five feet from one, it will not move. It will just sit there shrieking and moaning at me. I would love to chalk this up to the cannibals learning what the traps do but I find it hard to believe that nearly every cannibal is this smart.

These were just a couple of the bigger things that I have noticed but there are smaller ones such as animals running in circles or a few of the character animations looking funny.

“The Forest” is a fun game with a good team working on it, but I think it still needs a few more months or more to be developed and polished up, before being brought out of Steam Early Access.

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