The Forest Early Access Review

Marcus Jones on July 03, 2014

SelectButton’s early access reviews provides valuable insight on a work in progress. The game will be reevaluated once officially released, as the review below is based on the early access build of the game at the time of the review’s publish date.

The Forest is an interesting take on the survival and crafting genre mixup. The game’s early alpha build is still rough around the edges; there are a number of times during play I found myself wondering exactly what the hell was going on. Cannibal mutants would glitch in air, creatures walked in place against walls and ignored me, and in some games I never really encountered anything at all. It’d be a devoid playground set in the woods.

But damn if this game isn’t getting me hooked.

The Forest, from Endnight Games, is a take on the crafting genre as made hugely popular by Minecraft. Expect to get knee deep in the muck looking for materials, chopping down trees for logs, and dismembering cannibals for their body parts. Oh, yeah, there’s the other element to The Forest as well. The game is a first-person survival horror of sorts, pitting players against a tribe of cannibalistic mutants and other creatures on the map that are hellbent on devouring you.

There’s not much to say about the game overall in terms of plot. There’s a plane crash, your child is snatched up by the mutants, and then you’re off surviving. Since the game is still in Early Access, there is no real plot involving the child as far as I’ve seen yet, but I do know there are plans for a quasi-ending based on rescuing him. But this is perhaps one of the key elements to the game as there is no set way to manage your existence. This means that the only real piece to the game’s “story” is surviving using whatever means available to you.

There happens to be a lot, actually. I tooled around reading the Survival Guide the game provides, learning how to craft the necessary shelters, traps, and other pieces necessary for my survival. The guide allows you to create the framework for whatever you plan to create and place it on the ground. From here, it is up to you to collect the resources and necessary items to craft it. It’s fun to watch stuff like the log cabin slowly build up with each additional log thrown in.

You also have a pack available to you where everything is stored. Opening it up does not pause gameplay, but it does show everything you’ve gathered throughout the course of the game. From here, items are equipped, combined, and examined for new ideas. Combining items is the only way to create some of the needed components for additional crafting later on.

Crafting new items, like walls and traps, becomes necessary for survival in a place that’s focused on killing you. The game’s mutant cannibals are a tribe of things living within the forest with you. The group is fairly dynamic and I’ve not had a single encounter be similar. They wander out from their base, searching the area. In the times I’ve been found, the large group of 10+ mutants has regarded me with curiosity and a watchful eye, while other, smaller groups have begun attacking me immediately. It’s hard to tell how they will respond, but I know that provoking their anger will lead to more fights than not. This group is also very protective of its own; I’ve seen them attempt to drag away wounded members in the midst of a fight to protect them. Their finite numbers are also backed up with hideous, deformed creatures made of legs, arms, and torsos fused together. These things dwell in the caves dotted around the map, and I have yet to see if they are killable.

Being an Early Access title, Endnight Games is furiously updating the game on a regular basis. These updates tend to include bug fixes and other improvements to the overall game. They also tend to include gameplay updates as well; I believe the most recent one of which added sharks. While I still haven’t seen them, it’s nice to know that Endnight Games is constantly adding new content and updating the game throughout its Early Access build.

Note: The Forest Early Access review is based on a digital PC copy of the game, provided for review.

The Forest