REVIEW: The Forest

The Forest is a survival sandbox game that will capture you with lush environments and vistas, deadly survival mechanics, brutal combat and total freedom. For a price tag so low, the quality is excellent, a real crime to miss it!

Steam: Released
Type: Single-player, Online Co-Op
Genre: Survival, Sandbox, Horror
Developer: Endnight Games Ltd
Publisher: Endnight Games Ltd
Release date: 30 Apr, 2018


The Forest is an open-world sandbox survival game set on a mysterious island. As one of the few (or possibly the only) survivors of a plane crash, you will be catapulted into a primal and unforgiving world of survival and struggle. Separated from your son, who may or may not still be alive, your adventure begins on the island by learning how to survive starting from nothing. Here you will build your outpost, explore deep caves, or traverse mountain ranges and lush forests in search of food and resources. Players can enjoy sneaking past or fighting the native islanders who become more belligerent with each passing day and discover the great mystery behind the island. Most of all, you will try to locate your son and find a way to get out of there alive. Welcome to The Forest.

Gameplay Analysis

General Gameplay
The Forest proposes a very deep and unforgiving survival open-world gameplay. You will start with scant resources from a plane wreck: an emergency hatchet, a backpack, a lighter, and a few supplies found in the plane as help. From this misery, you will have to craft your own salvation. A handy Survival Guide is available and will explain you how to build a variety of structures and tools that will help you to survive such as drying racks for meat drying, making hand-crafted bows, using containers for various resources, and even advanced constructions such as ziplines to travel faster. The options for crafting are robust and well varied to build if you have the required resources.

You can construct your base anywhere you like, there really are no limits. You could make a tree house connected with bridges, secluded wood cabins, or even safe but remote island houses. You can build your base in any way you see fit, even using a mobile boat as base if you want. Building is simple enough. Just place a template on the ground of what you want to build in a position, and then the game will automatically tell you what resources you need in total to build everything you’ve placed, a very handy system. Be careful, as buildings will be attacked if the Natives (or worse…) spot activity inside them, so build good defenses and traps to keep invaders at bay.

Other than combat, the main activity of your daily life will be resource gathering. Chop trees to get wood and leaves, but be careful, as when they fall they can destroy buildings and even kill people. Gather plants, mushrooms, and berries to craft medicines or poisoned weapons and hunt animals for skin and meat.  You can kill natives and burn their corpses to extract bones to make armor and tools, all the while looking for caches left by other long-dead survivors to get your hands on unique items and resources. The Forest has a good way of keeping you busy.  Players must keep a careful eye on checking hunger, thirst, cold, illnesses, and resources to build a better, stronger base against the ever increasing power of Natives and Mutants.  Each passing day is more dangerous than before.

The dangers of the islands never sleep: cold, starvation, poisonous foods, sharks in the water are only a few of the many dangers you will have to face every moment. Saving is possible only at Shelters, special structures you can build. Death will mean respawning with only the basic hatchet at the plane you first came from, you can get your gear back, however, if you manage to reach your body again.

Even if this is a sandbox there are certain main objectives to fulfill when you like to.  You can set out to find your son, try to locate all the passengers that were on the flight, or try to get to the bottom of that huge, mysterious crater on the island and reveal what is wrong with this place. There is a concrete ending (possible multiple ones) to the game, but it’s up to you to decide when you want to do these tasks, if at all.

Overall, The Forest combines great sandbox freedom and building with deep survival mechanics. This is done using a mix done the right way.  It’s punishing, but not frustrating once understood, and also difficult, but not overly so. Of course, for diehard madmen there is an extreme difficulty setting, but that is optional and frankly the regular one seems challenging and balanced well enough.

Combat System
Combat in The Forest is based on an attack and parry system, mainly melee, and is done quite decently. Each weapon you find has different values of Block, Speed, and Damage. You can upgrade them to a degree to enhance either Speed or Damag as you prefer. Some unique weapons you can find in remote places cannot be upgraded. Enemies will be staggered and even pushed to the ground when hit, but so do you when attacks get parried. Without any armor a few hits are all it takes to kill you and without a co-op teammate to raise you, getting downed means death. There are various types of enemy variants.  The more time you spend, the more powerful enemies you will see.

There also are ranged weapons such as spears, bows, molotov bombs, and even a pistol if you manage to find all the parts to build it. But they are more expensive to craft and can run out of ammo, Melee weapons never break. Some enemies cannot be dealt with directly by just slashing them to death (unless you want to become a punching bag) and will require more advanced weapons and tactics to be victorious, such as huge mutant abominations and other unspeakable horrors.

Traps are also a viable weapon, though mainly defensive.  They can kill even the most powerful monsters easily if used with tactics and placed in good spots.

Between all the places to explore, missions, crafting, collectible stuff, unique weapons and gear, there is quite a lot to do in The Forest. For having such a low price tag, the content amount is incredibly good. If you want to 100% everything, expect 40-60 hours to do so.

Starting out is difficult as enemies will demolish you at first, but once you get some stuff and start to understand combat and survival, the game becomes fairly balanced. Some things are still quite overpowered such as a particular type of armor and melee weapon.

The Forest is a game that requires awareness, tactics, organization, and teamwork. It is not a challenge to be underestimated. If the regular difficulty is not enough, then you can try the extreme difficulty. At that point,  it becomes a living hell, and some like it. Overall, the challenge is medium.

Technical Analysis

The models are very detailed and well made as well as the characters and enemies.  Effects and decals really convey a sense of savageness and fear. All the environments are beautiful and lush, but also deep and dark.  It’s very well made and atmospheric. Overall, there is a very good graphics roster that perfectly suits the theme and provides great immersion.

Environmental sounds are exceptionally well recorded and immersive. The overall sound design is of a high level.

Nothing to report.

The Enemy AI is very advanced. They will make feints to taunt you and lead you in a trap.  They understand when they are outnumbered and will attack if they see you are vulnerable, tired, or unaware. Often they will act smart, attacking 5 to 1 to overwhelm you. Really, it is a vicious AI like few I have ever seen.

Quality of Life
Inventory management is somewhat clunky, but manageable. Nothing else.

Bugs / Issues
There are some minor bugs, flying luggage near planes for physics glitch, corpses going through boats, but overall I found this game very well polished.


The Forest is a very good survival sandbox game that is well worth the purchase price. Don’t miss it if you like the genre.

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