The Forest (2018) | Video Game Review | Tips, Hints & Spoilers
The Forest is a survival horror video game that was released by Endnight Games on April 30, 2018. I actually bought the game and played it in beta mode in 2014 and have seen how the company has improved the game over the last four years.
My History with The Forest
From the moment I started playing The Forest, I realized it would easier for me to play the game co-op rather than single player. The first time I played the game, I went into a cave and immediately got killed, so I figured I'd just stay out of caves and would be okay. I was wrong, so wrong. The next time I played, I got killed by some cannibals, so I realized you're not really safe anywhere.
I stopped playing the game for a while, dropping in occasionally to see what had changed and if it was still in beta. This year, my husband was telling me about one of his co-workers who had started playing the game, and we realized it had been officially released. We started playing the game in co-op, and it has been a lot of fun.
My Thoughts on The Forest
My husband and I play the game in co-op on Normal. There are four levels of difficulty, with Normal being the second level of difficulty. Normal was somewhat difficult for my husband and I at first because we didn't have any idea about how to start the game. (If you need tips on the game, I have provided them below). The game does get easier as you make better weapons and build your shelter up, but it does take a while to do so.
I like The Forest as a co-op game. I find the game a lot easier to navigate with a partner, as it is faster to develop a camp site, get supplies, and fight off enemies. I really don't think I'd ever play alone as it can get scary at times and I'd probably get killed off a lot faster.
The Forest reminds me a lot of Don't Starve because you aren't really given a lot of direction at first, you have to collect and build a lot of different items to survive, as well as find areas where resources are, all without getting killed. If you like Don't Starve, you would probably like this game, although this game is lot scarier than Don't Starve in my opinion. The stories are way different, of course, but the gameplay is similar in my experience.
The Forest does take some time to play as there are clues you have to find to solve the mystery of what happened there and what happened to your son, Timmy. Many of the places where clues are found are in the caves, which are dangerous because they are filled with enemies. I liked exploring the caves with a partner because it was less scary and it's really easy to get lost in them, so having another person there to help made it a lot easier.
The bulk of the story comes to light at the end of the game, when you enter an area that explains what has been going on behind the scenes of The Forest.
The game is a bit scary as enemies can sneak up on you and create jump scares. Some of the enemies look very disturbing, so when they surprise you either outside or in a dark cave, it can be terrifying.
Tips on Playing The Forest
The first thing that happens in The Forest is you are involved in a plane crash and you wake up to find you are in half of a plane.
Pick up everything you can from the plane before you jump off of it.
There is food (to be eaten where you are - there is a pac-man sort of icon to indicate food), snacks (you can take these with you), soda (this gives you energy and quenches your thirst), booze (can be used for a variety of weapons), and meds.
Remember to grab the plane ax out of the flight attendants body before you depart.
Supplies from the plane will replenish after a period of time, so check back periodically if you need anything.
You can always jump back on the plane and hide in the back if you are surrounded by enemies. In my experience, they don't jump on the plane and you can hack at them with the plane ax from the plane to kill them.
The first thing to do is to find water. You can't go very long without water and you can find fish in many of the bodies of water (ponds and lakes) for food.
Water is usually near the plane crash, so look around if you don't find any within sight of the plane.
Clean water is extremely important. While you can drink out of ponds, it lowers your health a little each time, so you want to get clean water as soon as you can.
You can find a pot and boil water (they are usually by campsites), although you won't get more than one serving of water.
The best way to get clean water is to collect rainwater using turtle shells. We found a plethora of turtles down by the beach. The Forest has a lot of small ponds and lakes, but it is also surrounded by the ocean. The ocean is where you'll find the turtles. You can only carry one turtle shell at a time, so just go back if you need more.
The best way to travel with water is the waterskin. You can make one of these with deer skin and rope in your inventory. This allows for about four or five servings of water, so it's really helpful if you plan on being away from your camp for a while.
Decide where you want to build your shelter and build it quickly (preferably before nightfall).
We decided to build our house on a flat surface between the plane and a small pond.
We first built a square of defensive logs around our home, then set up a labyrinth of rock walls, defensive logs, traps, and racks for our food, rocks, sticks, animal skins, and armor.
If you make the paths to your home narrow enough, I found that the smaller enemies can't get in. The larger enemies are a different story, however.
If you spot any large enemies near your camp you can either hide until they go away (lights will attract them, so make sure you don't have any type of lights on) or go out and lead them away from your camp. They can demolish traps in seconds and can damage or destroy your camp in minutes, so never try to fight them near your camp. Leading them away and killing them isn't too difficult if you have the right weapons (tips for defeating enemies below).
Within your camp walls build a shelter (a temporary one only lasts one night, so don't use that one within your camp).
The shelter allows you to save your game and sleep until the morning if you need to. If you choose to sleep in your shelter, just know that it takes time to be able to go to sleep again, so you can't go to sleep every day or night.
Build a repair tool in your inventory. This is great for repairing any structure the enemies have damaged. It can't repair anything that has been completely destroyed, but as long as you go around periodically and repair the structures, your camp will remain intact.
Make sure to build drying racks for your food. This allows you to dry your food (fish and small animals) and put it in your inventory so you can travel with it. You can cook your food in the fire, but you have to eat it there because you can't store it in your inventory.
Armor can be made using bones from normal enemies, harvesting lizard skin, or by harvesting the large enemies skins.
Bone armor can be made by harvesting the bones from normal enemies. You can get bones and skulls from normal enemies by picking up their bodies after you've killed them and burning their bodies on a campfire. It takes a little while, maybe a minute in real time, and you'll see a bunch of bones and one skull. Bone armor requires six bones and two pieces of cloth for each piece of armor. You can make many of these to cover your body and face
There is a series of blocks outside of your health meter that shows how many pieces of armor you have on. This series of blocks is your armor meter.
The armor meter shows different colored blocks for each type of armor. Bone armor is white, lizard skin is grey, and creepy armor (large enemies) is pink.
You can put on your armor in your inventory. You have to build the bone armor in the inventory, but you can just put on the lizard and creepy armor.
Lizard skin can be obtained by killing lizards. They are all over the game, but are hard to catch. I've found the easiest way to catch them is to build rabbit traps and kill them in there once they have been caught.
You have to harvest the creepy armor from the large enemies. This is the best type of armor, but it is really gross to look at it. In order to harvest this type of armor, you have to kill a large enemy, then walk up to its body and press a button to harvest it. You will see a cutscene of your character pulling off a bloody chunk of skin once you harvest it. You can only harvest one skin per large enemy.
As far as weapons go, my favorites are the upgraded spear and the bow.
I have found weak spears in small ponds (they look like sticks), and you can upgrade them for a stronger, faster weapon.
Upgraded spears make it easy to spear fish for food, hit enemies from a distance, kill small animals, and destroy boxes found in caves.
The bow can be made by looking at your inventory and finding the needed materials.
You have to make your own arrows too (which can also be made by looking at your inventory).
Make sure you collect your arrows after defeating the enemies you've shot at.
The only downside of the bow was that you can't use your lighter when you are using it, so I didn't use it at night or in caves because I couldn't see where the enemies were. If you are playing co-op, one person can use the bow and the other can use another melee weapon that allows use of the lighter so you can both see.
There are several other melee weapons.
My husband and I have found a machete, a weak spear, a chainsaw, a plane ax, a modern ax, and the katana, but have not yet found a gun (we have found plenty of ammo for it in the caves though).
You can make and improve several of the weapons, so make sure you check your inventory to see what those are.
I liked the machete, but it is pretty short, so you have to get closer to enemies to use it. This is fine if you have a plethora of armor, but just be careful if you choose to use it over the upgraded spear or the bow.
You can make a slingshot (the ammo is small rocks), but it isn't that great in my opinion.
As far as enemies go, there are two main types, normal enemies and the large enemies. The normal enemies will sometimes watch you from a distance, then rush in to try to kill you, immediately rush in to kill you, or just run by from afar without noticing you. The large enemies will sometimes wander around from afar and wander away, or start making there way towards you if you are seen. The normal enemies will try to destroy your camp to get to you, but usually don't make a lot of progress if your camp is well-built. The large enemies will absolutely destroy your camp in a manner of minutes if you don't draw them away. Here are some tips on how to defeat the enemies in the forest:
Normal enemies almost never travel alone. They will show up in small to large groups (I've seen as few as two and as many as nine show up outside of our camp) and have different methods of attack.
It seems as soon as you attack one, the others will rush forward and try to kill you from behind.
What I've found works well is to build a half rock wall in front of the camp so you can stab the enemies with the upgraded spear without them being able to attack from behind. They rush the wall, but have difficulty hopping over, so you can stab them without getting attacked.
In my experience, large enemies usually travel in twos or threes. There will usually be one female and one male, or two males and one female.
The best way to fight these large enemies is to run away so one follows you, then shoot them with your bow from a distance. I found it best to start running to the other side of the enemy once I'd landed two arrows.
A few of the large enemies can jump very far and run fast, so it's best to get out of the way before they start running towards you. You can also use the upgraded spear to fight these enemies, but I've found that it takes longer to kill them than with the bow and you risk getting killed if you don't run away fast enough.
If you are playing co-op, one person can use the bow and the other can use the upgraded spear (the large enemies go down really fast if you use this method).
There are many enemy camps in the game. The enemy camps will have triangular structures made out of sticks and will be surrounded by heads on sticks or mutilated bodies. Make sure to collect cloth hanging on sticks (they will be red), suitcases, and other collectibles. Don't stay at an enemy camp for too long, because the enemies are usually nearby.
There are many items to collect in the game. Some items are needed for your inventory in order to make survival gear, while others are needed to build structures and weapons. Finally, some collectibles are needed to solve the mystery of what happened to Timmy.
Cloth can be found in brightly colored suitcases found outside of plane, in enemy campsites, in older brown and tan suitcases in caves, and on heads on sticks located randomly throughout the environment (smash the heads on sticks to get a variety of collectibles such as rocks, skulls, cloth, and sticks).
Rocks can be found on the ground everywhere you go. You can carry five at a time or ten at a time if you make a rock bag in your inventory. Large rocks can be used for building walls and for your inventory items and small rocks can be used as ammo for your slingshot.
Sticks can be found throughout the environment, with most of them found under trees in the denser parts of the forest. You can knock down saplings with an ax or spear and get a couple of sticks that way. You can also obtain sticks by knocking down heads on sticks.
Boars can be found near the snow-capped mountain (not where the snow is, but just below it). There are pretty easy to catch and kill. Their skins can be used to make inventory items.
Story collectibles can mostly be found in caves, although there are some outdoor campsites and areas that have collectibles too.
Raccoons can be found under trees at night. They will make a typical raccoon chittering sound, so once you hear that there should be one nearby. Their skins can be used to make inventory items.
Meds can be found on the plane, at campsites, in suitcases, and in caves. They will restore your health to full.
Soda can be found on the plane, at campsites, and in caves. They will restore your thirst and energy.
Booze can be found on the plane, in suitcases, and in caves. They can be used for incendiary weapons.
Dynamite can be found in caves. They will usually be in wooden boxes that you can smash open.
Flares can be found in yellow boxes at campsites and in caves. You can smash these open.
Circuit boards can be found in shipping containers washed up on the beach in cardboard boxes that you can smash open, in caves, and at enemy campsites. They can be used to make explosive devices.
Wristwatches can be found on victims hanging upside down in the caves.
You can poke these enemies with your upgraded spear to get coins and money from their bodies.
Coins are used for explosive devices.
Rope can be made in your inventory using seven pieces of cloth. Rope can be found already made in destroyed boats on the shore of the ocean, in caves, and in enemy campsites. Rope can be used for a variety of items in your inventory.
Batteries can be found in brightly colored suitcases in caves. They are used for the flashlight.
Air canisters can be found on the yacht. They are used for the rebreather, which allows you to swim underwater.
The tape player, chainsaw, machete, modern ax, cave map, cassette tapes, camcorder, camcorder tapes, story clues, and pictures are found in caves in the game.
The caves are the best and worst part of the game. They are the best because they are full of cool weapons and collectibles, but are the worst because they are filled with grotesque creatures and are dark, scary, and easy to get lost in.
The caves are kind of difficult to find. The entrances often look like other large rocks and the entrances are often narrow, so they are easy to miss even when you are close to them. There are a few cave entrances which have larger openings and have a yellow rope leading down into the cave. These are a lot easier to spot, so be on the lookout for those entrances.
Hints (If you need some extra help)
There is a large sinkhole you will come across while exploring. Don't just try to jump down the sinkhole. I tried to build a zipline and wasn't successful, but I did find a cave entrance that eventually led to the bottom of the sinkhole, so just look around for the entrance near the sinkhole. I read that you can ride a turtle shell like a sled to the bottom, but I was too scared to try that. Let me know if that works for you!
Build a warmsuit if you are going to explore the snow-capped mountain. You won't make it far without one.
Every time you get rained on or swim through a small pond in a cave, you will start to freeze. If you are going to explore in the water, build a fire before you swim so you won't freeze too much.
Start heading back to your camp or to a safe location (you can hide on the yacht at night or the plane at night safely) before the sun goes down. You need a light to see by at night (even if your gamma is turned all the way up), and the light attracts enemies. The sun goes down extremely fast, so make sure you can make it somewhere safely beforehand.
If you do get trapped outside at night and do not want to fight enemies, build a temporary shelter and crouch around it if you can't sleep in it. I got trapped outside at night and wasn't able to sleep, so I crouched and moved around the shelter so enemies couldn't see me. There were about five enemies running around the area and only one ended up seeing me, so I can attest that it does work.
The story begins in the forest when you have experienced a plane crash. You get out of the plane and build your shelter to protect yourself from cannibals and grotesque creatures. After exploring the caves, you find many clues alluding to there being a girl named Megan who was experimented on after scientists found two mysterious artifacts in the sinkhole/pit that you discover while exploring the area. The scientists discovered that the artifacts bring the dead back to life, but with terrible side effects, such as deformities (some creatures have a lot of legs, some have a lot of arms, etc.).
After exploring the caves and finding a bloody key card, you use the key card to open a locked door to a secret underground facility. After some searching, you find Timmy in an enclosure, but he is dead. You put him on a bed and attach him to several cords, only to discover you need to find Megan to help him recover. Venturing deeper into the facility, you discover Megan sitting on the floor in a large room with her back to you. As you reach her, she transforms from a creepy-looking kid to a giant spider-looking creature who attacks you. This ends up being the big boss fight of the game.
In order to defeat Megan, we made a lot of Molotov cocktails, sticky explosives, used dynamite and flares from the flare gun. There is a sliding door that you go through before encountering Megan, and we ran back to the doors and stayed behind them when Megan would rush us. We would throw explosives and firebombs at her from the open doors when she got close, then run back when the weapons would go off. After quite a few explosives and firebombs were thrown, we killed her. We did try at first to kill her in the open room, but she is really fast and you run out of stamina very quickly, so we kept dying. Staying behind the sliding doors made it so we were always protected.
After you kill her, Megan transforms back into her former self when she is dead. You carry her body back to Timmy, but discover that the artifact requires a live person to bring back the dead.
There are two endings to the game, one ending where you "save" Timmy and one ending where you let Timmy die a peaceful death. If you "save" Timmy, you will choose to bring down a plane that is flying in the sky (which makes it seem like that's what happened to you - like someone brought down your plane to "save" Megan and used Timmy for the sacrifice). This action will "save" Timmy, but he will end up turning into the same creature as Megan later on. The other ending is where you choose to disable the artifact, bringing the story to a close and letting Timmy die peacefully. We picked the ending where we let Timmy die a peaceful death.
You can continue on after the story concludes if you want, so if you want to find more weapons, continue to fight enemies, and build, you have the option to do so.
I didn't know what to make of the cannibals and what their story was. It seemed like after exploring some of the caves that they may have either been people who worked in the underground facility, who were affected by the artifact and went crazy, or indigenous people who found people in the cave system and were influenced by their beliefs. Some of the caves had Bibles in them, and we would see cannibals with crosses on their bodies, so we weren't quite sure of the connection. Some of the cannibals were grey and would wear human skin on their faces, but didn't look quite human, while other cannibals looked completely human. We didn't find any information on what their history was or how it connected to the underground facility and the artifacts, so that part of the story remains a mystery to us.
End of Spoilers
I hope this article has helped you. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. What have your experiences been with The Forest? Do you play single-player or multiplayer/co-op? Do you have any advice for other gamers? Please share your comments in the comment section!