When the Early Access system was placed onto Steam, there were some notably well-polished examples of games being on the service. Things like Don’t Starve or the more recent BroForce have shown that even if a game isn’t completed, its alpha or beta can still look fantastic and be worth the asking price. The Forest, on the other hand, is not a well-polished game and, in many ways, is the opposite of what many people would want out of an Early Access game.
The Forest places you on an island, shortly after your plane has crashed. You are tasked with trying to find your child, who has been captured by the islands inhabitants, who happen to be crazed cannibals. All the while, you need to survive hunger and avoid being found.
Much in the vein of Don’t Starve or Minecraft, The Forest is a survival game. After you awaken from the plane crash, you’ll need to begin foraging for supplies. You’re given a survival handbook, which will give you the basic blueprints for building things like campfires and shelters. You can also hunt animals, which becomes crucial to survive for any length of time in The Forest.
The crafting system in The Forest is fairly interesting. When you decide to build something, you’ll choose the outline for the plan in your survival handbook. Then, you’ll choose where you want to build. You lay down the outline and then you’ll need to go gather the resources required to craft the item.
When you build shelters like cabins, you’ll need to chop down trees. Rather than going the Minecraft route of just hitting a tree a bunch of times, you actually have to chop around the tree like in real life. If you choose to make a cabin, you’ll need carry logs with one arm, leaving you defenseless. In this way, it would actually be fairly interesting to see a multiplayer component added, allowing you to survive as a group against the hordes of cannibals.
The actual action of trying to fight off any number of the cannibals is fairly difficult. If you are spotted, one of three things will likely happen. Either they will run away for no apparent reason, they will just stand there and stare at you for no apparent reason or they will actually attack you. However, as a general rule of thumb, its best to stay away from them, as they take an insane amount of damage to kill. If, however, you are successful in killing them, you can pick up their limbs and use them as weapons. There’s nothing quite as funny as using a severed leg to beat a cannibal to death.
It does need to be noted that The Forest is clearly in Early Access for a reason. There are a large number of terrible texture pop-ins, enemy AI can be laughably bad and when you are trying to forage supplies, you can easily clip through trees, which makes chopping them down nearly impossible. There’s even a glitch where you can combine weapons by accident. In my first run alone, I had an axe magically combine itself with an enemy limb to create a monstrous axe-human hybrid. If you have any interest in buying The Forest, know that the game is incredibly prone to bugs.
In fact, it’s so prone to bugs that certain portions are nearly unplayable. If you lose enough health, you’ll be captured by the cannibals and brought to an underground lair. This can, presumably, give you a chance to escape from them. It’s a neat concept, but I have to say “presumably” because the texture pop-in is so bad that it’s nearly impossible to tell where you are going. You’ll run into invisible walls, only to have an actual wall texture pop-in thirty seconds later. This entire portion seems like it’s unplayable due to the pop-in, which makes me wonder why it was even included in this build.
The Forest shows quite a bit of potential, but at the same point, it’s the epitome of Steam Early Access. There’s a decent concept but it’s surrounded by a mountain of bugs. Hopefully, future updates will fix the numerous issues the game has at the moment, as The Forest could be an incredibly fun time for fans of survival games.
A preview code for The Forest was provided to Pixel Related.