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The Forest Alpha

My First Hour Playing: The Forest Alpha on PC

Survival horror games are the toast of the indie game development scene, with new interpretations on the genre emerging with each passing week. One particular game, though, has really caught my eye: The Forest developed by Endnight Games. It's foreboding trailer sets a dark, mysterious atmosphere for your character who is left to their primal instincts to survive not only the wilderness, but also an unavoidable supernatural element that haunts the forest. I was lucky enough to play The Forest Alpha on PC which is currently in Early Access on Steam, and the following words are my thoughts on the game after a…

Review Overview

Story
Gameplay
Presentation

Beautiful, dark and frightening

Summary : The Forest might only be in alpha on Steam Early Access, but it is shaping up to be an extremely robust and intriguing survival horror experience.

User Rating: 4.5 ( 1 votes)

Survival horror games are the toast of the indie game development scene, with new interpretations on the genre emerging with each passing week. One particular game, though, has really caught my eye: The Forest developed by Endnight Games. It’s foreboding trailer sets a dark, mysterious atmosphere for your character who is left to their primal instincts to survive not only the wilderness, but also an unavoidable supernatural element that haunts the forest. I was lucky enough to play The Forest Alpha on PC which is currently in Early Access on Steam, and the following words are my thoughts on the game after a brief time playing it.

 

The Story

The Forest AlphaThe premise of The Forest is a simple one: you are travelling aboard a plane when it suffers a catastrophic accident in the air and crash lands in a forest. As you wake from unconsciousness, you see a mysterious tribal figure take what can only be your own child before unconsciousness takes you again. When you wake again, you will find yourself the lone survivor of the crash and it is from this point you will need to start fending for yourself, building shelter, scrounging for food, and defending yourself too. It’s definitely a familiar scenario, by virtue of its genre, but it’s different enough to have its own intriguing elements (read: doesn’t have zombies in it). The tribal figure that you see earlier is a member of what is described as “a society of cannabalistic mutants”. Nothing to be scared of then, I suppose. In my short time playing the game, I did have encounters with these individuals at several points, all of which ended similarly to this:

  The Forest AlphaThis environment creates a very different survival atmosphere that you might encounter in a post-apocalyptic zombie game; whereas zombies are omnipresent and are a general burden on your mentality, the mutants are a constant, but unpredictable presence in The Forest, one which you have to suffer alone. Sure, there’s not much of a narrative, but as you would have seen in the trailer, the mutants harbour some terrible secrets of their own which can be explored, if you dare.

 

The Gameplay

The Forest AlphaI have found the gameplay in The Forest to be well balanced and intuitive, though there are a few keys that may require another look at the manual. The start to the game can be a bit daunting, especially given the traumatic opening sequence, however there is a very good survival guide that will serve as a tutorial and drives your survival story for a little while. Having only played for a short time, I haven’t had a chance yet to see what extent the survival guide can help in the later stages of the game, but it’s a readily accessible resource that is well suited to the game. You’ll perform actions like cutting trees and shrubs down, collect and scrounge for resources and food and build structures that will give you shelter, and eventually things that will serve as defenses. It’s extremely easy to gather resources and place them, so it’s relatively easy to set up a temporary base of operations. The Forest AlphaA particular standout in The Forest is that the game appears to be constantly in flux; is several playthroughs, things have played out very differently. In my most recent playthrough, the mutants appeared in quite a large group soon after I finished building my humble abode and knocked me unconscious. It’s this unpredictability that makes The Forest all the more intriguing as you never know how it will end or what will happen the next time you play.

 

The Presentation

The Forest Alpha The Forest‘s greatest asset, and the thing that initially drew me in, is its presentation and graphics. While scrounging in the wilderness, I often spent a few moments examining my surroundings to appreciate the amount of work that has gone into make The Forest look the way it does now. I’ve now seen several iterations of The Forest Alpha now and the evolution of the plants and lighting are subtle, but the effect of which are astounding; what previous looked good now looks even more fantastic and really adds to the whole experience of being stranded in the middle of a living, breathing ecosystem.

The graphics aren’t perfect if you stare at everything up close, but if you go about your business chopping down trees and getting chopped down, it all looks like a picture perfect forest environment. Things like glistening mutants and walking around in pitch black caves with only a lighter are helped by the great graphics which only make a tense situation even more suspenseful.

 

Final Thoughts

The Forest AlphaThe Forest might only be in alpha on Steam Early Access, but it is shaping up to be an extremely robust and intriguing survival horror experience. There’s not quite anything like it out there right now, combining survival aspects with unpredictable enemies who have secrets that you would rather not know about. While I’ve only played for a short while, I intend to see this game through and try and survive longer than just one day. Right after I crawl out from under my blanket…

If you want to check out The Forest, it’s available on Steam Early Access now for $14.99 USD – visit the Steam store page here.

About Stephen Yuen

I'm an engineer and a gamer with a penchant for technology and words that I barely understand. I love my games, Android and all things cool and nerdy, and occasionally, I write about them.
  • Mingo Allen II

    Lol it’s so funny you reviewed this game. I saw a friend playing it, went home, bootcamp’d my macbook (mind you I already had OSX Mavericks AND OSX Yosemite partitions) and got the game. I’m amazed you made it through an hour, almost crapped myself after about 40 minutes, and I got rid of it (and the partition lol). Nonetheless, my brothers love it, so it all works out. The graphics were absolutely beautiful though lol

    • Stephen Yuen

      Yeah, I don’t generally have a very strong stomach for this kind of stuff either, but it’s very pretty and I have a distinct weakness for games with pretty graphics 😛 Relatedly, The Evil Within is looking very nice too :’)