The Forest’s challenging survival mechanics and gripping story make it a rare gem in a genre that’s filled with busts — there aren’t many games like The Forest out there.
The base building and exploration are excellent, but what truly sets it apart are the clever cannibal AI and its ability to pull you into danger, even against your own will with its tantalizing narrative.
There’s nothing else quite like The Forest, but if you enjoyed its atmosphere of dread, hard survival mechanics, or engaging personal tale, then here’s a list of the best games like The Forest that you’re sure to love.
Developer: Unknown Worlds Entertainment Publisher: Unknown Worlds Entertainment Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
After your ship crash lands on an alien water planet, you must scavenge for food and materials to stay alive while looking for a way to get back home. The stunning underwater environments and aquatic alien wildlife will take your breath away the first time you step foot outside of your escape pod.
Subnautica’s cryptic story, told in fragments via found notes and recorded audio, requires you to venture further and further away from your pod, where the waters are deeper and the creatures less familiar. It’s difficult to describe that heavy dread that hits you when you stare into the black void of the deepest parts of the sea.
And what’s worse is you know that you’ll eventually have to go down there.
Developer: Facepunch Studios Publisher: Facepunch Studios Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Rust’s no holds barred, free-for-all PvP is infamously cruel. The players you’ll meet in a Rust server will make you miss The Forest’s cannibals. The worst thing the cannibals are guilty of is occasionally playing with their food. Rust players will bully you, torture you, and take all your clothes for no reason at all.
If you want to let your creative juices flow, the base building and crafting in Rust is satisfyingly complex. However, due to the heavy focus on PvP, nothing you build will last very long without fortifications. Structures and buildings in Rust tend to be designed for defensibility, with reinforced doors and long winding halls that end in deadly traps to make it as difficult as possible for intruders to reach you and the resources you’ve gathered.
There’s really only one way to deal with the toxicity: bask in it, absorb it, make it a part of you, then unleash it upon the next person you meet. It’s all part of the fun in Rust.
3. Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Developer: Frictional Games Publisher: Frictional Games Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Amnesia: The Dark Descent may not be a survival game, but it taps into that primal fear of the unknowable the same way The Forest does.
Everything in Amnesia is either trying to kill you or drive you mad. Laying eyes on one of the game’s hideous creatures will slowly make your character go insane, as will hiding in the shadows out of sight of their roaming gaze. Hallucinations and other visual disturbances become more frequent as your character loses their grip on reality, causing you to second guess everything you see and hear.
Those who enjoyed The Forest for its atmosphere and tone and don’t mind a style of game that’s a bit different will fall in love with Amnesia.
4. Ark: Survival Evolved
Developer: Studio Wildcard Publisher: Studio Wildcard Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, Android, iOS, Stadia
Ark: Survival Evolved is a multiplayer survival sandbox where players must scavenge, build, and survive in a prehistoric world of lizards the size of buildings and giant bugs that will suck your face off.
While it’s often compared to Rust, Ark’s primary focus is on grinding, base building, and monster taming, rather than PvP combat. Building anything worthwhile is going to take you several hours of resource gathering and focused construction. If you’re the type who just wants to carve out a corner of the world in your image, there’s a PvE mode here, too.
Fans of gradually working toward the creation of something massive will find a lot to like in Ark: Survival Evolved. The combat, while certainly not the main focus of Ark, is at least interesting, with players riding into battle on the back of massive beasts.
5. Green Hell
Developer: Creepy Jar Publisher: Creepy Jar Platforms: PC, Switch
In Green Hell, players control Jake Higgins, an anthropologist seeking answers in the heart of the Amazon rainforest.
Green Hell seems intent to live up to its name. Every turn finds Jake battling some strange animal or falling sick to a new disease. Finding and treating wounds and illnesses involves more than simply eating a ration or bandaging a limb — you have to eat the right medicine for the illness. On top of all this, Jake’s extreme anxiety about, you know, being alone in a massive rainforest where everything wants to eat him is pushing him to the brink of insanity.
Green Hell’s real-world setting and man-versus-nature theme make it the one game on this list that’s most similar to The Forest. Just know: if you’re going to jump into Green Hell, prepare for a hell of a ride.
Developer: Iron Gate Studio Publisher: Coffee Stain Studios Platforms: PC
Valheim is set in a stunning world inspired by Norse mythology split into several biomes, each the domain of a fearsome monster. The cycle of mastering a biome, defeating its boss, then moving onto the next biome to do it all over again is charmingly old school, a sort of structured progression that’s rare in a genre obsessed with (often pointless) freedom.
Valheim’s survival mechanics are punishing but rarely deadly. Eating isn’t necessary to stay alive, so starving to death is impossible. That means you never have to interrupt what you’re doing just because your character has the munchies, so if you really want to finish building the walls around your base, go on and finish those walls — food can wait.
Just like in The Forest, the biggest threats to your existence are the terrible creatures that live outside of your base’s walls. You’re an intruder in their land, and they’ll let you know how much they dislike you by occasionally grouping up and raiding your home. There’s an undeniable thrill to laying claim to a piece of land that you don’t belong in, and Valheim captures The Forest’s you-against-the-world spirit in a way few other games do.
7. 7 Days to Die
Developer: The Fun Pimps Publisher: The Fun Pimps Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
7 Days to Die takes every survival mechanic you can imagine and tosses it into a blender — hunger and thirst bars, resource gathering and crafting, base building, infection, subsystem damage, light RPG character development — and what comes out is a brown-green sludge smoothie that looks like poison, but is surprisingly delicious.
Let’s not beat around the bush: 7 Days to Die is one ugly game. But if you can get past the fact that it looks like it was made for the PlayStation 3, you’ll find a hidden gem of a survival sandbox with surprising depth.
If you like playing with friends, 7 Days to Die’s skill trees allow for you to create very specific builds. For example, one player can put points into healing skills while another excels at base defense. Specialization is key to staying alive and 7 Days to Die encourages diverse team compositions and player interdependence, making it one of the best co-op experiences like The Forest on this list.
8. Dying Light
Developer: Techland Publisher: WB Games/Techland Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Dying Light is all about parkour and zombies. Your character is a master of the art, capable of leaping from rooftop to rooftop and scaling buildings like nobody’s business. Your extreme agility and the verticality of Dying Light’s level design make for a fast-paced open-world adventure game that you can spend hours just hopping about in.
Dying Light’s story involves secret agents and stolen confidential data, but it’s not very important or engaging. Again: it’s all about parkour and zombies. There’s no feeling more satisfying than smashing a zombie’s head in using some handmade weapon you slapped together with a wooden plank, used nails, and some duct tape.
With a sequel due sometime soon, Dying Light is one of the games like The Forest you have no excuses not to play at this point.
Developer: Lo-Fi Games Publisher: Lo-Fi Games Platforms: PC
Kenshi is about as pure a survival sandbox as you’ll find.
Players start their adventure as a homeless hobo in a Mad Maxian world where mankind has divided itself into small nations based around distinct ideologies. Figuring out how to navigate the harsh wasteland and the strange faction politics that govern it is exciting and challenging, and with time and a bit of luck, you can go from a roaming vagabond with no skills to master of your own outpost.
Just like The Forest, Kenshi has a penchant for the grotesque. Characters can and will lose their limbs. Lose an arm and your pet might start gnawing on it. Lose your legs and you’ll have to drag your torso across the sands until you bleed to death — or something hungry finds you.
Developer: Nine Dots Publisher: Deep Silver Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Stadia
Outward is a fantasy survival RPG set in a world divided into three conflicting factions that must come together to battle a malicious force known as the Corruption. Its story is sparse but explores some intriguing global politics between the three factions, though the game’s main draw is its gameplay and combat.
Outward is best known for its heavy, weighted combat with a dodge and block mechanic some have compared to Dark Souls. Positioning and focus are vital if you want to survive any hostile encounter.
In Outward, there are three survival bars you have to manage: hunger, thirst, and rest. Your character’s stamina and health take a hit whenever one of these bars falls below a certain threshold, so any quest requires you spend a bit of time beforehand gathering food and preparing potions. Those who enjoy the hard survival mechanics of The Forest will love the challenge of managing Outward’s survival bars while fending off the different beasts and monsters that call its forests home.
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