Recently released on PS4 after four long years of waiting, The Forest from Endnight Games may be the best survival experience on a console. Treading a fine line between being hardcore and approachable, it’s a challenging but never unfair time that may make you want to check out some The Forest tips no matter what platform you’re on.
Based on my time from playing both versions of the game, here’s all the little things about The Forest it doesn’t outright teach you that might come in handy. It’s not like every other survival game ever made, so bear that in mind. If you’re just starting out or want to dive deeper into the game, these The Forest tips might come in handy, though they will not stop you from pooping yourself when a native jumps at you from nowhere, sorry.
1. Don’t kill everything This might be a little hard to wrap your head around if you’re an action-oriented gamer, but maybe stop murdering every native you cross paths with — some of them are genuinely just curious and will back away if you do. While it may be tempting to kill them for their sweet crafting materials, remember that the more chaos you make, the bigger the creatures that will come after you. Try taking opponents on only when completely necessary.
2. But do kill the lizards While you should refrain from killing people, the animals of the peninsula are yours for the taking — the genocide of the American bison will be nothing in comparison when you’re done with The Forest. You should, however, pay special attention to the giant lizards that roam the peninsula. Kill them for a handsome morsel of meat as well as skin that you can apply for armour, as well as even better and stealthier armour. The second you see them, you should already be lining up an arrow.
3. Reconsider making a huge fortress The temptation to create a gigantic castle of bones and wood that would make King Arthur cry is one of the biggest selling points of The Forest, but it may be more trouble than its worth. The bigger your fortress, the more attention you will bring on yourself and the more fearsome the beasties that want to tear it all down. Perhaps build a treehouse far out of reach instead, which, to the best of my knowledge, cannot be attacked or brought down.
4. Create a water collector early While food may be plentiful in The Forest, drinkable liquids are not. The game has no shortage of water, just not enough bodies of it that are fresh. You can also find soda cans and the like, but these are seemingly finite. Do yourself a favour and go down to the beach and kill a poor, defenceless turtle to claim its shell which you can then use as a water collector every time it rains. Materials permitting, you should also consider creating a container made from rabbit fur to carry it around with you.
5. Craft that bow The bow is a fairly straightforward item to craft, which is ideal as it’s going to save your ass on many occasions. You only need one stick, one cloth, and one rope (itself made from seven cloths) and you will have the crafted bow ready to rock. Not only is it great for hunting, but it can also suppress plenty of attackers and insta-kill “regular” natives with a headshot. Remember to collect the feathers from birds to craft more arrows.
6. Don’t eat or drink just before bed If you obsess over meters, you may want to keep on eating and drinking when your character looks even a little flustered. Don’t, especially before bed. If you’re hungry or thirsty before sleeping, don’t bother sorting it out as you will just be hungry and thirsty again when you wake up. It will save you time and some resources, so save that lizard meat for another day.
7. Use markers With just a couple of resources, you can place a marker down on the map and then colour-code it to make it always appear as a symbol in the interface. Don’t sleep on this little detail: the island is pretty big with plenty to discover, including caves that are vital if you want to progress the story. As The Forest never directly spells out how to “complete” it, help yourself with markers wherever you can.
8. Explore with your map Likewise, The Forest never makes a huge deal out of how you navigate its wide expanses. You can collect a compass and a map, but you will need to be captured first to find them. If you’re in an unfamiliar area (and think you’re relatively safe), try to remember to bring up your map as you explore for it to be filled in as you go along. It’s a little thing, but really important if you want to try to separate tree #9809 from tree #455000.
9. Return to the plane semi-regularly I can only vouch for this on normal difficulty, but if you leave the plane after collecting its resources and then return at a later date, it seems like some of them will magically replenish. It’s always a good spot to collect vital meds and eat a quick meal, as well as somewhere to get a sexy new outfit. Try to avoid building your base of operations right next to the plane, however: it will always be trafficked heavily by natives.
10. Jump in water to escape Whether it’s because they don’t want to ruin their aesthetic or because the developers were kind enough to give you some respite, the natives of the island can’t chase after you in water. Consider building your base right next to or even top of water with a boat house to watch on with morbid glee as some of the more boisterous natives try to get you in water and promptly drown. As a small bonus, building a boat house on a “living” lake will give you a constant supply of fish.
11. Don’t be afraid to “die” You may want to cling desperately to your life inside your fortress, but it’s not always bad to just let go. Getting downed will result in the natives dragging you away to a cave, which may be one you didn’t even know existed and one you need to progress the story. There’s always a tonne of materials to find as well, but be sure to remember that you generally need to keep going upwards if you want to escape. Dying in these caves will also make you load your last save, so be careful.
12. Embrace the drying rack You may find that you can only immediately eat any meat that you cook, which is quite annoying when you went to go out exploring. You really ought to invest in a drying rack (or five). Easy to build, these “tools” will allow you to hang up raw meat to dry, making them edible. You will also be able to carry them around with you for a long time without them spoiling. Remember that small meat, such as bird meat, can only be cooked.
13. Turtles in a half shell When you kill a turtle, take its shell. Whip it out on a slope and then jump and use the attack input to slide down it by using the shell as a sled. Cowabunga.
“Any issues I had with The Forest didn’t stop it from becoming the definitive survival experience on console in my eyes, however. If you’re yet to try the game on PC, its PS4 version is a surprisingly sleek and arguably just as rewarding time-sinker that won’t even make you feel bad for being a terrible parent. Sorry, Timmy, I am one with the trees now.”