My first 30 minutes playing The Forest

Fear, loneliness, courage: The Forest made me feel all these things in just a mere 30 minutes. The Forest is a survival horror game available through Steam (via early access), what looks like a cross between Minecraft and an action game. While the game’s still in its pre-alpha version, it’s already poised to become a smash hit.

The Forest involves surviving in the wilderness, building a shelter with tools, hunting, gathering, and most of all, defending. Your environment is generated randomly: each game is different from the last. The only way to get a sense of the game is by actually immersing yourself in it. The result? A quick walkthrough of my first 30 minutes playing, which I think will help explain why I immediately became addicted (and why you might too).

Landing… and escape

A lot of time has passed since the plane broke in two and crashed. How much time? I don’t know. I don’t see any bodies. There may be survivors but where are they?

After grabbing an emergency axe, I decide to go outside. It’s daytime. A quiet forest welcomes me. The floor is covered with suitcases and airplane pieces.

I see a lake in the distance. Full of hope, I head towards the shore. Perhaps the other survivors are there. If there’s water, I can wash my wounds and quench my thirst.

I spot a couple of cabins in the distance. I can see some figures, but something isn’t quite right. They’re making a lot of violent gestures. I don’t think they’ve seen me. I’m lying on the floor.

A totem pole planted in the ground makes me suspicious. Something tells me that I shouldn’t approach the natives. Maybe later, when I’ve recovered my strength (and manufactured some weapons).

I turn around and start to run into the woods. There is a hill where I could make signals. Getting up there is exhausting, but I want to distance myself from the natives.

Constructing a shelter

The view from the hill is beautiful. From here, I can watch over the beach and the huts. They can see me, but I can see them too, and I have the higher ground. If they try to climb up, I will throw rocks at them.

Time to work. Luckily I have a survival manual. In just a few minutes, I learn how to build a shelter and start a fire. I just need time and materials.

With the little strength I have left, I gather the necessary sticks and stones. The hardest things to gather are the thick tree trunks. I choose a tree and cut it down with my axe. It’s exhausting.

Now, I have several large logs which I can use to build a roof for the emergency shelter. There is still plenty of light– I can do it. I must do it, I think to myself.

As I’m going back for more stones, I find two briefcases that fell from the plane. I don’t know the combination, but that doesn’t matter. I have my axe. After a couple of hits, I find a flashlight.

An improvised dinner

It’s getting late, but my shelter is ready. I have also built a bonfire. The heat from the fire comforts me. Now I know I have options. I may yet live to see another day.

Just as I’m starting to relax, it starts to rain. Of course– we are very far north. My fire goes out. Hopefully the rain will stop so I can light it up again with my lighter.

I decide to cook a lizard that I killed on the riverbank. It’s not much, but when I throw it on the fire, my stomach starts to rumble. It eat it all, but I’m still not satisfied.

The manual explains that there is a type of berry that’s safe to eat, but there are others that I must avoid at all costs. I add some of the white ones to my diet.

A night of solitude and reflection

I use the last hours of daylight to walk around the hill. I see an ocean on the other side of the forest. There’s no sign of survivors and nothing that indicates civilization.

Night time at last. My fire is the only artificial light for miles around. The darkness is full of small noises, none of which are human. I should sleep, but I’m scared.

I turn around and I’m greeted by a rainbow above the forest. At these latitudes, it’s perfectly normal to see them this late. For a moment, it makes me forget the tragedy of my situation.

Nature is beautiful and cruel, but something in my mind tells me the people here will give me more of a cause for concern. Tomorrow I will hunt, eat and, walk to the beach huts to confront them.

Survival is an attitude

Almost all survival manuals begin by saying that the most important thing for survival is not tools or training, but having a positive attitude. The Forest is the first game that tests your attitude in the face of danger, a simulator where you have to keep a cool head and warm heart. What happens after 30 mintes? Where’s all the ‘horror’? Keep playing to find out.

Follow me on Twitter: @remoquete

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