Welcome once again to PCGamesN’s Spotlight on Greenlight, our regular Saturday feature where we look at the best and the most interesting Greenlight games that are hoping to make their way onto Steam. We’ve already looked at dozens of other titles in weeks past, so do take a look at our back catalogue.
Life isn’t great for the castaway protagonist of The Forest. Engine trouble sent his plane tumbling out of the air, pitching into the shore of a tropical island in the middle of nowhere. As the sole survivor he must now find food, shelter, and a way home. Oh, and, also, the island is overrun with nocturnal cannibal mutants.
Tom Hanks had it easy.
Developed by Ben Falcone, The Forest is a healthy mix of game types: during the day your time is spent constructing a camp, fortifying it for the night, and exploring the island for new materials to make tools and weapons; by night you must hide away in your camp, praying to avoid the attention of the creatures that hunt you out, or, should they find you, defending yourself till dawn drives them away.
There are a couple of strong influences that come across in the trailer. The setup, for instance, seems straight out of Lost - plane crash, strange island, sense that it all could be a dream/purgatory/a better setup than the writers can deliver on - but as a game it’s much akin to Epic’s unreleased Fortnight. It has that same day/night cycle of prepare/defend.
Between the brief trailer and the information on the game’s website and Greenlight page there’s very little to go on about the depth of The Forest’s feature set. Falcone shows you can chop down trees and build fires, as well as construct rudimentary buildings. Though how much freedom you have in designing the structures isn’t clear. Obviously, it would be awesome to have a Minecraft level of depth to the construction system but we may be in “Collect 40 food to construct Flimsy Wooden Shack” territory.
Horror’s not new territory for Falcone, his previous work includes End Night, an open world zombie game for the iPad. It, like The Forest, was developed in Unity and shows an interest in creating worlds where even the safe points are places you can be attacked. In End Night you would heal up in bathrooms, washing your wounds away, but at any time a zombie could push through the door and get all chompy. A similar dynamic can be easily imagined in the questionable safety of daytime in a shady wood.
One feature which is only briefly mentioned in The Forest’s description is that it will support the Oculus Rift. Now, a great many developers are likely to start adding a short line to similar effect at the end of product pages as the VR headset is very much in fashion at the moment. Though The Forest could be a great fit for the headset. It is a tempting prospect to be able to stick your head into a horror game. To not be able to escape the creatures as they gouge at your vulnerable ocular organs.
Falcone is aiming to launch The Forest’s alpha later this year. You could wait for that or you could give The Forest some love over on Greenlight.