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Sons of the Forest tips - a beginners’ guide to survive

This simple beginner's guide is full of Sons of the Forest tips and tricks to make surviving your first days on the island a little easier.

Sons of the Forest tips and tricks: A close-up image of an angry cannibal.

Looking for a few Sons of the Forest tips and tricks? The sequel to 2014 survival-horror game The Forest is full of danger and mystery, and it can be tough to know where to start when it comes to staying alive on Site 2. Fortunately, we’ve been through the process many times, and can share from our experience exactly what to do and prioritise to survive your first days, win your first fights, and set yourself up best for further progress.

As a note, this is a guide for Sons of the Forest players looking for survival and progression tips without too many outright spoilers. However, if you want to know more specific things like the Sons of the Forest keycard locations or how to get Sons of the Forest weapons, check out those guides for detailed information. With that, here are our Sons of the Forest tips and tricks to help you survive and thrive in the horror game, split between survival and combat.

Sons of the Forest survival tips: Three GPS locators are marked on the GPS tracker device

Sons of the Forest tips and tricks for survival

One of the most challenging aspects of the game is simply surviving the day-to-day grind. Here are some tips to help you live to see another day.

Make your way to GPS landmarks

Although Sons of the Forest doesn’t have a linear progression pattern, heading to the locations marked on your GPS will also guide you to caverns and landmarks that will be helpful in your progression. However, once you do wander throughout the Sons of the Forest map, you’ll want to ensure you have proper armour and weapons to ensure you won’t fall victim to cannibals and mutants along the way.

Use the quick inventory system

Pressing your inventory key will give you access to your entire inventory. However, holding the button grants easy access to a backpack full of your essential goodies. So, if you’re building a structure requiring a skull, you can place the skull by holding your inventory key and selecting the skull rather than opening your inventory. The shortcut will save you significant time in the survival game.

Sons of the Forest tips and tricks: A cannibal takes a swing with a club near a base.

Use traps to secure your base

The longer you survive in Sons of the Forest, the more aggressive you’ll find surface cannibals and mutants. In addition to reinforcing your base with defensive fencing, you’ll also want to set flyswatter traps and bone traps around the area. But try not to accidentally set them off yourself, as you will take damage.

For more tips on strengthening your base, check out our Sons of the Forest building guide.

You can regenerate health

Health regenerates as you eat, so if you have low health and are running low on medicine and health mixes but are in a relatively safe location, try slowly replenishing your health with food instead. That said, you’ll want to use armour as much as possible because it tends to be more efficient to replace armour than health, especially when battling mutants that give you creepy armour upon kills.

Use your tarp to save your game

We’ve all been there: you’re traversing the wilderness, need to jump off quickly, and want to save your game in Sons of the Forest. Your tarp acts as a portable save location. While it’s tempting to leave it set up at your base as you begin to explore, you’re better off building a structure, making a bed, carrying your tarp and two sticks with you, and setting up camp whenever you’ve explored outside your comfort zone. You can’t sleep in your tent when enemies are nearby, but you can still use it to save your game.

The cannibals and mutants will still be around when you emerge, however, so you may want to use a new save slot. Overwriting a save will put you in the same challenging location if you die and need to load in again. And, as a reminder, save early and often.

On a related note, you can also save and sleep in various mattresses and tents you encounter throughout the game world, so be sure to use those to your advantage.

Sons of the Forest: An up-close image of an mutant attacking at night.

Save your game and load back in

If you’re struggling with basics such as medicine, rope, and tape, you can always load out and load back in, as that will refresh items in suitcases and other locations. While this may be a cheese, it’s also helpful in a bind if you simply want to progress the story without risking death due to a lack of resources.

Kelvin saves you precious time

Kelvin can perform various time-saving tasks, so be sure you’re constantly using him to your advantage. He can collect logs, sticks, rocks, and even fish, saving you time on some of the more menial aspects of the game. However, if you must save your game and return to it, note that you’ll also need to give Kelvin new tasks, as he won’t immediately continue where he left off.

Prepare for the winter

If you survive long enough, you’ll eventually face the winter. During winter, you’ll find there are fewer enemies in your surroundings as they struggle to stay warm as well. However, you’ll also find bodies of water are frozen, there are far fewer animals to kill for food, and your endurance is much more limited unless you are near a fire or have the proper gear. Prepare for this by drying meat, fish, and even limbs on the drying rack (you can make multiple racks and leave your food to dry as long as you want without it spoiling, which allows you to store it in addition to the food you’re carrying on your person) and stocking up on energy drinks to quench your thirst. Seasons last only a few days in this game, so if you can make through winter, you can continue gathering survival resources come spring.

Sons of the Forest combat tips: Two cannibals attack, as you hold up a spear in defence

Sons of the Forest tips and tricks for combat

Eventually, you’ll face threats in your environment and will have to fight to stay alive. Here are some tips to help you, even if you haven’t had the chance to unlock the game’s more advanced weapons and armour.

Holster your weapon

You’ll move faster when you holster your weapon, allowing you to outrun some cannibals and mutants you encounter in the wilderness.

Get sneaky

In Sons of the Forest, you can sneak and hide from cannibals and mutants. These are very helpful, as some mutants don’t appear to be able to hear that well but know where they are based on your sound. Further, you can also sneak to attack deer, which you’ll need to kill to make leather armour. And finally, it’s sometimes better to avoid cannibals and mutants rather than take them head-on, so sneaking around their campsites can be a way to amass resources near them without risking your health.

Note that some cannibals are scared of you, so it can behove you to avoid fighting them if they seem to be backing away.

Use throwables and explosives wisely

Throughout the game, you’ll find things like grenades, flares, and materials to make things such as molotovs and explosives. These will be very powerful in attacking enemy hordes, but you’ll want to use them wisely because your resources are limited. Typically, they’re useful in attacking several groups of enemies at once or in a location where enemies can’t simply run away, such as underground.

Sons of the Forest tips and tricks: An image of a multi-pronged mutant.

Learn enemy attack patterns

Enemies have specific attack patterns, allowing you to dodge and damage them at specific intervals. Learning these patterns can help you better survive your encounters with them, so study how they move to know when to attack and when to block.

Aim for headshots

When using a spear, you can aim to hit your enemies in the head, which will often stagger them and knock them backward onto the ground, where you can then finish what you started before chopping off their limbs for food and throwing their bodies in the fire for bones.

These are some Sons of the Forest tips and tricks to help you survive the onslaught of enemies, elements, and other threats you’ll encounter as you traverse the mysterious island. And, once you’ve completed Sons of the Forest, you’ll want to check out our guide to the best horror games for more nightmare-fueled fun.