Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

Let me tell you a little story about my adventure trying to stay alive in The Forest, a fantastic new open world survival game that is currently the top-selling game on Steam.

This isn't a happy tale, but I hope it gives you a good sense of what playing The Forest is like. Note that there might be what some consider "spoilers" in here, since this is the sort of game where discovering how to survive is the entire point.

In any case, the tale begins like this: there I was, sitting on a plane, trying to kill time by watching a movie or something.

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

I looked around, and the plane was mysteriously empty...save for a kid. My kid?

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

Suddenly, the plane ride got turbulent. We're crashing, holy shit! What happened??

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

Somehow, I survived the impact—but when I opened my eyes, this guy was standing in front of me. Uh....

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

He grabbed the kid (my kid?) and just left. The fuck? Was he going to raise the kid as one of his kind? Was he going to eat the kid?

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

Well, I wasn't even sure that was my kid, so whatever I guess. I had to figure out what I could take from the plane crash. Luckily (and morbidly), there was an ax wedged inside a flight attendant that I could use. I pressed E and my character equipped it. Okay. I was armed, at least. Though the dude that appeared earlier didn't really seem to care about me, so maybe I won't need the ax for defensive purposes...?

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

I found food. Normally, in-flight food is the worst, but in this context, having it around seemed like a godsend: I was low on energy and my character was hungry. I needed to survive above all else.

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

I looked at my stash in my backpack by pressing "I." I had a lot of booze, some soda, an ax, a lighter, and a survival guide. It looked like I could use this menu to craft stuff as well, but I didn't really have much at the time.

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

I took a closer look at the survival guide and wondered if planes actually come equipped with these things. You know, just in case?

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

This is a clever tutorial, I decided. So it looked like in order to survive, I needed to scavenge my surroundings for stuff like sticks, rocks, logs, and other such materials. First order of business, like many games of this kind, was to build a shelter and a fire.

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

It also looked like I really needed to pay attention to the land to make sure I wasn't picking up stuff that could be harmful to me. For example, there are different kinds of berries...

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

Okay, cool. When I got out of the plane I felt a little confident about what I needed to do and how.

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

There was a bunch of luggage littered around the plane, and thankfully I could use my ax to open the locked ones up. Most luggage seemed to have stuff like booze, snacks, soda, medicine, and sometimes less usefully, tennis balls. People pack weirdly in this world, forreal.

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

The land also seemed full of animals. Naturally, I saw if I could kill anything—and sure enough, bunnies and lizards could be killed and skinned for their meat.

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

I was busy trying to salvage as much as I could, when suddenly I spotted a person off in the distance. Uh oh...

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

Shit, there's more of them. Okay, I had to stay calm...

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

I remembered that I had picked up some cloth, so I wondered if I could use it to craft a molotov cocktail. Sure enough, I could! This made me feel a little better about the creepy people that were slowly circling my position.

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

They seemed contemplative, like they were trying to decide if I was a threat or not. Or maybe they were wondering how good I would taste. Well, okay, whatever—they didn't seem to be attacking, so I decided to build a fire.

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

And I tried cooking the rabbit I killed earlier, because why not?

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

I even started building a small shelter. The wildlife was a big fan.

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

The survival guide said that I'd need logs for some stuff, so I tried seeing if my ax could whittle down some trees. Sure enough, the dingy little thing could—though it seemed to take quite a few whacks.

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

Trees seemed to give me around 3-4 logs, which was more than enough to build some of the basic, basic stuff.

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

I'm not really sure how this shelter was supposed to keep me safe, but, uh, sure. I'm not a wilderness person, okay?? At best, I've read The Hatchet.

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

After building a rudimentary fire and "shelter," I checked out what else I could make. It seemed like the game would allow for a variety of things, provided you could get the right resources.

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

Like traps! Those might be useful, right?

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

Hmm, boats. This caught my eye right away, since I kind of assumed I was on an island—or at the very least a boat would provide transportation away from the strange folk who inhabited this forest.

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

And then...what the fuck? Did I write this? Why is this a section in my survival guide? Why in the world would I need to build this stuff?

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

That page kind of unsettled me, but I didn't dwell on it too long before one of the forest folk got brave and approached me. He wasn't friendly. I tried to take him down with an ax, but he and his buddies quickly overpowered me. I went down, hard.

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

When I woke up, everything around me was dark.

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

I still had my lighter, though. The forest people had taken me inside a cave. And the cave was full of dangling bodies. Cripes.

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

These bodies apparently belonged to my fellow passengers, only the plane at the start of the game didn't have anyone in it. (This is an early access game, remember?)

Looking around, I did find some useful things—like an ax and a flare.

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

I tried finding a way out of the cave, but the deeper I went in, the more unnerved I got.

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

Shit! They were in there. Of course they're in there.

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

aaaand they ganged up on me and killed me. Cool.

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

Well, okay then. I would boot the game up again and this time I tried getting captured right away, since that part of the game seemed like it was supposed to happen. This time, however, instead of wandering around the caves slowly and nervously, I would just run straight out of there. The forest folk still popped up, but I didn't stop for them—and this worked; soon enough I was staring at the entrance of the cave. Success!

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

The game was still prompting me to build a shelter—which seemed like a good idea, except I didn't really want to build anything anywhere near the folks. So I wandered for a bit, and found that the passengers and I weren't the only unfortunate folks to wander through this area...

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

The game informed me that since I was covered in blood from the caves, I needed to clean up so as to avoid infection. I walked until I found a water source, which excited me—maybe I could build a boat! Except the game then told me that anything beyond the edge of the water wasn't available in this build of the game. Bummer. It did look pretty, though.

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

I decided that I couldn't just keep wandering forever; I'd need to build an HQ of sorts. So I found the bottom of a small cliff and started setting up there: I figured this way, no forest people could sneak up behind me, because there's a giant rock there. Meanwhile, in front of me, there was a mass of water—which would probably be useful, both in that that was another area nobody could use to sneak up on me, and in that I could probably use it for resources.

I built a fire.

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

I started collecting some logs, and even found some money. I don't really know what the money is for, but...it's there.

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

Eventually, it did get dark, so I went back to my makeshift shelter.

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

Before hitting the sheets, I did some light reading—just to see what else I could build.

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

The next day, I explored some more. I found this boat. Hmm...

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

Did I mention that, in addition to my dingy little shelter, I had also decided to build a big-ass cabin? This, for whatever reason, seemed like the most logical thing to do.

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

At this point, it had been a while since I'd seen the forest people. The more time had passed, the more paranoid I became: surely, they'd show up sometime, right? Whenever I saw a shrub or a small tree in the distance that I couldn't quite make out, I would fear it was actually a gang of forest folk, just waiting for me to let my guard down.

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

Still, I kept exploring. I found these abandoned structures, which seemed innocent enough...

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

...until I took a closer look and found this.

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

Well then. This didn't really help my paranoia out at all. In any case, wandering around a bit more, I found that I could cover my character in mud:

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

I don't know what purpose this serves. Maybe it would help with my camouflage? Taking on the forest people head on seemed like a bad idea; every time I did so they kind of destroyed me. But I never really found out what the mud was for.

But then I looked back on my shelter and I saw a bunch of forest people, just sort of milling about. Shit! Shit, shit, shit. They know where I live. They've seen me. They've seen me. What do I do? I just sort of stood there, staring at them at a distance, scared that they were going to wait there until I got back. Instead, they left. Not that this gave me any relief, because again: they knew where I lived now. Making things worse, I found THIS when I got back:

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

What does it mean? Am I marked for death? Is this a warning? Who did this stuff belong to? God, I was fucked, wasn't I? Suddenly, my SUPER STRATEGIC LOCATION didn't seem so impervious anymore. I thought it was only a matter of time before they launched an attack or something.

Sure enough, the forest folk seemed to appear around me more and more...

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

Eventually, one came up to me with his friends and they promptly killed me. Welp.

Surviving The Forest, The Hottest Game On Steam Right Now

So far, even though it's in early access and therefore not done, The Forest seems like it's full of neat ideas—and even though there are no shortage of survival games right now, this one genuinely made me feel panic in my quest to stay alive. Part of it is the mystery: I don't know what the deal with the forest folk is, and the setting seems to be full of small stories about who has passed by. Part of it is the amount of control the game afforded me; though it suggested I take a look at how to do things, it never told me where to go or what to do or build. That was up to me. And part of it is that I genuinely feel vulnerable, which is the mark of a good horror game if you ask me.

I've gone through the game four different times so far, each one ending in death. I learn a little more each time, and survive a little longer the next time I play. It seems like there's still a lot for me to discover—and since the game can only improve from here, I'm looking forward to seeing what else the developers add.

To contact the author of this post, write to patricia@kotaku.com or find her on Twitter @patriciaxh.