The Forest Sanity Guide

The Forest Sanity Guide – The Best Way to Lose Your Mind

The Forest is a survival game that does many things differently compared to other conventional survival games. It tries hard to be more of a survival horror experience than its traditional survival game counterparts. It offers more secrets, lore, and narrative than many would expect from a game of this nature, and it also provides players several intricately crafted gameplay mechanics that do a lot to set the game apart from its competitors.

Many will point to the crafting system present in this game, the intricate cave system, the combat system where you will have to battle cannibals and fearsome mutants, or you might even heap praise on the fact that the player‘s environmental damage will affect how enemies interact with players. However, there is a rather unique mechanic that many players may not understand, mainly because the game doesn’t do a great job of explaining it. We are, of course, referring to Sanity in The Forest

Sanity is a stat within The Forest that dictates how enemies and cannibals on the island will behave and interact with the player. If your Sanity is high, you will be seen as a feeble intruder on their patch, but if you are an insane island resident much like them, they will give you a wide birth. Plus, if you get classed by the game as an insane person, you will gain access to new crafting items and buildings so that you can lean into this stat and role play if you are into that sort of thing. 

However, you may be wondering what things dictate this stat, what benefits there are to insanity, and whether you should embrace the madness or try to fight it. Well, we will be covering all this and more. So join us; here is our The Forest Sanity Guide!

What Is Sanity In The Forest?

The Forest Sanity

Sanity is a stat within The Forest that is represented by a percentage. The higher the percentage, the more sane the player character is. This stat begins at 100% and can be lowered by performing specific actions on the island, some of which will be necessary to survive. However, the stat can also be raised again by completing particular tasks.

The stat was meant to provide another layer of strategy to the gameplay and make players think twice before committing immoral and unthinkable crimes against nature. However, after its initial introduction in the 0.29 patch many moons ago, the mechanic has not had any updates and, at this moment, offers no changes to the overall gameplay within The Forest. You can view this stat by looking it up in the player‘s survival journal. 

What Affects Sanity in The Forest

full sanity

There are many things that the player can do in The Forest to lower their Sanity, as you would imagine when you often have to fend for your life and battle against literal mutants. However, as mentioned above, even though there are no adverse effects to lowering your Sanity, if you take role-playing seriously, you can perform specific tasks to monitor your mental health (or mental illness).

Here is a quick list of each below: 

Actions that decrease Sanity:

  • Spending Time in the Cave System – 0.001% per second
  • Killing Cannibals and Mutants – 0.5% per kill
  • Dismembering Cannibal body parts – 1% per limb
  • Eating Cannibal or Mutant Remains – 3% upon consumption 

Actions that Increase Sanity:

  • Listening to music on the Cassette Player – 0.001% per second
  • Resting on Benches, chairs, etc. – 0.15% per second
  • Sleeping – 0.75% per hour
  • Eating fresh, cooked meat – 1% per food item

How Sanity Works In The Forest


As we touched on above, Sanity in The Forest doesn’t work, or at least, not as planned when Endnight Games dreamt up the concept. The player will be able to lower their sanity stats to 0% within this game and not have any adverse effects or witness any differing gameplay aspects at zero sanity to those who maintain complete Sanity.

Many players and dedicated fans of this game have tested various parts of the game to find out if Sanity has any subtle effects on gameplay. Still, despite a lot of research, players could never uncover any clear indicators that this mechanic is anything more than a superficial addition.

So to answer this question, Sanity simply doesn’t work in The Forest; it is an unfinished asset that perhaps was a little too ambitious for the indie developers to pull off.  

The Benefits of Insanity

While Sanity doesn’t directly affect gameplay, it does serve as a barrier to entry when some building items are concerned. In the 1.0 update, the player would only be able to access the effigy section of the Survival guide.

It is thought that having low Sanity would have had a similar effect to burning effigies, and when the player coats themselves in Red Paint, so it is understandable that players need to drop this stat below 90% to gain access to these items.

Some players also believe that the Family items were once linked to the sanity stat, and only players with meager sanity stats would have had access to these items. However, in reality, the player gains access to these items if they choose not to rescue Timmy in the game’s closing stages.


In short, as there are no adverse effects to lower Sanity, it would benefit players to drop it below 90% and gain access to effigies as this will help scare off mobs of cannibals and keep your base enemy-free in the long term. 

Then going on a little bit of a tangent, the benefit of the sanity meter in The Forest is that you can set challenges to make the game even more replayable than it already is. This is through things like high sanity runs which add to the immersion and role-playing potential that this game has.

Or, if you are a complete psycho, you might want to take on the Insanity Challenge, which is relatively popular among The Forest content creators. This is a speedrun of sorts that tasks the player with getting their Sanity from 100% to 0 sanity in as little time as possible. It’s essentially an excuse to go on a mad killing spree and take it from me; it’s a lot of fun and more challenging than it sounds. 

Plans For Insanity Improvements


At the time of writing, there are no immediate plans for the developers to fix or improve this mechanic. As the team is close to completing their new sequel, Sons of the Forest, it would be astonishing if any further updates were announced for The Forest.

So, we can assume that the Sanity system that we have currently is the one that we will have forevermore. Regarding planned improvements to this mechanic, there were rumblings some time ago during the Early Access stage and sometime after release that the developers would be adding consequences for low sanity players.

There was talk that the developers would be adding in additional sound cues and hallucinations in the form of strange visuals, making it harder to differentiate the dangers in your head from the real perils that lurk in the dark caves of The Forest. However, this would sadly never come to fruition. 

I also took some time to look for any existing mods that allow you to improve this mechanic. While I found some intriguing ideas on Reddit threads, sadly, none of these modders and programmers took the time to make a mod to fix the sanity issue. 

FAQ Section

Question: Does Making Effigies Affect Sanity? 

Answer: No, only the actions listed above will directly decrease your sanity stats in The Forest. However, as you need to dismember body parts, gather bones, and often need cannibal heads to create effigies, it is pretty hard to get your hands on the resources required to make an effigy without dismembering limbs and, as a result, losing Sanity. After all, you don’t often find severed heads lying around. That being said, it does happen now and again in the crazy world of The Forest.

Question: Where Do You Get the Cassette Player?

Answer: If you want to gradually keep your Sanity ticking up over time and cancel out the adverse effects of exploring the caves, you will need to find the Cassette player and some tunes to play on it. However, you may be wondering where you find this item.

There are two within the game, one within Cave 2 and the other located on the Yacht to the south. Then there are five tapes, two of which are found around shallow graves near the Yacht, and the rest are scattered throughout the cave system.

This is a great item that not only boosts your Sanity but can also aggro enemies and will boost your energy levels. However, playing music will draw attention to yourself, so if you are being stealthy, be sure to press pause on your Walkman. 

Question: How do you Dismember Cannibals?

Answer: If you come across a dead cannibal or happen to take down one of these enemies yourself, you can then dismember their limbs and make use of them in several ways. Either to make effigies to scare off other cannibals or to cook and eat to stay alive, effectively giving the cannibals the ol’ Uno reverse.

To dismember, you just need a blunt force or sharp melee weapon, and you simply hack at the limb you want to cut off until it pops off. Or, if you don’t fancy that idea, you can take the whole body and burn it in the fire, allowing the player to acquire bones and teeth, which are beneficial resources in their own right; the choice is yours. 

Insane in the Membrane

As you can see from the information above, Sanity in The Forest seems like an ambitious plan from Endnight Games that, after all this time, is still a little half-cooked. From a gameplay point of view, aside from access to a few new items, the sanity level stat has little to no effect on the player’s experience.

There have been a few theories from fans to the contrary, but none have ever been confirmed. It seems that we will never see the true potential of this mechanic in The Forest, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see this mechanic in its final form when Sons of the Forest releases later this year.

We hope that this guide has offered enough explanation on this strange but very interesting addition to The Forest. As always, thank you for reading Ready, Game, Survive. 

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