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- The Forest Sinkhole Guide – Surviving the Sinkhole - January 27, 2023
If you’ve spent any time wandering towards the center of the island in The Forest, you’ve probably come across the sinkhole. You know, that mile-wide, cavernous rift that looks like the planet grew a mouth. It’s pretty hard to miss. Unfortunately for you, if you want to reach the end of the game, and find your kid who you’ve been ignoring for weeks to build your empire of logs, you’re going to have to get to the bottom of it.
But before you enthusiastically launch yourself headfirst into the canyon, hoping for the best, take a look at some of the pointers I’ve gathered for you in this The Forest Sinkhole guide, so you don’t end up hanging by your feet again.
What’s Down There?
Reaching the Sinkhole is a pivotal point in the story of The Forest. Before you head out, here is a brief overview of what is down there. That way, you have an idea of what to expect.
- Crashed Helicopter
- Both the Machete and the Host Uniform outfit can be found nearby.
- Entrance to Sahara Labs
- The endgame location and The Forest’s point of no return.
- Timmy’s Drawings #8 and #9
- Camcorder Tape #5
- Keycard Polaroid
- Lots of Mutants
Before You Go
Regardless of the path you take to get into the sinkhole, it’s going to be a bit of a journey. Most of the trek will be through the underground cave system, which means you’ll have to deal with the cold, darkness, hunger, and thirst alongside long swims through confusing tunnels.
Oh, and the mutant nightmare fuel I’ve come to know and love in my 150 hours or so down there. If you want to survive all that, there are a few things you’ll need and a few things that you’ll be glad you have.
Not only are you going to be down there for a while, but you will be using a lot of energy. Sprinting, swimming, climbing, and fighting will drain your energy and leave you VERY hungry. While it’s probably tempting to bring a big stack of juicy deer meat to cook when you get hungry, remember that meat spoils pretty quickly unless you dry it, so make sure to fill up those drying racks a few days before you plan to take the plunge.
Blueberries are also a great choice since they don’t spoil, you can carry tons of them and grow them in your backyard. Of course, it is possible to find a few stray candy bars while you’re down there, but personally, I would crack open some suitcases and fill up your stack of snacks and sodas beforehand. Lastly, you’ll want a full water skin unless you like drinking salty cave water.
If you’ve been down in any of the caves before, you know that most of them have at least one flooded portion, and the sinkhole isn’t any different. With that in mind, there are two things you are going to need: the rebreather and at least a few oxygen tanks. On top of that, to get up and down the vertical portions of the caves, the climbing axe is non-negotiable.
Sure, you have an axe. But is it a good axe? In and around the sinkhole is the largest concentration of dangerous enemies in the game. You are going to encounter large numbers of high-rank cannibals and the more dangerous blue versions of every available mutant. Make sure whichever melee weapon you prefer is well-upgraded and preferably able to be used as a torch.
I find that upgrading a high-impact weapon like the club with feathers is a great strategy. Knocking enemies down can give you room to breathe and save your life in the tight conditions of cave tunnels.
For ranged weapons, make sure you have a hefty stack of whatever ammo they use. I recommend you also bring a bow with you. Of the ranged weapons, you can carry the most ammo for bows. Additionally, they allow you to fire flaming and poison arrows, which is useful for weakening mutants and dealing damage without burning through precious ammo.
Also, bring bombs. Lots of bombs. Crowds of enemies are no match for a well-placed stick of dynamite, and horrifying mutants become much more manageable when they’re running around on fire.
Armor and Other Supplies
It’s easy enough to slap on some lizard skin and call it a day, but you’ll want something a bit sturdier, like creepy or bone armor down in the sinkhole. Make sure you have spare armor in your backpack too, so you can replace what gets knocked off. Medicine and energy mix are essentials, as well as a hefty supply of cloth for torches and/or batteries for the flashlight.
While you can only hold so many molotovs, arrows, or other consumables at a time, you can increase your overall supply handily by carrying the materials to make more when you run low. It is especially important to bring sticks because you will get wet in the caves, and if you don’t have a way to light a torch or build a fire, you’re going to freeze to death long before something can eat you.
I keep my favorite melee weapon and ranged weapon assigned to two of them. I also add herbal medicine+ and energy mix+ for quick restoration and healing during combat. You can also assign throwables like molotovs, bombs, and dynamite as well.
How Not to Die
This section will only cover my recommendations about surviving the sinkhole but will contain no spoilers about what you will find down there. If you want a more in-depth guide, check out the Getting There and Sinkhole sections.
Take It Slow
It’s tempting to rush down every open corridor and slide down every rope, but this is a surefire way to end up lost, surrounded by enemies, or the victim of the ever-present fall damage. There are gaps in the floor, sheer ledges, and easy-to-miss passageways on the path through the sinkhole.
Fight Smarter, Not Harder
Look for high ground. Mash that spacebar. Boulders, ledges, and debris piles can keep you out of reach of the larger mutants and give you an angle to use ranged weapons without risking your neck. Check below a ledge before you climb down. I usually drop a flare down a hole to see if anything reacts to the light before I descend. If there is something down there, I toss in a molotov or a bomb to clear the landing zone.
Don’t Worry about Stealth
If you’ve spent all your time on the surface hiding from danger, you might find this trip a bit difficult. The space inside the sinkhole provides you with minimal cover, so chances are the enemies will see you about the same time you see them. Don’t pass up the opportunity to equip sturdier armor instead of stealth armor, and don’t worry about your explosives making too much noise. On the bright side, there is nowhere for the enemies to escape either, so there is no risk of them bringing reinforcements.
Flashlights and Duct Tape
Several advanced weapons, such as the modern bow and the chainsaw, allow for a flashlight to be attached to them so you can see what you’re aiming at in the dark. All you need to do is combine the weapon with some tape and a flashlight. Just keep in mind the batteries are of poor quality, so they won’t last forever.
Always Peel Your Mutants
Any large mutants you kill can be skinned, and that skin can be used as armor. Not only is this the most sturdy armor in the game, but it works well to replace damaged armor in the field.
Are You Done?
The path through the sinkhole will lead you to The Forest’s point of no return and the beginning of the endgame. Not only does this mean that you need to bring enough supplies for both the sinkhole and the endgame, but you should probably make sure you have done whatever you want to do in the game before you begin the descent.
If you’re familiar with The Forest’s numerous cave systems, you know they are an interlocking and confusing mess. While there are a few caves that technically open up into the sinkhole, I will be following the shortest route I took to reach the bottom of the sinkhole with my shins still intact.
- Start by entering Chasm Cave.
- The entrance you want is located here on the map, just northwest of the sinkhole and right next to a substantial cannibal village overlooking a small lake.
- Keep going straight until you reach a massive chasm, and follow the climbing ropes down.
- If at any point you do not see another path down on your current ledge, do not try and jump. Climb back up and look for ropes on the walls to indicate where you might use the climbing axe to cross to the right spot.
- When you reach the bottom, the way forward will be down the rocky slope, through a tight passage, and down another hole.
- Take the dry path ahead, and you should come across a comforting orange tent where you can (and should) save your game.
- The next room is a broad, open chamber full of enemies. Once you deal with them, take the tunnel straight ahead, marked by native totems.
- Not long after, you should see a metal door on your right.
- Nearby is a pedestal with a weight mechanism that will open the door for you.
- If we’re in the same place, you should be looking at a skinny bridge lined with skull lanterns.
- After squeezing through a cramped tunnel, you will see one last metal door standing between you and the sinkhole.
Other Ways Down
There are a few other ways down into the sinkhole if you don’t mind potentially breaking your legs or you just hate following directions.
- Turtle Shell
- The easy way down used to be sliding down on a turtle shell. However, this has been patched. It is still technically possible, but it’s risky and is going to hurt even if you do it right.
- For thrill-seekers, the glider is another way down. Just keep rotating and try not to slam into a wall in the meantime.
- If you have way too much time on your hands and really hate trees, you can build your way down. Building on the side of a sheer incline is difficult, however, and finding locations where the game will allow you to build structures while avoiding constant mutant attacks might be frustrating.
- Sacrifice your Friends
- If you are playing in multiplayer, you can throw one person down into the sinkhole and have someone else land on their unconscious body. Landing on another player will allow you to ignore fall damage and revive the person used as a landing pad. However, not only is it considered rude to throw someone into a pit, but landing on them afterward is a difficult trick to pull off and might take a few attempts.
So you’ve reached the entrance to the sinkhole. If you’re anything like me, this is setting off danger sirens for you. Be sure you are well-armed, armored, fed, and otherwise in good shape before you open that door. As you have probably figured out by now, the sinkhole is not a friendly place.
- 4-8 Pale Cannibals
- 2 Armsies
- 1-2 Cow Mutants
- Machete (near the crashed helicopter)
- Host Outfit (inside suitcase)
- Flare crates
- Circuit Boards
- Lots of Small Rocks
The sinkhole proper is composed of a massive, circular chamber broken up into a spiral pathway by fallen boulders. If you’re like me, you’re already climbing up those boulders to get out of range of the larger mutants. There are a few ledges and mounds around the edges of the sinkhole where you can also avoid the cannibals. Just be careful. If enough of them get caught in one place they will sometimes stack and can reach you that way.
Probably the best place to be overall is the boulders in the very center of the pit. If you can jump up onto them, you will not only have a proper vantage on most of the sinkhole and be out of range of the mutants, but if something should manage to get up there with you, you have options as to the direction you can escape in.
One of the first things you probably noticed when you entered was the crashed helicopter on the cavern floor. In front of the pilot’s canopy is the machete, my personal favorite weapon. Once you have that, we can move on to the real reason you’re probably here. If you are trying to reach the end of the game, your goal inside the sinkhole is the deep pool of water in the very center.
You do not need to kill all of the enemies to reach the pool, and can bypass them easily by climbing the boulders I mentioned earlier and jumping straight in. Just make sure you dive straight down for the exit because some of the mutants might still be able to get a hit off if you’re in the shallow portion.
It might be hard to see at first, but there is a passage you can squeeze through at the bottom of this pool. This is where you’ll need the rebreather. Head down that hole and don’t stop swimming until you see a clear path ahead. It’s a bit of a swim, so you’ll want to ensure you have at least half a tank of oxygen in the rebreather. Try not to slow down while you’re in the water. If you aren’t careful, you can freeze before you get to shore, and the cold will negatively affect your stamina in the meantime.
UNDER the Sinkhole
Now that you’ve made it through the Sinkhole, there is one more short cave to conquer before you reach the entrance to Sahara Labs.
- 1-2 Virginias
- 1-5 Cow Mutants
- A metric ton of baby mutants
- Dynamite crates
- Timmy’s Drawings 8 and 9
- Camcorder Tape 5
- Keycard Polaroid
The path ahead from here is pretty straightforward. There is only one way forward and one way backward. You may come across a couple of cannibals as you cross the section of stone bridges. Just stay out of the water, and you should be fine. Right after that, there is a short climb down and then up again (just for fun) that will put you at the Cave Headquarters.
The system you are now in does not appear on the map and will have numerous mutants stalking around in it, including blue Virginia and blue Armsy, alongside an army of mutant babies. Keep in mind that some of the room’s floor is deep water, so burning enemies have a place to extinguish themselves. Unfortunately, this water is not deep enough to reliably prevent pursuit, especially by mutants.
Keep an eye on the ground or toss a bomb or two in there to clear out some of the mutant babies. I prefer the latter option since it can weaken the large mutants too. If you have to use a melee weapon to get rid of the babies, I suggest the spear, as it has a much faster animation for striking ground-level targets than any other weapon. Remember that as long as Virginia is alive, they are going to keep spawning more babies.
The tight quarters of the cavern are going to limit your movement if you stay on flat ground. Climbing the boulders in the center of the room protects you from getting surrounded and prevents you from getting cornered. Whenever I found myself in a tight situation in this room, I would hop up over those boulders, giving me time to heal or reload while the mutants made their way back around it. It’s a big chamber, but pretty easy to navigate once you get away from the entrance.
While you don’t necessarily have to, I recommend wiping out the enemies in this chamber if you can. That way you can loot the dynamite crates lying around and save at the tent at the far end of the room without worrying about being stomped if you have to reload.
Once you have made it to that tent, you have officially conquered the sinkhole. Congratulations! But before you forge ahead, I highly recommend you save your game at the tent here, maybe even in two separate slots, as The Forest has two alternate endings.
Ahead is the entrance to Sahara Labs and the point of no return, so take the time to take stock of what you have and be sure you’re ready to face the endgame.
Question: You mentioned fire and poison arrows, how do I get those?
Answer: Fire arrows can be crafted by combining arrows with cloth and must be ignited with the lighter before being fired. Poison arrows can be crafted by combining arrows with poisonous berries or mushrooms.
Question: One of the tunnels you mentioned in the walkthrough is blocked by a wall of rocks, how do I get through?
Answer: If you approach the wall, there should be a location to place a stick of dynamite or bomb to blow open the passage.
Question: You mentioned creepy armor and bone armor, where do I get those?
Answer: Creepy armor is obtained by skinning large mutants like Virginia, Armsy, or the cow mutant. Bone armor is crafted by combining bones with cloth.