The Forest Getting Started Guide

Being someone that loves nothing more than being stranded and left without any items or resources on a hostile planet, island, or unknown location and asked to fend for themselves. Although only through a digital medium. You can appreciate that I know a thing or two when it comes to survival games, and without a shadow of a doubt, I would cast my vote and say that The Forest is right up there with the best in class, hence why this game has been given a sequel, Sons of the Forest, which will be in the hands of gaming survivalists very soon.

However, until then, the original game in the series still has a lot of fun to offer new and veteran players alike, as this sandbox survival game is teeming with possibilities, making it endlessly replayable and wonderfully enjoyable.

However, for players who are new to this series or new to survival games in general. You may be looking at this title and wondering if the learning curve will be too steep or if the whole experience will be too intense.

Well, we admit that the premise of having your son kidnapped by cannibals and being forced to survive on an island cut off from civilization is a rather stress-inducing one; we intend to lower that stress level for new players.

We have put together a handy getting started guide for new players to The Forest, allowing them to understand the core mechanics, have an idea of what tasks to prioritize, and get to know the perils of their immediate surroundings before running headlong through the endless trees.

We aim to make the early stages of this game a breeze for you, make fighting the cannibals feel like child play, and get you well on your way to saving little Timmy. So without further delay, here is our The Forest getting started guide!

Before You Begin


There are some small considerations that you should make before you begin your survival adventure, which will shape the kind of experience you will have. Here is a few of these below:

Destructible Buildings

This is a realism vs functionality choice here. This option allows you to toggle damage that can be caused by enemies, falling trees, and explosions to your base and structures.

Turning this off will allow you to defend against attacks from hostiles easier, but the damage option offers a more punishing and realistic experience.

Regrowing Trees

forest build

Again, it’s realism or functionality here. You can turn on an option that allows all chopped-down trees to grow back at a rate of 10% per day. This makes building at your home base easier and allows for a naturally reproducing resource.

We aren’t suggesting that the casual player will cut down all the trees on this huge map, but it is technically possible. However, if you want a realistic experience, you might want to turn this off.


You will also want to consider what difficulty you want to go with. Here are the options below:

  • Normal
  • Hard
  • Hard Survival
  • Peaceful
  • Creative (Only available upon completion of the game)

For new players to survival games as a whole, we would suggest that you play on Normal. Whereas for players who are keen survival gamers, we would suggest either normal or hard. Do yourself a favor and don’t select Hard Survival until you have a very good understanding of this game.

Your First Day In The Forest

So the plane just crashed, a strange man covered head to toe in red paint has kidnapped your only child, and you are the last survivor amongst your fellow travelers.

Well, it seems like as good a time as any to channel your inner Bear Grylls and conquer this new land. Here is how you should go about that on your first day in The Forest:

Loot The Plane

loot the plane

The number of new players that run off and leave an abundance of loot behind on the plane would shock you. For those unaware, the crash site is a treasure trove of early game resources that will help you gear up for the day and ultimately get yourself in a position where you will survive the night. Firstly, be sure to remove the hatchet/Plane Axe from the flight attendant.

This will be your utility tool for the first few hours and beyond. Then make sure to raid the plane, chowing down on the in-flight meals to heal up, stealing the provisions available in the cabin, and you can even use the hatchet to hack off the flight attendant uniform if you want a new snazzy outfit.

Then when you step off the plane, be sure to use your hatchet to smack open the various suitcases dotted around. This will reveal some great loot like Cloth, Booze, Snacks, Sodas, and even batteries that will help you on your journey.

Get Moving 

What the game doesn’t tell you is that mere minutes after you awake at the crash site, Cannibals will swarm the area and will attack the player if they are still hanging around. So the best option for the player is to grab what they can and then get moving. We would suggest either moving north or south.

North will eventually take you toward the cliffs, which allow for a safer base with fewer angles for the enemy to attack from. Whereas the south will lead to the beach. The water acts as a natural blockade/deterrent to the Cannibals and also is a natural spawn point for turtles, which is ideal for gathering water in the early game as you can use their shell as a water basin.

Building a Base

Once you have reached an area that you believe would make an ideal place to form your first base, it’s time to build a shelter. The player must enter the survival guide and select the structure(s) that they wish to build.

We would advise keeping it quite conservative in the early stages as you need to have this project completed by nightfall. To build a basic base, you will need to gather rocks, twigs and cut down trees before carrying your resources to your base and adding them to the structure.

If you have the time, we would also suggest building a small wall around your structure. Then build a fire inside this small enclosure. Lighting a fire is essential as it will keep your temperature stat controlled at night and allow you to cook food. However, if lit out in the open, Cannibals will come to investigate, so try to close off your base if possible.

Hunt and Gather

crocodile hunt

Then if you have some time to spare and it isn’t the dead of night, we would suggest that the player explores the surrounding areas of their base, marking out some key points of interest. Before you go out, quickly craft a spear with two sticks. This is a much better weapon than the Plane Axe and can help you stab rabbits, lizards, birds, and fish much easier.

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You should be on the lookout for ponds that can provide fish, berry bushes that offer a quick snack in a pinch, cave entrances to explore the following day, and Cannibal camps to avoid if possible.

While out and about, be sure to try and snag some fish, and kill some lizards. This will provide some much-needed meat for cooking and some armor for protection.

Eat, Drink, Tinker and Sleep

Then when nightfall comes, head back to base and prepare for your first night in The Forest. Usually, you will be left alone on your first night, so stick to the confines of your camp, cook your food, fix up your stats, stay warm by the fire, and if you have been gathering little resources like branches, try to build little resources like Stick Holders, Meat racks, etc. Then head off to bed and prepare for the next day.

Understanding Core Mechanics

As with any survival game, there are a wide variety of core mechanics that players will have to come to terms with fast if they want to survive. However, you don’t need to worry, as we have documented each one below to make sure you are clued up before you take this challenge on. Here is a quick rundown below:



Firstly, we have the mechanic that governs the building of all the structures and buildings within the game. Basically, if it’s an item that can’t fit in your inventory, you’ll have to build it. To build an item, the player needs to consult their trusty survival guide and select the item they wish to build.

Then the player will place a ghost frame of that structure where they want it to go. After that, the player must gather the necessary resources and bring them back to the structure, adding them one by one until the structure is complete.


Crafting is the process of taking raw resources found in your pack and combining them to create new items. To do this, the player needs to go into their inventory, and then they must select items that they want to combine. These items will be placed in the middle of the menu, and if they can be used to craft new items, a gear will show up on the screen.

If the player hovers over this, the game will showcase the raw resources needed to create the new item. Once all items have been added, simply select the gear icon, and hey presto, you’ll have a new item in your pack. Crafting is essential if you want to survive and thrive in The Forest.



Combat is a pretty straightforward process in The Forest, at least in the early game. The player will be able to wield a melee weapon and can swing this like a barbarian to deal with any oncoming threats. They can use crafting to light this weapon on fire, add teeth to up damage or add feathers to increase your attack speed, but ultimately, that’s all it boils down to.

Your ability to attack is governed by your stamina bar, which depletes if the player runs, climbs, swims or does just about any type of physical activity. So when this runs out, your attacks will be labored and ineffective, so watch this bar and take a breather when necessary.

The Environmental Aspect

A cool mechanic that actually plays quite a large role in this game is the effect that the player has on the environment. You see, the more the player cuts down trees, builds new structures, kills cannibals, breaks down effigies, and generally causes a shift in the status quo, the more hostility you will be met with.

In simple terms, if you wreck their home, the cannibals and mutants will do their utmost to wreck yours with regular attacks, stronger numbers and more tanky mutants in their ranks. This is why some players will opt to play without a base, sacrificing basic survival needs so that the cannibals can’t track them down and don’t feel that they impede upon their way of life.


Then lastly, I thought that we had better mention the art of dying in The Forest as it isn’t all that well explained. When the player dies, they will be kidnapped and taken to an underground cave, strung up by their heels, and left to die. However, this is not the end for you.

You can cut yourself down and escape from this underground lair and continue with the game as normal. In fact, it can be quite beneficial to die as you can quickly get your hands on a map and a compass.

However, if you die again on the same day, that spells the end for you, and it’s game over. Also, if you make it to the end of that day and then die the next day, you’ll be kidnapped again. Basically, you have one free death per day.

Things to Prioritize In The Early Game

Within this vast open survival adventure, there are so many things that the player can do in the quest to save their son and uncover the secrets of the island.

However, some things are better used for your time in the early game and provide items and resources that make the tasks that follow all that much easier to complete. So with that in mind, here are some tasks that players should prioritize in the early game:

Get A Good Weapon


The first thing that a player should do after they survive a night or two, get some basic supplies and get their bearings is so out and try to find a premium weapon.

Within the game, there are a handful of really great weapon options that will help you protect yourself and help you explore the more dangerous areas of the map with less stress or fear of imminent death. Here is a quick list of some viable options and where to find them:

  • Katana – Lawyer’s Cave
  • Machete – The Sinkhole
  • Modern Bow – Chasm Cave
  • Modern Axe – Hanging Cave
  • Crossbow Shipwreck Cave

Of the bunch, we would recommend either the Katana or the Modern Bow, depending on your preference for ranged or close-quarters combat. I personally love the Machete when it’s fully upgraded, but it’s not worth the journey to the bottom of the Sinkhole this early in the game.

Search For Rare Resources

Another thing that you should consider is looking for rare resources and unique items that will make exploring and surviving The Forest much easier. In terms of crafting resources, players should try and search for key crafting materials such as rope, Wrist Watches, Circuit Boards, Coins, and Bones.

These items are generally found in pockets of the cave system that runs through the heart of the island, and you can also often find these items in Cannibal camps. However, try to visit these areas during the day, as there is less chance you will run into a swarm of cannibals when the sun is up.

There are also a series of key items that will help with traversal throughout the caves and other areas of The Forest. Here is a quick rundown of these items and where to find them:

  • Climbing Axe – Cave 9 – Ledge Cave
  • Rebreather – Cave 5 (Submerged Cave)
  • Compass – Cave 2 (Hanging Cave)
  • Flashlight – Cave 1, Cave 5, and Cave 7

Beef Up Your Base

base setup

Another thing that will be extremely beneficial and conducive to long-term survival is gradually beefing up your base and upping your defences. For you see, as the game progresses, you’ll get more regular visits from cannibals, then mutants, or even the dreaded Worm monster. So to make sure you aren’t caught with your pants down, here are a few things that you can do:

  • Build Traps – By building traps like Deadfall Traps, Happy Birthday Traps, Rope Swing Traps, and Noose Traps can help weed out cannibal attackers without any player input.
  • Make Defensive Structures – Players can add walls to enclose their main base, add extra floors to their base to allow for a birdseye view of attackers, making ranged attacks more viable. Plus, you can build defensive spikes, which cannibals will often impale themselves on. Bless them; they aren’t all that clever.
  • Effigies – While unpredictable, effigies do have the potential to scare off and deter a potential attacker. This option will only become available when your sanity drops to 90% or below. Read our complete Effigies guide here.

Upgrade Weapons and Armor

If you want to survive, you will need to make sure that you hit hard, and equally, you will want to make sure that you can take a couple of hits too. To ensure this is the case, you will need to upgrade your weapons and armor. Here is a quick rundown of the upgrades that can be made and the armour that you can equip:

Weapon Upgrades:


By equipping teeth to your weapon, you will improve the overall damage output per attack. These items are most commonly found by killing cannibals and burning their bodies.



By Equipping feathers to a weapon, you improve the overall speed with which you can make an attack. This item is commonly found through either killing birds or building a birdhouse and taking the feathers that get left behind.

Glass Shards

If you combine two Booze bottles and some sap, you will be able to attack glass shards to your weapon and increase the overall damage output even more. Sap is found by cutting trees, and booze is commonly found by opening suitcases and exploring the cave system.


By combining select weapons with Cloth, you will be able to light the rag on fire for a small period of time. This not only acts as a great torch for exploring at night but also adds more damage to your attacks while the Cloth is burning.



By combining Snow Berries, Twin Berries, Animata Mushrooms or Jack Mushrooms with select weapons, you can poison your weapon. This means that your weapon will poison the foe with your next strike and will deal slow, draining damage to the enemy.

Get a Waterskin

Then lastly, we could point you toward a number of things to craft like the Snow Shoes, the Rock and Stick Bags and various other things. However, we feel that the Waterskin should be priority number one for new players.

This will allow you to take water with you on the go, meaning you can stay away from your base and explore for much longer and also not waste all of the sodas you have saved up. To make this, you will need to find a piece of rope, and you will also need to kill and skin two deer.

Things We Wish We Knew Before Playing The Forest

The Forest is a game that really throws the player into the deep end without ever teaching them how to swim. So rather than doggy paddling to the side of the metaphorical pool like most of us did.

We want to offer a series of helpful tips that we wish we had known before we dove headfirst into this gruelling adventure. Here is our helpful tips list down below:

Your Stats Go Down Fast


One thing I cannot stress enough to new players is that your stats don’t play in this game. If you don’t set up some systems to get regular water, food and shelter, then you will have to roam the island like a nomad.

Which, unless you are an experienced The Forest player, will soon see you hanging by your heels in the Hanging Cave. So before you go off galavanting, make sure you set up some drying racks, collect some food, make a water basin and generally just set yourself up for success.

Food Is All Around You

While drinking water is a tough thing to consistently get your hands on, food is all around. Players will be able to find berries on bushes, fish in ponds, animals running around all over the place, and, if you don’t mind going on a homicidal expedition, you can even cook the cannibals too, giving them the old Uno reverse.

Stone Walls Are Best

When setting up your base, the easiest option is wood, and while we wouldn’t deter players from building a simple wood base, to begin with, we wouldn’t expand your base with the same materials. You see, when mutants and cannibals come knocking, they will break down and heavily damage your wooden base, meaning you’ll constantly be repairing your base.

However, when it comes to stone, it may not be impenetrable, but it sure does withstand quite a beating. So try to build your defenses with stone if possible.

Stick Markers Are Invaluable

In your survival guide, you will be able to find and build a stick marker. This is a structure that can be made with just two sticks and allows players to create permanent, colour-coded markers on the map, which is ideal for keeping track of key points of interest.

We would suggest you use these to mark cave entrances, important areas like the Sinkhole or the yacht. Plus, mark your various bases on the map with these structures.

Ziplines Are Just For People


Many players may have considered the zipline in The Forest as a frivolous waste of materials, myself being one of those players. However, when you consider that the player can hook up a log to this line and send it over to the other end, it becomes a much more useful resource.

Sure the log sledge is a great option in the early game, but a zipline really puts it to shame. So if you can justify the use of all that rope, we would recommend one of these for your base.

And Boom Goes The Dynamite

Cutting down trees in this game is a long and tedious process that will use a lot of stamina and eat into your daylight hours. However, without swinging your trusty axe, there is little else you can do, right? Wrong, actually, as you can use explosives to fell multiple trees at once and complete your building projects in mere minutes.

However, this will attract some unwanted attention, so unless you are set up to take on some unhappy environmentalists that just so happen to eat human flesh, we would stick to the axe.

Water Is a Safe Zone

Then lastly, you may discover this one naturally, but it’s worth mentioning. Cannibals and mutants can’t swim. This means that if you hop in for a swim and head downstream, this can make for an easy escape route.

I can’t tell you how many times this has saved me from certain death in this game. Just bear in mind that you can’t stay in there too long, or your temperature stat will become an even bigger problem than the cannibals and mutants you just fled from.

Things to Avoid

As much as there is some key information that is great to know and things that we would urge you to do when playing The Forest for the first time. There are also some easy mistakes to make that can have a negative effect on your overall experience. So we want to highlight these potential pitfalls so that you can sidestep them with grace and aplomb. Here are some things to avoid below:

Don’t Go Picking Fights


While the Cannibals are a rather scary bunch, they aren’t necessarily a threat to the player. At the beginning of the game, the chances are that if you come across some cannibals, they will just blankly stare at you until you leave the area.

Unless you provoke them, they won’t go after you. However, the more cannibals you kill and the more you destroy their land, the more likely it is that cannibals will be hostile toward you.

It’s also worth noting that if the player covers themselves in red paint that can be found dotted around the map, the cannibals will mistake the player for Timmy’s kidnapper and revere you as a god. So this is always a good option to have.

Don’t Be Too Ambitious With Builds

The best-made plans often go awry, and that is often the case when playing The Forest. In single-player survival mode (not creative mode), this game makes it hard for players to gather building resources in excess.

Meaning that if you go overboard with your builds, you may spend too long on a project that ultimately never gets completed. So it’s best to keep things conservative and gradually build out rather than going for broke early on. Save your expansive builds for creative mode after you beat the game.

Don’t Go Out At Night

Unless you are excavating a cave, going out at night just isn’t worth the hassle. Your vision is heavily impaired, enemies are in higher volumes at night, and they tend to be more hostile to boot. So unless you feel it is absolutely necessary to go exploring, we would urge you to stay close to your base when night falls.

Don’t Eat Junk Food


Soda and candy can be a great resource for players that have been exploring for a little longer than they anticipated and find themselves struggling to find fresh food or water. However, unless you have no other option, we would suggest that players avoid chowing down on these items throughout their entire playthrough.

This is because these items will reduce your overall athleticism and lower your stats and overall ability to survive. In short, these are great life-saving items but not to be relied upon.

Long Term Goals To Consider

Then lastly, we thought we would run through some long-term goals to consider as you press on into the mid-game and late-game. Here is a quick list of things to add to your to-do list below:

Craft The Flintlock Pistol

As you explore the vast open world of The Forest, you may encounter a suspicious mount of rock now and again. Well, if you have a stick of dynamite and blow that sucker wide open. For you see, buried below the surface is one part of a pistol.

As you can imagine, a gun would be a hell of a game-breaking tool in a game like The Forest, and that’s all the more reason to seek these parts out. There are eight gun parts in total, so be on the lookout and always keep a stick of dynamite handy on your travels.

Open The Mysterious Door on the Yacht


If you have traveled to the South of the island and walked along the shore, you may have come across a yacht floating out at sea. This yacht is not only reachable but also offers a shelter to sleep in and a variety of great resources.

However, it also has a mysterious door that can only be opened with a key card. We won’t give any spoilers away but what lies behind that door has the potential to make you king of the cannibals. So be sure to find a way to open that door.

Collect Timmy’s Toy Robot

It’s a rather pointless goal but one that will at least make your son happy when you find them. There are five toy parts scattered around the cave system. So hunt them out.

Go Vegan

One of the hardest achievements in this game is the Vegan achievement that asks the player to never kill or eat an animal. This makes survival one hell of a task and will act as a great challenge for players when they get used to what The Forest can throw at them. You better get used to eating berries.

Find Timmy 


Then lastly, a task that can be so easy to overlook or forget when playing this game. Find your son. The Forest offers a subtle storyline that gradually unravels with each cave you explore and each clue you find—leading up to a grand finale that is brilliantly constructed and offers a moral dilemma that will test more than a few players. So get out there and save your son!

FAQ Section

Question: Is The Forest Hard?

Answer: Even on normal difficulty, The Forest offers an overall gameplay experience that will test survival gamers a fair bit. The early game is a real struggle, and depending on how much you antagonise the locals, the mid to late game can be too. However, once you get your bearings, The Forest is a manageable experience. We would say if these games are new for you, maybe play in co-op mode for added support.

Question: What Platforms Can I Play The Forest On?

Answer: The Forest is only available on Playstation 4 and PC. So those who play have an Xbox One, or a Nintendo Switch will sadly miss out on this survival gem. This title was developed and published by Endpoint Games, and the project was overseen by the lead director, Ben Falcone. 

Question: When Is Sons of the Forest Set to Release?

Answer: The upcoming sequel to The Forest, aptly titled Sons of the Forest, is set to release this year. We can expect to see this game on the digital marketplaces and physical shelves by May 2022. 

Become The King Of The Cannibals!

As you can see from the information above, there is a lot of information and nuance that can be lost when playing The Forest for the first time. Going in blind will lead to a pure experience, but one that won’t be anywhere near as efficient as one aided by our handy getting started guide.

We hope that this guide allows you to navigate the caves with confidence, take on the mutants within, gather some premium gear and ultimately, save Timmy (or not). As always, thank you for reading Ready game Survive!

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