Sons Of The Forest: All Game Modes Explained

Learn about Sons Of The Forest’s game modes

As scenic as the island in Sons Of The Forest can be, it’s also guaranteed to test your skills in every way possible. Whether it be thirst, hunger, or other things, you’ll always have to be on the lookout. Luckily, these factors can be controlled via the various difficulty modes available in the game. Alongside additional features, these modes will determine how hard or easy every aspect of your playthrough will be.

In this guide, we’ll take an in-depth look at on every game mode in Sons Of The Forest. This will include notes on how to approach each difficulty and what awaits you if you want to seek out a challenge. There are enough difficulties where you won’t have to worry about picking the wrong one. Beware, though, shooting out of your league will either enhance or completely ruin your experience – pick wisely.

All game modes in Sons Of The Forest

Currently, there are 5 playable difficulties in Sons Of The Forest. All these are accessible without external tampering—you won’t have to use console commands or mods to play them. Another thing to note is that once you start a new game, you won’t be able to change the difficulty of your playthrough. This does not apply to the “Tree Regrowth” and “Structure Damage” options that you can find in your game’s settings.

SOTF Gameplay Settings

Here are all of the 5 available game modes/difficulties in Sons Of The Forest:

The only way to change the difficulty mode of your game after you’ve started a playthrough would be through mods. We’re unsure how changing mid-game difficulties may affect your game’s stability. It’s simply better to research each difficulty before you start a save.

1. Peaceful Mode

First added to The Forest, peaceful mode serves as the go-to difficulty for people wanting to take it easy. The main point of this mode is that it removes cannibal and mutant spawns from the main island. This doesn’t include enemies in bunkers and other specific locations. Beware, though, any sort of fauna hostile to you will still attack you on sight.

Although the point of this game is to endure everything the island has to throw at you, a mode like this is necessary for many reasons. Some players may take a special liking to the building system, and if you want to be left alone whilst building, then a mode like this is perfect for you. Not everyone is always in the mood for cannibal attacks and hordes, especially if they’ve played through it once already.

2. Normal Mode

Normal mode is effectively the same as peaceful mode, just with cannibal and mutant spawning enabled on the island. It is the most common difficulty players choose, and it’s highly recommended by the game itself. As tempting as it may be, stick to normal if it’s your first time playing Sons Of The Forest, or any type of survival game for that matter.

Cannibals won’t do as much damage, and mutants won’t harass you on the surface as fiercely as they would on other, harder difficulties. This mode also makes it manageable to handle hostile fauna, which will play a big part in hunting and other activities around the island. Normal mode is by far the best way to learn the ins and outs of the game.

3. Hard Mode

Now that we’ve covered the less deadly difficulties let’s delve into the bigger leagues. Hard mode is just a basic step up from normal difficulty. Resource management and general endurance; both of those factors will surely be put to the test. Moreover, cannibals and mutants also deal more damage to you. While this may sound lovely for all our Dark Souls fans, it should still be taken seriously. Especially if you don’t know how every enemy type behaves

Wielding a Bow and Staring Up at the Sun in Sons Of The Forest

Hard difficulty is usually reserved for players more familiar with the game. It’s also a great difficulty for co-op play, as there will be more of a need to share resources. Not to mention coordinating attacks because of how hard certain enemies will hit. Don’t be surprised if you succumb to the elements of the island on this difficulty.

4. Hard Survival Mode

Survival is what Sons Of The Forest is all about, and it will feel like that on most difficulty modes. However, Hard Survival mode takes it up another notch. It’s the hardest difficulty in the game, and it comes with a lot of potential hardships in terms of in-game survival. Here’s everything you can expect from hard survival:

  • Reduced food spawn rate in general loot sources, even more than on the hard difficulty
  • The same spawn rate reduction also applies to animals that you can hunt.
  • Harsher penalties for consuming spoiled and raw meat
  • Stamina and health regeneration are lowered if your character is cold
  • Reloading your game won’t respawn loot in crates; you now have to loot and utilize crate loot wisely
SOTF Hard Survival Mode

If you thought hard mode was a challenge, then all of these added hindrances won’t convince you to give this difficulty a go. The most prominent changes in comparison to other modes are loot respawns being disabled and food spawns in crates being reduced. Playing on this difficulty will definitely make you reconsider your approach to managing food. The drying rack can come in handy for this mode.

5. Custom Mode

Custom mode is exactly what you want it to be. It allows you to play through a game with personally modified in-game difficulty parameters. Selecting this mode will redirect you to another menu where you can change specific options to your liking. There are plenty of options to change, but here is a quick run-down of each category and what they allow you to change:

  • Enemies – Allows you to adjust enemy and animal spawn rates. Additional settings you can tinker with are enemy damage, health, armor, and aggression levels.
  • Environment – Gives you the ability to control the starting season of your world and other parameters tied to seasons and the day-night cycle.
  • Survival – This lets you tweak aspects like cold penalties, loot respawning, reducing food spawns in loot, and other features in the hard survival difficulty.
SOTF Custom Game

We’d advise you to tinker with this only if you’re familiar with Sons Of The Forest. Many of these settings require at least some prior knowledge of the game and how its mechanics function. There’s a reason why it’s advised to experience the game how the developers intended.

Is there a Creative Mode in Sons Of The Forest?

Unfortunately, no. Sons Of The Forest currently does not have creative mode as a playable game mode. However, its predecessor title, The Forest, allowed you access to creative mode after completing the story. We expect it to make an identical return here in the near future.

In summary, creative mode entailed removing mostly all survival and gathering aspects from the game. This was done by giving you features like god mode, unlimited building materials, and the ability to turn enemy spawning on or off. If you want something similar to a creative mode in Sons Of The Forest, mods found online can help you achieve that.

Final thoughts on Sons Of The Forest’s game modes

With all that said and done, now you have a better idea of how to pick the difficulty or mode your Sons Of The Forest playthrough will be on. Endnight Games ensured each difficulty serves its own purpose, a purpose only you can experience. Even if you’re not satisfied with the default modes, you can always just go ahead and make your own custom mode.

If you want to learn more about Sons Of The Forest, we recommend you check out our guides on All Weapon Locations and How To Advance the Story. These guides will help you survive the horrors of the island.

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About Digital Ghost

Dg is the founder and co-owner of Corrosion Hour, a niche gaming community established in 2016 focusing on the survival game RUST. He is an active and contributing member of numerous other RUST communities. As a community leader and server owner for over 15 years, he spends much of his time researching and writing guides about survival games, covering topics such as server administration, game mechanics, and community growth.

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