The Forest Beginner’s Guide

Cut through the learning curve and maybe even avoid being cannibalized

The Forest is a game for PC and PS4 that has its players stranded in the wilderness after your plane crashes in the middle of nowhere. You must use your wits and whatever resources you can find to survive this new and hostile environment. The Forest isn’t so kind to new players, which is why we’re here to help you through the basics in our The Forest Beginner’s Guide.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything from choosing a campsite to what resources you’ll need to survive, and even how to explore the world and find new items to help you in your quest for survival. So whether you’re a first-time player or just looking for some help getting started, be sure to check out our The Forest Beginner’s Guide!

What is The Forest?

The Forest is a first-person, open-world survival horror game set in a hostile environment after your plane crashes. It was created by Endnight Games in 2014 and has since received many updates, including a multiplayer mode. It’s been out for 8 years, and it’s still dominating the market with its amazing graphics and open-world environment that can keep players hooked for hours on end.

The Forest not only has the best elements for a survival game but it’s got an enriched story campaign that the fans of the game can’t get enough of. To feed their cravings, Endnight games announced The Forest 2, which is set to release in October 2022 with a much longer storyline and enhanced graphics that will leave players in awe when they experience the new world that has been created.

Sons of the Forest (The Forest 2) Trailer

Whether you want to appreciate the full story before Sons of the Forest comes out, or you’re just looking for an intense survival horror game with great graphics, The Forest is a perfect choice. With our Beginners guide under your belt, you’ll be ready to tackle the wilderness and all it has in store.

General tips for surviving in The Forest

In The Forest, the key to survival is to always be prepared. There are no second chances in this game, so it’s important to always be on the lookout for potential dangers and hazards.

Here are a few general tips to help you stay alive in The Forest:

  • You can see your health, armor, hunger, thirst, stamina, and energy on the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. Make sure to keep an eye on these stats and do your best to maintain them at all times. If any of these stats start to drop below a certain threshold — say you’re out of food and water or your armor is starting to wear down, the likelihood that you die will increase drastically.
  • Always carry a melee weapon at all times and extra ammo for ranged weapons, preferably something for both close and ranged combat.
  • Make sure to gather as much food and water as possible. Be sure to stock up on supplies before you leave the safety of your campsite, as not every location in The Forest will have the resources you need. Creating bags that can hold more food and water will help you to stay stocked up for longer periods of time, as will creating gardens to grow food and medicine supplies.
  • Be aware of the weather — remember that the elements can be just as dangerous as the dangers that roam The Forest. Try to avoid being caught in a storm, and always make sure you have a fire going to stay warm.
  • Stay aware of your surroundings and constantly keep an eye out for any threats that may be lurking nearby, such as predators or wild animals on higher difficulties (these can quickly put an end to any long-lasting adventures)

Hunting and gathering resources

You are one of the last survivors of a plane crash and must use your skills to survive in a hostile environment by crafting materials, repairing weapons, or building new equipment from components you have found or scavenged throughout the wastelands.

The Forest Hunting and Gathering
Gathering resources in The Forest

Gathering resources is an integral part of the game, and you’ll need to gather materials to build new items, repair weapons and armor, and construct shelters. So it’s the first step for many to have a successful run.

Always try to gather as many resources as possible by exploring your surroundings. But the three most essential materials include logs, sticks, and rocks, as these are essential to crafting your base camp, weapons, and tools.

 When the plane first crashes, you’ll be spawned in a small area with a few basic items like clothes and gear lying around near their current locations, along with some tools and weapons left behind by previous passengers who couldn’t make it out alive.

Hit the plethora of suitcases and crates scattered around the area to find the necessary supplies and equipment to survive in the wilderness: cloth for bandages and clothing, sticks and stones for tools and weapons, medical supplies, food, and more.

Food is another vital resource to collect, as you’ll need to eat to survive. You can eat all types of meat, from wild animals to fish that you can hunt, depending on your surrounding environment. You can eat just about anything as long as it’s cooked, even cannibals!

Gather all items you can, as it’s an essential part of the game to maintain your equipment and health, lest you want to end up as one of its many skeletons. Be sure to check out our guide on how to heal for more details on keeping your health bar up.

Crafting and upgrading in The Forest

Crafting and upgrading are both important aspects of The Forest and can be used to improve your chances of survival. Crafting allows you to create new items and equipment from the resources you’ve gathered by combining them in a specific way. In contrast, upgrading will enable you to improve the performance of weapons and items by adding new components to them.

You start with a plane Ax which is the most basic weapon in the game and can be upgraded for better performance by simply adding feathers to it — increasing its speed dramatically. This is just one example of why upgrading is an important skill to learn and perfect as soon as possible, as it can make the difference between life and death.

Press the “I” key to open the crafting interface, which includes all the possible items that you can craft and upgrade. This changes as the more items you get, the more variation of equipment you can craft and upgrade.

The Forest Crafting Screen
Crafting a spear in the crafting screen

Right-click an item you want to either craft or upgrade. Then hover over the cogwheel in your inventory to see the recipe for the currently selected item and a list of components required to craft something with that item. You can also see the stats of the item you’re crafting or upgrading and how many of that type it can make. When the correct combination of materials is put together, the end product will instantly appear in your inventory.

There are a wide variety of recipes in the game, from simple items like torches and spears to more complex objects like bows and bombs, which require you to craft more than 1 item together to create the final product – you’ll get used to this after a while as it becomes a cornerstone of the game’s mechanics.

Most weapons and items in the game can be upgraded to make them more effective and easier to use. It’s important to note that not all items can be upgraded, and some that can be may only have a single upgrade possible. But don’t worry about those restrictions now; I’m sure you’ll find more exciting recipes to keep you busy!

For more in-depth tips and tricks, be sure to check out our guide, The Forest: How to Upgrade Weapons.

How to choose a campsite

There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to finding a campsite in The Forest. If you are looking for somewhere more private, look for spots where large trees or clumps of foliage will offer you some privacy. Players should also clear the ground of any large branches or other obstructions to make it easier for them to move around.

It would help if you also considered the surrounding area for potential threats. If you are close to a body of water, then be aware of the possibility of being attacked by crocodiles. If you are close to a cave, then be mindful of the fact that there will be more traffic. It might prove impossible to avoid contact with certain hazards entirely, but try not to expose yourself needlessly. Don’t go out of your way to be as safe as possible because that’ll mean much fewer resources, in turn creating a difficult time. Remember that running away doesn’t always mean you will survive.

Pick a sweet spot between danger and safety that you are comfortable with because there isn’t the perfect campsite—allowing for variety in each run, changing the campsite each time for a whole different experience.

Camping and base building

Camping and base building are two of the most important aspects of survival in the Forest. When you first start the game, you’ll want to find a good spot to set up camp and build your base. This spot will be your home for the duration of the game, so it’s crucial to choose a safe location that provides easy access to the resources you’ll need. Camping also allows you to save your game and exit to the main menu without quitting the game entirely.

Bases are always different and unique, and there isn’t one set way to do it. It isn’t perfect because if there were a perfect base and ideal campsite, then all the other options would be outshone, and no one would put their base anywhere else – adding an extra layer of variety to The Forest.

The Forest Cabin Building
Building a cabin in The Forest

To build structures, you need to open the Survival Guide by pressing B on PC and the D-pad on Ps4, selecting the blueprint of whatever needs to be built. Then it’s just a matter of following the instructions and gathering the resources. Here are some general tips to keep in mind when camping and building a base.

Camping tips:

  • Look for a spot that is flat and has plenty of room to build. Consider higher points above that you can zipline logs and supplies to.
  • Make sure the area is relatively safe from enemies and has easy access to resources.
  • Be sure to set up a campfire and shelter. The campfire will keep you warm, and the shelter will protect you from the elements.

Base building tips:

  • Use the resources you find in the Forest to build walls, floors, and roofs. We recommend you build Stone walls and Stick walls as the cannibals have more trouble against them than the normal Wooden walls.
  • Make sure your base is well-protected and has multiple exits in case you need to escape quickly.
  • Building near the crashed plane allows you to get free resources every time you come back to the game, which can come in handy. This also gives extra support to your base, allowing you to traverse the plane to attack and avoid the cannibals coming after you.
  • Include a storage area to store your resources and drying racks for food.
  • If you built a base near many trees, it would be wise to maintain and cut them down since some cannibals can climb up those trees, making it into your base undetected. Climbing ropes are safe to use though!
  • Find water sources and build wells to collect water.
  • Make sure you have a bed to sleep in. A good night’s sleep allows you to avoid the dangers of the night and, more importantly, keeps you healthy and energized.
  • Become familiar with the repair tool to repair your structures!

We hope you get creative and apply some of these tips to increase the survival rate in The Forest.

Basic design mechanics

Like most games, The Forest allows complete 3-dimensional movement in all directions. Space to jump, W, A, S, D to move, Shift to sprint, and Ctrl to crouch. Also, use left-click to attack with your weapon and right-click to block. 

You can also drag and drop inventory items from your backpack to your hand by left-clicking and holding on to the item, then release the left mouse button. To unequip an item, drag it from your hand to your backpack. Items in your hand will be the active item – the item you will use when pressing the number 1 key. To change your weapon, select any other key that is bound to a weapon from your backpack or inventory.

Other basic mechanics in the Forest involve exploration, gathering resources, building structures, and defending yourself against enemies. The game is pretty straightforward and isn’t too tricky once you get the hang of it. There is a bunch of information in-game and outside of it, including our “The Forest Beginners Comprehensive Guide,” which will set you up for success.

Some key things to remember:

  • Your stamina depletes faster when you’re running or swimming and slower when you’re walking or crawling. Make sure you pay attention to stamina.
  • If you see an enemy, hide. Sneaking up on them from behind is the best strategy to take them down.
  • To build a fire, you’ll need to find some dry sticks and light them with a lighter or flint. Fires will keep you warm and also help to scare away enemies.
  • To track the real-time condition of your player, look at the bottom left corner of the screen – it’ll give you a tip to overcome a specific obstacle. e.g., “Thirsty. Find clear water to drink.”

Combat system

The Forest also features a basic combat system, which you will need to utilize in order to defend yourself against enemies. There are many different types of enemies that require different strategies. Stun lock, traps, spears, ranged attacks, and more outwit the enemy. There can be many different ways to survive in each scenario – use what you think is best and learn as you go along. Be sure to check our guide on the best ranged weapons and how to acquire them.

Most enemies lunge and hit in a cone, so it isn’t too difficult to side-step, although it isn’t consistent. When attacking them, watch your stamina because any time you run, attack, jump or climb, you will use precious stamina. You don’t want to run out of stamina while fighting because your character won’t be able to move and defend yourself effectively. Making you a sitting duck waiting for impending doom.

When you encounter an enemy, your priority should be to try and avoid them, especially if it’s a mutant you’re not ready to kill. If you can’t avoid them, you’ll need to use whatever weapons or tools you have available to fight them. We recommend keeping Molotov cocktails on hand at all times for this exact reason, and mutants are highly vulnerable to fire.

Combat is difficult, so you must be careful and strategic. This is a survival game, so you need to take whatever steps are required to stay alive.

You aren’t a raid boss, nor do you have insane strength, so don’t bite off more than you can chew. But if you’re forced to fight, take them one at a time, not three in one go as many beginners attempt. Don’t learn this the hard way – learn from our mistakes which is one of the benefits of reading our The Forest Beginners Guide. Not falling into this trap will save you countless hours of tedious gameplay.

How to set up your savepoint

One of the most important things to remember in The Forest is constantly saving your game. You don’t want to lose any progress. This can easily be done by finding a campsite, including any cabin or tent. All that needs to be done is to sleep, and your game is saved automatically. 

The Forest Savepoint
Inside a small cabin with a save area

If you’re ever lost, sleep at a campsite, and your game progress will be saved. This process is crucial for beginners because if you lose your progress, you will have to start all over again from the beginning. And we’re here to optimize your time on The Forest while decreasing all the frustration survival games tend to bring.

Exploration in The Forest

Exploration is pretty fun during the day but not so much during the night. Have enough resources on hand before nightfall, as you never know when an emergency will happen. And if you’ve played The Forest, an emergency situation is more than likely to happen. You may be too far from the base or just testing your limits by going too far out.

You don’t know when you’ll need an emergency shelter, as the point of the game is to explore, and encountering danger is just part of the fun. It would be best to explore for many reasons, such as gaining knowledge about your surroundings, new resources, exclusive items, gear, etc. You won’t be able to stay in your base 24/7 – the game is too vast to stay in one spot.

One of the most complex parts of the game is its exploration, as there isn’t a handy map you spawn with like in other open-world games. You have to rely on your true survival instincts and memory to find your way around until you are able to discover tools to help you navigate. An easy way to remember the general area of places you’ve scouted is to look for landmarks.

Another important reason for exploration is to complete the immersive story mode. Once you’ve had a fair share of camping and base building, it’s time to venture out into the cave system. And even this seems endless as there are multiple endings to the story based on choices you make along the way. So take your time, explore every nook and cranny, and be that much closer to the many finales.

Exploring The Forest’s cave system

As soon as you thought that was it, there’s more. The caves are another level of challenge that players shouldn’t take lightly. Expect tight squeezes, slippery slopes, and sudden drops that could easily cause death. But it’s worth treading as there are great treasures to be found and fun experiences to be made.

Make sure you’re well-equipped before setting out and have a few save points handy in case things go wrong. The caves are a great place to find other resources and exclusive items unavailable on the surface. One of the most exciting things about the caves is that you never know what will happen next. You could be exploring a new section, and enemies or an event besets you all of a sudden.

The Forest Caves
Wandering through The Forest’s cave system

Some general cave tips:

  • Always carry a torch, preferably one with a long burning time. (caves are pitch black without it)
  • Be very careful when exploring, as a slip could easily lead to death.
  • Explore the caves slowly and try to remember where you’re going. Even with this precaution, you will still find yourself getting lost sometimes, so don’t feel too bad.
  • Never venture too far into the dark, as it’s easy to lose your way and get lost forever. A way to circumvent this problem is to build markers every now and then to get less confused.
  • Cave enemies do not respawn like the ones on land, so don’t feel too bad about recouping and leaving the cave since every time you enter it, there will be progress!
  • Explore the caves slowly and successfully until you eventually unlock more parts of the story.

Death and respawn

Death in the Forest can be a pretty disheartening experience. No matter how much preparation you do, there’s always a chance of something going wrong, and suddenly, you’re stranded with no resources and a very long walk back home. Using the tips we gave you earlier, you can minimize your chances of death and maximize your chance of a successful playthrough.

Death is different depending on whether you play in multiplayer or single-player. In multiplayer, if you die, you get downed, and all your items drop to the ground. The players with you have a limited time to pick you up. During the process of death, the dropped person cannot do anything except press the interaction key to force restart – sending them back to the plane crash spawn and losing all items from their inventory. Players can recover the items by going to the place of death, but they will lose all upgrades.

In the game’s single-player mode, when you die for the first time, two cannibals drag you away, and you spawn in total darkness. You are hanging upside down from the top of a cave facing downwards. You can pick up the plane ax off the ground and cut yourself free, escaping from the cave as you’ve got low health and are in critical condition.

The second time a player dies in the single-player mode, it’s different. The game-over screen will show a player lying there with a red backdrop. Showing the total number of days survived. But if it’s been longer than two days since the first death (72 minutes in-game), you’ll be met with the first death interaction.

Game-over screen

Surviving The Forest

Hopefully, The Forest Beginner’s Guide has provided you with a solid overview of the game and some beginner tips to help you get started on the right foot. We’ve covered all the essentials – from the basics of survival to some of the more advanced concepts like cave exploration. Don’t be discouraged if things seem challenging at first because it’s all part of the learning process. We’ll continue to update this guide with new information, so check back often.

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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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