The Forest: How to Advance the Story (& Beat the Game)

Have you been spending your time in camp trying to avoid the horrors? Is it time to beat the game?

Once you’ve spent your first day or two getting used to how survival on the peninsula works, you may be wondering where the heck your son is. Before you read further, there will be some *spoilers* for the story and exploration, and we highly recommend that your first run is blind as the best aspects of The Forest are immersion and exploration. However, if you are stuck and curious, continue reading to find out what to do next to advance the story.

The Plane Crash

The Forest — The Plane Crash

Your player will start in a random location located towards the center of the map in a crashed plane. Discovering that you are the lone survivor, you begin the game in awe as you quickly gather your bearings and supplies from the plane to stay alive. Once you have the plane axe, you can open up locked suitcases by smashing them with the weapon. 

This stage of the game, for the first couple of days, should be used for exploration and gathering crafting materials as the game will become more difficult as time goes on. At this point of the game, after you have gathered water or food, you may be wondering where to go or what to do next. The solution is simple; you must begin your journey underground.

Caves and the Sinkhole

The Forest — Cave Enterance

You may be wondering what the sinkhole in the center of the map is as you explore the peninsula. However, it may take some time to get to that point as the enemies you may face will become more fierce than you expect. After around day 5 of exploring and learning how life on the peninsula works, you should be exploring caves and encountering mutants for the first time.

The caves are a huge part of the game, so once you come across one, ensure that you are prepared and have all the gear you need to survive a long time underground. You will find some of the best gear in the caves. If you wish to complete the game, there are crucial pieces of equipment that you will need to proceed. 


The Forest — Wearing the Rebreather

To find the rebreather, you must work your way through cave 5, the one that is submerged. Cave 5 has two entrances, one located beneath Geese Lake; however, you will need the rebreather to survive that section. The other entrance is located on the southwest side of the peninsula. The rebreather allows you to breathe underwater for long periods while consuming air canisters. 

Starting at the yacht, head west to the anchor on the west coastline and look slightly northeast into the forest off the coast. Just inside the treeline, you will discover some large rocks, one of which has the climbing rope that will lead you into Cave 5. Be prepared to fight two cannibals upon touching the ground. To the right of the pile of corpses, you’ll see a barricade covered in crosses. Destroy this barricade and head through. 

This room will have two more cannibals and a climbing rope in the middle of the room. Once they are dispatched, head down the rope, and shortly after the first rope, you’ll slide down another and face an opening that bends to the left. Following the bend, you will see a decomposed corpse holding the rebreather and two air cans. You can gather more air cans from the yacht if you need more. You won’t need many to complete the game, but be sure to carry the max you can, just in case. 

Key Card

The Forest — Picking up the Key Card

The keycard is vital for accessing the game’s final area, so hopefully, you grab this before you discover the door to the lab, as the journey back out of the sinkhole is a long one. 

To find the keycard, start from the west side of the sinkhole and move west towards the coastline until you can see the shipping containers. Once you can see the containers in the distance, you should see a large pile of rocks on the hill; this is Cave 6. Make sure you are prepared to fight some mutants by having molotovs and fire upgrades, as well as some healing items. 

Hanging to the right, you will pass by a tent and carry onwards until the cave opens up a bit more. You will see a rope to your right, and the path will continue to your left. Ignore the rope and head down the path until you come across another rope that will take you down to a deeper part of the cave. At this point, you will fight three or more cannibals, which you can attempt to snipe at a distance at the top of the rope, or you can head down and tear them to pieces. 

After defeating the cannibals, you will see a barricade on the right side of this smaller area.       

Break through the barrier and follow the path until you see another rope. Take note that an armsy and some mutant babies are waiting down there to tear you apart, so toss some molotovs and deal damage with your ranged attacks before heading down for the best survival odds. 

Once the armsy and mutant babies are dispatched, you will notice that the room is full of corpses. Towards the back of the room, one of the victims is holding the keycard you will need to access the game’s final area. You can also pick up the video camera located right next to the card.

Climbing Axe

The Forest — The Climbing Axe Cave Enterance

The climbing axe is a tool that you can use for climbing particular walls in caves and cliffs on the peninsula. It can also be used as a fast melee weapon, but you cannot upgrade it. The climbing axe is found inside cave 9.

To get the climbing axe, start at the northwest part of the sinkhole. Move slightly west towards the stream and look to your left, looking for a tent and a pile of rocks. This pile of rocks will contain the rope that will take you into Cave 9. 

Once you complete your descent, you will need to descend further down two more ropes into the cave. You will see a pool of water with an underwater path that you will need to take to the right side of the pool. You will not need the rebreather, but if you are struggling to see, it can make it easier. Simply swim down under the cave lip and right back up. After that, the cave opens back up to reveal yet another rope to descend. 

Before descending this rope, you should be able to see or hear some mutant babies. You can pick them off from a distance or tear them to shreds with melee weapons. Once you descend the rope and dispatch the mutant babies, you will see a tent and a path to the left. Taking that path will lead you to a narrow opening that will take you back outside. However, you will be inside the sinkhole at this point. 

Shimmy your way to the cliffside through the narrow gap and head to the left. There will be another narrow cave opening to travel through. Keep heading straight through the cave, and you’ll come across another rope to descend. However, you can just step down as it is not very high. 

After you’ve crossed that ledge, the cave will open to an area containing more mutant babies and a cannibal that are waiting to get cut down by your plane axe. Once they are down, you will discover the cave descends even further. It would be best if you cautioned not to fall here, as all of your work thus far will be wasted. 

Travel alongside the left-hand side of the surface edge, ducking as necessary until you see a body hanging over a gap. Run and jump over that gap and follow the wall to your left until the cave opens back up again with a pair of cannibals and some baby mutants ready to pounce on you. 

Once you have them dispatched, a light will be pointed at a wall further up ahead that path, which will illuminate the Climbing Axe. 

The easiest way of getting into the sinkhole 

The Forest — Staring into the Sinkhole

There are many different ways of getting into the sinkhole, with some being as absurd as building a long walkway to the center of the hole and jumping into the tiny pool of water at the bottom. This guide will focus on Cave 7, which is a quick way to get down into the sinkhole but is a one-way trip, so having the rebreather, keycard, and climbing axe is essential for finishing the game; this is the point of no return.

To get into the sinkhole, just a bit north of the cannibal beach village on the western coast, there will be a tent and a pile of rocks containing the rope you need to descend into Cave 7. After a very long descent, you will then move slightly forward to see another rope to descend even further. After that short descent, just slightly forward of that rope will be another to go down. 

At this point, there will be a pool of water that you will need to traverse through, so having the rebreather will help you see where you need to go underwater. You will see a point that dips under a rock that you must swim under, and once you reach the other side, you will see another rope to descend. At the bottom of this descent will be several cannibals, so either prepare to fight or flee. There will be a light showing onto a tent, and across from the tent will be a spot that you can shimmy your way through.

This will lead you to about halfway down the sinkhole but outside on the edge. At this height, you will be able to shimmy downwards using the ledges that will take you to the center of the sinkhole, where you can then swim downwards to access the cave that will take you to the final area of the game. Take caution as there are usually cannibals and mutants that will be waiting for you, so if you aren’t up for a fight, sprint to the pool of water near the center of the sinkhole. 

Getting to the Lab

The Forest — Accessing the Lab

To get to the final area of the game, you must swim down into the pool of water in the center of the sinkhole. This will be a very long swimming journey, and it is nearly impossible to survive or even navigate without the rebreather. 

Once you finish this journey, you will return to the surface, and you simply must follow the path toward an opening containing two cannibals that you can cut down quite easily. Once they are dispatched, you can press forward deeper into the cave until you encounter a rope. Descend the rope to a smaller area, and you must have the climbing axe to climb over a short cliff that will be in your way. 

After completing that short climb, proceed deeper into the cave to another opening with cannibals in it. There may be a chance that these cannibals will be asleep, so you can be stealthy here to take them out a couple of them rather quickly. This cave has about eight cannibals in it; therefore, try to take each group out without triggering the next group. 

Proceed through this cave until you get to a tent, marking the last checkpoint you can come across; we recommend making a save here as you have reached the point of no return here. 

Inside the Lab

The Forest — Inside the Lab

Traversing the final area is pretty straightforward and has a few collectibles and supplies for you to grab before you take on your final obstacle. There are parts where you will have to drop down through the vents, and you will have no way to get back up.

There is no turning back once you get to this point. There are soda and snack machines here and a water dispenser to top off all of your meters. To advance the story, simply find the point where your son is located at the center of the lab, watch the cutscene, and you will have to advance to the location where the final boss is.

Go on, advance the story — if you have the guts!

By following through with these core steps, you can advance the story from start to finish of The Forest. While we recommend completely immersing yourself in the game and getting lost and roaming for hours on end, there are quicker ways to wrap up the show! If you need help getting started, be sure to also check out The Forest Beginner’s Guide for more tips and tricks.

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About Greysyns

Starting his gaming journey with 1996’s Resident Evil, Greysyns has since played hundreds of titles across several platforms. You’ll often find him racking up hours of gameplay, hunting down rare achievements, or grinding out new content in MMORPGs. With a background in game development and QA testing, Greysyns is equipped with the knowledge and skills to quickly learn a game and uncover hidden secrets and useful strategies to share with other gamers.

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