Sons of the Forest Early Access Review: The Quiet Part Loud

When I was a kid I had a lot of PC games that I bought at flea markets and some of them didn’t have a manual. Playing it felt like stumbling in the dark, but I kept going because under the circumstances, every idle feat felt like a small victory. You get your dopamine where you can I guess.

I mention this because sons of the forest, now in Steam Early Access, reminds me of that experience. For everything it explains about itself, there are half a dozen things it doesn’t, from its story to its world to its mechanics. At the start of the game you are thrown into a hostile wilderness and must figure out the rest yourself.

This works largely in his favour. SotF is a puzzle box of an experience where the slow build and lack of visuals add to the overall mystery. There are a few things that it could really explain, like certain basic controls or parts of its interface, but it’s oddly addictive once you get to grips with it, with some real scares.

Screenshot of GameSkinny

sons of the forest is a survival horror game that’s more about the “survival” part, at least initially. In addition to fighting enemies with scarce resources, you must find and secure shelter, food, and drinking water.

You play as an unnamed mercenary who is sent to an equally unnamed island as part of a salvage team. They are looking for Edward Puffton, a billionaire who went missing with his wife and daughter eight months ago.

On approach, an unknown force shoots down your team’s helicopters, and you survive the crash by pure, stupid luck. The only other survivor, Kelvin, is deaf, concussed and unable to fight. That essentially leaves you alone with an axe, lighter, and knife against an island that turns out to be inhabited by cannibalistic mutants.

Compared to its 2018 predecessor The forestyou have a little bit more in it for you sons. You start the game with a GPS map of the island, and your character is initially more combat capable than The forestis Eric Leblanc. For the first days in the game in SotFonce you’ve scraped together the materials to craft an improvised spear, you’ll be ready for most combat.

Screenshot of GameSkinny

My first impression regarding SotF, however, is that it’s surprisingly quiet, especially for a horror game. Unless you’re playing in the low-conflict Peaceful mode, it doesn’t take long before you encounter one of the island’s cannibals, though SotF doesn’t accompany this first encounter with a big musical spike or an impressive cutscene. Instead, enemies are treated simply as part of the island’s landscape: tree, river, rock, bush, mutant cannibal.

In the end, it’s surprisingly effective. Much of the island is a well-rendered, colorful natural landscape, and it’s often beautiful to look at, but there’s a subtle atmosphere of fear that only intensifies as you explore it.

Coasts are strewn with totems made from tortured corpses, and many of the island’s most peaceful vantage points have a corpse, old or new, hidden somewhere. I spent a few days in the game building a log cabin on a remote river delta, and halfway there I found a spot under a rocky overhang where a few people had crawled away to die. You are never more than a few steps from where someone died ugly.

Screenshot of GameSkinny

The cannibals themselves appear almost at random. They are wary at first, but the longer you are on the island, the more force they use against you. That’s nothing either SotF tells you; You’ll be harassed by the occasional weird ape-man on day 1, and you’ll have to fight entire skirmish groups on day 12.

Also Read:  Starfield Release Date Announced with New Trailer

That throws you into a weird kind of arms race. Unless you have starting goals in SotFyou should explore the underground cave systems in search of the equipment that will allow you to open the parts of the island that are initially inaccessible.

However, these caves are some of the most terrifying environments in the game, filled with some of the most dangerous monsters in the game. It’s simple and original, but there’s nothing more terrifying in a video game than navigating in the dark because there’s something nearby that sees you when you turn on a light.

Screenshot of GameSkinny

You’ll need to stock up on resources to have a chance of surviving in the caves, but that requires you to explore the island, and that in turn takes time that you don’t really have. Every day that you spend in random exploration or base building, you spend in SotF brings you closer to the burning phase of the game where the cannibals start to raise small armies to take out you.

As a result, I had a few false starts with it SotF before I managed to find a groove. On the one hand, it’s a horror game, and as with any horror game, it’s best to go into it completely cold.

On the other hand, there are a few crucial mechanics and pieces of gear that the game doesn’t tell you about, so it’s useful to educate yourself before you begin. In particular, the quick-select mechanic, where your character can pull something out of their backpack to equip them instead of opening their entire inventory, is absolutely essential to survival and isn’t explained at any point in the game.

This works out sons of the forest performs a truly bizarre balancing act: Spoilers are death and also almost mandatory.

Sons of the Forest Early Access Review Impressions

Screenshot of GameSkinny


  • One of the most disturbing horror experiences in recent years.
  • A slowly building atmosphere of terror.
  • Particularly addictive, even if it is nerve-wracking.
  • Satisfaction in overcoming and surviving the dangers of the island.


  • Core controls and mechanics are not well explained.
  • Almost no reason to build a base in addition to your own entertainment.
  • You get crosshairs when you throw spears or rocks, but not when you shoot a bow or gun.
  • The usual early access junk is in full effect.

The lo-fi approach to horror in sons of the forest means it’s one of the scariest games I’ve played lately due to its different setting and encounter design. You never feel safe or completely out of danger SotFand each stray fight can at least cost you resources you can’t afford to lose.

It’s a weird, jerky kind of game, though, and some of it can’t be explained SotF are in Early Access. There’s a fine line between discoverability and impenetrability – between a game that’s meant to be found out and a game that’s just plain obtuse – and sons of the forest, How The forestShe jumps back and forth across this line.

Featured image of GameSkinny.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top
situs judi toto slot gacor slot pulsa kaskustoto