The Forest hit early access and impressed first Adam and I and then John. Maybe it can now impress us all simultaneously, as the latest update to the island survival game just added co-op multiplayer.
Here is the best part of this update. In order to make co-op multiplayer a pleasing reality, the first item on the changelog is, “Slowed down tennis ball throw massively so players can play catch together on beach.” This is very important. I have tried so many times in videogames to throw things to a friend for them to catch and netcode and physics are almost never robust enough to make it a reality. What else are you going to do on a jungle island covered in cannibals and an uncanny number of seagulls but toss a ball around?
Also, given that the set-up for The Forest is that you’re a survivor a plane crash and looking for your kidnapped son, I wonder how co-op changes that.
Unlike a lot of other survival games in Early Access, The Forest works because it’s hard and because it’s intent on throwing the limited amount of content it has at you in quick order. It never feels empty or boring because you’ll almost immediately be dealing with tentative cannibals, hunting down swarms of rabbits, or stumbling around dark caves. Then you’ll die, and even if you’ve seen almost everything there is to see by your fourth life, you’ll have never felt comfortable. You’re compelled to keep trying because you’re always struggling to gain some stable foothold in terms of your available shelter and food.