My diaried adventures within The Forest began with my foolhardy attempt to build a log cabin. It was hubris. So following a remarkably similar plane crash into a remarkably similar - but slightly different - woodland, I've attempted a more modest life of brutal fights, daring cave escapes, and most of all, sharkrolling.
I abandoned my dreams of a log cabin. Not forever. Just for the foreseeable future, which, as it turns out, isn’t quite the leafy solitude I’d been hoping for.
It’s become brutally apparent that wherever it is I may have crashed in The Forest, it rather belongs to the locals. And the locals are, shall we say, hungry? And messed up. Really messed up people. Sadly, my crafting book does not have an entry for constructing sticks, rocks and leaves into a therapist, so I’m left resorting to axe-based treatments. And I’m far more realistic about my limitations.
However, I’m pleased to report this reality check hasn’t led me away from doing everything I can to make the most of my time trapped in this wooded weirdness. Abandoning the idea of a luxury woodland cottage, I’ve instead taken to exploring. Exploring, chopping mad cannibals into bits, and exploring some more.
My first goal was to explore where these baddies are coming from. Starting afresh, with a humble hunting shelter, fire, and stock of delicious lizards to eat, I ventured toward the rudimentary village from which my naked, screaming attackers launched their madcap invasions. And it was completely empty. Well, apart from… apart from the horror. The utter horror. The tennis sculptures.
Humans, in their tennis clothes, mutilated and bent into twisted forms, racquets holding their limbs and faces in place, their stomachs ripped open and stuffed with tennis balls. These locals, they really hate tennis.
There was little else to discover, beyond a bunch of luggage from the plane crash. No clues as to who they are. And no goodies to steal. So, shivering at their gruesome art displays, I set off to return to my own camp.
And was attacked.
I’ve no idea if they were watching me rooting about their home, or if they’d been off for a nice afternoon stroll and were just getting back to find me sniffing at their porridge, but they weren’t pleased to see me. There were a lot of them. They caught me, and once again I was taken to their creepy-as-all-hell cave. Fortunately I caught the whole thing on camera, albeit with terrible sound:
I escaped the cave! Admittedly this was because I encountered no other living creature, monstrously mutated or otherwise, but still! Light! The sky! Freedom!
The experience changed me. It made me want more from life. More than just my little camp, little wanders to nearby locations. I was going live! I was going for a proper long walk. By the seaside.
After encountering impassable rocks (and indeed very oddly pass-through-able rocks) it became apparent that I was going to have to swim. I’d no idea what horrors might lurk in the sea, but I’ve living now, really living, so off I swam. Turns out, nothing lives in the sea.
But I did discover a gorgeous, sheltered beach! What a perfect thing, a little cove of sand, waves lapping on the shore, gulls swooping overhead. Bunnies play in the long grass, lizards slowly crawl across the rocks, and the dead body of a cannibal lies next to a blood-spattered sleeping bag. It’s everybody’s ideal Sunday getawa... huh what now?
That’s the thing about living in The Forest. It just can’t be nice. It can’t relax and get on with being a luscious woodland copse for me to frolic within. Every time I stop to admire a view, perhaps the sun glinting through the branches of some trees the other side of a gorgeous valley, as birds swoop and dive above me, I’ll inevitably notice the human head wedged on a spike, with a camera brutally inserted into his mouth.
And so it is that on this lonely beach is pitched a modern tent, with a sleeping bag rolled out in front of it. Both are covered in blood, and there’s the dead body of a local lying next to it. The scene offers a narrative I don’t want to fill in.
Existing somewhere between the two extremes is the corpse of a shark that also lies on the beach. Yes, the corpse of a shark is gross. But it also rolls.
It’s not easy, you know. You have to dodge back and forth, walking into the shark at the right angles to keep it pointing up the beach, and towards my goal: the woods. A dead shark lying in a forest is art, dammit. Now there’s a narrative everyone would want to try to fill in.
But rather remarkably, as I pursued this rather morbid but important task, something beautiful happened. Out of the sea, as the sun began to set, crawled a series of turtles. They crawled up the beach, like my own private David Attenborough documentary, to lay eggs up on the sand dunes. Then they slowly made their way back into the water as the sky went dark, and clouds of fireflies came out. And more importantly, I got the shark into the woods.
You can witness the entire event right here:
And so went my day of exploring, a day extremely well spent, a life beginning to be properly lived. A life that will, I truly believe, one day be ready once more for its own log cabin.
The Forest is currently in Early Access, for £11. Be warned that it's still in very early stages, although updates fairly regularly.