[Top 10] Games Like The Forest (Games Better Than The Forest In Their Own Way)

The Forest and its Horrors
The Only View In The Forest That Won't Have You Terrified

What Makes The Forest So Unique?

The Forest is an open world survival horror game that follows the events of a plane crash, in which one of the survivors' son has gone missing from the wreckage and he seeks to find him. Your character, the father, must traverse the dangers of the island in which you've been stranded on and must survive that mutated canibals that are hunting you down to kill and eat you. This game is so unique because of the manner in which the horror is brought to you. The story and fear is brought to you almost solely through atmosphere. Loud screams in the distance, a constant eerie lighting, the rumbling of large beasts, and the knowledge that you are not alone even when you are: that is what makes this game so horrifying. Combining it with survival and construction mechancis as well as an endgame is simply the layers on top of the terrifying world that make this game one of the best Survival Horror Games to date, but what games can even compare if you've run this one dry?

10. Minecraft (PS3-PS5, Xbox 360-Xbox Series S/X, Stadia, PC, Mobile, Wii U)

Minecraft Cover featuring both Alex and Steve

Minecraft: The Wild Update

Minecraft is a sandbox PvE survival game that is owned and developed by Mojang Studios. It’s a simple game that follows the basic survival formula of crafting, building, and leveling up but doesn’t follow a story of its own. It does have several spinoff games that do follow a story, and it’s been around for years so I’m sure you’ve heard of it. If not, this is not a joke, you live under a rock. 

While Minecraft isn’t an original concept on its own, it takes the sandbox survival concept to another level, far beyond what most others do. It’s full of all kinds of ways to build, level up, and explore. It’s a game that keeps on giving and has regular updates. You can explore underwater temples, go to the underworld known as the Nether, go to another dimension to fight a boss known as the Ender Dragon, explore caves, and build pretty much anything you can think of. 

Much like The Forest, night brings danger you must be wary of and either you can sleep through it or spend the time wisely. Minecraft is a much easier game, and if you haven’t played it but you like The Forest, the experience is a very different one. They both have building, survival, but The Forest has plenty of horror and realistic mechanics, while Minecraft remains kid-friendly in design and tone, though many of the things you can build do require some extremely complex designs if you’re using redstone, which is essentially the game’s version of electricity. 

While this is a very popular game I’m sure you already have, or at least you’ve played it or seen videos on it, it does belong on the list, but it’s one you’ll find on any list of games similar to The Forest, as it’s a very good baseline for sandbox survival games. If you haven’t so much as seen the game or given it a try, I suggest you do because it’s the perfect game for anybody who loves building in a sandbox survival. 

9. Ark: Survival Evolved (PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, Switch, PC, Stadia, Mobile)

The cover of Ark that best represents the chaotic nature of the game

ARK: Survival Evolved Official Launch Trailer

Ark: Survival Evolved is an “evolving” survival game full of all sorts of animals, weapons, and ways to play. It follows the story of a forsaken Earth that’s been overrun by kaiju and your character, whatever you may design them to be, is a clone of humanity sent to Earth to reclaim it and kill the kaiju. While this game is rich in storytelling in a somewhat untraditional manner, it does focus primarily on gameplay. 

So what’s the gameplay like? You’ve probably seen all sorts of weird photos from gameplay or promotional art that features overly-buff humans with either primitive or futuristic weapons, maybe riding the back of dinosaurs or fighting other strange creatures. While this may be confusing it is a very accurate depiction, as through the game you upgrade yourself and your equipment, going from a nearly superhuman caveman to a futuristic hunter that could rival Predator. 

While this game may be a very far stretch from The Forest in terms of similarity, it is here for a reason. It holds the base mechanic (as most of these games will) of needing to survive and weather the harsh terrain, plus pretty much everything wants to kill you. There’s a lot to learn, a lot to build, and a story to follow if that interests you. It definitely holds the same ideas as The Forest, though being much more sci-fi about it, however I will have to say that it is a very difficult game in comparison. 

The Forest, while it has many secret things for you to obtain such as the flintlock or wingsuit, isn’t a complex game. If you jump into The Forest unaware of there being a story, you’ll eventually run into the pieces and put it together yourself, whereas with Ark you may just do the same thing but it is much more complex as it is much harder to progress. Despite its difficulty, it is definitely a fun and chaotic game to play especially with friends, so definitely give it a try. 

8. Dying Light (PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, Switch, PC,)

The beautiful but horrifying cover of Dying Light

The Dying Light Launch Trailer

Dying Light is a much more unique game here on this list. It’s the most linear game here, but still follows the concept of being an open world game with a bit of crafting. It follows the outbreak of a zombie infection in a middle-eastern city called Harran. You play as one Kyle Crane who infiltrates the city to retrieve sensitive documents within the “quarantine zone” working as an undercover GRE agent, but as he helps out one of the factions within the zone he begins to have a change of heart and sees that the agency he works for could be doing more to help and are choosing not to. 

The gameplay features a weapon crafting system and upgrade system that requires you to acquire assorted parts to make. The game also has a day/night cycle, as most modern games do, but the night brings a true terror. Faster zombies, more dangerous enemies, and all sorts of horrors that are sure to stop you in your tracks. To counter most of these enemies, there’s one big rule: stay off of the ground. Dying Light is a parkour game and it does a great job being one mixed with horror and zombies. You can jump from building to building, run over zombies, leap over ledges and cars, and combining it with combat is also really helpful during tougher encounters. 

It’s a very different game, and probably the furthest from The Forest on this list, Ark being a close second. However, what you can expect to find between the two other than a crafting system (even if it is very different), is a good story mixed with the horror of the unknown. The world is bleeding with an unsettling atmosphere. Most horror games rely on an uncommon enemy to scare you, but both games prove that even the most basic npc is enough to make you want to stay in for the digital night. The story also raises questions of your own character's morality, and pushes you as the player to do things you probably don’t want to do. 

All in all, Dying Light is a fun game and for a 2015 game it could be easily mistaken for one from the newest generation of games. It’s got tons of enemies, a beautiful world, and very well-developed mechanics. This is a game that represents what a studio can do when not under the tight squeeze of a controlling publishing studio, as the people who developed it had tons of difficulties in its past with another group over them. The Forest and Dying Light may be very far from the same, but where the two align is a place that all survival horror fans can sit comfortably. 

7. Bigfoot (PC)

Big Scary Monkey = Big Scary Game

BIGFOOT Update 4.0 Trailer

Bigfoot follows a group of hunters who delve into the forest to find the legendary Bigfoot. While it’s a game that allows any shoe size, despite its name, it’s not a game for everyone. Your goal is to not just find evidence of Bigfoot but put an end to his legend permanently. 

When you arrive at your location, you must begin gathering evidence and weapons because you may be hunting Bigfoot, but he’s also hunting you. You can traverse a small open world with a day/night cycle, setting traps and cameras to spot him whether he’s by you and your friends or not. Collect pieces of information throughout the world to see what happened to previous residents of your current location and hunt down the cryptid or let him come to you.

The game has a very similar kind of horror as The Forest does, as at all times you’ll have the feeling that you maybe are being watched. Your enemy lurks in the shadows, strange sounds can be heard in the distance with seemingly no cause, and every moment is a fight for your existence. Whether you’re playing Bigfoot or The Forest, the constant question you should be asking yourself with every decision you make is: “Will I be the hunter or the prey?”

Bigfoot is a great game to jump into when you want the horror that comes with facing something much stronger than you. Bigfoot is like an encounter with The Worm on The Forest: a destructive force that will destroy anything in its path. The biggest difference is that Bigfoot is much smarter. There’s no survival aspect in terms of battling it out with mother nature, but the game certainly makes you feel like you’re fighting for your life. 

6. Don’t Starve (PS3-PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, Wii U, PC, Mobile)

Don't Starve and its amazing Aesthetic. It looks just like this in the game.

Don't Starve Opening Cinematic Trailer

If you love cooking games then you’ll hate this game because it’s not a cooking game, though that isn’t a bad idea. Despite its misleading name, Don’t Starve is a survival horror game with a very special style. It’s almost like a cartoon if cartoons existed back in the gothic era, with a very bleak shadow cast over the world. It initially follows an inventor by the name of Wilson who is coerced by a strange entity to open a portal to another world. After opening said portal, Wilson is sucked in and appears in a dark fantastical world where he (and others) must learn to survive, for the dark holds many threats. 

The goal of the game is in the name! You want to be sure to find food to survive, especially through the night, because when night comes you have no choice but to sit and wait for it to pass, unlike most other horror survival games. You must build a shelter, craft weapons, and discover the mysteries of this strange world as you get ambushed by dog-like demons, living trees, and bees. Bees are scary in this world and any other world. When the first night comes, you better have a fire lit because stepping out into the dark alerts the eyes of hungry creatures that would love nothing more than for your flame to extinguish. 

Nothing in this world is as it seems, and fight as much as you like, the world will constantly be trying to kill you. Whether out and about with nothing around, or spelunking in the depths of the dark caves below, you will always find an enemy. The creatures are harsh but at least they can be defeated, nature cannot. The two games share this idea, in fact. While the games may look different in terms of perspective, the idea is very much the same, more so than a lot of the games brought forth in this list. And while playing them side by side is a very different experience, Don’t Starve is certainly one worth getting, along with its DLC and sequel “Don’t Starve Together”, if you are a fan of The Forest. 

5. Subnautica (PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, Stadia, PC)

The cover of Subnautica, completely underselling its underwater horrors

Subnautica Gameplay Trailer

If you ask me, Subnautica is The Forest but underwater. If you changed the name to The Ocean then I would think it was by the same company and a spiritual sequel to The Forest, but to be fair, they came out the same year. Subnautica follows the crash landing of a space vessel known as the Aurora on an alien planet that is 99% water, with a very minimal amount of land to be explored. You’re the sole survivor and in the process of trying to find a way off of the even-more-blue marble, you discover that you’re infected with a strange alien disease. So your goal is basically not to die from disease, hunger, lack of water, too much water, and ocean life. Good luck with that. 

Subnautica features all sorts of cool mechanics that allow for you to survive in these conditions. You must gather materials to build bases with what is essentially a hand-held 3D printer and you can also build devices that let you breathe longer underwater, create fresh food and water, and traverse to depths much too strong for humankind. The game adds a layer to its chaotic and horrifying nature because you have to think about what’s above you, under you, and around you all at once because you’re in the ocean. There’s plenty of creatures to be aware of too, from docile fish you can feed on to more terrifying explosive and giant beings that will destroy anything you bring to the party.

The world is full of environmental storybuilding and a horror of the unknown depths. While at first the idea seems like it's a basic “Minecraft underwater”, it doesn’t take long for you to see that there’s more to this game than just building and surviving. You can always go the route of building a beautiful underwater home and city, that’s always the fun of these kinds of games, but if you want to experience the true nature of this game, you must keep going deeper. There’s safety in the shallows, but little to gain from remaining there, much like The Forest. 

4. 7 Days To Die (PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC)

The 7 Days To Die cover, showing off its gritty and eerie feel

7 Days to Die Gameplay Trailer

The title of this game is very misleading. Your goal is not to die by the 7th day, though when day 7 hits you may think otherwise with how hard they throw everything at you. No, your goal is to survive past 7 days. The “plot” is simple. World War 3 happened and ended with nuclear war, and the undead are a result of the fallout and/or a strain of flu. While the game doesn’t do much to tell a story, it does make up for this in its gameplay. 

7 Days is a very unique sandbox survival game. It takes in an aspect that Minecraft has, where everything is blocky, but makes everything realistic. Everything has weight so you have to make sure everything you build is structurally sound, and nearly everything can be upgraded. There’s an RPG element to the game as well with the ability to obtain skill points, xp, and upgrades. You level up, you craft, and throughout the entirety of it you fend off undead hordes. The night is dark and scary with zombies that are much faster than usual, but all in all is survivable. You still have to eat and drink and maintain yourself through different environments, much like The Forest, but this game is a lot more random and unpredictable. 

It’s not the scariest game on the list, but it certainly does hold a constant feeling of dread and a withered world no matter where you are. Everywhere has a creepy and liminal atmosphere and it makes the game’s horror feel…strangely old. I don’t know how else to explain it. The unknown becomes known fairly quickly, but even as you upgrade, everything is still a threat. You have to be on your toes at all times, ready to fight, but the good news is that so long as you build a home with the proper defenses then you should be good when the 7th night rolls around. On the 7th night, and every multiple of 7, the zombies instantly know where you are and will come running for your home. That’s where the crafting system comes in. This game has a lot of things to build, so much that can be done, so if you’re focusing on your home and yourself in a good balance, you won’t have to lift a finger on night 7. 

While the game has a lot going for it, it also has some issues. The game’s publishing studio is Telltale Games- yes, the Telltale Games that is responsible for The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us game series. Weird, right? Anyways, when it went under for a while, it caused a lot of issues for the developing studio, FunPimps, who are the ones responsible for 7 Days To Die. As a result, the console version of the game isn’t receiving anymore updates and the PC version was essentially slowed down in development. The game also has a very janky feel to it, though it has been polished over time. Everything you do feels incredibly slow, which isn’t always bad in a horror game, but in my opinion 7 Days isn’t a game that should have this feeling. Still, the game is wonderful and even if you don’t have a PC I do suggest giving the game a try, especially with friends! 

3. The Long Dark (PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC, Switch)

The cover for The Long Dark. It does well representing its beautiful survival that incorporates the horror of nature

The Long Dark Wintermute Trailer

The Long Dark is a peculiar one, as it is a strange mixture of story and survival. While survival and story isn’t a new concept, the way The Long Dark does it is very different. Games such as The Forest, Fallout, and We Happy Few have a story within their games and a focus on story and survival in some of them, but they don’t do it quite the way this game does. The Long Dark follows a pilot known as Will Mackenzie, and one Dr. Astrid Greenwood, who crash lands his plane in the Northern Canadian wilderness after a bright flash of light is seen in the air. After the plane crashes, Astrid is nowhere to be seen and Mackenzie goes off to search for her. 

This is where the game gets weird. The Long Dark initially released as a survival game, with a very strong focus on surviving. The game’s survival mechanics are punishing and brutal (though there are difficulty settings to change this) and don’t really follow a story. Your goal is to survive as long as possible, and when you die, your save is deleted. Well the game eventually added a story mode, which is called Wintermute, and is not the only story that the game intends to keep. Wintermute is rather an adventure game with survival mechanics, more along the lines of Fallout (if you’re playing survival mode anyways). The story is episodic, and currently has 4 episodes at the time of writing this, with the 5th and final episode of the Wintermute story planned to release in 2023 (but they make no promises).

Another thing I’d like to note is that the people behind The Long Dark are clearly passionate about both story and survival, planning to continue updating both sides, so if you like The Forest for its survival mechanics alone or its story elements alone, The Long Dark has you covered. When Wintermute is over, that isn’t the end of the story either. They do plan to continue work on both of The Long Dark’s modes for years to come according to my research. 

While the game isn’t horror in the same way that The Forest is entirely, it is horror. The harsh realities of nature are a horrific but magnificent thing, and this game incorporates that brilliantly. The Long Dark is a beautiful game in every capacity, and any fan of The Forest will be able to see the appeal in this one for sure! 

2. Stranded Deep (PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC)

Stranded Deep, Ocean Survival, Weird Hand Simulator

Stranded Deep Trailer

Stranded Deep is a survival game about a plane crash survivor who must defeat the odds and survive on an island with the resources mother nature provides. You can craft makeshift weapons, tools, and boats, and explore the ocean and its islands to try and find a way back home. The player must survive through various natural obstacles from weather, to hunger, to disease, to sharks, and even some unnatural threats. Your goal as the player is to find a way to escape the islands and simply survive until doing so. 

Does this plot sound familiar? The only difference in that synopsis is that you don’t have to travel to multiple islands (though there are technically multiple islands in The Forest). Even the ending is similar to The Forest’s, without giving any spoilers of course. If Subnautica is The Forest underwater, Stranded Deep is The Forest on the water…more than The Forest already is anyways. 

While you don’t have a whole lot of npc threats to worry about in comparison to The Forest, the game is more challenging. Its survival is more brutal and in a way that is more limiting, as you are only provided with an extremely small island from the start before you choose to make your way to another. If you’re a fan of ocean horror but not exploring said ocean horror, Stranded Deep is a perfect fit. There is a bit of ocean exploration, this is true, but it’s nowhere near the level of Subnautica. 

I personally found the game too difficult to learn on my own, but I’m stubborn when I play games and refuse to look up walkthroughs, so if you play and get stuck, be wise. Unless you like the challenge, of course. 

1. Green Hell (PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC, Switch)

Green Hell: Simply the Hell you'll be in

Green Hell Launch Trailer

Ah, Green Hell. The Forest of the forest. Wait, I think that already exists…whatever. Green Hell is a game entirely befitting of its name, revolving around the character Jake Higgins, an anthropologist who is searching for his wife in the Amazon rainforest. Mia is missing and Jake wants to find her. 

In the rainforest, you are faced with all sorts of dangers, all of which are a lot like the previous games on this list. The game doesn’t only focus on your physical well-being but your mental well-being as well, which symptoms of declined mental state may come in the form of hallucinations. The survival aspect of course requires you to eat and drink, as well as sleep. Poisonous and dangerous animals pose a constant threat and you must craft all sorts of equipment to help yourself survive. 

The game, if I had to compare it to others, is like a combination of The Forest and Stranded Deep, taking the setting of The Forest and its mechanics and pushing it even further with the mechanics of Stranded Deep. Its horror, much like the horror of The Long Dark, comes from the wrath of nature. The natural order of things is your enemy, and you must combat it if you want to survive and/or save your wife, though that isn’t required. 

The gameplay goes deeper than that, though. You have the ability to inspect your body for wounds, which left untreated will become infected. To treat them you must use maggots to clear away the dead skin before cleaning it and bandaging it up. You also have a smartwatch which gives you all of the information you need for your well-being in terms of hunger, thirst, exhaustion, and health. This is something also seen in Stranded Deep. You have a journal that functions in the same manner as The Forest’s as well as a hunting system that works pretty much the same and a building system that’s very similar. 

All in all, if you like The Forest, you’ll love Green Hell if you’re looking for a more challenging survival experience. It has the same outdoorsy “nature is scary” feel to it, while providing a fun and intriguing survival experience. The story is entirely optional, but a good story is always worth your time. And this is why I put Green Hell as the number one game to play if you like The Forest. 

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A gaming addict who trains rats to play for him so even when he's in need of sleep, his K/D continues to skyrocket.
Gamer Since: 2003
Favorite Genre: RPG
Top 3 Favorite Games:BioShock, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Dishonored

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