Forestry 2017 – The Simulation
Released: Mar 25, 2016
Developer: Joindots, SilentFuture
Publisher: United Independent Entertainment GmbH
The game opened with absolutely gorgeous artwork. I dreaded razing this landscape of pristine pixels, and hoped that there was an environmental, conservation-based mechanic hidden beneath all of that programming.
One of the selections to appear on the opening screen is “Arcade Tree Game.” I wondered, Should I go through any tutorials first? Should I jump right in? My curiosity had been piqued.
I rushed to get both controllers connected to the PS4, and Tom was ready to go, controller in hand. We were eager to chop down trees and stay up all night. Viewings of Monty Python had prepared us in advance for the methods of proper lumberjack style.
Imagine my disappointment as I soon learned this arcade game was a non competitive experience for a single player.
It’s not quite as fun when the only person you’re competing with is yourself. Yes, some might say all competition is against one’s self but that’s not fun, either.
The game only let me use the stick controls, not the d-pad. The option menu wasn’t the best at highlighting selections, so I did have to guess. (I later found that this is only if the lighting in the room is sub-optimal.)
I do like that the control buttons were displayed prominently on the lower half of the right hand side of the screen. They outlined what function was handled by which button. All of the options that were available to me were prominently displayed.
The Mini Map was very easy to read.
I had found my horse! Hey horsie!
An empty barn. A garage with an open door displayed a fuel can. I wanted to watch the world burn! But I couldn’t walk into the open doorway.
I couldn’t hijack the parked car, either.
I returned to my horse. It looked like a prison was across the street. So I explored.
I chopped down the first tree I saw and walked my horse over and dragged the tree corpse to the yard across the street. The tree disappeared. I then walked to a hotel where I learned I could sleep after a strict bedtime of 7PM in game time. Displayed on a chair next to the bed was a book titled, “Funky: an intellectual lecture of fun by Daniel, Julien and Katha.”
I found that the d-pad allows navigation through the mini-map, and the leaves of trees on the map reflect different species. I ventured out again, and my chainsaw struck the bark of a larger tree to fell.
I placed chokers* on the log, connected it to the horse, but my hayburner* tilted up and walked backwards into the ground, as if ninety degree angles were nothing, terms such as “gravity” and “physics” held no sway over this now-mystical being. My icon on the mini-map was superimposed with a horseshoe logo. I fast-traveled to the home office, where I experienced the same thing. This horseshoe icon still rested on top of the green cursor arrow.
I feel tainted forever by the horseshoe of ill omens. My horse reappeared magically at the appointed location as if nothing untoward had ever occurred. “Come along, little apparition horse… Let’s haul some logs…”
Now that I had been told how to take screenshots on a console, I learned that while the trees I hauled to the selling area disappeared, the money I needed did not reappear in my credit balance. I couldn’t get paid until I reached a warehouse! I consulted my mini map to find one, but I did not see it.
Aimless wandering around town yielded little. Although I saw the logo for a warehouse on the mini-map, there was no corresponding warehouse logo in the town portion, or any portion of the mini-map. I did locate one with the words along the ground, lining the entrance as if it were a welcome mat. As my credits raced toward zero, I wondered how my employee was doing on their reforestation efforts. (I feared that was going to be an issue and am glad to see that it is being addressed. Let’s hope this invisible employee was not a short staker*.)
Twice I have murdered a tree too large for my horse to drag to a designated location to sell. In the words of fallers* since time immemorial: “I need to take my hayburner* back and buck* that tree, maybe that will work.” (You might say that this game had started to grow on me a little.)
I had a message, but hadn’t figured out how to receive it. There is a slight learning curve here that I need to overcome before I can fully enjoy the game. I suppress the urge to highball* downstairs and attempt to figure it out. I do like the premise and feel that an emphasis on replenishing the resources taken from nature is applaudable. I know, I know. Ink slingers* would yell at me for slacking.
The impish side of me wants to spend all day razing the virtual earth instead. Since I do not have all day to devote to this task, I will perhaps dedicate 20 minutes to the evergreens on the East side of town. DEATH TO FOREST. This timberbeast* will not be tamed. Will I be penalized somehow? We’ll find out. I glance at several scathing reviews on Steam, I see that these reviews were posted long before the PS4 version had been released, and some of those issues have been addressed.
Despite the patching that has been done, this game still has a little farther to go before I would call it polished and ready for release. Similar to writing or any other creative endeavor, the proofing and editing processes are constant before a label of completion can be applied with confidence. Even then, any flaws will continue to reveal themselves. There is passion here. I can see the form it wants to take. It could have used a little more grace before being rushed out into the world. Despite those flaws, I encourage the team that developed this game to address the present issues – this version is so close to being whole.
I want to see a more thorough approach to repairing these hairline fractures and look forward to Forestry 2018.
I have received a complimentary copy of this Forestry Simulation game.
Buck: to cut a tree into lengths after it has been felled
Chokers: cables hooked around logs for removal
Faller: the man who downs the trees, a very dangerous job. He is obliged to shut off the saw and shout a warning just before the tree falls. This is never, ever, “Timber”, but maybe “Look out!”, “Headache!”, etc.
Hayburner: a horse
Highball: to hurry
Ink slinger: a logging camp timekeeper
Short staker (or boomer): a worker who quits after earning a small sum
Timberbeast: a wild and unruly logger.