Originally set for a release back in May of 2022, developer Endnight Games chose to delay Sons Of The Forest twice, before making the decision to launch it in Steam Early Access on the 23rd of February. Sales for the game have been impressive so far, with Endnight Games reporting two million copies sold within 24 hours of its launch date.
So far, I have played 25 hours worth of Sons Of The Forest with a few friends. The game can be played single-player, but supports up to eight people in a co-op session. Similar to Valheim, Sons Of The Forest’s co-op currently requires one person to host a server. When the host leaves, the session ends and everyone gets booted, progress is saved on the host's computer. Endnight Games has said that dedicated servers are something they are looking into.
Like in the series previous entry (The Forest), Sons Of The Forest has a story for the player to follow, but it is quite forgettable. In the first game your plane crashes on a cannibal and mutant-infested peninsula, your mission is to rescue your son (Timmy) who is abducted shortly after the crash. This at least could provide some emotional connection to the story even if it was slight. In Sons Of The Forest you are tasked with rescuing Puffcorp CEO Edward Puffton, his wife Barbara, and their daughter Virginia. I can’t say that I care much about rescuing some super rich CEO to be honest. They have been missing for three weeks on an island that Puffcorp bought for the purpose of mining certain resources — I guess no one told them Sahara Therapeutics (the evil company behind the mutant monsters) had really messed the place up.
Gameplay in Sons Of The Forest is a natural evolution from the first game. Players will need to build a shelter, collect food and resources, as well as craft weapons to defend themselves, all while under constant threat from the many cannibal tribes and monsters on the island. Maintaining your hunger, thirst, and sleep is also very important to your survival. Several new features have been added, and more are expected to be implemented as early access continues. Presently, NPC companions (Kelvin and Virginia), dynamic weather systems, and the use of guns all set Sons Of The Forest apart from its predecessor. The sequel also incorporates advances to the way you can build a shelter (or in some cases an entire fort), but notably a few previous constructs (such as the water collector) are currently missing from the game. I want to mention I was quite shocked by Sons Of The Forest’s dynamic weather system. A friend and I went to sleep in our cabin one night, and when we awoke we found snow covering everything. Suffice to say, I was not expecting that.
During my time with Sons Of The Forest, a few bugs were discovered by those I was playing with. A user-interface glitch affected three of us, requiring a complete shutdown and restart of the game in order to fix. A duplication glitch was also discovered — that allowed us to create infinite logs we could use for base building. Perhaps worse than anything else, my brain damaged NPC companion Kelvin got himself stuck under a rock for several hours. Not even a restart of the game could fix him. I was fortunate the matter corrected itself eventually, others from what I have seen online, have not been so lucky. As this is Early Access these types of issues are to be expected, Endnight Games has been issuing frequent small hotfixes (five as of the writing of this preview) to address bugs as they get reported. They have also been paying attention to player feedback, having recently implemented a hotkey system for items after it was heavily requested, and making the opening sequence skippable.
If you have been on the fence about picking this title up, let me just say that I have enjoyed my time immensely with Sons Of The Forest, and look forward to Endnight Games improving upon what is already a pretty great time.