In this preview, we will explore the gameplay mechanics and graphical aspects of the Forest Ranger Simulator by FreeMind Games. For starters, it offers a rare perspective of a forest ranger’s life. The developers also try to portray the challenges faced by rangers, such as littering and illegal logging, uniquely. However, I feel that they missed the target of delivering an enjoyable forest ranger simulator.
Additionally, Forest Ranger Simulator requires players to do everything from crafting and buying/selling items to cleaning up trash, without any quick and concise guides. As a result, Forest Ranger Simulator might feel like a chore instead of a game.
Forest Ranger Simulator is available as an Early Access game on Steam for $5.99.
Story: Straight Into the Forest
For those who are looking to enjoy a story in Forest Ranger Simulator, unfortunately, there are none. Of course, we can expect that the game won’t have any story due to its simulation nature. Instead, we are given the opportunity to explore a lush and expansive forest landscape where you can decide the story and the forest’s fate.
I do have to compliment FreeMind Games because the backstory that they provided is quite believable and gives a context as to why we are playing as a forest ranger. Overall, Forest Ranger Simulator doesn’t have and needs an in-depth story to support the structure of the game.
Gameplay: Tedious and Boring
Unfortunately, the Simulation feel of the Forest Ranger Simulator is extremely terrible, and despite its potential, the controls and gameplay mechanics feel clunky and unpolished. Also, the explorations in this game are heavily limited, as we can only traverse the massive forest by foot (an option to purchase a Truck exists, but the Item is incredibly expensive).
In Forest Ranger Simulator, there are plenty of chances to craft items, both in a workbench or a special workbench for larger items. Although crafting features offer some enjoyment, they don’t always feel rewarding.
For instance, I tried to craft a birdhouse in the Crafting Bench, however, the game doesn’t tell me where to find a Bundle of Sticks and how to gather them. I also tried tinkering and searching the Map function for some clues, but there were none. This left me with a sense of frustration because I can’t craft things as fast as I hoped.
Another aspect that is available in Forest Ranger Simulator is Item transactions. There’s a PC in our cabin that acts as a shopping hub that we can use to purchase or sell items, including necessities and tools.
Personally, I have no issues with this mechanic, they’re easy to use and relatively straightforward: When you Buy an Item, after purchasing one, you need to wait for a few moments before the Item you bought arrives at your ranger house; and the same applies when you’re Selling an Item.
One thing that I find jarring though, is the inability to use the Esc key to quit the PC Interface, as the UI forces us to click the tiny button on the left side as seen in the picture below.
Another prominent aspect of the Forest Ranger Simulator is the ability to traverse the massive landscape and do many tasks, such as cutting wood, feeding the birds in the birdhouse, and clearing up any bear traps that are laying around.
I have to commend the developers as I feel that this aspect is one of the stronger aspects of the game, as we can traverse the forest freely without having to worry about region lock. However, the travel options are minimal, since the available options as of now are walking or purchasing a truck, which is extremely expensive due to the game’s economic nature.
Graphics and Sound: A Flawed Beauty
One area where I must commend Forest Ranger Simulator is its graphics. The environment is beautiful, and I can immerse myself in the lush forest landscape the game provides. Although the visuals are impressive, Forest Ranger Simulator‘s performance issues lead to occasional frame drops and stuttering during my playthrough.
The sound design in Forest Ranger Simulator is also passable, with ambient noises and sound effects that help to create a sense of immersion. However, sometimes the music stops abruptly during my playthrough, which always distracts me momentarily.
Overall, Forest Ranger Simulator provides a beautiful and well-crafted environment paired with relaxing pieces of music that unfortunately are riddled with issues. Still, for a game that is still in Early Access, Forest Ranger Simulator‘s arrival came quite smoothly, giving a decent experience for all kinds of players.
Forest Ranger Simulator is previewed on PC with a review code provided by FreeMind Games.