What do you get when you mix a chainsaw, a horse and a simulator? A 3D reskin of Cookie Clicker in a forest. Developed by SilentFuture (Zombie Gotcha and High On Racing) and released in 2016, Forestry 2017 is a game in which you run a woodcutting business and raise money to expand. You can then use this money to buy upgrades and hire workers.
Forestry 2017 contains no customisation. At the start of the game, you cannot design what your character looks like and you have to play as a set character. This wouldn’t be bad in a game with a narrative but character customisation should be essential in a simulator game like this with no voice acting.
You can also not customise what horse you have and you are forced to use a chainsaw to cut down trees. You don't start with an axe and then progress up, you start with a chainsaw.
Forestry 2017 is a game about woodcutting and the whole game is designed around that concept. You start off the game with a chainsaw and a horse and then you can chop down trees (there are three types of tree worth different amounts of money) and drag the wood from the tree using your horse to the warehouse where you sell it. You keep performing this routine to get more money and to expand your business.
The gameplay is Forestry 2017 is very basic. You use your chainsaw to cut down a tree and then you chop the tree into smaller pieces. You then drag the pieces of tree one by one using your horse to your warehouse where you sell them for money. The amount of money that they sell for is dependant on the type of tree. There is no difficulty involved in cutting down trees and there is a set path that the chainsaw follows meaning that you can't go wrong.
After you have enough money, you can buy new buildings for your business. Different buildings unlock more to buy such as vehicles and the ability to hire staff. Staff can replant trees or carry cut down wood to the warehouse for you. Vehicles can speed up the process of cutting down trees and the transportation process to the warehouse.
There is also a skills menu in the game. You gain experience by cutting down trees and then you level up. Each time that you level up, you get a skill point to spend to upgrade one of your skills. This skill system is very basic however and you just open the menu and press on a skill to upgrade it. There is no skills path and the skills have little effect in the game other than speed up some processes.
As I said above, Forestry 2017 is a very basic game. At the start of the game you cut down and drag a tree to the warehouse and then repeat these steps till you have enough money to buy something. When you have enough money, you can buy buildings and then use these buildings to hire staff or buy vehicles. This will increase the speed at which you will cut down trees and sell them. This is all there is to the game. Cut down trees, sell them and buy upgrades.
Graphics and sound
On the outside, the graphics are good. The day and night cycle looks good and the forests and building are detailed. However, after playing for a while you realises that most of the map is a copy and paste of the rest of it. The map is small yet there is nothing unique about it and all of it feels the same. The textures however are of good quality for a game of this scale. The lighting is done well with a high shadow quality however if you turn your flashlight on, the lights
The animation and physics in the game seem rushed. When your character is doing certain movements, his feet slide across the ground instead of walking and the chainsaw stays still while you cut down trees without any recoil. Parts of trees randomly fall through the floor and logs often fly around your screen when you drag them over bumps. This shows that the physics system of the game is outdated and not to today's standards.
The music is one of the good points about the game. The game has a small soundtrack of a few songs but these songs are well placed for when doing certain actions and they match the mood of the game. Sound effects also sound realistic however I have noticed that they often stop working for no apparent reason.
On the PS4 version of the game, actual in-game performance feels smooth with no frame rate drops even with the day and night cycle in effect. However, the problem is loading times. For the size of the game, loading times take exceptionally longer than I would expect and this detracts from the overall experience.
Menus and tutorials
At the start of the game, there is no tutorial and so you are thrown out into the game world without any clue what to do. When I first started, I found the controls difficult and I didn't know what to do as the game told you nothing. This left me with a bad first impression of the game.
The menus in the game don't have contrasting colours and it is often hard to tell what option your are scrolling over. This makes it difficult to navigate menus and change settings in the game.
Forestry 2017: The Simulation is a very basic repetitive game where you do the same thing over and over again. I wouldn't recommend this game to anyone unless you really want to play a woodcutting simulator. The game is £34.99 and I would not say that the game contains enough to be worth this amount. The game feels unfinished and rushed and a game in this state should be in alpha early access for £16.99 and not a fully finished game for £34.99. The lack of a tutorial and no difficulty curve left me with a bad impression of the game and without major updates, I more than likely won't be playing it again.
|+ Good graphics and lighting||– No Customisation|
|+ Well placed music and sound||– Basic Gameplay|
|– Very Expensive|
|– Rushed Animation|
|– Long loading times|
|– Difficult to use menus|