Forest Ranger Simulator is a brand new Kickstarter game all about saving nature. Currently under development by FreeMind Games – a Polish development team, release is planned for Q2 2023. So far the title has raised £2,582 of it’s £7,550 goal, with 179 backers and 20 days to go. Check it out here; Forest Ranger Simulator Kickstarter.
Stats as of 22nd Jan 2023, subject to change
Forest Ranger Simulator is a first person, exploration sim game about managing a forest. Play as a ranger, manage resources, pick up trash and tend to the environment in this relaxing and thought provoking experience. Played from the first person perspective, players control a pretty basic camera setup. A lack of character body animations means interacting with objects works similar to the old Oblivion system, with things just floating in front of the camera.
The game currently features two modes; “Sandbox” and “Quest Path”. In Sandbox mode, we’re able to freely explore forests and go about our duties as we please. In Quest Path mode, things are a lot more structured… Objectives are linear and come one after the other, seeing the player pick up trash, clear forest areas and purchase new equipment. The presence of a fully functioning fire extinguisher makes me feel like forest fires may be a thing, though I haven’t encountered one yet.
In sandbox mode, things are more do-as-you-please. Honestly I preferred the structure of the Quest Path myself, particularly while learning the game.
One thing we’re not able to do is enter water (yet), but it feels like something which might be added in future. Some pond maintenance activities would certainly add to the game! Maybe removing plastic waste, building habitats for critters and bugs or creating water features to promote guest activity… Rebuilding this old bridge might already be in the game, maybe I just haven’t unlocked it yet?
Graphics & Audio
Graphically, Forest Ranger Simulator is comparable to games like The Forest, though a lot brighter and certainly less scary. Playing on my usual rig; rtx 3070, Ryzen 5, 32GB RAM, the game plays well. Some FPS drops and lighting issues are noticeable, but it’s still early days.
Audibly, the devs have opted for a range of chilled, relaxing music to accompany the calming forest sounds. Background music sets a happy, upbeat atmosphere with a lighter look on things, inviting exploration. However, some of the sound tracks can be a little bit distracting – particularly in Quest Path when trying to read objectives. They certainly suit the Sandbox mode better. I recommend turning the music volume down a tad – but not all the way, it’s well worth having on.
Unfortunately, there’s a few bugs in the game sound, such as music tracks which will randomly turn on and off. Considering this is a Kickstarter demo though, we can very much forgive these minor issues. I’m sure the devs will have this ironed out in no time.
Having two different game modes really helps build longevity into the game. Being able to come home from work, and spend an hour wandering the forest and just randomly doing as you please in Sandbox mode, is really nice. Alternatively, having the linear progression of Quest Path mode offers more structured gameplay and gives a real sense of achievement. You’re physically able to see the difference you’re making to each section of the forest. Combining the two modes together means Forest Ranger Simulator offers more content, without offering more content. Does that make sense?
Though I haven’t checked into this.. the controls are setup in such a way that VR could be in the pipeline. Nothing in the current build would block VR being added in future, so maybe we’ll get to see that one day?
As it stands, I see Forest Ranger Simulator as a game to spend an hour or so playing after work, to chill out and de-stress. Explore the game at your own pace and leisurely become a fully fledged ranger.
Forest Ranger Simulator is a relaxing, gentle game with a thought provoking message. At a time when we’re all trying to reduce our negative impact on the environment, games like this can really help to educate and raise awareness for important issues. We often forget that the gaming industry has it’s part to play, and projects like this are a step in the right direction. Kudos, FreeMind Games.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.