People often seek a second life in video games. Some even live it. Jump into the boots of a great assassin and slay everyone and everything in your sight when you’re angry or grab a bag full of magic potions and heal everyone on a great battlefield. Sell enchanted swords, run for the money, hurry up to kill as many as you can... All of this in order to level up, to progress in the game. A quest to show you’re better than anyone and everyone else.
In the end, these games that were supposed to be fun end up being plain frustrating, or even worse – deadly. If you are looking for a peaceful place to run to in the end of the day, The Endless Forest is a place for you.
First of all, The Endless Forest is a MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) – but you don’t necessarily need to be connected in order to play. You install it as a screensaver, but you can download a simple launcher and run the game like any other. After you’ve downloaded and installed the game, it’s time to register. The name you register with is not that important, because no-one can see your name. What they see is a glyph, a little symbol you choose for yourself in the process of registration.
Game installed, name registered – good! It’s time to launch it and play with numerous options (if you’re up to it, of course). The first thing you will see in the options menu is the latest news, so you will be informed about the newest version of the game as soon as it comes out. Among other options are the standard ones – display, sound, controls. The Display tab is the most amusing one, in my opinion. You can adjust everything to the tiniest details – model detail, environment, reflections, shadows... The most beautiful option is softness, or blur. If you’re going for a more realistic look, just turn it off completely. If you want a dreamy, magical look, just push the slider up! Be mindful not to go overboard or you will not be able to see what the heck is happening on the screen. Once you’re satisfied with the way your game looks, it’s time to play.
You start as a male deer. If you are logged in, the glyph you chose will shine in-between your beautiful antlers, and you will be able to see other players. The forest you are about to explore has many beautiful regions and many secrets. Follow the little icons placed in the border around your screen and you will find The First Forest, The Ename Ruin, The Pond and a local hangout, a forest disco of some sort, and The Old Oak.
Encountered a deer or two on your little trip around the forest? Excellent! This is where you whip out the actions strip located at the bottom of your screen and test some Forest Activities. Greet the other deer by bowing, give them puzzled looks if they look funny, dance (the more deer dancing, the louder the music) and roll around the grass laughing. The fun has just begun!
You might want to use Forest Magic to change other deer’s faces, body, antlers, or completely morph them. That’s right – YOU choose the other deer’s looks, and they do the same for you. Each time you use magic, you get a different (and completely random) result. One can acquire magical powers by eating a yummy mushroom, or sleeping next to another deer. If you want the ultimate power – morphing – you will have to find an enchanted mushroom circle and lay still for a while.
If there’s no-one around to change you, explore the forest because it holds many, many secrets that are up to you to discover. Good news is: collision is off. You will be able to walk through trees and stones, a puffy cloud surrounding you. If you decide to walk through another deer, a pretty gold shine and a garland of flowers will appear around you. Beautiful, isn’t it?
Once you’ve had enough of being transformed (or wearing vintage vinyl players on top of your head – don’t ask...), just find the pond and dip your deer counterpart into cold water and swim among the water lilies. All magic will wear off in an instant and you’ll come out clean and refreshed.
Being logged in has many advantages, Abiogenesis being a huge one. It is a system that allows the creators to control the game and change it to their likings in real-time – you won’t know what happened until you’ve logged in! They control day and night, rain and sun, even nature. The other day, I ran into a field of giant dandelions and mushrooms. I had the luck to run into the first Abiogenesis Festival on my first time playing the game. It’s the time when Twin Gods (giant deer) appear and perform miracles. There were fireworks, rainbows, huge disco balls, and a rain of petals. The gods danced among other deer and changed them into white doves at some point. It was breathtaking.
I find this game incredibly soothing. When I’m sad and tired, I take a run around the forest or sit inside the Old Oak, listening to gentle music. If I’m lonely, I connect and dance with other deer. If I feel like being lonely, I log out and walk around all alone. There’s something amazing about spending time in a forest, even if it’s a virtual one. I love zooming in and admiring all the tiny details creators put in – emerald frogs, doves, sparkly fireflies and butterflies flying around flower fields. The atmosphere is simply amazing.
The only serious problem with this game is the log-in issues. The server crashes every now and then, making it impossible to log in. But there’s always good in bad – the creators are constantly in touch with other users through the official game forum and are working on improving the game on a daily basis. If you experience any problems, or have suggestions, just post them there – your idea just might get accepted. This is one big thumbs-up to the creators – just keep it up! It’s nice to know that the Twin Gods are watching over us night and day.
You can visit The Endless Forest Web site to download the game.