I’ve written about this game before… but it’s about time I touch on it again.
In short, the Endless Forest is a game that isn’t a game – there is no goal hereâ€¦ no slaying of vicious enemies and no gathering of gold. Instead, it is a peaceful, wonderful environment you can spend time in when the real world feels stressful and pressing.
You play a deerâ€¦ and within this forest, you will encounter other deer – and the only ways you can communicate is through what language the deer have. You moo, you scratch, you sniff and you dance.
With the latest update of the game ( 2.0 ) there are new areas to exploreâ€¦ there are pinecones to munch on and frogs to follow – or become! There are things to gather so that when you encounter another deer in the forest, you can change their appearance. Give their antlers a garland of flowers, perhaps, or make a mask like a leopard for their face. That’s right, in the Endless Forest – you don’t get to pick what you look like. Others do it for you.
I can’t praise this game enough. It does not have the hectic, frantic rhythm of regular games but instead encourages a sense of curiosity and gentleness. It instills you with quiet glee as you and a fellow deer jump around one another in happy surprise to meet by the waterfall, or as you quack and swim around the pond for the first time. It’s a game you play when you’ve had a rough dayâ€¦ and not to take out your anger on some stupid enemies, but to communicate wordlessly or to simply take a stroll through a forest where strange and magical things sometimes happens. Most of all, it’s a game that dares to be truly different.
I can’t help but applaud the creators.
The first deer I run into carries a garland of red flowers in its antlers. For a while, we strut around one another. We do a little dance, we run through a field of flowersâ€¦ and when we stop, there is a strange, lovely sound and the other deer flares in bright gold – followed by the same light around meâ€¦ when the glow fades, we both have garlands in our antlers. Excited, I roll on the grass to show my gratitude.
For a while, I keep company with two others, and we explore the forest together. One is more cheerful and friendly, and before I know itâ€¦ there is a spark, a burst of gold, and my coat changes from brown to red. The other one has a leopard’s face, and when it calls out, the sound is eerie and ghostlike – different from the sound I make. I follow this one for a time, curious about its strange face.
It is only when I’ve changed garlands a few more times and rested next to another deer for a while – to change the colour of its coat – that I decide that enough is enough and it’s best I close the program down before I become obsessed.
I miss my deer-self when I shut down. I want to shake my antlers, stomp my feet and moo my merry heart out – typing feels dull and unemotional.