Forestry 2017 is a simulator game where the player acts as a stereotypical lumberjack who must build up a company through the cutting and selling of trees. The player goes out searching for trees, accompanied by a horse companion, with their trusted chainsaw and cuts the trees to haul them back to the mill. A simple concept with a realistic, natural setting. Living in flatlands, surrounded by nondescript mountainous ranges, the location resembles a small suburban American farming community, just without the community.
You can run around and explore the area, looking for trees. Then bring the horse with you to haul back the supplies. Once he is in the vicinity of your company, the log disappears and you gain skill points, which help your production value. Over time you can upgrade, from a horse to a truck, tractor, pick-up or crane. Once you level up you are able to use skill sets to increase the value of delivery, wake up earlier in the day and lower the cost of employee wages. You can also start to expand your real estate options, buying new buildings that give you access to employees, parking space and increase the value of business. It truly is a literal and real game from the get go. The intention is to create a successfully running business to the best of your ability. But with the game’s premise, solely to collect wood and bring it back to the mill for production, Forestry 2017 immediately impends boredom.
From the start you are expected to know how to operate the game. There is no instruction or introductory trial to show you the ropes of the game and its logistics. Whilst this gives you the chance to explore, practice and learn your way through it, you will find yourself pressing buttons at random just to understand the purpose of each one. They do have pop-up prompts when you approach certain locations but other than that, you are largely on your own. The game is one of discovery and learning, which is a positive in a way, but doesn’t seem to undo the boredom.
Unfortunately Forestry 2017 also suffers from numerous glitches throughout the game-play and almost appears to be in the testing phases. The graphics are limited and movement is basic. Sometimes the horse can get stuck, you can end up with an elevated vehicle and the chainsaw often doesn’t seem to even have a saw attached to it. It also appears to be no problem to cut the wood and leave it in the middle of the roads while you work, which although not a glitch, bugs me on principle.
Hours move in minutes, like in the Sims, so getting the job done will go through day and into the darkened evening, making it harder to find your lumber. The torch barely allows you to see into the darkness and even once upgraded to a tractor, we have a similar problem. You can lose navigation and get lost in the frustration of it all. In those cases it is simply better to call it a day and start over for the next one. Finding it so hard to navigate the dark is a problem. If it were slightly more accessible, at least the game could gain some diversity.
Overall if you enjoy the day to day process of building a woodcutting empire, this may be the game for you. However, be aware of it’s limitations and be prepared to get frustrated. Forestry 2017 has plus points and it is initially interesting to learn the ropes of the game-play but once wandering and exploring, you will quickly learn how limited your options become.