Among Trees is a survival and exploration game
from FJRD Interactive in which you explore a vast wooded land, filled with bountiful nature, forgotten landmarks and dangerous predators.
You start off in the middle of the forest with nothing but your own two hands, your backpack, and your surroundings. As you start to walk around, picking up anything you can find, you notice that behind you is the option to build a cabin.
This cabin is the center of the game, and where all the elements that make it unique stem from. To get the original cabin built, it doesn’t take much. Just a few wood planks and some sticks, and you have a humble abode to live in. This is where you sleep, save, and can store a few materials.
When you first enter the cabin, you will quickly notice the option to build one of two key rooms: The crafting room and the cooking room. Both are integral to the gameplay and it’s one thing that sets Among Trees apart from other games. The cabin is a physical and visual representation of what your character is currently capable of. Currently the cabin has 5 additional rooms after the main room that can be built: Cooking, Crafting, Storage, Sewing, and Greenhouse. Each one serves to guide the player to adventure out further without the limitations the game originally brings.
In the bottom right corner of the screen are four gauges that you must always be watching if you want to fare well in the forest: Food, Stamina, Sleep, and Temperature. Each one is directly related to the character and will change how you play depending on how well equipped you are. Hunger is by far the most important, especially at the beginning, when you can’t cook food. You will quickly be scavenging the forest ground for mushrooms, berries and anything that will fill your hunger bar.
As you start to venture out, the game will show you dangers very quickly. The presence of the bear is the greatest of them all: capable of ending your life instantly if you aren’t quiet, and being much larger than you, it creates the true sense of danger when you come near it, but the rewards you get for successfully sneaking around one are worth it. There are a few other dangers, such as poison, bees or bleeding, but neither pose as great a threat as the bear.
The best part about the game is its visuals and soundtrack. The game is truly best experienced with headphones on, no distractions, just immersed in the world. Among Trees is colorful, vibrant, and serene all at the same time while providing this sense of curiosity without giving you any instruction. The color palette used makes you wanna see what lies further beyond what you can see, and it tests your skills as you venture further, but greatly rewards you with the sights you get to see. The game truly shines in its beauty, but is greatly complimented by its peaceful soundtrack. The light and calming tones always made me feel like I was in the world that the game had built.
One issue I had with the game is the way it handles saving. As far as I discovered, there is only one place to save, being your cabin, which can be really far away from you at times, and if you die, you are forced to reload from your last save, instead of it being on an autosave function when something important happens. Many times I was out adventuring, died, and then was forced to replay 30 minutes more just to get back to where I was, which was incredibly frustrating.
The game also feels like it slows down significantly when the cabin is complete. After you complete it, there is only so much you can do. You can explore further than ever before, but I couldn’t seem to find a use for exploring really far out besides seeing the cool places. I had already built everything. There were a few decorations I was missing, but those weren’t necessary. The main thing that you can really do is get the extra clothing items, but the jump from completing the cabin to getting those supplies was huge. I hadn’t ever seen half the items needed to get some of the clothes.
I can highly recommend this game to anyone who is interested in a calm, laid back survival game with excellent visuals. If you like exploring, discovering, or games that evolve as you play them, this is definitely worth your time. While the game is still in Alpha, there is definitely more than enough content to make it worth your money and time. After completing the cabin, sewing a new clothing item, gathering all the blueprints and starting a farm in the greenhouse, I clocked in at around 7 hours.
Among Trees is a peaceful experience that puts visuals at the forefront, but has a lot of substance underneath. With the little issues I had with the game, and the continued updates it is getting, I feel that the only way this game can go is up.
Sooner Esports received a press copy of the game for free, but were not compensated for the review.
Played on PC using the Epic Games platform.