Steam Game Review – Force of Nature

Force of Nature is an open world crafting game with a level system and multiplayer options. Players gain levels by building up resources and defeating monsters. Higher levels mean stat increases and additional crafting recipes.

Release Date: December 13th, 2016
Developer: A.Y.std
Publisher: A.Y.std
Format: PC Game
Playtime so far: 6 hours

Character stands in front of house, well, and farm while surrounded by trees

Gather resources to craft recipes and explore the island

Major Pros:

  • Exploration and Map
  • Unlocks by level are helpful

Minor Pros:

  • Portals!
In-game window text: check your inventory! some items have been lost. 1 jug, 1 violet

Death in non-hardcore mode results in random inventory items lost. They cannot be recovered.

Major Cons:

  • Weird Controls
  • Tutorial lacks key information

Minor Cons:

  • No object customization or terraforming
Character stands before stick hut, cooking table, and anvil with rooster and chicken nearby

Some animals can be tamed to gather resources, but they have to be protected from predators

Force of Nature is played with a static map. Players start washed up on a beach with no tools and begin to craft items like rope and stone knives. Quests guide the player to craft new items and are required to gain levels and unlock new recipes. Gaining levels also increases some base stats, such as passive regeneration and movement speed.

Character examines increased health and stamina regeneration after leveling up

Stats steadily increase with level up

Leveling up increases a player’s combat ability and unlocks new tools to explore the map with. I enjoyed exploring the map and finding resource pockets. The map is laid out very naturally which I really appreciated. Nothing felt forced or devoid of stuff to interact with. It’s also important to have an idea of the nearby terrain, so that kiting one enemy doesn’t turn into a swarm. Enemies don’t give up just because players run far away.

Character hides behind trees along the water while watching a goblin

The landscape didn’t feel empty, but it was hard to enjoy with the unchangeable vision limit

Unfortunately I had a lot of problems with Force of Nature. The first major thing was that the tutorial leaves out a lot of vital information. For example, it doesn’t tell you that you can kick plants to get resources from them before you have the ability to cut them down. Kicking isn’t something a player is likely to accidentally discover either, because it’s only doable by using right-click when the character has nothing in hand. This isn’t listed in the key binds and cannot be rebound. The tutorial also fails to mention that every object can be destroyed, but only by the player. So enemies won’t run through ferns, although neither can the player. There’s also no mention of the different types of stone and metals or how to identify them.

Character kicks a fern

Kicking ferns is necessary to complete the tutorial, but the kicking mechanic is never mentioned

In general the controls for Force of Nature felt awkward. To get objects names to appear on screen, the player has to hold a button and then loses the ability to look back and forth (although they can still move). Why do they lose the ability to look around? Because the mouse pops up and is then use to click on objects to pick them, click on crafting stations to open their menus (there’s no hotkey for this), or in general just use any menu in the game because they aren’t keyboard navigable. This is also the case when any Build, Quest, etc menu is on screen, which also forcibly brings up the Inventory and Character windows.

Character continues to move while the map window is up, even though it covers where they're going

Characters can move while any window is up, but it will eat all mouse input

Levels unlock new recipes, including cool items like portals which can be used to traverse further on the map. Unfortunately I didn’t see any items which could be used to create fun interactions and flex a player’s creativity. There’s also no options to customize items. When building a hut for example, there’s a single recipe for hut instead of wall and floor pieces a player can use to build something they can feel proud of. There’s also no ability to terraform the map, even slightly.

Character stands on top of a portal named andromeda

Portals allow characters to teleport around the map, but can’t be placed too close together

Overall I felt the execution and polish of Force of Nature was lacking. The customization and creativity of a crafting game was also missing. I enjoyed the incorporation of quests and leveling as an interesting take on the crafting / survival genre, but ultimately I felt the game was too weak in the core features. I would only recommend this game to players really hurting for another crafting game.

Find this game at the publisher’s website or on Steam.

2 replies

  1. I think you just booted up the game expecting one thing and getting something completely different and that caught you off guard. The fact that you aren’t familiar with the controls and the “lack” of two game mechanics that you EXPECTED but didn’t get are your cons? Really? I’m not here to bash on you but maybe next time you “review” a game, boot it up without any expectations. 😉

    Like

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