the forest cathedral

Outside of war, gaming is pretty lax at taking us to moments of our history. There are so many stories and experiences that could be immeasurably boosted by actually being there. Those moments don’t always have to involve fighting. 

The paucity of games exploring our past makes The Forest Cathedral even more special. It rewinds to the early 1960s, as you take the role of famed marine biologist Rachel Carson, as she exposes the dangers of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, or DDT, in her book Silent Spring. The chemical was re-created by Swiss chemist Paul Hermann Müller, who also plays a role in the game, in an effort to stamp out mosquitoes and their associated diseases. But as Rachel, you investigate the side-effects of DDT on fish, then birds, as the chemical worms its way up the food chain. 

All of this takes the form of a walking simulator mixed with – wait for it – a 2D platformer. This is the first inkling that maybe The Forest Cathedral isn’t quite one-to-one with history. As Rachel Carson, you are sent to ‘Science Island’ as a lone supervisor. But while we say ‘lone’, you do have the company of ‘Little Man’: a 2D sprite who can operate the machinery around the island. These play out as 2D platforming sequences projected onto PIP Boy-style terminals. This, as you may expect, is not true to the original story. 

We’ve played The Forest Cathedral and it is a trip. Even without the random 2D platforming sections, it’s a mind****, as the DDT quickly gets to Rachel Carson herself. Be prepared for some surreal imagery as you wander about the island. Our full review of The Forest Cathedral on Xbox Series X|S delivers the details you need. 

The key features of The Forest Cathedral on Xbox and PC include:

  • Unique blend of 2D platforming and 3D exploration
  • Dramatic reimagining of the story of Rachel Carson
  • Meticulously crafted forested island to explore
  • Fully voiced dialogue and narrative
  • Enchanting original soundtrack

Head to the Xbox Store and pick up an Xbox One or Xbox Series X|S version of the game. It’s also on PC through Steam

Game Description:

The Forest Cathedral is a first-person environmental thriller set on a remote island. Playing as scientist Rachel Carson, players will figure out why the island won’t let her leave. The game tells the reimagined story of the attempted silence of Rachel Carson leading up to her discoveries on the harmful pesticide known as DDT. Slowly uncover the effects of DDT in this dramatic reimagining of the story of Rachel Carson. Use advanced environmental technology to solve 2D/3D connected puzzles.

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