A downloadable game for Windows

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The badass of the boreal forest plunges headfirst into the snow to kill seven times a day. You are the world's largest owl, the great grey, and it's about to get real. Bear witness to the circle of life, experience the owl's harrowing plight, the peace and quiet and beauty of flight. Prepare for the worst, because this winter is most inhospitable and survival is not guaranteed.

Explore the Boreal Forest

Survive a week as a great grey owl by overcoming winter storms, threat of starvation, and a challenging environment.

Watch the Environment Dev Diary Video Here

Fly as a Great Grey Owl

Flight and hunting mechanics are modeled after a great grey owl, and fine-tuned to share as close to the real thing as the human mind can take tolerate in VR.

Watch the Flight Mechanics Dev Diary Video Here

Independent Creatures & A Dynamic Environment

Game play, environments, animals, weather systems, and life cycle are grounded by scientific research and first-hand knowledge. Guaranteed free of fake news.

Our voles are powered by artificial intelligence – they forage, they hear and see your approach, and they will run and hide. Eat 'em up fast as you can.

Watch the Populating The Environment Dev Diary Video Here

A Beautiful and Engaging Natural World

With an art style inspired by Nature itself and Impressionist Paintings, and relaxing ambient music and narration, lose yourself in the peacefulness of the Boreal Forest

Watch the Concept Art Development Dev Diary Video

Phantom of the Forest is a family game – no hurt, no hate, no gore, no weapons, no nasty business. The documentary-style narration uses story to entertain and inform. Unlock the phantom's secrets and access superpowers.

(Prototype version requires a gamepad such as a PS4 or XBox to control the great grey owl )

Watch the Tutorial Video Here for an overview of the Controls

Basic Controls:

  • Left Stick Left/Right - Turn Left/Right (Yaw)
  • Left Stick Up/Down - Dive/Climb (Pitch)
  • Left Trigger - Brake
  • Right Trigger - Hold to flap wings

Advanced Controls:

  • A button(Xbox) or X (Playstation) - Snow plunge (to hunt voles)

Additional Controls:

  • Q - Quit
  • R - Reset VR Orientation

Development Status

This prototype of Phantom of the Forest was built in Unity and tested with Oculus VR. Our team at Electric Monk Media has developed this game part-time over the past twelve months. We have received support for this project from the Canadian government through a NRC – IRAP youth green program.

Our lead developer, Dylan, was a Kickstarter backer of Oculus and has been working with VR flight simulators from day one. We have demoed versions of our owl game thousands of times and in cooperation with folks like Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), Nature Manitoba, FortWhyte Alive, Red River College, and C4 Comic Con.

Our long-term goal is to create a mainstream PC and console version of Phantom of the Forest that approaches nature's reality and includes challenges at each stage of the lifecycle from owlet to parent. Our short-term goal is to fully realize the capabilities of the great grey owl and to improve the breadth and depth of the experience in our vertical slice.

Advanced Game Features

This is the first and only place to play this prototype release of Phantom of the Forest. As we meet our financial goals through the tip jar, we will implement the following features:

1. Independent Controls for the Owl's Head

A great grey owl can rotate its head up to 270 degrees. We've designed the model to support this head rotation but we need a little extra effort to pull it all together. With those controls in place, you can test the owl's remarkable sense of hearing, as you expand your hunting skills and seek out the sounds of voles gnawing and scratching under the snow's surface. We're putting in the IK anyway, so we will also enable the great grey's legs to grasp voles directly (allowing for new camera angles of the hunt).

2. Songbirds and a Murder of Crows

The boreal forest will come alive with chickadees, nuthatches, and song sparrows as we build the atmosphere and increase interaction. We will add flee and flock behaviours and source high-quality audio recordings of the bird calls. In the boreal forest, the crows may pester a great grey owl, but come spring the great grey owl will takeover a crow's nest to raise its' young.

3. Owl Perch and Hunt from Perch

The great grey owl model requires upgrades to fold its wings when perching, as well as updates to the world and the flight controller to allow the owl to land and take off again. This work builds off the independent controls for the owl's head, adding realism and a place to chill and take in the sights and sounds of the forest.

4. Great Horned Owl Encounters

The great horned owl is one of the few known enemies of the great grey owl. It will compete for voles and may become territorial and attack. Learn it's distinct calls and adjust your hunting plans accordingly. Find it's prime hunting grounds and swoop in to catch voles before it can react.

5. Cinematic Experiences

Within The Phantom of the Forest, we want to boost the camera capabilities; allowing for multiple camera angles, cut-scene style shots when hunting, and additional playable camera modes. These features will add to the richness of the boreal forest experience and will help you appreciate the power and grace of a great grey owl's snow plunge.

6. Female Great Grey Owl Encounters

It's only natural; those springtime urges to seek out a mate. The introduction of a female to the environment hints at our long-term goal of blending survival mode and lifecycle mode over a full calendar year. The intent is to build the story behind Phantom of the Forest and include more variety of gameplay. This feature work involves creating in-game cinematic cut-scenes and crafting the final challenge: capture the prize vole and deliver it to the female owl to secure the mating bond. (And please note that future releases may allow you to choose to play as either the male or the female great grey owl.)

Vote on your favorite features below in the comments!


  • Dylan Fries – Lead Developer
  • Michael Sanders – Art Director
  • John Toone – Writer
  • Kevin Whitmore – Lead Programmer
  • Devin Reimer – Lead Artist & Programmer
  • Mike Safioles – 3D Artist
  • David Oro – Concept Art
  • Marc Greene – Assistant Editor
  • Fred McEvoy - Narration
  • Dr. Robert W. Nero – Inspiration
  • Robert R. Taylor – Inspiration

Sharing: Please feel free to stream or post gameplay footage as long as you credit Electric Monk Media and provide a link back to our Phantom Of The Forest Itch Page. Thanks for your interest, I hope you like it!

Published Feb 21, 2017
Release date Mar 18, 2017
AuthorElectric Monk Media
GenreAction, Survival
Made withOculus Rift
Tags3D, bird, Difficult, Exploration, Flight, nature, Oculus Rift, owl, Virtual Reality (VR)
Average sessionAbout a half-hour
InputsGamepad (any), Oculus Rift
LinksTwitter, Homepage


Download NowName your own price

Click download now to get access to the following files:

phantom-of-the-forest-win.zip 200 MB
Version 0.8.11
owl_build_vr_may10 2017-05-17 15-32-49-78.png 2 MB

Development log


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(1 edit)

This game is honestly amazing. One of the best simulations I've ever played- I downloaded software just to be able to play this with my Playstation controller. One thing I feel like I have to mention is that when I dive, it seems like a 50/50 change that I'll get stuck, and have to re-start. I can flap, I can hover, and I can move, but I'm seemingly glued to the spot. Took me a while to learn how to get the voles, which wasn't boring at all- but it was rather frustrating to have to restart it and start over whenever I got glictched. Grezt game nonetheless, and the aesthetics are matched by none.

Hey, thanks for the kind words! You should be able to hit the flap trigger to break off the ground. We could definitely loosen that up though so you could break free easier. Thanks for the kind feedback and especially thanks for the controls feedback, Its hard to know what people are having trouble with but very important for us to find out!


3D TV VR box video side by side Phantom of the forest


Hey Mitch, Thanks for trying it out! I Hope you enjoyed your owl experience!

And thank you, half the mice with pleasure. :)