The Dark Forest surrounds your Village in the main game. Later you will find Portals to other Forests, but this is the main Forest that you will Search on a regular basis throughout the game. Searching the Dark Forest achieves two things:

  1. It clears space for the expansion of your Village
  2. You discover Quest Buildings and Quest Special Items that you need for the completion of Quests

Note: You MUST have a Quest that tells you to Search the Forest. Otherwise you will only find Treasure Chests and Small Trees, which are pretty worthless when compared to the Axes you just spent finding them. The ONLY worthwhile things you will find during a Search of the Forest are the exact items that are presently showing in your list of Quests.

The Quest list will usually show an Axe or Binoculars, indicating that you need to Search the Forest. When you open the screen describing that Quest, if the instructions seem a bit cryptic, click on the instruction box. It will turn over and tell you exactly what to do, such as "Search the Forest", or "Explore the Cave", or "Search the Spooky Forest". Make sure you search the specific Forest it tells you to.

It takes an average to 2 Axes to find an item in the Forest, but can on rare occassions take as many as 4. If you find nothing after 4 searches, something is wrong. Most likely you have no current Quest that requires a Search.

If you have multiple Quests requiring a Search, then you cannot know or control which item you will find first, or in what order you will find things.

The Quest items you are Searching for are not in a specific location. For example, in the first Quest, when you Free Papa, you will find him in your first Search of the Forest, no matter what part of the Dark Forest you actually click on. So, when Searching, just clear the part of the Forest that best fits with your plans for expansion of your Village.