Have You Played… Sub Commander?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Sub Commander is a delight: a freeware roguelike set aboard a submarine in which your band of Russian officers are as likely to perish from malfunctioning underwater equipment as from enemy fire.

Each life begins with your underwater coffin bobbing by a nearby port. Ordering one of your men to check the radio will bring fresh orders, in the form of global coordinates to visit and a bogey to kill. You descend, make your way across the world map, and hope you don’t run into trouble before you find and destroy your target.

Trouble can come in many forms, be it enemy subs, enemy ships, or simply something important breaking while you’re submersed. You’ll quickly learn a set of standard operating procedures, ordering your officers to arm themselves with breathing apparatus or repair equipment so you can respond quickly to fires, radiation leaks or hull breaches. Still, disasters will mount one on top of another, such as a fire in the missile storage area causing explosions which breach your hull, and flood waters to fill your cabins, separate your men from repair equipment, and hamper your ability to surface.

I adore roguelikes, but I now tire quickly of stories of lone adventurers and fantasy settings. Sub Commander gives me something different, with all the drama and peril of permadeath, all the accuracy of a serious simulation game, and with controls and an interface that is surprisingly intuitive at times. At times. It’s already great fun as of version 0.25, is completely free, and plans to always be completely free. You can download it from this forum thread.


  1. Luringen says:

    Love this game. Got my submarine stranded 30m below the surface with heavy damages due to depth charges, and had to spend quite some time sending crew around sealing leaks, diving into compartments filled with water to patch holes, repair equipment and start the bilge pumps… Another fun thing is performing an emergency shutdown of the nuclear reactors and almost strangling the crew due to exhaust from the diesel generators… So many great moments in this game.

  2. Vegard Pompey says:

    Submarines are absolutely terrifying

    My greatest fear is waking up in a submarine

  3. tumbleworld says:

    Looks great! Thanks for the tip.

  4. LionsPhil says:

    Ooh, what’s new in 0.24 and 0.25? I tried looking on the forum but couldn’t spot a changelog and the last pages are all full of people welcoming some guy.

    (FWIW, link to rockpapershotgun.com seems to be tagged “Submarine Commander” instead of “Sub Commander”.)

  5. SlimShanks says:

    It is a wonderfully tense experience approximating the position of a vessel you saw on radar, and silently tailing them attempting to identify them by sonar signature. Often times you find that you spent 15 minutes sneaking around behind a freighter. :P
    When my sub was absolutely filled with radiation I couldn’t help but wonder on what such a death would be like. I hear radiation makes you feel like you are on fire, and extremely nauseous. Which is what made me so chuffed when I figured out how to redirect the venting system to shoot irradiated air out the top of my sub.
    P.S. I hate mother nature.

  6. Synesthesia says:

    ooh i had forgotten about this one. Thanks!

  7. buzzmong says:

    This one is awesome, been playing it now and again since RPS last posted on it.

    Using the new ballistic missile armed subs is interesting though, very easy to start a global thermonuclear war :)

  8. CannedLizard says:

    Obligatory: link to youtube.com

  9. DRodders says:

    Is there a tutorial for this anywhere? I know nothing about subs, and kinda struggling to figure out what to do…