PRAWNS Arrive In Subnautica, Bring Grappling Hooks

I go away for two days and PRAWNS! arrive in Subnautica [official site]. I’m not actually talking crustaceans here, but a special suit with that acronym which arrived in the PRAWN update (Pressure Re-Active Waterproof Nano Suit). It has a claw arm and you can add a whole bunch more useful nonsense as well. This is my kind of augmentation tech. Deus Ex: Fishkind Explored.

The PRAWN update is very much focused around the suit which you can climb into and use to access areas in new ways, collect resources and biff threatening sea-jerks.

As with the submarines there’s a modular upgrade system. Everyone gets a starter claw arm. You can then add a mining drill, a grappling hook (!!!!!!!) a torpedo launcher and a propulsion cannon. Peering at the site, I think these are different arms that you can install or swap in and out, and then there are four separate suit upgrade slots so you can do things like add storage capacity and pressure compensations (or some PRAWN-specific stuff like a jump jet upgrade).

The update also expands the explorable sections of the crashed starship you arrived on, as well as some new story bits, creatures and tech. Also a sprint button.


I feel like I’m waiting for one or two more updates before I go back to Subnautica. I’ve spent 64 hours on the game so far, but then stepped away so that the Early Access process could tick along a little. I decided I’d come back when there had been significant enough changes that it felt like I’d be exploring all over again. The PRAWN suit is seriously testing that resolve.

Subnautica is £14.99 over on Steam but EARLY ACCESS SO CAVEATS ALL OVER THE PLACE. Also I just saw there’s a Subnautica shop and I need someone to sit on my credit card.

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  1. Tiax says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard psytrance on a videogame trailer before this one.

    • Joranius says:

      This is pretty much Subnauticas sound design all the way through. All update videos have this kind of music. They’re all on a dedicated channel on YouTube. Link is below :) The ingame music and sound FX is just top notch. Graphics are top notch. Especially with a high end video card. And the things you can do, plus the story that is currently forming, is all just absolutely perfect!

  2. TomxJ says:

    PIP! I bought this game on the pretense it was a lovely fishy admiring simulator, and would replace having an actual aquarium in an East London flat. But when I got into the game it was as all like “Oh my days! The FIRE! Quick STOP THE MELTING! THIS IS AWFUL YOU POCKETS ARE FULL OF ROCKS!”

    When does it get to the fish admiring stage please?

    • grundus says:

      Almost immediately after that. You can even build fish tanks and aquariums! You will, however, have to eat some fish. Then again that’s just like admiring them in a subtly different way.

      I’m probably going to keep waiting before I dive back in, currently I’m flooded with other games to play and I don’t want to get bored before they finish it. I’ve really, really enjoyed the time I’ve spent with it so far. Maybe I should get another nautically-themed game to tide me over but I guess we’ll sea.

      • otyugh says:

        I sea what you did there!

      • Universal Quitter says:

        Actually, you can go vegan from the get-go.

        The not-kelp samples you get with the knife are edible, and that can be enough to tide you over until your melon and potato economy is up and rolling.

        But personally, I just eat the stupid fish.

  3. puninnabun says:

    I feel like I’m waiting for one or two more updates before I go back to Subnautica. I’ve spent 21 hours on the game so far, but then stepped away so that the Early Access process could tick along a little. I decided I’d come back when there had been significant enough changes that it felt like I’d be exploring all over again. The PRAWN suit is seriously testing that resolve.

    • Basic0 says:

      Similar Situation… 29 Hours, have the SeaMoth, Sub and a large underwater base. I’ve almost depopulated some areas of the ocean.

      Then I ran out of *big* things to do.

      Still love the game but thought I’d give them a few months to add more content.

  4. DailyFrankPeter says:

    So, in the spirit of the recent NMS inquisition: What does one do in Subnautica?

    • Steravel says:

      It’s a survival, exploration, and base-building game, so initially you’ll be trying to get your basic needs met like hunger and thirst, while unlocking new technology through exploration. After a while you’ll get some aquariums and food planters set up, so the food/water thing become trivial, and you can just focus on exploration and unlocking new toys.

      While not currently in the game, the devs do have more of a structured end game planned, but you can get quite a lot of mileage out of the exploration aspect at present.

      • Czrly says:

        Will it have the bosses and progressive evolution of the world that made Terraria so grand? (pre skeletron; hard-mode; post-plantera; post-fishron; aliens…)

        Base building gains a whole new dimension when the game is changing around you. It leads to attachment because your base has meaning: it’s a constant in a dynamic world … and somewhere to lay traps for the next invasion.

        • Steravel says:

          No, it’s not a combat game. If that’s your interest you should think twice about picking it up. Most of the defensive tools in the game are of the non-lethal variety. The game is more about surviving and avoiding trouble, than shooting your way through it.

          That said, it’s easily one of the scariest and most tense games I’ve played in some time. This game inspires fear on the “mammalian” level in me, especially in deep water. I’m currently shooting my way through DOOM 2016, and that game, while fun, has *nothing* on Subnautica in terms of the kind of tension it can inspire.

          • P.Funk says:

            “No, it’s not a combat game.”

            That’s not strictly true anymore. Since they added more weapons and torpedoes and they keep adding more hostile mobs it basically is a combat survival game now, but more like Minecraft in its randomness.

          • Basic0 says:

            That moment when I first met a reefback sent a shiver down my spine and agve me goosebumps, but it was nothing compared to the first time I saw the leviathan swimming by with nothing but deep, deep water around. It was indescribable.

      • TechnicalBen says:

        Yes but what do you *do* in the game?

        /cheapshot (It plays exactly like NMS but with base building. But Subnautica is worth the pricepoint and still early access. NMS is overpriced, but IMO worth it for the vistas…)

        • Steravel says:

          Mmm. I haven’t played NMS and probably wont for some time, but to me describing Subnautica as “exactly like NMS but with base building” seems to trivialize a rather substantial and rewarding part of the game. I spent ten hours in the game just building an underwater zoo complex in a deep sea cavern with giant purple glowing mushrooms. There’s also the issue that NMS is the new kid on the block, so it should be the one to be “like” something.

          On a purely speculative front (since I cant speak with any authority on NMS), from what Ive read many people feel NMS has a lot of moving parts that aren’t always successful at what they want to do. The moment to moment gameplay in Subnautica is very good for the most part, and very immersive. The explorational rhythm you slip into with oxygen management starts to feel very natural (even though the O2 limits are artificially limited), and the game is pretty successful at putting you into that world. The world is also deliberately constructed with an overarching story, and the players actions can affect things there, as opposed to a more procedural approach. The two games probably differ in scope, for better or worse as one’s experience dictates.

          • PancakeWizard says:

            “describing Subnautica as “exactly like NMS but with base building” seems to trivialize a rather substantial and rewarding part of the game.”

            If anything, it’s trivialising NMS. You could conceivably fit Subnautica within NMS, on a single ocean planet (in a small area of one, anyway). If NMS adds pre-fab base building, its covered a good percentage of Subnautica’s gameplay.

            I enjoyed my time with Subnautica, but having more gadgets to play with doesn’t really solve the problem of the fixed-sized area of play, its geography, or the creatures in it.

            It’s a shame they abandoned the procedural terrain idea so early one, as its something that would’ve kept me coming back more regularly.

    • Universal Quitter says:

      Aside from the joy of exploring a hand-crafted, exotic underwater paradise, Subnautica has a story to speak of, or at least it will by the time 1.0 is released.

      What you will do is try to figure out why your ship crashed, and find out what happened to any other survivors.

    • Zenicetus says:

      In addition to the other comments comparing it to NMS, I have to say I prefer the exotic creatures and plant life in Subnautica. There is ultimately less variety, but everything manages to look both exotic and plausible as an alien underwater environment. It’s the advantage of handmade creatures vs. procedural generation. Many of the NMS animals just look like cartoons to me.

  5. Regibo666 says:

    I’m aching for native Vive support on Subnautica. They don’t seem interested in adding it. It has Rift support.

    Great game. Not played in a while.

    • Jiblet says:

      I love Subnautica.
      I love my Rift
      I do not love Subnautica on the Rift. All you’re missing out on is the compulsion to vomit – it’s the worse game I’ve experienced so far for VR-sickness.

      • Chaz says:

        I think it’s great on the Rift. Not had any sea sickness yet and I’ve spent a good few hours playing it in VR. One of the best VR games out IMHO. It is still a work in progress though and that is also true for the VR support.

    • Dritz says:

      I just checked around the Steam boards – a couple weeks ago a dev said the only thing stopping them from adding Vive support right now is upgrading to the latest Unity, but they got game crashes when they tried to do so, and were holding off working that out until “the Exo update” (that’s the one released today, right?) was finished. Hopefully it’ll be coming soon!

    • Premium User Badge

      Matsimo says:

      As long as you’re waiting you could try to use Revive! It works for me – at least until this update – at the moment I cannot test it because I’m on holiday :-).
      Be sure to try every tip on the Revive forums. E.g. for me it worked first with the experimental build, but unfortunately it stopped working correctly after one update. After looking in the forum, I went back to the official update which worked.
      All that said, Subnautica is really my favorite VR game at the moment, even without vive controller/roomscale support. The feeling of being underwater is unbeatable, even if the UI is wonky (status is difficult to read, messages are not visible). BUT! it is still playable and great fun. And the best looking VR game I have.
      Also, somehow I don’t get VR sickness from it – probably because the Vive feels like an underwater mask?

  6. TheAngriestHobo says:

    I recently re-installed the game, only to discover that the new intro sequence crashes my PC 100% of the time. Graphics options are minimal, so if that’s the problem, there’s nothing I can do to fix it. Game used to run smooth as butter and give me no problems.

    Good show, Unknown Worlds. Kudos.

  7. Premium User Badge

    Harlander says:

    Re – dash – Active?


  8. spindaden says:

    Disappointed that this wasn’t about District-9 Aliens for some reason showing up under water now.

    • dagnamit says:

      I, too, had wished for the fookin’ prawns to make an appearance.

      • P.Funk says:

        Ever since that film the use of the term prawn sets off just this kind of South African expletive fest in my brain and I start chuckling as the people around me wonder whats so amusing about ordering seafood.

  9. Dances to Podcasts says:

    I’ve been looking through the patch notes, but I don’t see anything about bug or performance fixes. Are there any? Last time I tried the game it took (literally, there’s a timer on screen) half an hour to start the game.

    • Philippa Warr says:

      Depending on how long ago you last tried, this might be of interest: link to

      That had some bug and performance stuff which sounded like it might improve some people’s experience with the game. Checking through the comments on this PRAWN update it sounds like it’s introduced a few new bugs for people so perhaps it’s an idea to wait until it’s settled down a bit or they’ve applied tweaks.

    • Steravel says:

      If you enable the experimental version on Steam, the game is updated almost on a daily basis. If you stick to the main builds, those can go quite a while without updates. I couldn’t say what your issue is, but it’s possible your game version hasnt been updated in a while if you havent opted into the experimental builds.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Thanks, folks! I guess I’ll try again this weekend. :)

    • Universal Quitter says:

      If you get stuck at %90.00 when loading the game world, tap F3 to bring up a menu, and then tap it again to make it go away. For some reason, this jolts the game back into loading properly.

      Obviously, the game shouldn’t have this problem in the first place, but it’s a very reliable work around if you want to be able to play.

      • Steravel says:

        Obviously, the game shouldn’t have this problem in the first place,

        Actually, it sounds exactly like the sort of problem people choosing to play an unfinished game in active development should expect to encounter.

    • alchemda says:

      It takes me 190 seconds to get into the game, has since before the update and after this one. So my guess is you have a definite computer issue regarding memory or processor.

  10. Metalfish says:

    Subnautica is rather exciting. I really rather like it, but I think I’d recommend that people hold off playing more than a couple of hours of it yet.

    The biggest issue right now is that, beyond the lovely starting shallows, there’s an awful lot of what I’d call “programmer level design” -some areas feel distinctly under-loved in terms of appearance and content (the game isn’t procedural -it’s handcrafted). The new [big spaceship] area is a massive improvement over its predecessor, and there’s loads more in the works, looking at the lovely concept art.

    I imagine once the terrain gets its final pass, this will be a very special game indeed, as I’ve loved exploring what’s already in place.

    • P.Funk says:

      “(the game isn’t procedural -it’s handcrafted)”

      I thought that it was procedurally generated, just that the biomes are themselves basically a strict template of handcrafted stuff in addition to the island and big ship that are always the same.

  11. Bishop149 says:

    Having played the hell out of it for a week or so I was just starting to feel that I’d done all there was to be done in Subnautica. . . . then this update dropped, guess I have some more to do now!

    In terms of outstanding issues, etc the biggest one for me is the bloody terrain pop-in. I dunno what is up with the draw distances, often stuff doesn’t appear until you’re almost on top of it. what looks like a tunnel fading off into the distance suddenly becomes a solid wall etc
    If they fixed / polished this alone then it would go a long way to getting it to near release quality IMO.

    • Steravel says:

      I still experience quite a bit of performance degradation as games go on. Im looking forward to seeing optimization work done.

      • Metalfish says:

        I think they’re planning on removing terrain deformation etc, which should have serious implications for performance I’m told by people who understand game engines better than I. But I wouldn’t expect much optimisation any time soon.

    • alchemda says:

      Their latest trello updates talk about changing the way everything is streamd into the game and removing old calls to assets and things that dont even exist.

      For instance if you turn on no clip you can see loads of dev rooms and extra objects and things that will be cleaned out.

  12. 2late2die says:

    Discovered this game just this past weekend (so about 4-5 days now) and it’s really got its claws in me (har har :)). It’s gorgeous for one, and yet when you start diving deep, into areas that not a lot of light gets through to, it gets really scary and tense – much more so than some “horror” games I’ve played.

    I’ve been really enjoying the base building and in fact, even though the latest update (pretty much) required starting a fresh game, instead of looking at it as a loss of my base, I saw it as an opportunity to build a better one. Still missing the alien containment blueprint though.

    Exploration is a lot of fun as well, but until I get the Cyclops, or at least an upgrade to Seamoth, I have to keep it on the cautious side, especially with those stupid bonesharks hanging around crash sites :-/

    • Steravel says:

      when you start diving deep, into areas that not a lot of light gets through to, it gets really scary and tense –

      There really is a sort of primal reaction when you see some huge creature snaking around in the abyss underneath you. I can’t get out of there fast enough. The paranoia I experience when exploring some inky black deep sea cavern can almost be too much at times. It makes you really happy to be back in your nice, brightly lit base.

      If I entertained any illusions about my suitability for deep sea diving, this game has dispelled them.

      • Premium User Badge

        jythanatos says:

        I’ve played this game for hours, and even though I know most of the areas and all of the creatures, it still can trigger that Primal fear in me. This game does a great job in making you feel you are underwater. Even though it’s unfinished, I enjoy it so much that I’ve actually searched to see if I could just send the Devs more money!

  13. fray_bentos says:

    I already paid for Subnautica, but I am trying to hold off the temptation of diving in until version 1.0 is ready!

  14. alchemda says:

    Stopping by to say, love this game, love this update. Seeing the dev site about the new story implements and their plan to make sure the game has a start middle and end, and a definite overarching goal, not just ” survive ”

    The audio in this game, most immersive ever, the sound design is really top notch. Graphics amazing, animations, wowzah. I get so much tension and fear in this game just because Im out of my element, i feel vulernable.

    Like the person said, I know all creatures in the game, i know where they spawn and everything, yet I still hear things, and see things, that make me stop, raise my heart rate, and just remember its inky blackness is just that, empty water.

    If you love survival, and want a game that is really well done, pick this up. This and The Forest are my two all time favorite survival base building games.