Barotrauma is a Space Station 13-y co-op sub game

Grab some pals, crowd into a submarine, and dive into an alien sea to die horribly inside a simulation inspired by Space Station 13. That’s emergent sim-o-RPG Barotrauma [official site], which is currently available free in open alpha as developers Undertow Games work towards the full release. Delving into the icy waters of Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons, different player classes with different responsibilities must work together and keep the sub ship-shape and alien-free to complete missions. And maybe betray their crew, or worse. Here, have a look in this trailer:

As Undertow explain:

“The players join a crew of up to 16 players and try to carry out missions such as salvaging alien artifacts, killing enormous sea creatures and hauling dangerous cargo from outpost to another. The crew won’t just have to deal with external threats like the pressure outside the sub or the inhabitants of the ocean, as the submarine itself is a complex contraption with a load of interconnected items and devices which can cause a wide range of non-scripted, dynamic disasters.”

Some crew members may have secret objectives of their own to fulfill. Some may even… clown around. It will support singleplayer with AI crewmates but tssh, come on, play with other people.

Like Space Station 13, the dazzlingly complex sim where Quinns had several adventures as a bartender, it looks like Barotrauma has some complex guts. The submarine (you can design your own) is held together by simulation, with ballast, water pressure, the reactor, wiring, and so on all feeding into what happens. Which means you’ll have a lot of work if your sub e.g. crashes into a giant spacecrustacean.

(Pitch: Space Crustacean 13, where players control a space crab from the inside like The Numskulls.)

Undertow Games plan to launch Barotrauma as a paid game later this year but, for now, you can download free alpha versions for Windows and Mac Linux [you big silly -ed.].

Undertow have also launched a Steam Greenlight campaign. Yes, Valve do plan to abolish Greenlight but Undertow say that given the unsettled question of how much Steam Direct will charge, they consider it sensible to go for Greenlight now.

If you fancy something lighter, We Need To Go Deeper hit early access the other week and looks more Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime than Space Station 13.


  1. X_kot says:

    How interesting! I checked their website, and it turns out they also produced a couple of SCP games (which Adam reported on back in 2012: link to SS13 + creepypasta = success?

  2. Bostec says:

    This looks very Robust.

  3. TeePee says:

    I am extremely interested, but what’s the player base like? Imagine this is a riot with 16 folks, but is that a realistic goal?

    Damn my interminable pessimism!

    • ButteringSundays says:

      I couldn’t watch the videos, am i to understand that this isn’t local co-op only? If so rejoice! I don’t think my dog would be interested.

      Also, I am very interested.

    • Augh_lord says:

      SS13 has never had issues finding dedicated players, although it was freeware.
      I tried it out of an RPS article and got immediately addicted, also I find it interesting that there’s still a lot of players despite the medium and age.

      If they do it right, and they add host moderation, then this could be a similar success.

  4. JB says:

    What a time to be alive, another co-op submarine game!

    (HMS Marulken/Wolfpack is great, and I look forward to checking out We Need To Go Deeper, too)

  5. Doctor K says:

    This looks like everything I didn’t dare to want in a future game. I’ll have to eagerly wait for…

    A free alpha to try? I hope there are enough people playing. If I don’t come back, send a well equipped search party.

  6. indigochill says:

    I gave the Alpha a spin. It’s definitely a solid foundation for an SS13 clone. Multiplayer can be hosted/joined online and there’s a simple host search so you can join random games. Of the one I joined, probably half were griefers. So I expect like SS13, it’ll be a game that needs some host-enforced moderation.

    The solo mode is my go-to until some better-moderated servers pop up (or I make some friends, but let’s be realistic). The bots do the mundane stuff like keep the generator running, and you can swap between them at will if, for instance, you want to man the turrets while there’s something to shoot at, then swap back to navigation. There’s also a “career mode” of sorts where you start out with some money and a submarine and can hire bots, buy supplies, and then select a mission to murder underwater behemoths (or carry cargo) for pocket change.

    So I think if you like SS13 (and can cope with how obtuse it can be), you’ll like this already. It’s still obtuse and janky, but at least it runs smoother and it has some cool twists like underwater monsters and custom submarines. It seems like they’re keeping things really accessible for modding (not just custom subs, but all game items described in XML so you can modify their attributes), so I’m sure we’ll see lots of crazy creative stuff coming from the community if this takes off.

    • ButteringSundays says:

      The solo mode sounds really cool. In fact you’ve sold me overall. Downloading thusly.

    • Augh_lord says:

      Couldn’t agree more. My experience in SS13 between moderated and non-moderated is completely different.

  7. moghaus says:

    Sadly, it’s Windows and Linux, not Windows and Mac

  8. Synesthesia says:

    Can’t wait for the inevitable RPS group. i’m so in.

  9. geldonyetich says:

    The graphics look like Happy Wheels. Which, considering the tongue-in-cheek mayhem of Space Station 13, is a pretty good choice.

  10. Dezztroy says:

    Played this quite a while ago when it was popular in certain communities. It’s great fun. Has come a long way since then, too.