Subnautica is the ultimate gaming safe place

I’ve long been absorbed by the pleasure of games as safe places. Those oases that allow you to be entirely distracted from the outside, encased in a fantastic world that let you find calm. As someone who lives with the incessant turmoil that is generalised anxiety disorder, such games can offer extraordinary respite. And none has ever done this more for me than Subnautica.

(Before we get too far into this, the discussion of survival sim Subnautica is inevitably rife with spoilers. If you are intrigued and want to experience the full effect of the game, trust this wise old man and buy a copy. This piece will discuss elements of the game that you might not know will feature from the initial moments, although avoids major spoils.)

It is, on the surface (well, under the surface), quite a threatening game. You begin with a terrible crash, for reasons unknown your spaceship falling out of the sky, as you plummet toward a planet in your rickety escape pod. Splashing down into the sea, and surrounded only by ocean as far as you can see in every direction, you have almost nothing. A first aid kit, a fire extinguisher, and an awful lot of water. Terrifying, right?

Except not. Because what Subnautica gets right from the absolute first moment is the sense of safety amongst this danger. Your pod is home, and is one hundred percent safe. No matter what peculiar sea monsters you might eventually discover outside, in here you can find no harm. It’s tiny, but it’s home. You can venture outside, swim amongst the shallow reefs and dive into glowing caves, start to fall in love with this wonderful aquatic space, but the moment you see something snarling and snapping and wanting to eat your bits, frenziedly dart for home, climb inside, and know everything’s OK.

I’ve wanted the game that delivers “everything’s OK” for so long. I’ve come close to finding it a few times, but something’s always been slightly off. Back in 2010, during the initial sparks that led to the current explosion of survival sims, I realised it was the genre that would offer it to me. And was constantly frustrated by how close games would get. Minecraft was the game that afforded me almost what I was after – I wrote at the time,

“What I’ve wanted, and wanted for so long, is a game that focuses on exploration and realistic basic needs. This does not mean no threat – in fact, if it’s to work, if my sofa fort is to mean anything, it requires a degree of threat. But not a world where you can be clobbered to death in most instances. And wow, does Minecraft come close.”

(Incidentally, my main request for Minecraft itself came to pass. “What I want is Minecraft, but with a need to eat, drink and sleep.” Tada!)

For me, this decade-long wish has come true in Subnautica. It offers both just enough threat to make home feel important, but not so much that you don’t feel free to explore to your heart’s content. And, in fact, it goes one step further than I’d even dared hope a game would ever get right – it puts in just the right balance of story too!

The Long Dark is amazing, and has been amazing for years, so I was completely thrilled by the idea of its narrative mode. I was looking forward to it for years, disappointed by each year-long delay it received, but still delighted with the game that existed. “This game,” I would think, “but with some story as motivation! This will be it!” It wasn’t it.

Getting the balance right, working out how to introduce a story to a free and open world, that doesn’t restrict nor confine it, is a delicate art. There needs to be just enough plot to motivate you to keep on surviving, but not so much that it interferes in what you want to be doing at any specific moment. It needs to feel important and impending enough to be worthwhile, but not feel like a looming threat over your calm, relaxed exploration. Gosh, that’s difficult to get right. Subnautica does it by, well, bodging it all extremely well.

Subnautica’s plot is all unknown from the opening, beyond perhaps an intrigue as to why your giant ship, the Aurora, crashed in the first place. You’ll want to go explore the wreckage, because it’s there, and the game cunningly requires that you follow its breadcrumb trail at least a little way before you can do that. Just enough to get you down the crafting path that opens up the game’s very best features. You’ll need a radiation suit, for instance, because it’s all nuclear inside. And since you crashed with a bottle of water and a couple of snacks, that seems a way off.

(This is where the game’s solution to the daft crafting of survival games also reveals itself. Unlike splendid games like The Forest, where you just have to swallow a big awkward lump of disbelief as you somehow craft elaborate buildings from five sticks and a blade of grass, Subnautica just acknowledges the nonsense by giving you a nonsensical crafting machine. The Fabricator, on board your escape pod, can break down materials you find (biological, mineral, the metallic remains of crashed ships, and so on) to their elemental level, then rebuild them into new items. New items are made accessible by scanning fragmented remains of others from wrecks, thus blueprints gained. It’s a magical machine that justifies the silliness splendidly.)

The plot itself – and this is the key – doesn’t impose itself upon you, but rather is discovered by the game’s most important element: exploration. If you never swim off in a certain direction, you’ll never discover vast swathes of the storyline, and that’s fine. Discover it, and you’ll find more motivation to continue, hints for new places to explore, further goals to put onto your to-do list, completed at your convenience. It occasionally pretends a moment is impending, but you can quickly get a read on this, realise it’ll trigger when you trigger it, or that you could just entirely miss the moment.

Despite this, there’s actually rather a lot of intriguing story in there. Enough that for the dozens and dozens of hours I’ve played, deliberately only occasionally dipping further into the progressing narrative, I’ve always felt the sense that there’s stuff to do, a reason to be here, while never put off just milling about before hurtling my way back to my ever-expanding home base in the face of sudden peril.

And gosh, it nails it. It even gets food and water right! I can’t believe I’m finally writing this, but a survival game has recognised that people do not eat 50,000 calories a day, nor indeed do they drink quite literally like a fish. (I actually made a mistake, and restarted the game with hunger/thirst switched off for an experiment, and then accidentally got completely absorbed in that save game and have gone too far to turn back. I’m rather disappointed, because at the point I’m at now I’d have even more satisfaction at sating such needs in such an efficient manner in my amazing home. (The console command to turn it back on isn’t working for me.)) Do not fear it, leave it on.

All of which adds up to the most perfect experience of a gaming safe place. I love venturing out on enormous expeditions, hundreds and hundreds of metres under the sea, into elaborate cave networks filled with both treasure and terror, knowing all the while that when I need to I can make the frenzied journey back. I’ll dive into my base, empty my bursting pockets into my walls of lockers, perhaps craft something brand new, then potter about doing some busywork, check if some creature eggs have hatched, maybe have a sleep on my quilted bed.

After an especially difficult week of some very serious family emergencies, Subnautica has been a respite, a wonderful cave to snuggle into, my ideal gaming safe space.

66 Comments

  1. Merpo says:

    I have never in my life been so scared shitless playing a video game before…

    • shrieki says:

      i´m envious of people that are scared playing this game.
      apparently i´m not scared of murky depths at all :( and i think this game does everything it can to make itself less scary ( cartoon-style,bright icons etc. )

      when it was in early access i wanted this to be much darker – and more “realistic” “scientific” etc. the bright cartoon-style of everything really turned me off.

      but now that it is finished i really enjoy the laborious,cheerful ambient and it indeed is a nice safe space.
      i still wish for a darker,more serious, philosophically deeper “diving on an alien planet game” but it is so good to have this positive Subnautica so i dont complain at all.

      • fuzzyfuzzyfungus says:

        I’m not going to call the game as a whole “realistic” or anything; but the color and style are actually pretty close to what you would find in some of the more scenic terrestrial ocean. Yes, apparently you got real lucky and landed next to some reefs pretty enough to sustain a tourism industry with a mix of other biomes in the vicinity, rather than “ten zillion acres of grey rocks with the occasional herring or chunk of seaweed”; but the real thing actually does look surprisingly similar(albeit with fewer organisms that clearly have no evolutionary connection to terrestrial lineages).

        Had the game plunked you down in a hostile ocean environment there wouldn’t be much to play: a bottom too deep to reach and low density, fast swimming, ecology up top would mostly just leave you staring at the horizon.

        I suppose that Alterra’s design language and implied behavior could have been more grim and grey, just because; but more gunmetal and less orange trim wouldn’t really change the mechanics.

        • Premium User Badge

          Harlander says:

          Alterra are kind of grey, but it’s revealed through files on PDAs that you might not necessarily find.

          • fuzzyfuzzyfungus says:

            Indeed, they appear to be some sort of corpronational randroid operation; just with reasonably cheery PR and a sunny color scheme. (Learning that your account is being docked for every scrap you pick up makes you wonder if returning to federation space is even worth it).

            In terms of color scheme and design language they fit pretty well with the colorful tropical reef aesthetic though. Lots of bright trim and white surfaces, interior lighting is automatic and ample, vehicles all look fairly cheery.

            They could have looked like a terrifying love child of the Nostromo and Das Boot, without affecting function; but they definitely didn’t.

    • SaintAn says:

      Same. I have Bathphobia and other ocean and water related phobias. This game had me constantly on the brink of panic attacks and I Alt-F4’ed or ran away from my computer many times. Unfortunately I have the subs and power suit now, and have explored and know where everything is so I don’t feel scared of the game anymore. I spiderman swing through the ocean and ride fish using the grappling gun thing. I just wish I could start over in a randomly generated map so I can experience it all again like I did before rather than know where everything is.

      • MultiVaC says:

        I think I’m so scared of it because I’ve completely avoided dying so far. The “deep dark depths” idea is pretty much the perfect recipe for scaring me personally, but I think once that’s happened a couple of times the fear will wear off. I guess I just didn’t have any early mishaps, and now I’ve got a nice habitat, explored the Aurora, had a few big story events, and a few run-ins with leviathans and other awful things, but every time I press down to really deep areas I grab what I came down there for and head back to safety with my heart racing. I’m not doing a hardcore mode or anything so I know its just a standard video game death, but I just really don’t want to be caught by one of those… things.

        • Archonsod says:

          Try spending a bit more time in the biomes. One of the things it gets so right (and in a sense, one of it’s main flaws) is that it largely depends on fear of the unknown. Your first few forays into a particular biome can be fraught since you don’t know how it works yet, what makes what noises or how the wildlife behaves. Spend a little time in it though and you start to learn what’s dangerous and what isn’t, when you’re likely to be at risk and when you’re safe and suddenly the depths aren’t actually that scary anymore (and if you’re anything like me, you end up building bases with observatories to wave at the ghost leviathan as it swims past. Which unfortunately ended up with it going from a scary huge monster to a welcome sign that I was close to home. Ended up being a bit like a big dog really, I gave it a pet name, sometimes it would get a little over-enthusiastic in it’s greeting but I like to think we understood each other. Actually ended up missing the big lunk when I finally abandoned that base to return to the surface waters).

    • fish99 says:

      You should try it in VR :o (or maybe not)

      I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to finish the game because it’s just becoming so stressful playing it in VR. It’s not just the increased immersion, the better sense of actually being there, but the life-like scale of everything too. Going anywhere near the gigantic Aurora wreck is just terrifying just because of the size of the ship, and thinking about going anywhere near the edge of the map makes me shudder.

      I’ve been to about 1100 meters now, and without getting into spoilers it’s very challenging and scary to progress past that.

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      It reminds me of Dark Souls, vertical exploration with no easy teleport to safety, unknown dangers which can do you in at every turn, constant feeling of vulnerability.

      • Merpo says:

        True that. The constant feeling of not knowing whether something will kill me is the worst. (I’m quite new to the game still)

  2. miguelyoung says:

    *SOME MORE SPOILERS AHEAD*
    I found it very refreshing, storytelling wise, how they build up friction saying that the reactor will explode, but you ultimately cannot do anything about it and only after it goes BOOM you get the radiation suit blueprint so you can explore the crashed ship.
    So used to having “quests” handed me as urgent matters that I had a hard time not being able to do anything about it. Great use of a trope to surprise me with a reversal of expectations.

    • Greg Wild says:

      One of the most interesting features is that when some of these events happen, it’s entirely possible you could miss them, busy as you might be diving into caves. That’s quite a brave design decision.

    • Hannibal942 says:

      My experience with how the game prompted me to fix the reactor was interesting. A few days after the reactor exploded and I had crafted the radiation suit, the AI simply prompted me that the radiation would have an adverse effect on the local population of the safe shallows. In actuality, I don’t think the radiation really does anything to the biomes than threaten the player, but the thought that the damaged reactor might hurt the wildlife of the planet immediately spurred me to action. I dropped everything I was doing, frantically searched for the laser cutter, and geared up for a push to fix the aurora’s reactor. It struck me afterwards how small a prompt could inspire such immediate terror in me, even a feeling of responsibility for these artificial fish. I don’t even like survival games but Subnautica has gripped me.

      • fish99 says:

        By the time I went to the Aurora it was already maybe 80 game-days into the game, so the idea that radiation would do something nasty in the next 24 hours seemed far fetched, so I assumed it wasn’t a genuine objective and ignored it.

        Honestly the time-line of the game isn’t done well. You only get lifepod messages after finding the previous pod, so you might get one supposedly live message 50 days into the game, but the people are talking like they just crashed and when you find them it’s clear they’ve been dead for weeks.

  3. Danarchist says:

    I like to pretend I exist in the “Bobiverse” when playing this game. They had 3d printers that could recycle materials to print damn near anything. (Plus the thought of one of the Bob’s showing up to rescue me gives me warm fuzzies)
    I tried desperately in my last game to get to the ship before the engines exploded to see if there might be extra cool stuff laying about. However a giant fish that looked like a dinosaur had different ideas…3 times in a row. Not sure if its scripted or just hangs out near the back of the ship full time before the explosion?
    I have been solidly sidetracked for about 3 days of gameplay now building the largest underwater city I can. I have an entire room dedicated to storing all the titanium(?) i seem to be getting while trying to find other materials.

    • Premium User Badge

      Drib says:

      That sounds like a reaper leviathan. There are two or three of them that hang around the wrecked ship forever. You basically have to sneak onboard once you have the required tools to access it.

    • LewdPenguin says:

      There’s a big bitey bastard (I forget what they’re called right now, not that it really matters) permenantly loitering around the front of the wreck, it’s not normally a problem unless you go right out to the further reaches of the wreck though, so you can get in pretty easily if you hug the wreck until you reach the first opening large enough to slip into the interior area. Maybe they script it to be extra angry if you’re trying to go there before they want, never tried to race that story beat myself so cant say.

      As to Johns words, I agree wholeheartedly. 99% of the time the game is perfectly happy to let you bumble around doing what you want when you want, chosing to follow any of the story breadcrumbs or not at your leisure. So far I’ve only had 1 moment when the game really really wanted me to be somewhere to see something, and it made it abundantly clear it really really wanted me there by putting a dirty great big timer on the screen. I’m not sure what happens if the player does chose to ignore it as I can think of a few ways alternatives could be scripted to further hustle the player into position, or perhaps they’re happy enough to let you miss a fairly major moment if you insist.

      I would strongly recommend anyone that’s not already reached that point to acquiesce just this once (so far as yet I’ve yet to encounter a similar moment of being shooed along by the game) and follow along, not only is a quite a Moment plotwise, but it also takes you to a location that’s both rather interesting, and which you may not otherwise visit without the marker provided since it’s a reasonable distance away from most other stuff, and also {SPOILERS}.

      • Mischa says:

        {Spoilers}
        In a second play-through, I was on board of the Aurora when the timer got down to zero, and the voice-over (“Welcome aboard, captain”) gave me a ‘radio play’ version of the events: “Readings show a ship entering the atmosphere”, “Massive energy spike detected”, etc. The explosion could be heard even inside the Aurora. Even though I knew what was going to happen, I was moved, again.

        • doodler says:

          First time I played I figured I should go check out the island they were landing on before they arrived, just in case there were any issues I didn’t want to like not be there and get ditched or maybe have something ambush me on the way. Anyway, I set out with a day left on the timer. I get there, see the giant building explore it, the data dumps start to give me an idea of the building’s purpose so I rush to the control room with 5 hours left…I knew what was going to happen and felt so powerless to stop it remembering my radio’s inability to send outgoing messages I just sat on the beach hoping they would just send a little unmanned shuttle…

          • Archonsod says:

            They were actually working on an alternative on the off chance you managed to prevent it (in which case there’s no boom, but you still don’t get rescued). At present though even if you take action to prevent it, it still spontaneously explodes (though it’s far more comical to watch).

  4. Ghostwise says:

    I feel that this article would be improved by a closeup on the KEEP CALM kitty poster.

  5. mgardner says:

    I thought for sure this line: “As someone who lives with the incessant turmoil that is…” would end with “a toddler”. My mind already filled that in for you.

  6. JakeOfRavenclaw says:

    Well, okay, I’m sold. Been holding off on this one despite my love of underwater settings, because I tend to find the demands of survival games more stressful than anything else. But this sounds so lovely I think I’m gonna have to give it a try :-)

    • Megatron says:

      Oh, you absolutely won’t regret it. everything John says holds true. It’s the perfect blend of tasks, exploration, storyline and just peaceful existence.

  7. Kitano1314 says:

    i totally love this game! i play it on the couch at night with the lights off and it has the wife and kids enthralled as i sneak about in the gloom of the kelp forests, totally on edge and hoping to god we never hear another one of those deafening howls (i play with tv up loud).
    but strangely the thing my daughter(6) likes best is the fabricator!

  8. haldolium says:

    I just quit the game, waiting for my girlfriend to come home, after upgrading my Seamoth to go deeper and started to explore the trench ~700m s/w to the initial landing site. I’m not far (or deep in this case) yet but already spent 15h in shallow waters, wrecks and between glowing mushrooms.

    Usually I really hate the type of common, grindy and artificial survival-crafting mechanic (which is not as pleasant in Subnautica either) but the game makes up entirely for it by the mere factor that it’s probably the first game in ages that really rekindled my joy for exploration in a fixed environment.

  9. jj2112 says:

    I haven’t read the review because spoilers, but I like survival and underwater games and I’m thinking of getting it. Is there some kind of story or final goal to it? I tend to prefer story-led games.

    • Daymare says:

      There’s both story and end (I won’t spoiler what it is, though, because the game’s a lot about discovery). Told through audio and text and some visual stuff. Not really any cutscenes, though.

      As I said in another comment before, story’s not in the way of you doing your Subnautica things (exploring, harvesting, crafting) though, for whatever that’s worth.

  10. geldonyetich says:

    Hate to ruin this good vibe you have going on here, Mr. Walker, but your safe space of choice is in plague infested waters. This is what the PDA was warning you about: never forget it is not home. I’m already seeing an increase of infected sea life. Things on 4546B are anything but safe, even on a cellular level.

    I get the feeling that Subnautica is intended to have a sense of looming peril at all times. Maybe they need to add something that eats your starting lifepod sooner or later. At times it is beautiful, yes, but perhaps what the developers were shooting for was that kind of beauty in nature that is a guise of danger.

    • John Walker says:

      I’ve just accepted my inevitable transformation into fish monster.

  11. LeiHarper says:

    That was the one thing that the PDA told me that really struck me while playing the game.

    “Treat this space as your home, but never forget that it is not.”

    It is very true and insightful advice. No matter how comfortable you make your enormous seabase on 4546B, you’re still in a hostile alien environment and your efforts should be geared towards eventually escaping.

  12. badmothergamer says:

    I started with hunger/thirst on but disabled via console about 15 hours in as it became too much of an annoyance. I intend to re-enable once I can get farms going to automate things a bit but having to constantly break from what I was doing, use the gravity gun to pull in a few peepers, cook them up, cut some coral for bleach then process water was getting old. I looked for a mod to slow the rates down but couldn’t find one.

    • LeiHarper says:

      Fortunately its easy to get started with a basic farming setup relatively quickly, and once you get a water purifier your issues with salt and water disappear. This is doubly useful because you can craft salt-cured fish that don’t go rotten.

      Early-mid game once you have the modification station its trivial to turn your knife into the heated variant that automatically cooks food when you kill a fish with it. That alone is super useful because cooked food restores much more food as well as a little water, and you don’t need to trek back to a fabricator anymore.

    • Premium User Badge

      Drib says:

      Why would you bother bleaching water? Just swim around (or seaglide) and catch bladderfish. You can convert them directly into bottled water.

      • LeiHarper says:

        Two reasons for bleaching water:

        1. Disinfected water restores 50% more H20 than bladderfish filtered water (30 vs 20). This is 50% more efficient usage of inventory slots.
        2. You get two disinfected waters per craft, and it only requires 1 salt + 1 coral to make the bleach. So you’re essentially getting 60 H20 instead of 20 H20 for a bladderfish craft.

      • Nelyeth says:

        I just made a big base between the Grassy Plateaus and the Mushroom Forest, and I only realized after most of the construction was done that there were no bladderfish spawning there. On the other hand, I’ve got tons of salt everywhere, along with some giant coral tubes, so bleach became my main source of water.

    • Thomas Foolery says:

      I played with hunger/thirst on back when the game was in Early Access and now I’m playing with just oxygen/health, and I’m finding it much more enjoyable. The food and water stuff always felt like busywork. It’s not a central component of the game and there’s so much other more interesting stuff to do.

      I listened to an interview with the creative lead (I think it was on RPS) and he said they weren’t originally going to have hunger or thirst anyway, it was just something they added in because people wanted it. It certainly doesn’t feel like you’re missing anything by having it turned off.

  13. ThePuzzler says:

    I found the situation with food/water/not understanding how you were supposed to do anything immediately unpleasant and stressful. If I got home, I desperately tried to juggle my inventory and work out how the hell I was supposed to craft anything, and then as soon as possible shot outside again to try to find more food and water so I didn’t run out.

    Then I gave up playing.

    • teije says:

      Don’t give up – just try with the oxygen/health mode only – Freedom I think. I find that mode the most enjoyable, still with the tension of not running out of air/avoiding the bad fishies, but not having to fool around with the busywork of food and water. In all, a wonderful game.

  14. Premium User Badge

    Frog says:

    I really enjoy SCUBA and snorkeling, my idea of a great vacation, and this game really does capture the spirit of the thing fairly well. The sounds, colors, a lovely experience. Quite relaxing for me.

  15. Belmakor says:

    I just don’t get this game. Its so slow paced but at the same time not at all relaxing.

    I’ve may have only played for 71 minutes now but nothing of note has happened – apart from those stupid little fish that blow up which are so annoying.

    It goes to great pains to have things like flotation etc but I can’t even push my habitat closer to areas I want to explore forcing me to do a 2 minute trek back every time I want to craft something.

    The level of artwork is also like the original bioshock – which might have been nice 10 years ago but now just looks like it could be released on the Xbox360.

    And by G, I think this is possibly the worst crafting system I have recently used. Inventory juggling using left and right mouse clicks :/ Tiny inventory meaning you have to move things between storage and your fabricator just to make things.

    Would it not have been more sensible to have the fabricator automatically and magically take items from any of your habitat inventory like Empyrion so there is less micromanagement of inventory?

    I feel like this is a game designed for something like the iPad.

    I think this is the first time in the whole history of 10 years reading RPS where I have seen multiple recommendations and its fallen completely flat.

    • LewdPenguin says:

      You’re certainly not the only one to sometimes bounce hard off stuff that gets loved here, plenty of games RPS gushes about I seriously wonder if I’ve completely missed that everything written was in fact meant to be taken as irony.

      I would agree the crafting system rather favours style over usability in a couple of ways, mainly in that it insists on using a clunky set of nested menus for no reason other than some ui designer wanted/thought it equalled sleek and sylish over rapidly usable, crafting basic stuff takes too long, and related to that there’s no ability to craft multiples of anything. Whoever thought good gameplay consists of:
      -open fabricator
      -open sub menu
      -click titanium
      -zapzapzapzapzapzapzapzap
      -gives you titanium
      -repeat from click titanium X times
      was probably used to always playing with devhax on for basic crafting materials. You literally never do anything else with metal scraps afaik, whilst it doesn’t seem much until you have (literally) 2 boatloads of stuff to process at times it’s a problem solved many years ago, by the inclusion of a option to craft X of an item at once then sit through several seconds of the crafting animation 1 time not half a dozen or more.

      Even better would be if they treated building/vessels as having a unified inventory to avoid some of the juggling once you’re producing stuff with a of couple tiers of materials to produce, or just bulk quantities of basic stuff. It wouldn’t help with the very early stages if you grab everything you can, but once you had your first base it would simplify things greatly. One big thing to remember, and it took me a while to get used too, is that you really don’t need to hoard huge volumes of stuff like in most survival games, resources respawn and are pretty generously strewn about to begin with, so unless you’re collecting something at the limits of how deep you can currently go the only thing you achieve by hoarding everything you set eyes on is the sort of inventory gridlock you mention. Even then it’s still easy to overdo it, I still have a locker mostly full of ruby for instance that I stashed when finding large quantities was around the limits I could get too, and already it’s pretty much a trash material I won’t even consider picking up because it’s so damn common where I am I’m cursing it for being there instead of anything else :)

      • Nelyeth says:

        Metal salvage can be thrown to stalkers to make them lose their teeth.

      • Premium User Badge

        Harlander says:

        Having to click every time to craft through the whole pile of something you’ve got in your inventory is probably the second worst thing about Subnautica.

        (The worst is when my Seamoth inexplicably got buried 10m under the sand.)

  16. Sunjammer says:

    I adore Subnautica but I spend more time now juggling inventory between lockers than have the kind of fun the first few hours are so full of.

    I’m always hoping for a research path that lets me just link storage directly to a crafting station so I can get back to the fun, even if I do have to research and craft it. But it seems I’ve no luck.

  17. Nolenthar says:

    Despite living in England, I’m no native English speaker and loved learning a new word today, Oases, plural of Oasis. Believe it or not, but learning words on gaming website only happens on RPS. Thanks

  18. satan says:

    I really enjoy it. I’m still on the edge of my seat most of the time I’m playing, I’d like to play it more but I find myself exhausted after a couple hours.

    And I have to take my hat off to the developers, I don’t usually scare easily, but I had the experience of jumping out of my chair and yelling ‘what the fuck is that!’ on my first day with Subnautica.

  19. Maxheadroom says:

    I ignored this throughout its whole 5 year early access cycle and was only vaguely aware of the premise which was enough to put me off (So its just one big underwater level yeah? no ta)

    Picked it up after seeing some reviews and reading more about it and I’m glad I did.
    I can count on one hand the amount of games ive played in 30 odd years of gaming that have engrossed me as much and given me those “I’ll just play for 20 minutes. Wait, how is it now 3am?” but this ranks among them.

    Doubt ill be playing it years from now. Once ive finished the story I think ill be done with it but ive had my moneys worth already.

  20. Monggerel says:

    Subnautica is cool. Unfortunately I have inventory management phobia and this game tickles it like no other.

  21. Premium User Badge

    Neurotic says:

    It is lovely, isn’t it? I think I need to dive back in (ho ho) and start building the [redacted] now.

  22. Kikinaak says:

    Subnautica is a beautiful, amazing experience. Unfortunately the game is unplayable for many suffering misophonia, thanks to the godawful noise they chose as an eating sound. A simple crunch would have been enough, but they put in several seconds of chewing and lip smacking for it. A huge number of people are going to ask “so whats the problem”? To them I am insanely jealous. Google “misophonia” and you will learn. Trying to raise this issue on the steam or official forums for the games results in getting shouted down and mocked, and completely disregarded by the devs.

    • Megatron says:

      I feel your pain, and boo on others for their lack of empathy, the insensitive clods.

      I actually play the game without the hunger component. As said above it’s not essential to the narrative or exploration and only exists as busywork, really. There’s more than enough game without it: give that a try?

  23. Chaoslord AJ says:

    I think I’ll play without hunger/thirst the next time maybe when I get a VR…
    It’s not all that difficult to survive but a constant nuisance and takes up inventory space although it adds greatly to the immersion frying the small fishes and all that.

  24. Eleriel says:

    For those wondering about the tediousness of the food/water-management. can you not use the console-command “daynightspeed”? (for instance 0.5 for halfspeed and 2 for double)

    Now, it does affect the fabricator too, but I rather like the idea of that taking a bit more time to make things. I just have a wall full of them all making things while I’m out hunting for more materials.

  25. Vortex4 says:

    I was diagnosed with throat cancer in April of 2017, the same month I bought Subnautica. It helped me get through treatment on so many levels. When I needed to tune everything out, it provided me with the perfect balance of relaxing exploration, task focused activity, and yes, terror. Just floating in the shallows and listening to the amazing binaural sound design in my headphones was great relaxation therapy. Now, almost a year later, I am in remission on my way to being cancer free, but this game will stay with me for the rest of my life for all the comfort it provided me.

Comment on this story

HTML: Allowed code: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>