6/5 – Subnautica

Hello and welcome! My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day!

Welcome back to #loveindies where we’re talking about a new indie game from now until June 14th. If you don’t know what #loveindies is about, check out my post about it on videogameoftheday.com or my Twitter @vg_oftheday for more info.

Today’s game is a bit more well-known than the others we’ve talked about so far this week and, the best part, if you have been picking up the free games on the Epic Games Store, you probably already own this one! Today’s game is Subnautica, developed by Unknown Worlds Entertainment and released in 2018 for Windows, Mac, Xbox One and Playstation 4.

Subnautica is a survival game, like Don’t Starve or Minecraft, but with the twist being it takes place almost exclusively underwater. You play as a crew member of the Aurora spacecraft, sent into deep space to build a new Stargate. Things go wrong, however, and your ship crashes onto an unknown, aquatic planet. As far as you can tell, you’re the only survivor. You must use the environment around you along with the help of your sardonic computer to craft a survivable habitat and find out how to escape the planet.

Unlike most survival games, Subnautica does not use a randomly generated world and puts a decent emphasis on story. While players can enjoy simply building habitats and studying the world around them, the game gently pushes players ever closer to finding their way off-planet. The crafting system doesn’t involve much experimentation but players must either find certain ingredients to unlock recipes, or scan pieces of the Aurora wreckage in order to unlock new blueprints. Simply finding ingredients isn’t enough for the more advanced building options. Thus, exploration is highly encouraged. Subnautica is also unique in that fighting the environment isn’t really a viable option. Throughout the game, you aren’t given methods to effectively kill hostile fish beyond a simple knife and killing animals gets you nothing so it’s a much better strategy to study creatures and learn their behaviors in order to avoid being attacked.

Subnautica was tough for me to get into, personally. In the early game, I felt a constant pressure to find sustainable sources of food and water and how to build a habitat wasn’t immediately obvious to me. I also wasn’t a fan of how the game puts a strong emphasis on scanning the environment and reading datalogs but this doesn’t pause your food and water meters from depleting. So early in the game, I never felt like I could stop and just read datalogs since I would run out of food or water. Once I started building a habitat and getting a feel for the game, however, I found it to be much less dangerous than I initially thought. Once I got into the groove, I couldn’t wait to get back into the world of Subnautica and learn more about the Aurora.

If managing your survival needs sounds awful to you, there are different modes that allow you to remove certain needs but I played through on Survival mode. There is also a hardcore mode which makes you start over from the beginning if you die. While it would be nice if Subnautica had multiplayer, it is single-player only so if you want a multiplayer survival game, you may want to look elsewhere. If you are looking for a survival game with a bit more guidance than Minecraft or Terraria, Subnautica may be for you. It took me about 40 hours to complete Subnautica and it retails for $25 US dollars.

Thanks for listening! Remember, #loveindies goes until June 14th so we have many more indie games to go. If you want to share your own reviews, send me a tweet @vg_oftheday using the #loveindies. Don’t forget to check back here tomorrow for another Video Game of the Day.

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