- Oct 25, 2017
Developer: Unknown Worlds Entertainment (best known for the Half-Life mod Natural Selection and the standalone Natural Selection 2)
Platforms: PC, Xbox One
PC Release Date: Steam Early Access: December 16 2014, officially released on January 23 2018.
Xbox One Release Date: Xbox Game Preview: May 17 2016. Not yet officially released due to ongoing performance optimization. The current version is content complete.
Price: $24.99 (temporarily down to $22.49), £15.99 incl. VAT
Genre: Deep sea survival
VR Support: Yes
Reviews: Eurogamer (Recommended), Rock Paper Shotgun (Recommended), Destructoid (95/100)
Gameplay Trailer (contains minor exploration spoilers)
This is a last-minute thread for a game that I love. A survival game that I love. Subnautica may be the only survival game that ever really clicked for me, and it all comes down to the setting. You crash land on a planet comprised almost entirely of water. From the Eurogamer review:
Besides the absolutely beautiful starting areas and caverns, the later game leans right into DEEP SEA HORROR, and it's goddamned brilliant. There's nothing like swimming through massive trenches, too deep for the sun to reach, while you catch glimpses of... something... in the dark.Where other survival games are merely about heading out, Subnautica is also about heading ever further down. Close to the escape pod the water is shallow and inviting, swirling with things you can eat and light on things that can do you harm. There are fat rollercoaster tubes of coral that house mineral deposits (plus the odd noisy surprise), and shimmering sandy basins where you'll find walrus-like creatures with gumball tails sporting clownishly. At night the reef becomes a fairground, lurid with glowing purple fungus and flights of unblinking neon eyes, making it possible to hunt after sunset. But as you venture beyond this idyll, whether to answer a radio call from another survivor or in search of rarer parts, the dance of smaller fish recedes, the water thickens and the silhouettes you spy undulating in the distance grow less and less friendly.
There's a lot to do. Scavenge for food and clean water*, build tools, scan wildlife Metroid Prime-style to learn more about your surroundings, build a base, grow plants, search for blueprints to build more complex tools and vehicles. There's even a minor narrative, with audio logs and mysteries to unravel.
One thing you won't be doing is fighting. Precious few of your tools have offensive capabilities, and what you do get is ineffective against the biggest threats. Instead, you're encouraged to find your niche in the food chain and find a way to co-exist.
Era, I love this game. I've been following it since it first appeared on Early Access in 2014 and I saw how the regular content updates turned it into something special. Few games manage a sense of exploration better than this and it absolutely deserves your attention.
*The hunger and thirst meters can be disabled. Even as someone that dislikes most survival games, I prefer to leave them because they're not much of a bother and they add interesting gameplay elements. You can even choose to make your character invincible if you're only interested in the base building.