Video Game Review: Subnautica

By Ivana Martinez

Game Genre: Early access, survival, open world, and crafting

“The 4 Horsemen of the Steam Apocalypse… AKA, a game that shall not be finished.”

Rating: 4/5

Welcome to another video game review where we give you spoiler-free and unbiased review of a video game chosen by us. This week,, we journey into a mysterious planet filled with oceans more vast than those on planet Earth. We are playing “Subnautica”!

 “Subnautica” is the exception to a long and drawn out trend of early access games that never made it to completion. On Jan. 23, 2018, Unknown Worlds Entertainment announced that “Subnautica” had finally entered full release, ending its three-year development stage. That same year, the game won the Breakthrough award and PC Game of the Yearat the Golden Joystick Awards while also winning Fan Favorite Indie Game at the Gamers’ Choice Awards.

Set on the remote alien ocean planet of 4546B, the player is stranded on their own after the spaceship they were a crew member of crashed. Teeming with vast amounts of flora and fauna spanning over 15 unique biomes, the player must find a way to survive and escape the planet. All along their adventure, the player will also unlock the long-forgotten and hidden past of the planet.

Visually, “Subnautica” is a stunning game where kelp forests allow the player to be easily lost in a sea of green and deep cave systems are scattered all around, waiting for the player to be explore a near-black maze. The artist of “Sublattice” truly knew how to choose their color palettes well for each environment. In the Gassy Plateaus, the deep red seaweed on the ocean floor pierces through the charcoal rocks and white sand around. In the Kelp Forest, the murky water is complemented by the green thickets of kelp.

Next is the survival aspect, which this game does well. The survival system and human needs focus is a simple yet effective one for the game. The player must always balance 4 different conditions: Health, oxygen in their air tank, food intake, and water level. The last two work as they would in any other game; the levels for food and water slowly decrease over the day, requiring intake. As usual, health is depleted when the player takes damage. Most importantly, oxygen; the player is given an air tank which enforces the time they can spend in the water before needing to resurface or enter a pocket of air. 

Lastly is crafting, which was fairly detailed but sadly ended up feeling monotonous at times.There is a considerable amount of time that must be spent solely on gathering materials for crafting. In “Subnautica,” the player can craft a small variety of vehicles for underwater mobility and tools for more efficient progression. Additionally, there is a well-developed system of underwater base crafting that allows the players to build home bases anywhere around the map.

Overall, my time in “Subnautica” was a very fun one and it is certainly a game that has replay-ability. Unknown Worlds did an excellent job in creating a game with attributes that often lead to failure rather than success. To anyone who enjoys exploration and survival games I can certainly recommend this as a game to play while you have time over the holiday break.