Subnautica, an ‘enjoyable’ yet ‘terrifying’ adventure

Subnautica is a single player game set in the 22nd century when humans have started to colonize other planets.

The player is on a spaceship, the Aurora, that has come too close to planet 4546B and is detected by its defence system and shot down. The Aurora ejects all of its life pods and crashes into the planet.

Subnautica was developed and published by Unknown Worlds Entertainment (January, 2018) and can be purchased on Windows, MacOS, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

You start off in your life pod falling away from the Aurora. You look out the glass hatch on the roof and see the Aurora becoming more distant when it suddenly explodes. You are then distracted as a fire extinguisher and circuit board cover are torn from the wall and you start getting thrown around the pod. As luck would have it, the cover whacks you straight in the face and knocks you unconscious. You awaken to a smoke-filled pod with fire covering half of it. You get up out of your seat and are thrown into the action. You are prompted to pick up the fire extinguisher, lying on the ground, and put out the fire.

After doing so you reboot you tablet which now runs in emergency mode and it comes with a voice that will guide you through the game.

You now have free roam of planet 4546B, an almost completely water-based planet. You can either jump out through the hatch on the floor of the pod or you can climb the ladder and open the hatch on top which lets out the smoke and you get a cool animation of some alien–looking birds flapping around the pod, which get startled when you open the hatch and so they fly off.

We then see the crashed Aurora and it’s big. There is smoke and fire and it looks badly damaged.

After taking in the Aurora you can have a look around from on top of the pod and I’m sure you’ll find that you are completely surrounded by nothing but water. From here there is only one way forward and that is to hop in the water.

Upon jumping into the water you can see very clearly what is under the water here: some fish that have giant eyes called Peepers, fish that carry water that they filter called Bladder fish, and a lot more to go through.

At this point in the game it is most repetitive. You have to go back to the pod and learn about the fabricator which basically just makes things out of stuff you put into it, and so you have to start spending a lot of your time collecting resources and not really exploring too much at that moment.

Eventually you can fix your radio and you will start receiving distress calls from the other life pods even though it’s too late… I won’t say anything else on the story but it does get better from there.

The game plays with your fears by dimming the ocean at points so it’s so dark you can’t see 3 metres in front of you, and having creepy and loud noises all around you from the different wildlife, the game makes you think that there is something big out there.

The game design follows through with that with its leviathan class species. These are the largest animals on the planet and some can be quite hostile, showing behaviour like giving your submarine a quick ram or completely picking up your sea moth (small one person submarine).

But it makes you think that although there are aggressive leviathan class species such as the Reaper Leviathan, that maybe there could be so-called ‘friendly giants’ and the game follows through with this through a very important creature that has to do with the story, and a leviathan called the Reefback. This is one of the largest leviathans due to its width: it is basically an underwater island with various plants and organisms living on its back. It could startle new players when they first see it because of how big it is and where you find there’s not a whole lot of light so the most you’ll see at range is probably its large waving tentacles.

This is probably one of the best games I have ever played and I still really enjoy it. Sure it has a slow start, but no matter how many times you play it, it will still be enjoyable, yet terrifying at the same time.

And just one more comment… no matter how many times I have played through this one scenario I always seem to get snatched up by the Reaper Leviathan when going towards the Aurora, and it always frightens me with its roar in your face as it tosses you back and forth trying to get to you.

I give it a 9/10.

Age Rating: PG

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