I’ve been completely absorbed into Subnautica for the past 2 or so weeks now. It’s been quite an amazing experience. I’ve been waiting for some time for one of the myriad survival/crafting early access games to reach a finished state and Subnautica might very well be the best of the crop.
I think one of the biggest strengths of the game is that it takes place mainly under water and that fact alone helps it keep you in a perpetual state of anxiety and apprehension that few games can ever really manage. The open sea itself inspires fear for a great many reasons only the first being our inability to simply breath. Doesn’t much matter how alien a landscape or monster you design, we are land dwelling creatures so that is our domain. In water though we are ill equipped and even the well known creatures living in our own oceans are nightmare fuel enough.
Now you’re stranded on an alien planet with ocean as far as the eye can see in every direction. Even as you start to get to know your immediate surroundings and learn what’s safe and what isn’t the game keeps pushing you to explore further and deeper and for every step you brave the game reveals even further depth, greater threats and darker pits to keep you from ever feeling safe and to keep your anxieties going.
Now I have a fear of open water as is so of course this game is really doing a number on me, I don’t know if you’re someone who have no issue with swimming around deep unknown waters it might not have as high an impact.
I’m currently on the brink of what I suspect is the last quarter of the game, the progress to which I shan’t spoil but there’s a step ahead of me now that I am greatly uneasy about taking.
I would highly recommend the game and of course playing it as blind as possible. There are of course wikis full of all the information you need but I’d strongly recommend refraining from using them and let the game guide you on it’s own and to engage with it’s exploration aspects fully. There’s a lot of wondrous things to find out there and of course a lot of terror.