Subnautica review: I miss planet 4546B

I wasn't supposed to be there in the first place. We just wanted gravity to give us a little push.

So here I am Ryley Robinson, Non-essential system maintenance chief. Stuck on an ocean world. Seemingly on my own and fighting for survival.

Subnautica works by drip-feeding you information and abilities, at just the right rate to keep things entertaining. You start with pretty much nothing and work your way down Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Food, water, warmth and rest soon make way for security and safety. Then you start getting the opportunity for relationships via distress signals. Sure lured me away from the comfort of my shallow reef base.

The game involves collecting and utilising resources much in the way other games do however they've balanced the game so it feels more like an adventure and less like a grind. Different resources reside in different sectors or biomes so your experiences vary. Stories unfurl through left data recordings and the mystery around what caused your shipwreck is slowly revealed.

If (hopefully when) you visit 4546B, you will no doubt build bases, craft vehicles, mine resources, stealth past adversaries, discover secrets and eat some of the locals. More than that though I found myself enjoying the scenery, watching the kelp floating the current or the moons rising in the night sky. Watching the various critters do their thing which often seems to involve attacking one another or generally getting in the way. I found myself wondering what was around the next sea volcano or just how far I could go.

When I finally managed to get the resources and know-how together in order to leave the planet I found myself longing to stay. Was it really so bad? I had a lovely bedroom with an adjoining conservatory where I could watch both the sea and the sky. I had toys, posters and a couple of jaunty hats. Coffee machines, vending machines, water filtration and enough fishy snacks to drive any kitten wild. Why give it all up for the emptiness of space? So it was with a heavy heart that I left planet 4546B. However, I did get to leave behind a time capsule for those that follow my adventure. A picture of my escape craft to lift their spirits, a couple of tools (which admittedly someone had left me) and a battery. You can never have enough batteries.

Positives:
  • Great story and pace.
  • Good balance between resource collection and adventure.
  • Gorgeous biomes and lighting effects.

Negatives:
  • Although I love planet 4546B I now know it's secrets. I'm not sure there is any replayability.

Score: 8/10

For a game that Epic game store gave away for free, you can't go wrong. Currently, you can pick this up for as little as £14 which considering it'll give you a good 40 hours of pleasure is a small price to pay.


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