7 Reasons to Play Subnautica: My Obsession with Exploration

Last Updated on September 21, 2019 by Michael Brockbank

So, I think I have a problem. I wouldn’t call it an addiction, but it’s definitely an obsession. Subnautica has taken far too much of my time recently. But, I have semi-valid reasons to play Subnautica and why I hope the developer continues building onto the franchise.

Unfortunately, I have a feeling that Subnautica is going to be one of those one-hit-wonders from the developer. I’ll go into that later, though. For now, let’s take a close look as to what makes this particular game worthwhile for myself.[template id=”145″]

My 7 Reasons to Play Subnautica

Stunning graphics are only part of what makes a game “good” in my eyes. It’s all about how a title makes me feel, and whether it can hold my attention for longer than an hour.

Subnautica does this in spades from the first day I installed it.

1) It’s a Nice Change

Most survival games I’ve come across lately have all involved scavenging after some prolific event. Either it’s nuclear war in Fallout or a zombie apocalypse as in H1Z1 and DayZ. Subnautica is a bit different as it involves surviving under water on an alien world.

It’s also a nice change from the first-person shooters that flood the Steam store front. Instead of merely vanquishing your foes through superior firepower, it takes a bit more cunning and ingenuity to survive.

Don’t get me wrong…I still have an affinity for FPS-style games. However, the separation of gun play is among the reasons to play Subnautica for myself.

Something else to keep in mind is how the Steam achievements currently work. They’re hidden, so you don’t know what you’re getting until you discover it.

Subnautica really wants you to explore the ocean depths.

2) It Taps My Anxiety of Deep Water

Unknown Worlds did a great job with how deep water works in this game. Visibility is a premium, especially in certain areas where the sunlight really cannot reach. If it wasn’t for the bio-luminescent life forms on the planet, I would surely smash into plenty of rock walls.

As odd as it sounds, the game’s handling of deep water is one of the biggest reasons to play Subnautica. You see, I have a bit of anxiety when it comes to bodies of deep water.

And the game taps that part of my psyche, which is more effective than most horror games to increase my pulse rate.

In reality, video games are often used to treat phobias…especially in virtual reality. And wouldn’t you know it, Subnautica has a VR version. Now I just need to get a Vive or Oculus.

I wouldn’t say that I have a phobia of water, but I definitely feel uneasy standing on the Santa Monica Pier or when in a boat over a deep lake.

3) Engaging Story Line

Contrary to the belief of some game developers, I rather like the solo-play of certain video games. Not everything needs to be a battle royale. In fact, the exclusion of players is one of my main reasons to play Subnautica.

It seems that most multiplayer games, outside of RPGs, just seem to miss out on the impact of a good story. Granted, Subnautica’s plot is a bit short. But it’s the progression you take to get to the final segment that makes it worthwhile.

The voice acting in the audio logs could use a bit of work, but the background to the game piques my interest. I find myself searching for PDA entries to continue the tale more than caring about finding parts to build more equipment.

4) Open World Building

I love the aspect of building almost anywhere. It’s one of the things I like most about Minecraft. And building in Fallout 4 requires being in a settlement location. In Subnautica, almost anything goes.

Even if you build a base next to a predator leviathan spawn area.

Currently, I have four bases spread out across the ocean. They are in key locations to certain things. For example, one of my bases is right next to a great place to mine ruby. Another is deep in a glowing cave for magnetite.

The point is that you’re only restricted by your imagination…and bravery. You probably wouldn’t build a base next to where reapers spawn if you’re playing hardcore mode.[template id=”505″]

5) Several Modes to Play

Speaking of play modes, one of my favorite reasons to play Subnautica is the different ways you can take to the ocean. Again, it’s similar to Minecraft in that regard as it gives the player control of how he or she wants to play.

  • Survival
    Monitor your food, drink, oxygen and depth as you brave the ocean planet and work to find a way to escape. I have eaten several kinds of fish so far, and look at everything as a potential meal.
  • Freedom
    In Freedom mode, you’re still trying to survive. However, you don’t have to worry about eating or drinking. This almost feels like cheating to me, so I doubt I’ll ever really try this mode.
  • Hardcore
    This is survival mode with only one life. Once you die, it’s over. This is one of the strongest reasons to play Subnautica for those who love the thrill of perma-death games. Personally, I love any game that offers hardcore mode, and I often stream Diablo III and Minecraft on Twitch this way.
  • Creative
    I haven’t played around with Creative yet, but I might after I beat the game. It’s one of the things that my daughters love to dive into – no pun intended. I just don’t want to spoil any of the discoveries by being creative just yet.

In reality, I’ve only died once over the last 64 hours of game play. Don’t build your base too close to the radiation leaking from the Aurora.

6) No One Around to Get Me Killed

I often play online games to get a bit of social interaction with others. However, it’s usually what gets me killed the most in games. Try having a trigger-happy brother who needs to attack everything he sees even if he has no life.

Leeroy Jenkins comes to mind…only with less life to start the fight.

I do admit that having friends around to help build or explore would be nice. But I doubt I would be social in hardcore mode.

7) Easy Mechanics of Building

Some survival games take crafting a bit too serious. Micro managing your inventory is one thing, but actually breaking down an item piece by piece according to how you would make it in real life is quite anal.

The purpose of a game is to enjoy yourself, not attend a trade school for practical ways of building a house. Unfortunately, I still play games that require the extensive recipe requirements for the simplest of goodies.

Luckily, the crafting mechanic in Subnautica is relatively easy…as long as you can find all the parts you need.

Continuing to Play

In almost three weeks, I’ve logged more than 64 hours in Subnautica. The first 48 was within the first week. It’s one of those games I’ll keep coming back to when I want to build or explore a bit more of the depths of the ocean planet.

And since it’s an open world, I can try new ways of building a sea base or simply building a fleet of subs for the hell of it. In any case, it’s among my favorites and I hope Unknown Worlds Entertainment does more with the game and/or its franchise.[template id=”543″]

Michael Brockbank
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Michael Brockbank

Michael developed ColoradoPlays to help various charities through his favorite pastime. Since then, the blog and Twitch channels have donated several hundred dollars to Extra Life, Geeks of Grandeur and Operation Supply Drop to name a few.

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