Game of the Week – Subnautica: Below Zero

Caragh Oudshoorn

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WARNING: Subnautica: Below Zero Spoilers

Subnautica is one of the most played games in my Steam Library, so it comes as no surprise that I purchased Subnautica: Below Zero the day it became available for purchase. I had been excited for the game since its announcement.

The world of Subnautica: Below Zero

Below Zero, much like Subnautica, is an open-world survival game based in a water environment. You need to gather food, water and materials to help make your life easier below the waves, not to mention keeping an eye on your oxygen levels (although not to worry, your PDA will usually yell OXYGEN at you when it’s running low).

Below Zero is set on the same planet as Subnautica, 4546B, and is set after the original game. It follows the main protagonist, Robin, as she is thrown into the deep end and forced to survive a brutal environment. Lucky for her, her sister is up in The Vesper (a satellite in the atmosphere of 4546B) and provides the occasional supply drop. Her role also gives us a bit more story and interaction than the previous game.

The game really feels like an extension of the first one, without being so similar that it’s boring or not worth paying for. It feels like its own game, with its own flairs, but still retains everything you know and love from the first game: beautiful and diverse biomes, loads of interesting creatures and absolutely stunning music.

One of the many biomes in the game

The best part? It’s still in Beta.

It’s unfinished but already fantastic. That isn’t to say there aren’t any bugs, as there are loads, but it already feels like a full game in some parts. Personally, because I adore the first game and the story isn’t my favourite part of the games, playing it in Beta is great.

It feels like you’re helping complete the game, sending through bugs and giving feedback. At one stage you could even submit ideas for the data entries of various creatures.

I love watching the game progress with each update.

A cheeky Sea Monkey contemplating stealing my stuff

When I opened the game for the first time, I was amazed at the new layers to the game and its differences to the original, namely the ice and the penguin-like creatures, Pengwings, and the new biomes.

With the next update, I was annoyed at the Sea Monkeys (they stole my stuff!) and thrilled to have a vehicle to drive through the water.

Finally, with the most recent update, I was happy to see a land vehicle, something that was never in the previous game. I also got my first real taste of the game when I had a heart attack being attacked by a Snow Stalker and hearing a leviathan in the distance. Danger was finally in the game.

A Snow Stalker giving me a heart attack

I’m excited to see what more is brought to the game in upcoming updates and am eagerly awaiting full release.

So should you buy the game? Well, it depends. If you want a story driven, smooth, seamless, complete game, wait until it gets fully released in October. But if you’re like me and enjoy finding glitches, bugs and mistakes, and enjoy seeing the world come to life before your eyes, go ahead. You won’t regret it.