Subnautica: First Impressions

Game: Subnautica (First Impressions)
Genre: Adventure Survival
System: Nintendo Switch (also on iOS)
Developers | Publishers: Unknown Worlds Entertainment
Age Rating: US E10+ | EU 7+
Price: US $29.99 | UK £24.49 | EU $ 29,99
Release Date: May 14, 2021

Review code kindly provided by Unknown Worlds Entertainment.

I’m going to try with you something new for me: a first impressions article! I normally don’t play longer games for review because I prefer shorter, more casual games as a rule. However, I loved the look of Subnautica (underwater games are my jam!) and I am currently working on a review for the site. It’s a different genre from what I normally play, so I decided to give you my initial thoughts and struggles while I work through it. Read on!

Subnautica. A vast ocean. A spacefaring craft is on fire in the distance.
Clearly, I arrived here under not so stellar circumstances.


You play a character who has crash-landed on an alien world. An alien world filled with…water! My first impression is that this game is gorgeous. If you’re like me and enjoy swimming around looking at fish and collecting things, you’ll love it. It’s just fantastic for that style of gameplay. There is are three modes of varying levels of difficulty, and one mode takes away the danger and survival parts of the game and allows you to just explore and build things. A fun game to play while listening to music or a podcast.

Subnautica. A view from underwater near the disabled pod. Pod is orange. Rest of the screen shows some tropical looking underwater scenes.
This is beautiful but I didn’t plan a beach vacation!

What is a great challenge to me personally is the survival aspect of the gameplay. If this were a real situation, I would be dead. Very dead. INCREDIBLY dead. I had to look it up on the internet how to acquire food when the alarms were going off for me to hear something (spoiler alert: You catch fish. Turns out the option to “grab” them was there, they just moved so fast I hadn’t noticed it).  At least I know how to surface for air. Yeesh.

Subnautica. Underwater scene. I'm holding a fish in my right hand that has one giant eye.
You’ll have to catch fish to survive. Grab ’em!
Subnautica. Shows the menu for creating items. You turn your found items/creatures into supplies here.
This is the menu for turning found items/creatures into food and supplies.

Escape Pod

My escape pod was damaged upon landing, and I’ve been swimming around ever since trying to find enough materials to repair it. At least, I think that’s what I’m supposed to do. The game does leave a lot up to the player to figure out, in my opinion. This isn’t bad and is probably fine for people more familiar with the genre (or, perhaps, more common sense than I possess). Given that there’s no land in sight I think I’m on the right track!

Subnautica. Inside of the escape pod. Shows some screens, devices, and a ladder.
Home sweet home!

So, on I will swim, collecting items and building tools until I figure out how to fix this ship. Then I can make REAL progress and bring you a review.

Subnautica. Underwater view. A kelp forest can be seen through the murky water.
My future looks ominous.

But like the old song “Charlie on the MTA”, we may be left wondering if CJ will ever return from her excursion with Subnautica. I sure am!

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