The Early Access title Subnautica is just on the verge of being released, expected to hit 1.0 some time early in 2018. Now is a great time to dive in to the underwater open-world survival sim, or to get back in to it if you were one of the gamers who took a peek at it a few years ago. The game can be a little daunting at the beginning, though, especially if you’re new to survival games in general. That’s why I’ve compiled a short guide to help you make the most of your undersea adventures. Be advised that while I’m trying my best not to ruin the plot, a few small spoilers may still slip in.
The guide is mainly going to focus on the start of the game: you’re stranded in the middle of a vast ocean, floating in a damaged life pod, with a vast array of strange and intimidating alien sea life swimming around you. You’ve managed to put out the fire that was raging inside your pod, but what do you do now?
The goal of the beginning of the game is to secure your survival by finding a sustainable source of food and water and constructing a more permanent shelter for yourself. Inside your lifepod is a small storage compartment with a tiny cache of goodies to help you get started: some fresh water, a few nutrient blocks, and some flares that can serve as a temporary light source. More importantly, hanging on your wall is a medkit fabricator: this device will spawn a fresh first aid kit for you once every game day (about 30 minutes or so). However, it won’t spawn a new kit if there’s still one sitting in the dispenser, so I recommend you check it regularly to help build up a backlog of medkits for emergency use.
These supplies only help you get started, though – in order to REALLY survive on this planet, you’re going to need to head out in to the water to gather materials. These materials can then be fed in to the fabricator hanging in your life pod in order to craft useful tools. A lot of raw minerals such as copper, quartz, and the like can be found by looking for small rocks called “outcroppings” on the ocean floor. Tapping these rocks will cause them to break open, revealing a mineral within. One of the core resources you’ll need is titanium – it’s necessary for crafting nearly every component in the game. Luckily, it happens to be one of the most abundant and easiest to find – you can get single pieces of titanium from rock outcroppings or retrieve “metal salvage”, which your fabricator can break down in to 4 titanium a pop. While you’re out there don’t forget to catch smaller fish such as the Peeper and the Bladderfish, which can be converted in to food and water, respectively.
Once you start collecting resources its important to use them wisely by crafting the most essential tools first. One of the first things you’re going to want to create is the survival knife. Not only is it one of the game’s only weapons, but it’s also essential for harvesting resources from certain plants and animals. Next you’re going to want to craft a scanner: this tool allows you scan plants and animals you come across to learn up on the game’s lore, but more importantly it lets you scan wrecked equipment scattered around the seabed, which unlocks fabricator blueprints for more complex (and more helpful!) tools. After the scanner you’re going to want the “repair tool” – as the name implies it repairs damaged equipment such as the radio on your lifepod (hint hint!). Lastly, you’re going to want to build the “Habitat Builder” – it’s essentially a handheld fabricator that allows you to craft the various rooms and connecting tubes of your very first underwater seabase.
Once you’ve gotten to the point that you can construct your own habitat your survival should be sustainable and you should be able to start exploring the world and pursuing the game’s story in earnest.
Graduated from MIT with 2nd class honours. I play games during my free time to de-stress. I also do some writing here and there. Hope you enjoy my articles!