Subnautica: Below Zero
Subnautica: Below Zero is an open world survival action-adventure video game developed and published by Unknown Worlds Entertainment. It is the sequel to the 2018 game Subnautica.
Introduced in early access via Steam and the Epic Games Store in January 2019, Subnautica: Below Zero was released for the Microsoft Windows, macOS, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Nintendo Switch on May 14, 2021. The physical versions of the game are published by Bandai Namco Entertainment.
Subnautica: Below Zero is a survival adventure game set in an open world environment and played from a first-person perspective. The player controls a scientist who arrives to planet 4546B to search for clues about the research team that vanished there. Like its predecessor, the player’s goal is to explore the environments and survive in the alien environment while also completing objectives to advance the game’s plot. Players collect resources, construct tools, build bases and submersibles, and can interact with the planet’s wildlife.
The game primarily takes place underwater, but unlike its predecessor, there are significant land-based areas to explore in the north of the game’s world. There are more explorable structures to find both above ground and underwater which serve both as key locations for the story, but also for blueprints that the player can find for crafting. There is a day-night cycle which affects visibility and dynamic weather which further affects visibility, such as wind, snow, fog, and hail. In addition, the game introduces new gadgets like the Flashlight Helmet, the Mineral Detector, and the Booster Tank.
Alongside returning mechanics such as health, hunger, and thirst, players now have a temperature gauge which activates when they are on land. If the player is exposed to harsh weather, they will begin to develop hypothermia. This can be prevented by finding shelter in caves or buildings, utilizing plants or tools which can warm the player up, and by crafting appropriate survival gear which allows the player to stay outside in harsh weather for longer periods of time.
Upon beginning a new game, players must select a difficulty mode from the following four:
Survival — The player must manage health, hunger, thirst, oxygen and temperature. Upon death, they respawn, but certain items are lost from their inventory.
Freedom Mode — Just like survival, but with hunger and thirst disabled.
Hardcore Mode — Just like survival, but if the player dies, the player will no longer be able to respawn and the save file is permanently deleted.
Creative Mode — Health, hunger, thirst, oxygen and temperature are disabled, all the crafting blueprints are acquired, and no resources are required to craft. Additionally, the submersibles, a Seaglide, a mobile vehicle bay, a knife, a flashlight, a habitat builder, a scanner and a propulsion cannon are provided. They do not need an energy source and cannot be damaged (unless the player damages them intentionally).