Let’s look at what makes games like Subnautica so appealing. Subnautica is the standard for Open-world survival games.
Subnautica is a game that made waves upon its initial release, and gamers scoured every inch of its colossal game map to discover all its secrets. With each update, the game introduced tons of new features and mechanics that made it stand out from everything that came out.
Some of the best parts of Subnautica include:
Balance of Curiosity & Fear
Few games invoke a sense of dread and terror during exploration like Subnautica. The developers deserve heaps of praise for creating a world that gives you anxiety by mixing the feeling of being lost and always in danger of being attacked by alien species of aquatic life.
Gigantic World Bustling With Life
The transition from land to the ocean and vice versa in Subnautica is seamless. The entire world map loads simultaneously, and everything happens in real time. The darkness of the ocean’s depth is haunting, but at the same time, when you see the docile fish and plants, it’s a beautiful sight.
Haunting Sound Design & Visuals
Add to the scary visuals and the incredible sound design, and you have a recipe for a masterpiece. The sound of a Reaper Leviathan howling in the ocean is Subnautica’s way of scaring the pants off of you. It’s much more atmospheric and could easily pass as a horror game.
Sci-Fi Crafting With Logic
The game’s crafting mechanics and lore align excellently with the level of technology presented, unlike you having a magic pouch with infinite inventory space. The game’s story evokes empathy towards our protagonist as he conquers adversity in an attempt to leave the strange alien planet.
Survival Mode Is Hardcore
The survival aspect of Subnautica is excellent. The basic needs of hunger, thirst, shelter, transportation, and oxygen force the players to venture into the dangerous biomes. Aside from the basic needs, you can play the game at your own pace, and there’s no rush to reach a set objective.
Which Games Are Similar to Subnautica?
Having laid the foundation of what makes Subnautica so great in the overview above, let’s look at six other games like Subnautica.
1. Green Hell
Release Date: September 5, 2019
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Microsoft Windows.
Starting off our list of games like Subnautica is a game that a recently released title named Green Hell. The survival game has introduced its unique twists to the genre by including ramifications for playing recklessly.
Overview of Green Hell
Green Hell forces players to learn the gameplay mechanics quickly in a race against time; otherwise, survival will be impossible. The game is punishing because resources and health will diminish over time unless maintained, but that’s easier said than done.
Green Hell has hostile wildlife and tribesmen that always pose a significant threat, besides physical fatigue and sanity chipping away at the player character’s health.
The resources such as food will rot over time if not consumed for a long time, and eating the wrong thing will inflict food poisoning. Medicine will need crafting to cure various ailments and shelter to protect yourself from the elements.
How is Green Hell Similar to Subnautica?
Green Hell has a brutal atmosphere set in the backdrop of an Amazonian rainforest, whereas Subnautica is on an alien planet. So, how are both games similar, you might ask?
The answer is that both games have similar themes of hostile environments where our player characters are way out of their depths.
The sense of accomplishment as you conquer the challenges and slowly acclimate to the game’s harsh survival conditions makes Green Hell similar to Subnautica.
If you’d like to know more games like Green Hell, check out our other list of 6 Survival Games.
2. The Long Dark
Release Date: August 1, 2017
Platform: Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch.
The next game on our list of games like Subnautica is the critically acclaimed The Long Dark. You have to navigate the world with an icy outlook in the literal and metaphorical sense.
Quick Dive Into The Long Dark
The survival mode of The Long Dark lives up to its name, as there are various complex challenges to survive. You must also be careful not to stumble into danger while exploring your surroundings because there is permanent death.
The story of The Long Dark is episodic; 4 out of the 5 episodes have been released, with the last one pretty close. You play as a lone pilot whose plane crash-landed into the icy wasteland and now has to search for his partner while combating the harsh environment.
The cold and ice aren’t just for aesthetic purposes, as you must manage your character’s clothing while venturing into the wild. The game also has a full day and night cycle, and your physical needs, such as hunger, thirst, medicine for different ailments, and shelter, must be met.
Similarities Between The Long Dark and Subnautica
The common theme of anxiety-inducing exploration is in Subnautica and The Long Dark. You are alone and have to fend for yourself in both games.
While Subnautica may have the edge by completely isolating you from humanity, The Long Dark evokes a sense of melancholy from its ambiance.
You will constantly feel a sense of paranoia of being watched by a predator one moment; then, the silence may remind you of how lonely you are in the game. The two games mirror these themes brilliantly.
Release Date: July 24, 2014
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Microsoft Windows, MacOS, Linux.
Okay, now we’re halfway to our list of games like Subnautica. We think it’s a good time to introduce a game that’ll shift our perspective literally! You’ll get the joke in a second, as the game we’re referring to is Darkwood.
A Brief Look At Darkwood
Darkwood is one of the most surreal survival games we’ve encountered. It’s played from the top-down view, and the game is dripping with atmosphere.
The origins of the earthy affliction over the land are shrouded in mystery, and we’re quickly left to fend for ourselves. The different NPCs you come across give the game more personality and make each conversation feel unique.
Nighttime in Darkwood is a terrifying part of the game; the limited visibility and scarce resources to defend yourself will trigger panic attacks.
You have to prepare for the night during the day by collecting resources, cooking food, gathering ammo, crafting weapons, and exploring new places. Finding shelter to combat supernatural abominations is essential to surviving.
Comparing Darkwood to Subnautica
The gameplay perspective and graphical differences aside, Darkwood and Subnautica are more than comparable if you notice their unique take on the survival genre.
Subnautica has a sci-fi feel with its technology and vibrantly colorful world. Darkwood, on the other hand, is gritty and has a dark atmosphere with roots (HA!) in the supernatural. The games emphasize exploration, but there’s danger around every corner.
The moans of the damned in Darkwood always keep players on edge. Similar to how Reaper Leviathans’ howls are underneath the ocean’s darkness, especially at night. For unique atmospheric dread like in Subnautica, Darkwood is an excellent alternative.
4. No Man’s Sky
Release Date: August 9, 2016
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, MacOS,
You knew this was coming, didn’t you? Admit it! We Can’t say we blame you.
From the plummeting depths of the vast ocean of Subnautica, we now head to the faraway galaxies in No Man’s Sky. The developers pitched the game to be without any limitations, and the game has earned its reputation after a few minor hiccups post-launch.
A Small Rundown of No Man’s Sky
No Man’s Sky takes the procedurally generated map mechanic and pushes it to its limits. Each No Man’s Sky playthrough is guaranteed to be unique, especially if you’re not playing the main story.
The gameplay transitions from the surface of the planet to a star, and the ability to go anywhere in the game are the main selling points of No Man’s Sky. No such thing as an invisible boundary exists to stop you from going to a specific place.
The unique take on the alien species and strange vegetation in No Man’s Sky gives the players a sense of embarking on a grand journey. Collecting resources in the different environments for crafting unique items in the universal sandbox of the game is a wholly satisfying experience.
How No Man’s Sky Measures Up With Subnautica?
It’s pretty clear from the apparent viewing of both Subnautica and No Man’s Sky that the games have sci-fi themes and differ vastly.
Firstly, Subnautica strands the protagonist on a singular alien planet with its ocean being, where players will spend most of the time trying to find a means to escape it. No Man’s Sky does the exact opposite by giving total freedom to players to go anywhere they wish.
Despite the differences, both games deal with alien planets, unique habitats, and how your journey is only a tiny cog in the cosmic machine.
The philosophical aspect of both games is that the universe doesn’t revolve around us, and we’re only a small fragment within it which makes Subnautica and No Man’s Sky similar.
5. Days Gone
Release Date: April 26, 2019
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Microsoft Windows
We’re almost at the end of our list of games like Subnautica. Now let’s talk about a game with an entirely different premise, but the vibe and feel similar to Subnautica.
Days Gone was released when there was an immense saturation in the zombie game market. Sony’s other first-party studio had already delivered a fantastic zombie survival game called The Last of Us. So, what sets Days Gone apart from everything else?
A Short Analysis of Days Gone
Days Gone is a Sony first-party studio Open-world game that gives the zombie survival genre a much-needed fresh jolt.
Days Gone puts you in the shoes of protagonist Deacon St. John, a loner who doesn’t like to be in the same place for long and loves riding his bike. You follow the journey of Deacon as he tries to locate his missing wife.
The world has gone to hell, and humanity is surviving by banding together in different settlements. The zombies in Days Gone aren’t mindless; they’re cunning adversaries that require strategy.
You can go in gun blazing and take your chances, but don’t expect to survive the hordes with an aggressive gameplay style.
The bike is a crucial element of the gameplay in Days Gone. You cannot travel if your motorcycle is damaged; it is the only one in the game. Traveling on foot is next to impossible, especially to reach distant locations.
In What Way Days Gone Is A Game Like Subnautica?
Days Gone is similar to Subnautica if you can surpass the noticeable superficial differences. In Days Gone, you can head into enemy territory without even realizing it, something players of Subnautica will understand painfully well.
In Days Gone, you look for crafting materials to create and upgrade the melee weapons and firearms to fend off zombies until you can escape. Subnautica has hostile alien sea creatures you can’t kill but can flee if you have the right vehicle and its corresponding upgrades.
We hope now you can see why Days Gone is a game like Subnautica.
6. BioShock (From The Remastered Collection)
Release Date: September 13, 2016
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, mac OS
We started from the ocean of Subnautica and now end right back into the ocean with Bioshock (from the remastered collection). Since both games occur underneath the ocean, it makes sense thematically.
What is Bioshock About?
Bioshock is a game rooted in an alternative historical setting, where our protagonist wakes up in an underwater city called Rapture. He sees utter chaos as everything is in ruins, and most of its populace has died, and he fights to survive.
We slowly learn about what’s happening through recordings and notes scattered throughout Rapture. Bioshock gives players abilities and power-ups that make them stand a chance against the different enemies they face, on top of weapons and supplies.
There’s almost a sense of dread in exploring Bioshock’s dark and brooding atmosphere. The game is more story driven and linear, but that doesn’t make it any less fun.
Common Themes of Subnautica and Bioshock
Both Bioshock and Subnautica have a lot of parallel themes. They both take underwater, and you are left to your own devices and find a way out of your predicament.
The narrative-heavy Bioshock has a lot of twists and turns in its plot to keep you hooked while still holding onto the mystery element from start to finish. Similarly, in Subnautica, there is an element of mystery in exploring the unknown, especially the deeper caverns of the ocean.
We hope you see things from our perspective and how Bioshock is a similar game like Subnautica.
That’s our list of games like Subnautica. We hope you enjoyed reading through it. Feel free to call us out and tell us about which games should also be on here, and who knows; we might make another one with your suggestions entirely.
If you’d like to check out some other games with Open-world survival settings, check out our list of 18 Open-World games.