If you were tasked with assembling a list of the top ten indie games of the last decade, it would be incredibly difficult to leave Subnautica off of the list. Developed by Unknown Worlds Entertainment, the game married exploration, survival, and deep sea terror in a way that equaled pure magic. When it came time to produce a follow-up, Unknown Worlds opted to continue pushing the concept of Subnautica even further.
Subnautica: Below Zero will be instantly recognizable to fans of the original as the team opted to evolve its design rather than go back to the drawing board. Virtually all parts of the original experience have returned and have been polished into near-perfection. Surviving underwater is still the name of the game, but Below Zero opts to push the narrative much more than the original game, which allowed players to learn about the game world on their own accord.
In addition to a new focus on narrative, Below Zero mixes up the original formula by bringing some of the action onto land. This land is frozen solid, but at least you can breathe. That said, oxygen is about the only thing on the surface that won’t kill you. Also, make sure to keep an eye out for the terrifying ice worm (and maybe pack an extra pair of clean underwear).
Creative types will also be stoked to hear that base building has been expanded and enhanced over the first game, allowing players to construct the habitat of their dreams. The game spent a good amount of time in early access, so its final launch didn’t make big headlines. Don’t let the opportunity to chill out pass you by.
Watch the Shacknews Awards 2021 YouTube playlist or read our Year of the Games: 2021 article for all of the awards in one place. We will be announcing our Shacknews GOTY 2021 on December 31.