Parents' Guide to

Subnautica

By Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Gorgeous, challenging, atmospheric underwater thriller.

Game Windows , Xbox One 2018
Subnautica Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 12 parent reviews

age 13+

Terrifying yet gorgeous

I've followed Subnautica's development since 2015, back when early access was released. I was 10 years old back then, but I was easily hooked by this marvelous game. I'm scared easily, so I struggle a lot with this game, but it's worth it - its story is absolutely fantastic and the way it unfolds is thrilling. The perfect game for someone who likes spooky survival games with heavy storylines. Also, I love the research being the making of Subnautica and its scientifical accurate data. Feels like a real experience, especially with those gorgeous graphics! For children, creative mode would be perfect: no worries regarding some levianthan class predators!
age 12+

Beautiful, calming, serene, and a healthy dose of fearing for your life

I have no idea why some of the ratings here are anything below 10, some are even 4 and up. This game is for all ages but what really matters is if your child gets easily scared. Because its all fun and games until you get the life scared out of you for traveling a little too far from home. Even though it is terrifying at times, its overall a beautiful and deeply complex game in terms of story, mechanics, and the fact that you need to use your head in order to solve some puzzles and or challenges. I would highly recommend it as i found the fact that at often times, it contradicts some messages thought frequently today. From what I've gathered through me and my Childs many playthroughs of the game is that it can teach you to manage resources, it pushes you to think more critically at times, and it teaches you that fighting back is both a valuable skill, and one that shouldn't be tested against the bigger threats in this game. Overall its a very serene and calming game, with quite a few bugs, but don't be surprised when you hear a bloodcurdling scream from the other room as your kid is getting hunted down by a big fish. Do be weary that it contains some horror aspects and also stuff like spiders, loud horrifying sounds, and downright absurdly scary fish. Don't be put off though because its a game that i would recommend for everyone to play. Don't be surprised if your child doesn't want to swim though

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (12 ):
Kids say (116 ):

This is a breathtakingly beautiful, challenging, and immersive open-world adventure that grabs you from the start and doesn't let go. Subnautica -- which took more than five years to create -- is highly recommended, especially for those who love marine exploration, crafting items, and puzzle-solving, and a solid story to tie everything together. Also, for fans of horror movies and games, Subnautica does have some terrifying moments. There are some minor technical issues -- such as images that suddenly pop up, and long-ish load times. Plus, those who prefer twitchy action might not appreciate the slower-paced scavenger hunt nature of the game, but Subnautica is really, really good. Also, you can choose to play how you like: Creative mode allows you to explore underwater worlds and build bases without having to worry about health upkeep or resource costs; Survival mode is more difficult, as you must manage health, hunger, and hydration; and the aptly named Hardcore mode only gives you one life and no O2 alerts, to truly test your survival skills.

Once you're in the first of a few different vessels, you'll quickly get the hang of navigation and control, so you can focus on the core gameplay element -- survival -- as you follow waypoints to complete various goals, and choose flight or fight based on the threats that await you (some can't be killed, so you'll need to think of alternative approaches). One of the first memorable moments is discovering and investigating the huge spaceship that brought you to this alien world to begin with. The game is a real stunner, with high-resolution graphics, impressive lighting, and amazing special effects (including very realistic-looking water). Couple that with excellent sound effects -- like hearing the moans of predatory creatures swimming near you -- and professional voice acting and music, and you'll get a sense of the production values here. All in all, despite the few technical issues, Subnautica is an extraordinarily fun game worthy of your time and money.

Game Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate