Parents' Guide to

Subnautica: Below Zero

By Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Stellar adventure sequel has fantastic hero in aquatic tale.

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A Lot or a Little?

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

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Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say Not yet rated
Kids say (8):

This is an extraordinarily fun open-ended, story-based adventure worthy of your time and money (especially as it's less than half the cost of most other new games). While it may be shorter than its three-year-old predecessor, the new story, additional game mechanics, and biomes of Subnautica: Below Zero make it a great buy for fans of the original game, too. The first 30 minutes or so will help you familiarize yourself with the controls and the tasks at hand -- beginning with collecting species and chipping away at minerals to analyze. But once you get to the Delta Station, one of the first story-based, on-land areas, the fun really kicks in by giving you a clearer purpose to your work. While you don't see her often as it's played from a first-person view, Robin, a Black female protagonist, is a great role model. More of the story elements are uncovered shortly into the game, including Robin's personal connection to this planet, and, without giving too much away, she realizes she may not be alone on 4546B. For much of the game, though, it's a survival/exploration simulation, where you need to take note of your oxygen levels, body temperature (if outside), and power of your underwater craft, and avoid some of the bigger creatures who don't want you messing around them.

Collecting and crafting remains a core gameplay mechanic, along with finding and using items, such as a headlamp and rebreather mask, to aid in your quest. The lack of a map can be a little challenging in an open-world game, so you should have a good sense of direction to navigate this world, on land and under water, in order to succeed. Graphics are a little better than in the original, but not by much. At least objects don't seem to "pop" into view as much as in the first game, which hurt its suspension of disbelief. The voice acting is strong, as is the music and sound effects. Whether you've played the original or not, this fantasy trip to Planet 4546B is a highly memorable one.

Game Details

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