Best Games Like Subnautica 2023: A Deep Dive into Underwater Exploration and Survival

In 2014, the gaming world was introduced to a unique and enthralling underwater exploration and survival experience called Subnautica. Developed by Unknown Worlds Entertainment, Subnautica dropped players into an alien underwater world teeming with vibrant, often terrifying aquatic life.

The game struck a chord with gamers worldwide due to its immersive world, unique survival mechanics, and gripping storyline. The game’s success, however, has left many craving for similar experiences. If you’re among those seeking games that replicate Subnautica’s sense of adventure, fear, exploration, and survival, you’re in the right place.

Here’s a curated list of the best games like Subnautica that offer comparable gameplay and immersive experiences:

1. No Man’s Sky (Hello Games)

No Man’s Sky has come a long way since its rocky launch in 2016. Today, it stands as a testament to the power of post-launch support and development. This space exploration and survival game offers players an entire universe to discover, filled with unique planets, diverse ecosystems, and fascinating alien species. Its crafting and survival mechanics, coupled with the profound sense of exploration, make it a perfect match for Subnautica fans.

2. The Forest (Endnight Games)

Trading the deep seas for dense woodlands, The Forest is a first-person survival horror game that thrusts you into a mysterious forest following a plane crash. The game’s focus on resource gathering, base building, and survival against a hostile environment (and cannibalistic mutants) is reminiscent of Subnautica’s gameplay loop. The unique blend of horror and survival makes The Forest an exciting alternative.

3. Abzû (Giant Squid Studios)

If you adored the underwater exploration aspect of Subnautica but could do without the survival elements, Abzû is worth a look. Developed by some of the minds behind Journey, Abzû is a beautiful, mesmerizing dive into the ocean’s depths. It’s less about surviving and more about experiencing the vibrant undersea world and unraveling its mysteries.

4. The Long Dark (Hinterland Studio)

For those who enjoyed Subnautica’s survival aspects, The Long Dark presents an equally challenging yet different environment: the freezing Canadian wilderness. Stranded in the aftermath of a geomagnetic disaster, you must scavenge for resources, manage your vital needs, and survive against the harsh elements and wildlife. The game’s narrative mode, “Wintermute,” provides a gripping story for those who enjoyed Subnautica’s plotline.

5. Astroneer (System Era Softworks)

Astroneer is a charming space exploration game with a focus on creativity and resource management. Its cartoonish visuals and engaging multiplayer make it a lighter, more social experience than Subnautica. But don’t be fooled by its cheerful exterior; Astroneer still offers plenty of depth with its various planets to explore, complex crafting systems, and environmental hazards.

6. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl (GSC Game World)

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. shares Subnautica’s sense of a hostile, alien world, albeit in a post-apocalyptic setting. Players must navigate the radioactive wasteland of Chernobyl, dealing with hazardous anomalies, hostile creatures, and other scavengers. The game’s intense atmosphere, combined with survival and exploration mechanics, make it a unique alternative for Subnautica fans.

7. Raft (Redbeet Interactive)

Raft is a survival game that throws you and your friends into an epic oceanic adventure. Marooned on a small raft with nothing but a hook made of old plastic, players awake on a vast, blue ocean totally alone with no land in sight. The game’s primary goal is to survive the harsh conditions while expanding your raft and diving deep into the depths to discover the remnants of a lost civilization. Raft shares the nautical theme with Subnautica, as well as the focus on resource gathering, crafting, and base building.

8. Green Hell (Creepy Jar)

Green Hell is a sweltering struggle for survival in the Amazonian rainforest. Clinging to life, players are set on a journey of durability as the effects of solitude wear heavy not only on the body but also the mind. The game mimics Subnautica’s single-player survival experience but in a dense, hostile jungle environment. Players must build shelters, make tools, and craft weapons to hunt and defend themselves from the wilderness’s wild creatures. The game also incorporates a psychological aspect, where your mental state can be just as threatening as a physical threat.

9. Stranded Deep (Beam Team Games)

In Stranded Deep, players find themselves in the middle of the Pacific Ocean following a mysterious plane crash, forced to survive against the life-threatening scenarios. The game is a detailed survival experience with a focus on realism. Much like Subnautica, players can explore vast environments both above and below the ocean surface with procedurally generated worlds. With dynamic weather and a day-night cycle, Stranded Deep offers an immersive survival experience.

10. Outer Wilds (Mobius Digital)

Outer Wilds is an open-world exploration game where players are set in a solar system stuck in a 22-minute time loop. The game’s unique narrative structure, combined with its intricate, hand-crafted solar system, make for a deeply engaging exploration experience. While it doesn’t have the survival mechanics of Subnautica, it shares the sense of mystery, exploration, and discovery that makes Subnautica so compelling.

11. Breathedge (Redruins Softworks)

Breathedge is an ironic outer space survival adventure game. Players take on the role of a simple guy called the “Man” who just carries his grandpa’s ashes to a galactic funeral and suddenly finds himself in the middle of a universal conspiracy. The game combines open-world exploration, immersive storytelling, and a crafting system, all set in space’s vast expanses. While the game has a humorous undertone, it shares Subnautica’s spirit of exploration and survival.

Each of these games brings its own unique twist to the exploration and survival genre that Subnautica has so masterfully executed. Whether you prefer the dense, treacherous forests, the harsh, freezing wilderness, the infinite expanses of space, or the unforgiving ocean, these games offer a range of environments to test your survival skills.

Games like this but for Android:

While it’s true that the Android platform may not offer games with the same level of depth and complexity as Subnautica, there are a number of survival and exploration games available that can scratch that itch. Here are a few you might consider:

1. The Abandoned (Gaijin Distribution)

The Abandoned is an adventure game where you must survive in an area full of anomalies, harsh environments and monsters. The game has a complex crafting system and requires players to manage their health, hunger and fatigue in order to stay alive.

2. Ocean Nomad: Survival on Raft (Unisoft Games)

Ocean Nomad is a new release in the series of ocean survival games with new enemies, items, rpg elements, survival on an island and ocean exploration on a boat. Build and upgrade your raft for survival in the sea, defend it from sharks and explore the vast world around.

3. Crashlands (Butterscotch Shenanigans)

Crashlands is an adventure-crafting RPG driven by an epic story arc. From fighting off alien hordes to building your own base and crafting items, Crashlands offers a wealth of exploration and survival elements that can scratch the Subnautica itch.

4. This War of Mine (11 bit studios)

This War of Mine isn’t an underwater survival game, but it is a compelling survival game that offers a deep, often melancholic look at the horrors of war. As a group of civilians trying to survive in a city under siege, you’ll have to make tough decisions, scavenge for supplies, and try to stay alive.

5. Minecraft (Mojang)

While not specifically an underwater survival game, Minecraft does feature underwater exploration and survival aspects, especially with the “Update Aquatic” that brought a wealth of new underwater features. It’s open-ended nature and survival mechanics make it a good choice for fans of Subnautica.

6. Terraria (505 Games)

Often described as ‘2D Minecraft’, Terraria offers a similarly vast sandbox world with an emphasis on crafting and survival. The game also features extensive underwater areas and a variety of biomes to explore, much like Subnautica.

7. Don’t Starve: Pocket Edition (Klei Entertainment)

Don’t Starve: Pocket Edition brings the hit PC game enjoyed by over 6 million players to Android. Enter a strange and unexplored world full of strange creatures, dangers, and surprises. Gather resources to craft items and structures that match your survival style.

Games like Subnautica but in space:

If you’re looking for games that capture the spirit of Subnautica’s exploration and survival mechanics but prefer the setting to be in the vast expanse of space, here are a few games that you should definitely check out:

1. No Man’s Sky (Hello Games)

No Man’s Sky offers a procedurally generated universe that’s virtually infinite, teeming with unique planets, alien lifeforms, and various celestial phenomena. Much like Subnautica, it incorporates elements of survival, crafting, and base-building. The game has greatly improved since its initial launch, with significant updates adding a ton of new content and refining core gameplay.

2. Astroneer (System Era Softworks)

Astroneer offers a vibrant, stylized take on space exploration and survival. Players can reshape the terrain, build complex structures, and uncover hidden secrets throughout various planets. While it’s a lighter take on survival compared to Subnautica, Astroneer still provides a compelling exploration experience.

3. Starbound (Chucklefish)

Starbound places you in a spacecraft after your home planet is destroyed, and you’re tasked with exploring the universe. The game is a sandbox adventure that allows you to explore various procedurally generated planets, each with their unique environments, creatures, and materials. The survival mechanics, crafting, and base-building are quite similar to Subnautica.

4. Elite Dangerous (Frontier Developments)

Elite Dangerous is a space-flight simulation game set in an open world environment. It offers a realistic take on space exploration, where you can engage in activities like trading, mining, exploration, and combat. While it doesn’t have the survival mechanics of Subnautica, it offers a vast and immersive universe to explore.

5. Empyrion – Galactic Survival (Eleon Game Studios)

Empyrion is a 3D open-world, space survival adventure where you can fly across space and land on planets. The game uniquely combines elements of space simulations, construction, survival, and first-person shooters. It offers a rich exploration experience with a significant focus on survival and crafting, very much like Subnautica, but set against the backdrop of space.

6. Breathedge (RedRuins Softworks)

Breathedge is a comedic space survival game where you play as a man just trying to survive with his immortal chicken after a catastrophic shipwreck. It offers exploration, crafting, and survival in the vastness of space, with a fun and humorous storyline.

Each of these games captures the thrill of exploration and the tension of survival in their unique ways. While they may be set in space, they still echo the spirit of Subnautica’s gameplay, making them great choices for any fan of the genre.

Will Subnautica 3 come out?

With the official announcement of Subnautica 3, there are several elements we can anticipate. The inaugural Subnautica game provided a unique twist to the survival horror genre upon its release. The ambiance was seemingly inviting and vibrant, yet as you ventured deeper for resources, the atmosphere grew increasingly daunting.

Progressing further, you’d encounter narrative components adding another layer of terror. This successful formula was reproduced in Subnautica: Below Zero, which received significant praise. With the introduction of land areas, voice-over work, and a more robust narrative in the sequel, the expectations for Subnautica 3 are set even higher.

For similar game release updates, you’re at the right spot. Look into our current knowledge on Outer Wilds 2 and Dark Souls 4. Lastly, get an idea if we can foresee a Steam Deck 2 model launching soon.

Unknown Worlds has verified that Subnautica 3 is indeed in the works, although there has been no revelation regarding a potential release date as of yet.

Games like Subnautica but multiplayer

While Subnautica offers an incredibly immersive single-player experience, if you’re looking for games that offer a similar experience but with multiplayer elements, consider the following options:

1. No Man’s Sky (Hello Games)

This game offers a virtually endless universe for you and your friends to explore. From trading resources to building bases on alien planets, No Man’s Sky has come a long way since its release, and its multiplayer functionality is now quite robust.

2. Astroneer (System Era Softworks)

Astroneer is a sandbox adventure game set in space. It allows for up to four players to work together to build bases, explore planets, and gather resources. Its charming and colorful aesthetic makes it a fun and relaxing multiplayer experience.

3. The Forest (Endnight Games)

The Forest is a survival horror game that supports cooperative play. You and your friends can work together to build shelters, hunt for food, and fend off the island’s mutant inhabitants. The game’s dark and atmospheric world provides a thrilling multiplayer survival experience.

4. Raft (Redbeet Interactive)

In Raft, you and your friends are stranded on a small raft in the middle of the ocean. You’ll need to gather floating debris, fend off shark attacks, and expand your raft to survive. Raft’s cooperative gameplay is engaging and strategic, making it a great multiplayer survival game.

5. Rust (Facepunch Studios)

Rust is a multiplayer-only survival game where the only aim is to survive. Overcome struggles such as hunger, thirst, and cold. Build a fire. Build a shelter. Kill animals. Protect yourself from other players. Rust’s intense PvP mechanics and intricate base-building systems make it a favorite among multiplayer survival enthusiasts.

6. Ark: Survival Evolved (Studio Wildcard)

Ark is a multiplayer survival game with a prehistoric twist. Players must survive on an island filled with dinosaurs and other ancient creatures. With the ability to tame dinosaurs, build bases, and form tribes with other players, Ark offers a unique take on the multiplayer survival genre.

In conclusion, while there may not be a perfect like-for-like substitute for Subnautica, there is a variety of games that emulate its most compelling aspects. The thrill of exploration, the harsh reality of survival, the beauty and fear of unknown environments, and the satisfaction of progression and discovery – all these aspects are captured in the games mentioned above.

And as we dive into these alternative worlds, we take with us the joy and experiences we have from our time with Subnautica, allowing us to appreciate these games even more.