Is Subnautica a Horror Game? – In Many Ways… Yes!

In Game & Software Reviews, Reviews by AustinLeave a Comment

If you’ve already read my other articles written on Subnautica you are aware that it happens to be one of my favorite games I’ve ever played.

So why not write about the psychologically motivated emotional responses that can be triggered all from one futuristic sci-fi ocean survival game.

Is Subnautica a horror game? Some people disagree on this, but without a doubt I say that in many ways it can be one! If you look at the definition of “horror” it is something that basically makes you feel fearful.

This can be from something shocking or even revolting and if you have played Subnautica you are very likely to agree with me that there are many shocking moments in the game.

Do you have Thalassophobia?

What in the world is Thalassophobia? Well it is basically a fear of a body of water… but not just any ordinary body of water! But a body of water… which is deep… and dark… and unknown!

Now for you poor people who have Thalassophobia, Subnautica makes it so you have to conquer this fear in a game where you conduct exploration and research on aquatic life and resources.

Even though it’s just a game, swimming in the vast ocean in Subnautica can be terrifying, especially at night with all the creatures that could be out there.

The Jumpscares!

There are a couple different jump scares in Subnautica that will fill you with shock. Even if the jump scare isn’t scary, it can be startling.

The events that take place in a jump scare are so sudden in cohesion with uncertainty that it surprises you. I think a jump scare becomes more powerful depending on how much dread you are feeling.

Because if that dread grows then you feel more apprehension and anticipation which increases the rate at how startled you’ll feel when the jump scare actually happens.

What Happened to the Crew!?

Perhaps if you meet someone you won’t feel so alone in this ocean. It’s a bit creepy though when you find a bunch of empty life pods, which used to have people in them destroyed and sunken at the bottom of the ocean.

It is also creepy when you even find some abandoned under water bases because it tells you a that someone made that and used to be alive, but something happened to them.

When you see what appears to be bite marks in one of the life pods, it tells you a story, a terrifying one. It almost makes you feel lucky to be alive, but with everyone missing, does that mean you’re next?

What could happen to you? This makes you want to figure out more about what happened and luckily you get to read some of the PDAs left behind.

These PDAs have data on them that have recordings of what happened to some of the people in the life pods which can be disturbing to think what happened to them could happen to you.

Is Fear a Good or Bad Thing?

A phobia is an irrational fear of something, in other words it is being afraid of something that you shouldn’t be afraid of because there is no reason to be afraid of something that can’t harm you.

This is a bad kind of fear that causes distress amongst yourself for no good reason. But in contrary to bad fear, do you think fear can ever be a good thing?

Perhaps when a Reaper Leviathan thinks about taking a bite out of your sub, this terror you are feeling as its hideous face latches onto your little Sea Moth and instills a sense of danger is a good thing.

You have two options, to fight this utter monstrosity with your little pocket knife or perhaps you can make a quick getaway in the night using your Sea Glide to propulse yourself through the ocean waves in the night.

Looking Beyond

There are a lot of scary moments in this game.

From barely surviving an emergency crash landing, to almost drowning multiple times, to being jump scared by some of the creatures that encompass this aquatic world, to discovering what happened to crew members…

Or maybe you just don’t like the fear of being alone in the vast emptiness of the ocean filled with creatures of the unknown, to…

Okay you get the point! All I can say is that Subnautica may not be your typical horror game, but that doesn’t change the fact that it can be frightening! And if it is frightening that basically makes it a horror game!

I appreciate those who have read this and please let me know in the comments what kind of fear you think Subnautica is, and whether the fear is a good or bad thing. I personally think Subnautica has good and bad fear.

When I say good and bad fear what do I mean by that? In other words, I think there is irrational fear and rational fear!

You shouldn’t be afraid of the vast emptiness of the ocean itself (this kind of fear is irrational), you should be afraid of things like the creatures that want to eat you (this is a good kind of fear because it warns you to get away from actual danger).

Or maybe you shouldn’t be afraid of the creatures destroying you or your submarine because it’s just a game. What do you think? Be sure to let me know!


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