Version Tested: PC
Available On: PC
Developer: Illogika Studios
Publisher: Illogika Studios
Genre: Action, Adventure, Indie
Official Site: https://subaeria.com/
Release Date: 25 September 2015 (Early Access)
Where To Buy: Steam
Subaeria is a unique game in every way. It focuses on thinking through situations and using the environment around you to come up with a way to move forward. Even with the game still in Early Access, the amount of gameplay already available makes it well worth $13.
Rather than focusing on fighting with weapons, Subaeria chooses to show how ordinary people can outsmart their enemies. With the help of a drone companion, characters maneuver their way through the world, using things they find along the way to help them progress. Players have to think strategically about what they need to help them survive.
But that is not the most striking thing about this game; instead, the beautiful graphics of this underwater world stand out as one of the highlights of Subaeria. The cutscene at the beginning shows off these graphics right away as we learn about the first playable character, Styx. Styx is a game-addicted young woman whose drone suddenly approaches her with the news that she is Credless (aka deep in debt). She sets off to figure out how to fix the situation, making her way through countless puzzle-type rooms that need to be solved in order to unlock each door.
One of the most interesting aspects of these rooms is that they are never designed the same way. While they may have the same mechanics of the basic tools and enemies, each time you enter a room it will be a random puzzle to solve. The rooms will contain any amount and combination of lasers, switches, items, upgrades for your drone and the robot enemies of the game, the Cleaners.
Before Styx starts her journey, I strongly recommend doing the short tutorial. Despite the controls being geared toward controller mechanics (something I will address shortly), Subaeria does a fantastic job of teaching new players the basic controls. The tutorial is also forgiving, which is important since there is a decent amount new players have to learn.
Subaeria may seem easy after the tutorial, but that is certainly not the case. The game has its own challenges in store for players. Namely, one that gave me quite a bit of stress is the save mechanic – there is none. If you die, you start over from the beginning, every time. There has been a discussion about possibly adding a saving system later, but as it currently stands, you need to be on your toes when you play this game – unless you enjoy watching the same cutscenes over and over (I admit, they are nice to look at).
While the game does not require a controller to play, I would highly recommend using one. The main menu allows for changing audio, video and gameplay quality, but does not offer any way for the player to change their controls. As such, it takes a bit of trial and error to figure out, especially if you decide to skip the tutorial at the beginning. The developer did address the issue with key mapping in one of their updates to the game so that control prompts would adapt to whichever is being used (controller or keyboard). However, Subaeria was clearly designed with Xbox controls in mind and is probably most effective if played in this manner.
Another small warning I have – make sure your computer can handle the high level of graphics required for this game. While this may seem straightforward, there are a few graphics cards that are not able to run Subaeria, such as the Intel HD Graphics/Iris Pro Graphics. The dev team has promised they are working on solutions.
The sound in the game adds a nice atmosphere. It fits with the underwater setting well and doesn’t distract too much from whatever the player is doing. While it can be a little repetitive at times, the sound is an important aspect of the game, letting you know when enemies are alerted to your presence or when the door to the next room is unlocked.
Subaeria will offer four different playable characters when it is complete. The characters are each unique, with their own advantages and background stories. I am excited to see where each of these characters will go, especially since Styx was such a great character introduction to the game. Fortunately, it won’t be too much longer before the other characters are added – the developer hopes to have the game fully released in about a year.
The team at Illogika Studios has done a great job of keeping their community in the loop. They are putting out updates to Subaeria at a good pace and seem to genuinely want players to give feedback and suggestions. When I submitted my own feedback about some graphics issues I was having, the team contacted me within the hour to let me know they were considering my input. The studio has a lot to focus on with Subaeria, but this contact with the community shows that they really care about their game and its fans.
All things considered, Subaeria has impressed me. While there are definitely a few things that could be improved, this game was entertaining and enjoyable. As someone who doesn’t normally play games thinking about strategy, I found this game to be a breath of fresh air. Whether you choose to buy it while it is still in early access or wait until the full game is developed, Subaeria is well worth adding to your collection.
Want to add the game to your collection? Available Now on Steam!
- Gameplay: Refreshing and unique take on strategy games, with constantly changing situations. Controller definitely recommended. Future additions look promising.
- Graphics: Gorgeous graphics, but comes at a price – make sure your graphics card can handle it.
- Sound: Fits the environment well, and doesn’t distract from playing the game. Can be repetitive at times.
- Presentation: Impressive for a game still in early access. A few small changes could be made to make this game even better. The new updates for this game are sure to be exciting.
- Amazing Graphics
- Unique and Changing Experience
- Challenges in Strategic Thinking
- No Save Mechanic
- Not Compatible with Some Graphics Cards
Meghan is an amateur gamer, J.R.R. Tolkien fanatic and self-proclaimed otaku. She hopes to become the author of her own fantasy novel one day, and loves to talk about everything from comic books to Criminal Minds.