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Subnautica: Below Zero beginner’s guide, tips, and tricks

Seven quick tips for new divers

Subnautica: Below Zero - A submarine below a glacier, illuminating a large, turtle-like creature trapped in the ice of an alien world. Image: Unknown Worlds Entertainment

Subnautica: Below Zero puts you in an environment filled with alien penguins and other monsters of the deep, and the dangers of the water still remain. You have to watch your oxygen, food, and water levels to successfully explore the area.

In Polygon’s Subnautica: Below Zero beginner’s guide, we show you some starting tips to help you survive when you dive.

Highlight your interactables for easy resource gathering

The resources that you can actually harvest can be hard to see, but in the settings, you can add a colored outline on harvestable goods. You can do this by opening the menu, going to Options, and checking off the Highlight Interactable box under Accessibility.

Don’t dive too deep at first

While it may be tempting to go into every chasm you find, your oxygen levels will be too low. While there are plants and fish that to supply you with oxygen as you dive down, if you start feeling nervous about how deep you’re going, consider that a sign. You’ll upgrade your equipment later, allowing for easier movement and more oxygen, so hold off until then.

You need a knife to collect plants

One of the first things you should make is a Survival Knife. You can use the Fabricator in the pod to craft one using Silicon Rubber and Titanium. Silicon Rubber is made from Creepvine Seed Clusters. Though hard to see, you can pluck the seed clusters from the middle of the larger Creepvine plants.

Make an upgraded oxygen tank as soon as you can

The more oxygen you have, the farther you can dive. Collect the resources and upgrade your oxygen tank as soon as you can. You’ll need two Titanium and one Fiber Mesh to make it. Fiber Mesh is made from two Creepvine Samples. You’ll need to use your knife to cut down the glowing red Creepvines growing out of the ground. Titanium can be found from smashing interactable rocks scattered around the water.

Pay attention to item sizes in your inventory

The inventory UI in Subnautica: Below Zero, showing items of a wide variety of sizes. Image: Unknown Worlds Entertainment via Polygon

Different items take up different amounts of space, so make sure you’re using storage or crafting the resources down into smaller items to avoid running out of room. Large items like parts of plants can be crafted into materials like rubber and fiber (as seen in the recipes of the above tips).

Don’t make too much food

Hold off on making too much food at once. Food will expire after making it, so it’s best to hold on to the fish you catch and turn it into food when you need it. You can carry a couple cooked fillets with you as you roam around, but don’t make more than you’ll need.

Look out for ice floes

Make sure that the areas you’re diving in have an accessible way to the surface. Ice floes and other land masses can block your way up, which means you’ll run out of oxygen and die.