Subnautica

Posted:  September 04, 2022
SDHQ BUILD SCORE: 
Disclaimer:  This is an initial impression of the game. Our review and recommended settings will be updated when we've completed a full and thorough analysis of how it performs on Steam Deck. Check back soon for our full analysis!
SDHQ Settings
Review
Game Info

SDHQ Recommended Settings

SteamOS
40 FPS
Limit
40
Refresh Rate
HRS
No
TDP Limit
8
Scaling Filter
FSR Sharpness 0
GPU Clock
1100
Proton Version

No Forced Compatibility

Game Settings

General:

Resolution: 1152x720

Full Screen: Off

Vsync: Off

 

Graphics:

Color Grading: Filmic

Water Quality: High

Anti-Aliasing: FXAA

Anti-Aliasing Quality: Off

Bloom: On

Lens Dirt: Off

Motion Blur Quality: Low

Ambient Occlusion: Medium

Screen Space Reflections: Off

Dithering: On

Projected Battery Usage and Temp
12W - 15W
65c - 70c
2.5 - 3 hours

Review

Do you love to explore and see new and unique locations with vibrant alien wildlife? Do you enjoy water? Do those both give you a similar amount of excitement when thinking about each? Well then enter into the depths of Subnautica! You have crash landed on an alien world and the only thing you can see is a vast ocean. Grab your scuba gear and head downwards as you explore underwater rivers, kelp forests, reefs, and more. Scavenge what you can and keep track of your food, water, and oxygen as you survive and build a new home, while discovering the mystery behind this new world.

Subnautica is a ridiculously cool game, but it does have some issues with playing on Steam Deck. The biggest glaring one is the controls. The default control scheme doesn't work at all, so you will need to set up a different configuration. I used the "Steam Deck Configuration" community controller configuration made by LarryWF.

SubnauticaControllerConfig

There are also framerate stability issues I noticed right off the bat. I decided to play this at 40 FPS due to it being an older game and I preferred the fluidity, and while it can be done, there are some stability issues. Loading in new objects does slow the game down and it can obviously pop in. This can cause an issue when moving to new areas or exploring. I don't think it is as noticeable with the overlay off though.

Even with all of this, I do enjoy playing Subnautica this way. With a mix of settings, a TDP limit of 8, and FSR, the game can get you around 2.5 - 3 hours of battery life with sub 70c temps. I would call this a success in general! I am looking forward to exploring more of the game soon.

Subnautica Comparisons

Water Quality:

Left ImageRight Image
Left ImageRight Image
Left ImageRight Image

As you can see, the surface on the water is greatly affected by this settings. It doesn't change much when underwater, but seeing as how the surface is visible in most of the game, I felt the increased power draw was worth it for this huge graphical change.

Color Grading:

Left ImageRight Image
Left ImageRight Image

Color grading was another tough one. I like the style of Filmic more overall, but turning it off really helped in certain areas. I believe it is more worthwhile to keep FIlmic on, but I think this can be up to you in general.

Screenshots:

SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

Subnautica is a gorgeous game and even with some stuttering and FPS drops, is still really wonderful to see on Deck so far.

Performance: 
VISUALS: 
Stability: 
Controls: 
Battery: 
Reviewed By:
BarbecuedKitty
Steam Profile
Steam Deck Compatibility
Current Price: 
$29.99
View in Steam Store
Proton DB Rating

Review

Do you love to explore and see new and unique locations with vibrant alien wildlife? Do you enjoy water? Do those both give you a similar amount of excitement when thinking about each? Well then enter into the depths of Subnautica! You have crash landed on an alien world and the only thing you can see is a vast ocean. Grab your scuba gear and head downwards as you explore underwater rivers, kelp forests, reefs, and more. Scavenge what you can and keep track of your food, water, and oxygen as you survive and build a new home, while discovering the mystery behind this new world.

Subnautica is a ridiculously cool game, but it does have some issues with playing on Steam Deck. The biggest glaring one is the controls. The default control scheme doesn't work at all, so you will need to set up a different configuration. I used the "Steam Deck Configuration" community controller configuration made by LarryWF.

SubnauticaControllerConfig

There are also framerate stability issues I noticed right off the bat. I decided to play this at 40 FPS due to it being an older game and I preferred the fluidity, and while it can be done, there are some stability issues. Loading in new objects does slow the game down and it can obviously pop in. This can cause an issue when moving to new areas or exploring. I don't think it is as noticeable with the overlay off though.

Even with all of this, I do enjoy playing Subnautica this way. With a mix of settings, a TDP limit of 8, and FSR, the game can get you around 2.5 - 3 hours of battery life with sub 70c temps. I would call this a success in general! I am looking forward to exploring more of the game soon.

Subnautica Comparisons

Water Quality:

Left ImageRight Image
Left ImageRight Image
Left ImageRight Image

As you can see, the surface on the water is greatly affected by this settings. It doesn't change much when underwater, but seeing as how the surface is visible in most of the game, I felt the increased power draw was worth it for this huge graphical change.

Color Grading:

Left ImageRight Image
Left ImageRight Image

Color grading was another tough one. I like the style of Filmic more overall, but turning it off really helped in certain areas. I believe it is more worthwhile to keep FIlmic on, but I think this can be up to you in general.

Screenshots:

SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

Subnautica is a gorgeous game and even with some stuttering and FPS drops, is still really wonderful to see on Deck so far.

Performance: 
VISUALS: 
Stability: 
Controls: 
Battery: 
Reviewed By:
BarbecuedKitty
Steam Profile

SDHQ Recommended Settings

SteamOS
40 FPS
Limit
40
Refresh Rate
HRS
No
TDP Limit
8
Scaling Filter
FSR Sharpness 0
GPU Clock
1100
Proton Version

No Forced Compatibility

Game Settings

General:

Resolution: 1152x720

Full Screen: Off

Vsync: Off

 

Graphics:

Color Grading: Filmic

Water Quality: High

Anti-Aliasing: FXAA

Anti-Aliasing Quality: Off

Bloom: On

Lens Dirt: Off

Motion Blur Quality: Low

Ambient Occlusion: Medium

Screen Space Reflections: Off

Dithering: On

Projected Battery Usage and Temp
12W - 15W
65c - 70c
2.5 - 3 hours
Steam Deck Compatibility
Current Price: 
$29.99
View in Steam Store
Proton DB Rating

Other Builds & Information

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