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Video Game / Barotrauma

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Embrace the Abyss.
Barotrauma is a 2D submarine crew survival simulator developed by FakeFish Games and Undertow Games, and published by Daedalic Entertainment. The game released on Steam early access in June 5, 2019.

Players, as a submarine crew, brave the depths of Jupiter's 6th moon, Europa. The game, inspired by Space Station 13, centers around crisis and resource management, where players must contend with hull leaks, deteriorating equipment, dwindling welding fuel and ammunition for their small arms and submarine guns, and as is often the case, losing crew members to the Europan fauna that inevitably attack the sub. Or clowns who sabotage their efforts.


This game contains examples of:

  • Artificial Stupidity: You can add AI bots to your crew to substitute for human players if you're running short or just want to play solo without having to do everything by yourself. They are not very flexible in their tasks, however: you have to order them around for them to actually do anything, and even then they will focus solely on that task even if there are more pressing matters at hand, like intruders.
    • Not all is lost on them, though. They can home in on hull breaches and broken devices, fixing them in a flash, their accuracy with weapons is pretty good, and they'll immediately report situations happening on the ship that they can see, such as hull breaches or injuries. As the game develops, the AI keeps getting upgrades, making them ok addition to human crew with proper orders.
  • BFG: The Rapid Fissile Accelerator, an energy weapon powered by nuclear fuel rods, can be built by Engineers.
  • Bizarre Alien Reproduction: The Beasts Within update for the Steam release introduced a literal Explosive Breeder with the Hammerhead Matriarch. One blow to her pulsating head and it will violently burst out many Hammerhead Spawns. Obviously, this kills her instantly.
  • Boring, but Practical: Some of the talents granted to the crew fall under this. For example, getting 100-someodd experience points for the first 3 fuel rods crafted every mission isn't very exciting, but it rewards Engineers for something they should be doing anyway, and the resulting level-ups can grant talent points for more interesting skills. Higher quality tools (wrenches/screwdrivers) and consumables (oxygen/welding fuel tanks) also fall under this heading.
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  • But What About the Astronauts?: A throwaway line for why the situation on Europa seems so perpetually desperate: contact with Earth has been lost for reasons unknown, which means the Europan colonists are effectively stranded on this Death World with no economic support from outside.
  • Character Class System: As to be expected for a submarine crew simulator, there are six classes to pick from, each with their own Skill Scores and Perks. They're also split further into three archetypes that have different starting equipment.
    • Captain: Starts with the highest Helm skill. Its sub-classes tend to start with a simple gun, but the class is intended to formally represent the player in charge of navigating the sub and giving orders to the crew, and most of their campaign perks reflect this.
    • Security Officer: Starts with the highest Weapon skill, as well as body armor, weapons and some other supplies. Their duty is to safeguard the crew from threats both internal and external (as their weapon skill also applies to the submarine's armaments), as well as keep the armoury stocked through crafting. They are especially relied upon to restrain or neutralize crew members trying to sabotage the submarine (whether these are part of Traitor objectives or just plain griefing).
    • Medical Doctor: Starts with the highest Medical skill, a syringe gun, health scanner goggles and some basic medical items. They're responsible for maintaining the crew's health and crafting supplies at the ship's Medical Fabricator, but a medic who gets the right ingredients can also craft toxins for fending off intruders, both alien and human.
    • Engineer: Starts with the highest Electrical Engineering skill and appropriate tools. Tasked with watching the sub's reactor and maintaining its power levels, as well as the junction boxes and wires which provide power to all compartments.
    • Mechanic: Starts with the highest Mechanical Engineering skill and appropriate tools. Responsible for maintaining the engines and other mechanical devices, as well as repairing the sub's hull whenever there's a breach.
    • Assistant: The odd one out in that it has no particular focus in any skills and starts fairly low in all of them, which is compensated by learning new skills faster. They're given a bit more of a role through the perk system, which lets an Assistant spec into a Master of All who learns skills even faster, a functional Red Shirt who provides benefits to other crewmembers, or a costumed clown who serves as a Quirky Bard.
  • Cool Boat: You are the owner of one of several types of subs capable of surviving in the hostile undersea environment of Europa. Each sub has at least some kind of defense against the native life or alien machinery on the moon - electrical discharge coils, depth charge tubes, coilguns for small, numerous foes and railguns for the truly monstrous. The mightiest of the subs are the Kastrull and Typhon 2 which are the heavy gunships of the submarine world. For civilian purposes, the kings of commerce are the Berilia and Remora.
  • CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: If a crewmember is suffering from the "low oxygen" affliction, you can use the healing interface to perform CPR on them to alleviate it. However, this is tied to your medical skill — You need at least 50 points in medical skill to actually heal the affliction this way (rather than merely slow it down or stabilize it), while attempting CPR with a medical skill of less than 20 will cause internal damage with each pump.
  • Critical Existence Failure: As long as your stamina bar is above zero, you can walk, talk, and do any task you want. As soon as it hits that magic number, though, you'll immediately ragdoll and go unconscious until you're either treated and revived, or die. Somewhat averted in the fact that certain injuries can cause your character to limp, reducing your walking speed.
  • Crowbar Combatant: Crowbars are mainly used to force open locked doors and hatches, but can be wielded as basic melee weapons in a pinch. Hardened Crowbars and Demontonite Crowbars are better for both forced entry and melee combat.
  • Cult: Two of them exist on Europa — The Children of the Honkmother, a disorganized movement of Monster Clowns; and the Church of Husk, a transhumanist cult that worships The Virus.
  • Deadly Gas:
    • Oxygen and welding fuel use the same type of canister, and a common way to sabotage the submarine is to discreetly replace the oxygen in diving suits and breathing masks with poisonous welding fuel to rapidly suffocate anyone who uses them. (For the reverse, see Explosive Stupidity below.)
    • Ballast flora produces nodes that spew a burning gas to drain the stamina of crewmembers venturing into infested rooms.
    • Underwater caves may contain another type of gas; while not damaging by itself, it will cause your oxygen supplies to drain from your suit. This naturally can result in death if you didn't bring enough oxygen. (Thankfully, oxygen stacking was added in the same update, allowing to bring a surplus)
  • Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: Literally, depleted fuel rods can be turned into depleted uranium ammunition and hardened tools by a trained Engineer. Less literally, incendiary explosives and even more powerful Physicorium ammunition for various weapons are made from salvaged alien metals. The unlockable assault rifle and Hand Cannon only fire Physicorium rounds.
  • Dirty Bomb: Craftable by Engineers with the right talent. They have much weaker blasts than the true, submarine-launched nuclear weapons, but dirty bombs can be used like explosive compounds: either planted by hand with a detonator or loaded into railgun shells and depth charges.
  • Drinking on Duty: Some submarines contain ethanol, which can be a useful crafting ingredient for certain chemicals, but can also be directly ingested, giving resistance to Psychosis. This also, predictably, makes the user drunk, decreasing their maximum health, movement speed, and distorting their screen. Consuming enough can actually knock the user unconscious, and even after they recover, their screen will usually be so distorted that it's difficult to actually understand what's going on.
  • Eldritch Ocean Abyss: The oceans of Europa are lightless voids beneath a nearly impenetrable surface layer of ice, populated by nightmarish aquatic creatures and the remnants of a mysterious alien civilization. Insanity and death are common fates for Europa's submariners.
  • Energy Weapon: A pulse laser can be installed as one of the submarine's turret weapons. It hits targets instantly- making it an excellent weapons for bots to man- and deals high heat damage, but requires uncommon materials (alien blood that must be looted from certain creatures, usually requiring trips outside the submarine) to craft. You can also salvage energy-based Alien Pistols and Ancient Weapons from ruins, which run on Alien Power Cells.
  • Explosive Stupidity: Aside from all the interesting ways you can misuse regular explosives, it's possible to accidentally load a welding torch with oxygen or a plasma cutter with welding fuel, causing it to explode in your hand after a short delay.
  • Fantastic Drug: Mostly averted. You'll find some real-life drugs like methamphetamine and morphine, and other substances like adrenaline, all essential in the manufacturing of stimulants and treatments. The chief exception is calyxanide, which treats the husk infection, and hyperzine, a potent cocktail of anabolic steroids and methamphetamine (and their associated effects).
  • Gatling Good: The chaingun can be installed as one of the submarine's turret weapons. It possesses great firerate and DPS, but needs to be spun up to use and eats through ammo reserves way too fast for a game where every ammo crate must count.
  • Hammerspace: The Toolbelt item is a useful piece of gear for any character, basically granting a free extra six inventory slots without needing to be lugged around as a prop. Although it's supposed to be used to store tools for workers, it can also hold multiple shotguns, loaded harpoon guns, and even explosives. Not to mention its extreme utility for doctors, who can use it to store additional medicine items.
    • While it got nerfed in that it can't hold items too large such as shotgun and has only 6 slots, the Toolbelt still can hold full stacks of smaller items. And those items are immune to being detonated by fire, so your oxygen supplies are safe.
    • You can also fill a storage crate with toolbelts, effectively multiplying the number of slots in it. This can be extremely handy when looting a shipwreck, but raises questions about how delivery missions only have up to 20 items in such crate when you can put in 960...
  • Hand Cannon: A custom weapon available to Captains, explicitly named the "Handcannon", made from and firing bullets made from salvaged alien metals.
  • Harpoon Gun: Present as a short-to-medium range weapon, which inflicts lacerations and bleeding. Harpoon guns are equally effective in the water as they are on land, and fired harpoons can be retrieved from the environment (assuming they are found), making them a very practical and cost-effective weapon. A harpoon can combined with C4 to craft explosive-tipped harpoons, for extra bleeding and deep tissue injury afflictions.
  • Heal Thyself: Averted. Healing isn't instant, and it isn't easy: you have to diagnose the condition first (either through opening the healing menu or wearing a Health Scanner HUD), and then find and use the appropriate treatment.note 
  • Item Crafting: Tools, components and other supplies can be crafted at a Fabricator by characters with the skill most relevant to each item (Weapons for guns and ammo, Electrical Engineering for wiring components, etc.). Healing items and toxins are instead crafted at a specialized Medical Fabricator. A Deconstructor, meanwhile, can be used to dismantle items into their component parts for re-use. Outposts contain Fabricator and Deconstructor, allowing to participate in crafting even when playing submarines without those facilities; no suck luck with Medical Fabricator, however – if your sub lacks it, you will have to resort to buying medicine or looting it from wrecks.
  • Living Ship: The Rusted Remnants update introduced the thalamus, a parasitic colony organism that infests wrecked submarines to animate as its "body". On top of using the craft's conventional weapons, the thalamus can also use organic growths to fire tethers at other submarines, reeling them in to puncture the hull with a spike that disgorges hostile Mega-Microbes. Players can board the infested sub in an attempt to sabotage its organs, and destroying the thalamus' brain will render the entire craft inert.
    • The legacy version of the game had a creature known as the carrier, a small submarine which has been infested with the husk parasite. Unlike the submarines infested with the thalamus, this one is fully mobile and can attack the player's sub by ramming into it, generally functioning like any other enemy. While it has been cut of the Steam release, it can still be spawned with console commands and the mission where you encounter it can be modded back in.
  • Magikarp Power: The "Among the Ancients" update (October 2021) added the talent tree mechanic, where various jobs can gain exp during every mission to unlock powerful abilities ranging from Damage Reduction to unlocked item recipes, meaning that as a campaign goes on longer the players become inherently more powerful, but the job that was buffed the most was the Assistant, whose talent trees allow it to turn into a Master of All, revive from death, and turn the normally-useless clown into a Lethal Joke Character that can use its bike horn to automatically repair machinery and heal injured crew, turning what was normally a Master of None job into a powerhouse.
  • Master of Disguise: If the mechanic is enabled, wearing an ID tag that isn't yours and a mask allows you to assume other players' identity. As long as you don't give away your identity in voice chat, this can aid players who have been picked as a Traitor and been given objectives to sabotage the submarine in any number of ways.
  • Meat Moss: Ballast Flora is a plant-like colony organism that can take root within a sub's ballast pumps if it passes through a spore cloud. From there it spreads, overtaking devices and reaching for sources of electricity such as junction boxes or the reactor, which can cause a sub to lose power. Areas infested by the flora quickly become uninhabitable, as specialized growths begin to produce a corrosive gas that rapidly drains health, and it will protect itself by triggering doors and pumps in a further effort to kill the crew. The only way to clear the colony out is to cleanse the ballast pump from which the creature is growing, which can be done with welding/cutting tools or incendiary bombs. Ballast flora allowed to grow in a shipwreck over the course of years eventually forms a thalamus — a hostile Ghost Ship entirely overtaken by the Meat Moss.
  • Mega-Microbes: Leucocytes are cell-like creatures spawned by a thalamus, capable of chewing through hulls and inflicting paralysis on humans they attack. When threatened they can also spawn smaller, palette-swapped versions of themselves called "terminal cells", which explode upon death.
  • Monster Clown: A carry-over from Space Station 13, clowns are memetically stereotyped as always being up to no good, to the point where there's an achivement for murdering somebody for the crime of wearing a clown costume. They're the remnant of a disasterously misguided attempt by the Europan Coalition to create a morale-boosting entertainer role for their crews, and the deeply disturbed clowns of Europa have since organized themselves into "the Children of the Honkmother". Available to Assistant players in the Clown talent tree is the Psycho Clown talent, which causes the psychosis ailment to also increase the clown's melee attack speed and slow their movement to an Ominous Walk.
  • Non-Ironic Clown: A Clown who actually wants to be helpful can mend machines, boost skills, and even heal wounds with the right talents and a bike horn.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Husks are caused by an invasive parasitic infection that gradually sickens and kills the host, before they reanimate into a vicious Parasite Zombie wholly dedicated to infecting or killing the remaining crew. Unlike the stereotypical zombie’s method of transmitting the disease, their methods of infecting other hosts rely on striking them with the stinger protruding from their mouths, which inject the Husk parasite’s eggs into the victim. Unlike other cases which involve a Zombie Infectee, euthanising an infected host will not prevent reanimation and thus they will need to be either contained or shot when they inevitably rise, but the parasite can be cured if the infection is caught early. However, the cures are hard to come by and one needs to be synthesised from the eggs found in the bodies of other Husks.
  • Raptor Attack: Mudraptors are a common enemy that resemble a cross between a dinosaur and a shrimp. They possess armored beaks to break into ship hulls, and powerful hind legs that allow them to walk upright and even run once they get inside.
  • Red Shirt: The Assistant's Greyshirt talent tree gives bonuses that help offset the pain of dying (or give ways to improbably survive.) Other classes talents that give rewards for the whole crew surviving often don't count assistant casualties.
  • Sanity Meter: A downplayed variation exists in the form of the Psychosis ailment, which is contracted when a player handles a Psychosis Artifact or ingests Alien Blood, or too much methamphetamine or anabolic steroids. While not directly hazardous to the victim, if left untreated it causes the player to suffer hallucinations of fire and screen shaking (the latter usually indicating the sub is being struck by big alien fish), making it difficult for them to report genuine emergencies. This has to be treated with Haloperidol if the ailing player is to continue being an effective crew member.
  • Seal the Breach: A common and serious issue that needs to be addressed by someone with a welder. The hull can crack with damage, causing compartments to flood and requiring the one responsible for sealing it to wear a rebreather. Larger breaches open the hull to the ocean, which requires a full diving suit to withstand the water pressure long enough to repair, and may potentially expose the crew to monsters entering the ship.
  • Sci-Fi Horror: Humanity has achieved space flight, but Europa can't be colonized on the surface, so they went underwater instead. Naturally this means dealing with the omnipresent hazards of the Europan xenobiology, and more chillingly, the human element.
  • Silent Running Mode: The submarine's sonar will reveal the rough shape of lifeforms and terrain for some distance around the craft, but can allow hostile creatures to home in on its location. To alleviate this, the sonar can be set to a minimal "passive" mode that hides the sub's presence somewhat, but forces the navigator to fly blind or rely on autopilot. The sonar can also send out directional pings, which highlight shapes in a narrow cone.
  • Social Deduction Game: The game has a 'traitor' mechanic that can be enabled; traitors then have to sabotage the submarine and complete certain tasks with the others being none the wiser.
  • Static Stun Gun: The appropriately named stun gun is a pistol which fires electric darts, causing targets to ragdoll helplessly for ten seconds. The stun baton, meanwhile, is a battery-powered melee weapon that can ragdoll targets for up to ten seconds after several hits (3 on Normal battery, 2 on fulgurium one). Stunning weapons are the typical first resort against rowdy members of the crew, with the stun state being used to quickly slap handcuffs on the offender.
  • Sub Story: With a Sci-Fi Horror twist. Aside from brief visits to outposts and the occasional EVA jaunt in a diving suit, the entire game takes place within the cramped confines of a player-operated submarine.
  • Super Strength: Possible by consuming anabolic steroids, this makes a player able to do more melee damage and even resist trauma in close quarters.
  • Underwater City: Although perhaps not as large and sprawling as this trope would suggest, populations usually numbering at a dozen or so, the campaign mode features outposts you can travel to and rest at, where you can search for jobs, hire crew members, and buy supplies, submarines, and upgrades for those submarines.
  • Underwater Ruins: Alien ruins can be found embedded into Europa's icy walls, with one mission type requiring players to venture into these ruins in order to salvage an Ancient Artifact.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable:
    • During the Mechanic tutorial in v., when prompted to fix a major leak that has flooded a room (and requires a diving suit), the player can, under certain circumstances, be sucked through the leak into the open water. If the player is sucked through the hole in the ship while patching up the leak, they will repair the seal completely while also blocking themselves from that area. Because there is no door to the top half of the tutorial area, the player can only enter the submarine underneath - and because the hatch separating the submarine and the main ship is unopenable (the game will say that the player has "unauthorized access"), the player cannot get back into the main area, and thus cannot complete the tutorial, forcing them to restart.
    • Another variation occurs if the player knowingly seals the only entryway after being forced into the open water, instead of swimming back through it; the tutorial becomes unfinishable either way.
  • Variable Mix: The game's music will change depending on context, such as a creature being nearby, your submarine sinking, and so forth.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: If you want, you can certainly go Ax-Crazy on your fellow crewmates, taking a weapon and bludgeoning their skull, or shooting them until they drop. Do this at your own risk: some servers will ban you for this, and other crew members can (and likely will) fight back.
    • Server owners can also turn a feature called Traitors on to give random crew-members tasks to do, usually with the goal of either sabotaging the submarine or killing off some of the crew.
    • If you're unlucky enough to become a Zombie Infectee and can't get cured in time, you'll eventually develop a proboscis in your mouth that can be used to infect other players. Since you'll eventually die and become an AI-controlled zombie no matter what, the ability to use the proboscis manually is this trope mixed with dying spite.
  • The Virus: Husks are former humans in discolored diving suits with a tentacle sticking out their mouths, plagued by what's simply known by the shorthand "husk infection". The only two ways to contract this is for human players to get attacked by the proboscis of Husk enemies, or for somebody (likely a traitor) injecting dormant eggs into them. The symptoms are invisible to anyone not wearing health scanner goggles, and as the infection progresses the victim eventually loses the ability to chat, and if left untreated the player will succumb and upon death will resurrect as an AI-controlled husk that must be put down again. Later versions of the game introduced huskified crawlers. As a reference to real life toxicology, medics need to loot husk eggs from NPC husks as part of making calyxanide, the one of two only medicine items able to treat the infection in its early stages. If the infection is left to fester to completion, the aforementioned cures will kill the victim.
  • Weld the Lock: The welding tool can be used to seal a door shut, forcing monsters to tear it down and players to slice it open with a plasma cutter.
  • With Friends Like These...: Par for the course when joining random games. You can never be sure if you'll get a serious crew or any number of clowns (you can literally dress as one) who will eagerly place an oxygen tank in a welding tool then fire it near the oxygen tanks to cause a suicide explosion that will absolutely wreck weaker subs. Or raid the armory for weapons and start gunning down everyone in sight.
  • When All You Have is a Hammer…: The welding tool, plasma cutter and wrench can be used as very weak weapons in a pinch, and actually managing to kill something with any of them is a Steam achievement titled "Whatever works".
  • Wrench Whack: Wrenches can be used as crude melee weapons, and the Mechanic class can take a perk that gives their wrenches 30% chance to deal double damage on a hit, as well as being more likely to stun a target.
  • You Nuke 'Em: With the right materials, players can craft nuclear railgun shells, nuclear depth charges, or dirty bombs. All unleash deadly radiation, and the blast radius of nuclear ship munitions makes them difficult to use without harming one's own submarine and crew. However, they are the most powerful weapons available; a good shot can destroy a pirate submarine or thalamus wreck with a single nuke shell.
  • Zombie Infectee: Players can contract the "husk infection" affliction from husk attacks, which slowly ticks upwards to 100%. If not cured, the husk parasite will progressively spread throughout the body, eventually robbing the player of the ability to speak or use commands. At the ultimate stage of the infection, the player develops a husk proboscis in their throat, which they can use to try infecting other players before they finally expire and become an AI-controlled zombie. Be warned that simply executing an infected player won't prevent their corpse from reanimating as a husk.