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  • Awesome Music: "Abandon Ship" from the soundtrack is an energetic theme that sounds like something from a nightclub.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: In a hidden Easter Egg, interacting with the data terminals in the Quarantine Enforcement Platform will occasionally cause the PDA to say "Resistance is fertile", then play a short piece of jazz music. It only happens once with no explanation given.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome:
    • Due to how slow and cumbersome to maneuver the PRAWN Suit is, it's a guarantee that players will always give it the Jump Jet Upgrade to thrust themselves higher and longer, and especially the Grappling Arm upgrade so they can move around faster Spider-Man-style.
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    • Players will almost always build their first base in the Safe Shallows due to being one of the safest biomes in the game roughly at the center of the world map, and therefore closer to most biomes around so they can go gather resources without having to travel too far away.
      • Similarly, it's a very common strategy to build a base at the far end of the Lost River, in the Tree Cove area right before entering the Inactive Lava Zone, since it's a perfectly safe area located right between two large biomes home to various rare resources but very unsafe.
  • Contested Sequel: While reception to Below Zero's new biomes and creatures is mostly positive, the story and gameplay have proven divisive. Many players found the story engaging and enjoyed the increased character interactions (including the new player character having her own personality and goals rather than being another Heroic Mime). Others feel that these elements detract from the isolation that made the original game so terrifying, and also complain about Below Zero's shorter length and more relaxed difficulty.
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  • Crosses the Line Twice: A removed Easter Egg where the Seamoth AI would say "I love it when you come inside me" instead of "Welcome aboard, Captain" when you enter it. There is at least one complaint thread on it on the Steam forums. It was added as a joke by the game's sound director, but the apparently the rest of the devs weren't ok with it. It was probably just as well because they needed to submit the game to a game ratings board.
  • Demonic Spiders:
    • No one likes Crashfish, due to their high damage and the fact that they can destroy the all-important (and slightly expensive) Seamoth in one hit.
    • Lava Larvae. We'd suggest to not take your vehicles to the Lava Zone, but there are other dangerous creatures there you'll need a Cyclops for, plus the issue of oxygen. Lava Larvae constantly suck power out of vehicles as long as they're attached, however they can be removed with a propulsion cannon or knife. Players more rich in power or resources can use, respectively, the Cyclops' shield emitters (this without even releasing the steering wheel, and is a minor trade-off if the player has a thermal reactor module on the cyclops, which recharges the Cyclops at a decent speed in the Lava Zone) or grav spheres as well.note 
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    • Warpers. Not only do they often attack in groups, not only can they teleport you out of your Seamoth or PRAWN with a fast-moving teleportation "sphere", but their attacks can drop you down to half health in one hit, hurting more than any other predator of comparable size.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: The various A.I.s that are in each of your vehicles and your PDA are fairly popular, leading to several Fan Nicknames for them.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • The Stasis Rifle and Thermal Knife can kill anything in the game without the player taking a single point of damage. The only drawback is the amount of time the leviathans take to kill, any other target will die in one uncharged stasis shot and just a few hits with the knife. This turns even the dreaded Reapers into tempting targets. This is explicitly mentioned by the devs as the reason the stasis rifle has been removed from Below Zero.
    • In Below Zero, if you keep a Flare on hand while on land, you needn't fear Snow Stalkers ever again as they will be afraid to attack you while you're holding it. This makes the surface portions of the game significantly easier, especially since the Flares won't burn out unless you throw them.
    • The humble Spicy Fruit Salad in Below Zero. Though one of the ingredients can't be accessed until a certain point in the plot, once it is acquired all semblance of difficulty pertaining to hunger management vanishes. Spicy Fruit Salads restore more hunger than a nutrient bar, more water than filtered water, fully restore the temperature gauge, are nonperishable, and take up one inventory slot. And since both of the ingredients can be grown indoors, you can manufacture enough food for an entire playthrough within ten minutes.
  • Genius Bonus: The fauna on 4546B has some thought put into it. For example, Reaper Leviathans are the primary Apex Predator of the above-cave-level places on the planet, and as such they are one of the few animals in the entire game that lack any kind of bioluminescence, which means they can very easily sneak up on you.
  • Goddamned Bats:
    • Bleeders. They are easy to shake off and don't take off that much health at once. However, they also prevent you from getting resources until you get them off. Also, their shriek is painful to hear.
    • Stalkers. Once the initial fear meeting them subsides, they become simple pests that have a surprisingly far-roaming distance due to tracking down metal salvage, and in the process they will take nips at the player, vehicles, and even camera drones. If one roams close to a Scanner Room, they will outright pull camera drones out of their sockets to play with them.
    • Cave Crawlers. They don't deal that much damage and are easy to walk around and avoid but are still annoying to deal with on land since they jump all over the place, making it harder to slice them up with your knife.
    • Spadefish are non-aggressive and harmless to the player, but crashing into them damages your Seamoth, forcing you to repair it every so often during long voyages.
    • Biters and Blighters don't hit hard and they're fairly easy to spot. But, if they manage to gank you, they can do far more than their usual trick of making you pause, grunt and lose a bit of O2 and health.
    • Lava Larva. Don't stop to admire the view, because you'll have to get out of your Prawn or Cyclops to batter these energy leeches off. Again. And risk cooking to death. Again.
    • In the sequel Below Zero, there are Sea Monkeys, who will steal from you whichever tool you're currently holding, forcing you to go take it back from their hands and put your tools away when you're around them, at least until they start retrieving materials for you.
  • Good Bad Bugs:
    • Before the Silent Running update for the Cyclops (which also nerfed its then-intended invulnerability), players could build Power Cell Chargers on the Cyclops that charged Power Cells faster than the Cyclops drains them with the Cyclops Engine Efficiency Module, letting players infinitely and sustainably generate power for their Cyclops with a couple of spare Power Cells on cycle. Now, built Power Cell Chargers will generate power one-to-one with the Cyclops's drain rate.
    • As of the press release right before exiting Early Access (version 1.0), players can interact with Cuddlefish through walls. A Cuddlefish roaming outside can thus be pulled into a base (where they fly around as if they were in water) or even pulled back into their containment tank.
    • Since early access and extending into 1.0, there's an infamous bug that lets small fish clip through the base. Don't be too surprised at seeing a school of fish fly through your base, or a single curious Peeper floating through your hallways. Some players love to Hand Wave it as the player character hallucinating and going mad from solitude and being marooned on an water-filled alien planet. On the other hand, this becomes annoying since fish in containment can clip out of their tanks and start roaming the base (or, worse, clip outside the base into the wild).
    • Another harmless, potentially annoying, potentially funny bug (but purely visual) is the tendency for the player's hands to glitch when operating tools. Open a Bulkhead? Sometimes your arms are positioned as if the handle of the door was at the top of the screen instead of the middle. Open a locker? Sometimes your arms become crossed as you open it. Use a handheld tool? Sometimes your wrist is pulled backwards.
    • In the PS4 console release, prolonged play could cause the map to load incorrectly or not load at all. This could allow access to cave and tunnel resources while also removing above-ground barriers for crashfish to aggro you. Since this glitch allows you to go under the terrain, it's possible to exploit it to make travelling to places easier.
    • If you build a compartment that goes through a wreck, then the entire wreck will disappear, letting the player get all the materials inside without having to navigate through it.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Nightmare Retardant: While the Sea Dragon Leviathan is menacing on paper, that doesn't stop its slow speed and general "mermaid" aesthetic from coming off just a bit less scary than it ought to have.
  • Paranoia Fuel: If you weren't already afraid of the ocean, this game may make you terrified to be in the open ocean.
    • The whole concept for the player. You're on an alien planet and you're the only human on it. Your resources are scattered across the planet, which is populated with strange creatures, some friendly and others hostile. These creatures can range from the size of a bug to a medium-sized whale. You have no idea what's safe on this planet and you may die if you're ill-equipped and uninformed of the potential dangers.
  • Replacement Scrappy: The Chelicerate in Below Zero effectively replaces the Reaper leviathan as the biggest and nastiest fish you'll encounter near the surface. However, while its attacks rival the Reaper in strength, it is much less aggressive and its general "oversized shrimp" appearance cause it to lack the Reapers' scare factor, so it's generally seen as an inferior replacement for the original game's iconic super-predator.
  • The Scrappy: Marguerit Maida, as she appears in Below Zero. With her paranoid hostility towards the player and lack of karmic payback for indirectly getting Sam killed, one might wonder why the writers felt she deserved to survive her presumed death in the first game.
    • It also goes in the face of one of the biggest messages of the Degasi tragedy; that both Maida and Paul were wrong in their approaches of violence or fear respectively, with Bart surviving the longest because he was somewhere in the middle. By having Maida survive and leaving the other two for dead, it instead rewards/validates her hostile behaviour, despite both games apparently leaning heavily on how things must exist together and in balance — for example, while there are threats to fight off, there are creatures that are friendly and/or become cooperative, whereas Maida's pet Stalker seems to only be Rule of Cool to push how "badass" she is. For some, her inclusion smells heavily of blatant Fanservice with little reason other than some people finding her cool in the first game. Additionally, the explanation for her survival makes very little sense, given that cold doesn't seem to have spared the Frozen Leviathan from the Kharaa one bit.
    • Al-An, for his demeaning comments about "primitive" human biology and the fact that he hijacks the plot from Robin's search for Sam.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: The snowfox in Below Zero handles more like a rusty shopping cart than a badass speeder bike, and while it is fast it just isn't well suited for navigating the narrow caves and winding paths that make up the land portions of the game. Many players instead opt to carry it around in their inventory as a portable heat source.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: Wiping out the hostile leviathans is one for many players. There are only so many of them (22 reapers, 6 ghosts, and 3 dragons) and once they're dead they're gone for good (or at least they takes literal ages to respawn) so killing them is not only a challenge it makes the Crater much, much safer to travel.
  • Special Effects Failure: The game takes place primarily underwater; there are a few... rough spots.. with the visuals when you're not. The Thermoblade will always give off bubbling steam, even on dry land, and schools of ambient fish will frequently fly straight through the walls of underwater bases. The bubbles representing the protagonist's breathing mask sometimes don't go away while entering bases or vehicles.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: A space traveler stranded on an hostile planet, and trying to survive using the technology at his disposal? That sounds like The Martian.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • The Seatruck introduced in Subnautica: Below Zero is a modular combination of the Seamoth and the Cyclops, combining the Seamoth's speed and maneuverability with the Cyclops' large mobile storage facilities. One notable difference from the Cyclops however is that it's not large enough to carry a growbed, which may make it harder to maintain a renewable food and drink source in Survival (the Aquarium module may help, but it's not as consistent as plants).
    • Earlier in Below Zero's development, Robin was voiced by an actress with a British accent, in the final release, she has an American accent instead. Some players, notably Jacksepticeye, regrets the former voice because they think having a character with a non-American accent was unique and refreshing.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: In Below Zero, Robin's search for Sam is given weirdly little impetus, considering that it was her entire reason for going to 4546B in the first place. Al-An's storyline is the only one that is essential to complete the game, so the mystery of what happened to Sam can even become an Aborted Arc, with Robin leaving the planet behind without even seeing the Frozen Leviathan or doing anything about the Kharaa infection that Sam was so worried about.
  • Ugly Cute: With their long snouts and rather amusing habit of picking up metal scraps and carrying them around, Stalkers are this to some.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable:
    • If you hitch a ride on a Reaper Leviathan with the Prawn's grappling arm, the beast will go nuts trying to shake you off, travelling huge distances in the process, and it will permanently stay wherever it ends up once you let go. Reapers treated this way have a strange habit of making a beeline for your base. Play Reaper Rodeo too often and you can find your base besieged by multiple giant murder machines from all directions, making it next to impossible to do anything in the area. If you don't manage to set up another base somewhere else, your game is pretty much over.
    • There exists a glitch in the area around the Alien Thermal Plant that can cause water physics to simply cease to exist for you and your Prawn Suit. All ways to fix it require use of console commands or other methods that the average player won't figure out, and even harder to fix for the Prawn Suit, meaning even if the player manages to fix it for themselves, they're now stranded deep underwater in one of the most dangerous areas of the game. This can also result in the lava at the bottom not being fatal. The most likely outcome is simply the player stuck miles below the surface, unable to drown or swim out, and the only option being to die (by starvation or thirst) and return to their base, losing everything they got and their Prawn. There's a second, rarer glitch that will result in new Prawns having the same exact problem, rendering the game effectively unwinnable if they've saved since it happened.
  • What an Idiot!: Marguerit dragging a live Reaper Leviathan back to the Degasi base.
  • The Woobie: The Sea Emperor. She was kidnapped by the Precursors and forced to breed, had her life extended well beyond the regular lifespan of her species, and yet she's probably still aging. It would have ended long ago, but the Precursors performed a Critical Research Failure and kept the eggs in the wrong hatching conditions. It's made clear that her children - the ones the Precursors didn't dissect, that is - have been stuck as eggs for centuries. It gets worse when you find out that she may or may not know the true, well-intentioned purpose behind all of this... which means all she can do is accept her current condition.
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